The Software-Defined Data Center is a unified data center platform that provides unprecedented automation, flexibility, and efficiency to transform the way you deliver IT. Compute, storage, networking, security, and availability services are pooled, aggregated, and delivered as software, and managed by intelligent, policy-driven software. Self-service, policy-based provisioning, automated infrastructure, and application and business management complete the picture. The result is a data center optimized for the cloud era, providing unmatched business agility, the highest SLAs for all applications, dramatically simpler operations, and lower costs.UPCOMING WEBCAST 2/27/2013: Software-defined Datacenter with Paul Strong, CTO, Global Field - A free session with live Q+A around transforming the way you deliver IT.
A Natural Process of Data Center Evolution
Over the years, data centers have become largely fragmented environments, with numerous types of proprietary software siloed inside specialized hardware components. Server virtualization was the first step in simplifying this inherently complex and rigid infrastructure.
While many data center operations remain constrained by dependencies between software and specialized hardware, IT continues to progress toward greater simplicity and flexibility. Three trends are driving the evolution:
The shrinking cost of raw computing power. Today’s industry-standard x86-based servers offer performance on par with traditional proprietary platforms, at a fraction of the cost. Networking and storage can now also be provisioned on affordable general-purpose hardware instead of costly, proprietary, monolithic machines.
Virtualization for all applications. Thanks to the tremendous capabilities of today’s virtualization platforms, just about all applications can and are being virtualized. This extends the benefits of cheaper compute power, by enabling its utilization with vastly greater efficiency and agility than ever before. Not only are business-critical applications like Oracle and Exchange being virtualized; enterprises are increasingly doing the same for Big Data-oriented applications as well.
Virtualization of hardware appliances. Historically, capabilities such as firewall, load-balancing, WAN acceleration, backup, and deduping have been delivered by physical appliances. Today, ecosystem vendors are building more and more software-defined alternatives that plug into the Software-Defined Data Center.
The cumulative effect is a clear convergence toward a fully software-defined environment—a far more effective, resilient and cost-efficient approach to delivering and managing infrastructure.
The Software-Defined Data Center: Operating Principles
Rather than mask the inherent rigidity of specialized hardware under a tangle of scripts, the Software-Defined Data center leapfrogs these constraints to change the way all data center services are delivered.
As implemented in VMware’s vCloud Suite, the virtualization principles of abstraction, pooling and automation are applied to compute, storage, networking, security, and availability. This creates the Virtual Data Center, a new construct that aggregates these software-defined services and enables intelligent, policy-based provisioning, automation, and monitoring. APIs and other connectors provide seamless extensibility to third-party platforms and public cloud services.
Taken together, these capabilities comprise VMware Cloud Infrastructure, the virtualized infrastructure at the heart of the Software-Defined Data Center. As highly capable as it is, this “engine” is not sufficient on its own. It must be fully managed, which encompasses everything from delivering access to the right services with the right approvals to ensuring the performance, compliance and efficiency of your private cloud.
These management capabilities—delivered via VMware Cloud Management—are specifically designed to provide deep insight into cloud infrastructure performance, while enabling services to be provisioned and accessed in any available cloud.
For many companies, the Software-Defined Data Center will coexist in a heterogeneous environment with multiple hypervisors, hardware from different vendors, and various public cloud services. You can abstract away this complexity by extending VMware Cloud Management beyond your vSphere-enabled Software-Defined Data Center—to impose uniform governance, control, access and self-service over your entire heterogeneous, hybrid cloud environment.
- Cloud Service Provisioning: Automate the provisioning of infrastructure and applications within the Software-Defined Data Center, and beyond it across multiple clouds and platforms.
- Cloud Operations Management: Manage the health, risk, efficiency and compliance of your infrastructure and applications.
- Cloud Business Management: Govern and manage cloud services as a critical element of running IT like a business.
The net result is transformative: the Software-Defined Data Center helps deliver strategic advantage to the business by providing the same benefits for IT as a whole that virtualization delivered for computing and memory.
Key characteristics of the Software-Defined Data Center include:
- Standardized—Homogeneous infrastructure delivered across pools of standard x86 hardware, to eliminate unnecessary complexity.
- Holistic—A unified platform optimized for the entire data center fabric, to flexibly support any and all workloads.
- Adaptive—Self-programmable infrastructure that dynamically configures and reconfigures the environment according to changing application demands, for maximum performance, agility, and efficiency.
- Automated—A management framework with built-in intelligence to eliminate complex and brittle management scripts, for cloud-scale operations with less manual effort and significant cost savings.
- Resilient—A software-based architecture that compensates for failing hardware, delivering unprecedented resiliency at minimum cost.
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Key IT and Business Benefits
A Single, Unified Platform for All Applications
The Software-Defined Data Center provides unprecedented flexibility, efficiency, and SLAs for every application—both legacy platforms and innovative types such as High Performance Computing, Hadoop, and latency-sensitive applications. Provisioning and management are automated by programmable policy-based software. Changes are made and workloads balanced by adjusting the software layer rather than hardware.
A Future-Proof Data Center
The Software-Defined Data Center equips you to meet tomorrow’s key IT challenges, including delivering new social, real-time applications capable of handling data volumes that are growing by 50 to 60 percent per year.
Seamless Hybrid Cloud Support
Gain the advantages of a truly effective hybrid cloud—with IT services provisioning, software-defined security, automated operations, and compliance spanning the internal data center and public cloud services. Manage your entire infrastructure with a “single pane of glass” interface and move resources and workloads across your hybrid environment as needed.
Less Maintenance, More Innovation
Built-in intelligence automates provisioning, placement, configuration, and control based on defined policies, minimizing manual intervention. Transition your IT workforce from infrastructure management to activities that deliver greater business value.
The Software-Defined Data Center replaces inflexible and complex proprietary hardware with efficient, adaptive infrastructure delivered as software across pools of standard x86 servers.
Unmatched Resource Utilization and Cost Savings
By pooling and intelligently assigning resources, the Software-Defined Data Center maximizes all existing physical infrastructure capacity, extending the value of your IT investment. Freed from the constraints of specialized hardware, applications become elastic and mobile. Workloads can be moved around the data center, with pooled resources dynamically allocated and shifted to accommodate changing demand patterns.
Software-based architecture compensates for failing hardware, providing failover, redundancy, and fault tolerance for critical operations at minimum cost. Should hardware fail, software automatically redirects workloads to other servers anywhere in the data center, minimizing service-level recovery time.
The future of your data center has arrived. The Software-Defined Data Center is here today, and you can deploy it now with VMware vCloud Suite.
In a world where business advantage increasingly depends on applications and technology, the Software Defined Data Center is the optimum approach. VMware continues to advance software-driven infrastructure to help you drive new levels of efficiency and agility for your cloud.