Why Every Size IT Team Should Strive to Implement a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC)

Part One of a Five-Part Series on Software-Defined Data Centers in a Multi-Cloud World

Business of all shapes and sizes are working toward digital transformation (DX) to stay relevant and competitive in a fast-moving and increasingly digital world. This results in thinking through existing application workloads and new applications that might be required for DX.

Figure 1: IDC’s “DX Reinvention — The Race to the Future Enterprise,”
Figure 1: IDC’s “DX Reinvention — The Race to the Future Enterprise,” Doc #DR2019_GS4_MW, March 2019

Public vs. Private Cloud

On this DX journey, the allure of the hyperscale public cloud is undeniable: spin up workloads quickly, easily spin them down (if you remember) and scale nearly infinitely. This has driven more and more businesses to use public hyperscalers for development and testing (dev and test), as well as production workloads, either sponsored by IT or as shadow IT projects directly out of business units. That said, many IT teams have now built experience and an understanding of which type of workloads make sense in the public cloud and which do not, based on criteria such as cost, performance, security, data privacy and more.

As a result, while many businesses continue to move workloads to hyperscalers, they are also making decisions to keep specific workloads on-premises (on-prem) or in colocation (colo) facilities running on end-user-owned data center infrastructure, or alternatively, moving to private hosted clouds run by managed service providers (MSPs) and cloud service providers (CSPs). In fact, IDC’s “Cloud Repatriation Accelerates in a Multicloud World,” Doc #US44185818, August 2018, showed that 81% of enterprises had initiated some sort of repatriation activity (pulling back workloads from the public cloud). So, while the growth of hyperscale public cloud continues, and even as we see enterprises consolidating or closing down their data center real estate, it is clear that on-prem and especially colo data center infrastructure owned by end-users as well as hosted private cloud are both growing and here to stay as part of a multi-cloud world. As can be seen from the results of a recent IDC survey, the majority of workloads will be in private cloud environments in the ‘ideal’ state.

Figure 2: IDC’s “Cloud Repatriation Accelerates in a Multicloud World,”
Figure 2: IDC’s “Cloud Repatriation Accelerates in a Multicloud World,” Doc #US44185818, August 2018

Software-Defined Data Center

What is important, then, whether you are an end-user business owner of data center infrastructure or a non-hyperscale MSP or CSP, is to ensure that your on-prem or colocation data center infrastructure can provide a cost-effective, high-performance and highly automated software-defined data center (SDDC) foundation to support private cloud. SDDCs generally consist of software-defined networking (SDN) of the physical network (underlay) along with virtualized network (overlay), compute and storage, all coordinated by a higher-level orchestrator such as vCenter, OpenStack or Kubernetes.

Compute and storage virtualization, and now containerization, have made leaps and bounds over the last decade. Yet software-defining and virtualizing the data center network has continued to be extremely complicated and expensive – putting SDDC and private cloud out of reach for lean IT teams operating small and medium single-site or multi-site data centers. This is unfortunate because digital transformation is critical, and it is clear that businesses that have automated their data center networks with SDN have seen clear economic benefits, as highlighted in the Enterprise Strategy Group’s survey results displayed in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2018
Figure 3: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2018

SDN provides new levels of network automation to accelerate IT transformation:

  • 97% of transformed companies have committed to SDN
  • SDN users are 3.5 times more likely to be significantly ahead of their competitors in time to market (49% versus 13%)
  • 2.5 times more SDN users made excellent progress enabling a rapidly elastic data center environment (46% versus 18%)

Pluribus Networks – Putting SDDC and Private Cloud Within Reach

At Pluribus Networks, we believe there is an approach based on open networking and open source principles for businesses of all sizes to achieve SDN, network virtualization and network analytics cost-effectively – putting SDDC and private cloud within reach of every IT team, even for small data centers and lightly staffed IT teams. It is clear that breaking through the barrier of automating the network is the critical hurdle to supporting SDDC and private cloud. Look out for my next blog, where I will cover some of the key questions that IT teams should ask and a novel approach to SDN and network virtualization that will help these teams achieve SDDC for any size single-site or multi-site data center.

Free webinar: Join me, along with Drew Schulke, VP Product Management, Dell EMC and Alessandro Barbieri, VP Product Management, Pluribus Networks for a deeper dive into this topic in a complimentary webinar on October 17 at 8 AM PST/11 AM EST: “Realizing the SDDC: Simple, Affordable SDN and Network Virtualization for Any Size Data Center.” You can register for this free webinar here.

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About the Author

Mike Capuano

Mike Capuano

Mike is Chief Marketing Officer of Pluribus Networks. Mike has over 20 years of marketing, product management and business development experience in the networking industry. Prior to joining Pluribus, Mike was VP of Global Marketing at Infinera, where he built a world class marketing team and helped drive revenue from $400M to over $800M. Prior to Infinera, Mike led product marketing across Cisco’s $6B service provider routing, switching and optical portfolio and launched iconic products such as the CRS and ASR routers. He has also held senior positions at Juniper Networks, Pacific Broadband and Motorola.