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Cirba 2015 Predictions: Realizing the Practical Realities of the Software-Defined Data Center


 

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2015.  Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by Andrew Hillier, Co-founder and CTO, Cirba

Realizing the Practical Realities of the Software-Defined Data Center

In 2015 the momentum toward the Software-Defined Data Center will continue, and leading organizations will further hone their SDDC vision and more precisely define exactly how they will get there.  This is important, as the focus on internal cloud in recent years has greatly advanced the end-user workload provisioning process, but the physical infrastructure provisioning and configuration process has fallen behind.  Users can now gain access to compute, network and storage resources in minutes, but making simple changes to the physical server or networking infrastructure can still take weeks and involve complex change management.

The current focus in the SDDC is on Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and this in particular will continue to garner the lion's share of attention in 2015.  Designed to eliminate the legacy restrictions on network provisioning and configuration, SDN allows private, logical networks to be created on the fly to service application needs.  This not only accelerates the provisioning process, but it also brings down the boundaries that limit workload mobility.  When a virtual machine can be elegantly fooled into thinking it is on the same network segment as its peers, it is no longer physically limited to specific hosts on a particular physical network.  This in turn means that virtual clusters and network configurations are no longer a limitation when managing a data center.

Although this is a powerful notion, there are still boundaries that must be respected, and these may not be as obvious as a "legacy" cluster boundary or physical area.  Storage connectivity will become a major constraint, and the process of figuring out where to place workloads will become even more complex.  It is a bit like tearing down the fences in a barnyard - everything can now roam free, but that isn't necessarily a good thing.  You may get more flexibility in how you make use of your land, but there is still a need for physical boundaries and limits.  In the data center, this means that the innovations in configuration management that SDN brings will need to be matched by similar advancements in virtualization management and policy-based control.  Many early adopters and industry analysts are rightfully identifying the control plane as an integral part of the SDDC, and recommend that this be addressed at the outset, not as an afterthought. In 2015 this will start to happen, paving the way to the next generation of infrastructure.

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About the Author

Andrew Hillier is co-founder and CTO of Cirba where he leads product strategy and defines the overall technology roadmap for the company. He has over 20 years of experience in the creation and implementation of mission-critical software for the world's largest financial institutions and utilities.

Prior to Cirba, Hillier pioneered a state of the art systems management solution which was acquired by Sun Microsystems and served as the foundation of their flagship systems management product, Sun Management Center. Hillier has also led the development of solutions for major financial institutions, including fixed income, equity, futures & options and interest rate derivatives trading systems, as well as in the fields of covert military surveillance, advanced traffic and train control, and the robotic inspection and repair of nuclear reactors.

Hillier holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering from The University of New Brunswick.
Published Tuesday, December 02, 2014 6:41 AM by David Marshall
Comments
@VMblog - (Author's Link) - February 10, 2015 6:55 AM

Once again, how great is it to be a part of the virtualization and cloud industries? 2014 was another banner year, and we witnessed a number of fantastic technologies take shape and skyrocket. And I, along with many industry experts and executives, media

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