How pervasive is the concept of software-defined?
In mid 2012 VMware CTO Steve Herrod and others began to articulate the concept of the software-defined data center. This concept was just as often received as a marketing position from vendors as an observation about the evolution of the data center. At the time, I blogged about the basic concepts of the software-defined data center and followed-up the initial post with an additional blog posts about storage challenges in the software-defined data center. Other posts addressed related topics such as how cloud adoption contributes to the evolution of APIs.
Now, since many months have passed, which can be measured in dog years in high-tech, I would like to revisit the concept of software-defined as it pertains to storage as well as compute and networking, and its status in 2013. I believe that the software-defined data center has moved beyond concept, putting us on the cusp of a time when new architectures and product offerings will make it a reality. Continue reading
What is the software-defined data center?
The software-defined data center is cloud computing realized through intelligent software that abstracts hardware resources, pools it into aggregated capacity, and automates distributing it as needed to applications. It consolidates all systems into a single platform built on an x86 architecture supporting both industry-standard protocols and open APIs.
With software-defined networking gaining acceptance, the concept of a software-defined data center is getting more attention. Software-defined networking moves the control point in switches up to a software layer above the physical hardware enabling the use of any networking hardware and opening up the possibility for centralized management.
The software-defined data center is a natural step in the evolution of virtualization and cloud. It will address the needs of a business community clamoring for efficiency, simplicity, and agility, as well as users whose expectations are set through the personal use of Web-based services. It may well change how we think and go about application development, management, and more.
What makes more sense—open or standard APIs for cloud?
Standard APIs have long been with us providing the means to access the basic protocols that power the Internet such as TCP, IP, and DNS. Without the stability of standards, the Web would be a shifting landscape making it hard to find firm footing. And, even with standards like HTTP, it’s been an occasional rocky road for vendors endeavoring to keep up with the changes, particularly for browsers. Additionally, standards have that problem of trying to be all things to all people meaning that capabilities often have to default to the lowest common denominator. Open technologies do not suffer the same fate but evolve for the common good spurred on by adoption.
But, it is an interesting question to ponder as we look the evolution of the virtual data center to the cloud and what is increasingly being termed the software-defined data center where all compute, network, and storage intelligence is in software layers or abstractions. Regardless, whether virtual, cloud, or software-defined, APIs are key to sustaining the momentum to cloud deployments and beyond. Continue reading