The Growing Demand for Software-Defined EverythingBy Bob Violino Print
As firms look for cost-effective, agile ways to deliver IT services, they are using software-defined everything: data centers, networking, security and storage.
Key Benefits of Software-Defined Everything
One of the key benefits of SDDC is the cost saving. "With NSX, I can use much less expensive stackable hardware, since much of the intelligence for logical redundancy is sitting in software," Giambruno says. "It also changes your frame of reference of redundancy [because] it is in the software, not the hardware."
Tribune Media would have needed an estimated 200 to 300 IT people to run and maintain a traditional data center following the corporate split. However, with the SDDC, it now relies on just 43 staffers to run infrastructure, applications, support and development.
"Even better, I didn't have to fire anyone," Giambruno recalls. "Only 25 people transitioned from the combined company to Tribune Media, and we built an amazing team."
Strong security and reliability are other benefits. The micro-segmentation capability of the SDDC platform "changes what you can see and how you can operate," he says. "The end state [is] being able to move your assets anywhere with their security posture intact."
The new software-defined capabilities enable Tribune Media to "get the infrastructure out of the way so we can do more," Giambruno explains. "In 2014, I believe we got a little over 140 projects done. Year-to-date [December 2015] we've completed 245 plus." In general, SDDC gives IT the ability to support the needs of the business more quickly and effectively, he adds.
Tribune Media will continue to look for ways to expand software-defined capabilities even further, so it can increase automation and bring costs down even more.
It's important to note that software-defined everything is still in the relatively early stages of development. Gartner has stated that the software-defined data center "is crucial to the long-term evolution of an agile digital business," but it's currently not the right choice for all IT organizations.
IT leaders need to understand the business case, best use cases and risks of SDDC, the research firm advises. It recommends that organizations take a realistic view of the risks and benefits, and make plans to mitigate the top risks of a potential SDDC project failure. That includes assessing skills and culture, knowing the right time to move to software-defined everything, and avoiding vendor lock-in.
The key implementation challenges of software-defined everything include the lack of overall IT maturity, a shortage of essential skills, difficulty selling the software-defined concept to business leaders, and an aversion to being among the first to adopt new technologies, Gartner's Coyle reports.
The coming year will see further maturity of software-defined everything, he predicts. These will include better and more vendor-agnostic application programming interfaces (APIs) between hardware and software, stronger automation of manual tasks, and a greater willingness for IT organizations and service providers to adopt software-defined technologies.
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