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The pros and cons of software-defined data centers (SDDCs)

December 07, 2020

The pros and cons of software-defined data centers (SDDCs)
What is a software-defined data center (SDDC)? Simply put, it’s the next logical step beyond server virtualization—and a cost-effective way for businesses to increase IT agility while also providing a simple, centralized way to manage data center infrastructure. Combining virtual computing, storage and network solutions, SDDC delivers a software interface that coordinates and manages all three components. It also creates a way to minimize resource delivery times via policy-driven automation. Why should you or your customers care about SDDC? Let’s look at some of the benefits (and challenges) associated with SDDC implementation.
 
SDDC benefits
The first benefit associated with any cloud resource is agility, and data centers are no exception. Typically, adding new physical data center resources could take weeks, but an SDDC strategy can significantly reduce that provisioning time. Think about it: the need to add more storage capacity to servers, update network infrastructure and add new servers becomes obsolete with network, storage and server virtualization. And when combined with policy-driven automation, new SDDC resources can be deployed in just minutes. Overall data center infrastructure performance can be improved thanks to the ability to optimize networking, storage and computing for each app and workload—all via software. Another benefit is reduced cost, thanks to the SDDC’s ability to pool resources—improving overall efficiency while eliminating the need to purchase new data center hardware.
 
SDDC challenges
Implementing a software-defined data center is not without its hurdles. One of the first challenges companies face when they first invest in SDDC is agreeing on standardization. A siloed IT infrastructure can make this difficult as getting teams and departments to align to a new way of doing things certainly requires an adjustment period. Another thing to consider is downtime when transitioning to a new SDDC. One way to minimize service outages in apps and other services is to use a phased rollout. Workflows may also need to be updated and data center managers should allocate time to familiarize themselves with the new tools at their disposal once the SDDC is operational.
 
Which SDDC provider should you recommend to your data center customers? That depends on the customer and which service provider’s experience and expertise best aligns with their needs. It’s important that the tools and software are somewhat familiar so customers don’t have to spend too much time understanding how to use a new SDDC management interface. Experienced providers can also help customers implement a hybrid solution, allowing them to begin using their SDDC infrastructure right away as they transition away from their legacy hardware. A well-rounded SDDC solution provider should offer a range of options, including managed and unmanaged plans, so customers can decide their level of involvement in the overall management of their new infrastructure.
 
If you have questions about software-defined data centers, server virtualization or network storage, contact the experts at Ingram Micro.

 

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