Software-defined infrastructure is the buzz these days gaining a lot of importance. With software-defined infrastructure companies can be more agile and proficient. Nonetheless, a complete re-engineering of IT procedures is required to gain agility and efficiency.
The adoption of software-defined data centres is also increasing as it offers rapid delivery of services and cloud-like services to organisations. Another objective of organisations is to save money which can be achieved by delivering IT services in a restructured and coordinated method. Components and services of infrastructure are fully automated, triggered by business policies, amalgamated and centrally managed for performance.
A software-defined data centre can trace demand and responds automatically within no time by scaling up suitable resources. Software-defined solutions for considerations associated with computers; networking and storage predict results like 55% Opex savings and 75% Capex savings. Software-defined data centre’s technology help in eliminating traditional data centre silos and has a concrete server virtualisation infrastructure which has matured and improved in several medium and large companies.
Nothing can be achieved if anything simply has been deployed. Some of the other support is required to gain full fledge results. Similarly, Software-defined Data centres require some robust re-engineering of IT processes to achieve cost savings, business agility and productivity gains. Let’s have a look at five strategies which will help in reaping benefits of successful deployment of software-defined data centres.
One of the biggest hurdles in deploying software-defined data centres is lethargy. Many people have a wrong assumption that organisations should transform complete data operations simultaneously. This is not at all necessary.
Rather, begin software-defined data centres with one, a small project which is related to low profile activity or service addressing one aspect of software-defined data centre environment that is computed, storage and networking.
Shifting storage capability which is inclusive of a database service is a seamless project to start with. To move VM’s vigorously without causing any disruptions can be achieved by using certain technology like VMware Live Migration. With this, the organisation can absorb Software-defined data centres and reap measurable benefits.
On the other hand, targeting e-commerce websites for the first experiment into a software-defined data centre can be risky. Multiple application services is a must for such projects like shipping, inventory, order management etc. and therefore there should be solutions which enables seamless working of computes, networking and software-defined cloud storage.
If any delay or failure is detected in new infrastructure which has high chances when something new is being implemented then this result is quite noticeable to senior management. Such top management people don’t like systems to go down especially those which are revenue generating. Initiating with something small, a non-mission critical project will enable decision makers in the IT to learn rapidly and can help in refining the processes for the subsequent project and can easily build a software-defined data centre expertise without any risk.
While deploying a software-defined data centre, the IT team should possess resources that are capable enough to understand systems orchestration and automation. Such skills are found in individuals who have worked closely with business, with some external service providers or ones who have experienced cross-departmental roles.
It is very important that software-defined data centre technologies are extremely vendor specific. If you are choosing Cisco solution, then you will be in need of people who have expertise in Cisco networking. It will be very easy and less risky if you have skills in-house as per your chosen platform rather than having another set of resources or retrofitting people to unfamiliar technology. Even if you have an excellent team with high capabilities and skills, software-defined data centres require spending money on training and development, support etc.
An intelligent IT leader will never replace vendor relationships and all systems just to deploy software-defined data centre capabilities. IT should consider business priorities for vendors which are based on purchasing power and long-term contracts and then accordingly align software-defined data centres purchases. Evaluation of hardware’s end of life status is also very necessary. If an organisation wishes to deploy Cisco software-defined data centre although has networking infrastructure of HP which is just two years old, choosing HP makes better sense.
Silos are already on the verge of a software-defined data centre. In this world of technology, it is very difficult to run IT with separate groups of networking, storage, applications and server. For a software-defined data centre, the technology barrier is maintaining silos. With a software-defined data centre, data must run spontaneously and a high level of coordination is required. Software-defined data centres offer more significant information from all the constituents which are then distributed across IT for better management and decision making.
With time roles also change. If a software-defined compute product is deployed like VMware, it will affect the network or storage group. Such organisations will have to deliver virtualised infrastructure based services as well as on standards which are optimised for a software-defined data centre. Moreover, it is important to initiate change and collaborate in new ways.
Monitoring performance as a task is done in manual and automated ways since years. However, then also such metrics don’t give much value to the business. Don’t use a lot of metrics. Overloading of metrics will cause a lot of confusion and no concrete conclusion can be derived. Select some few metrics which will help in deriving clear and measurable conclusions which will define success for the new infrastructure so deployed.
Metrics sometimes vary from project to project. Metrics should be chosen that have the ability to demonstrate how much more efficient, effective one can be in assisting users in new software-defined data centre oriented location. Common metric are the speed of deployment, agility, the capability to shift storage possessions with zero downtime, ease of use, user satisfaction, and total costs incurred.
Many conversations and debates have occurred whether the software-defined data centre is a methodology or technology. Truly speaking, it is a combination of both. A new alignment for delivering and managing IT is a prerequisite for software-defined data centre which is based on collaboration, business prioritisation and speed.
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