The Stack Archive

SDDC: The new business ‘must-have’

Thu 23 Feb 2017

OVH data centre

mehdi-bekkaiMehdi Bekkai, Private Cloud Product Manager at OVH, discusses what the software-defined data centre (SDDC) means for the future of your business…

To increase competitiveness and the ability to innovate, businesses of all sizes need to reduce their IT costs while also working to improve agility, performance, and flexibility. To add to this challenge, the role of the CTO has also changed more in the past decade than any other position in the industry.

Historically, the IT department has only been responsible for managing and running the technology infrastructure and has had little to do with driving the business forward. Today, however, the IT department has to deploy the technologies behind business growth strategies and be the driver for any changes.

To enable this change, many data centre operators are looking at moving to software-defined data centres (SDDCs). In 2015, Gartner stated that by 2020 a vast majority of data centre operators will be running this type of data centre.

It is not so far-fetched to think that the future of the data centre is likely to be an IT facility that will run all layers, compute, network, storage and even security via software.

Escaping legacy restrictions

Legacy IT was built on dedicated, physical hardware, often in the basement or in the corner of the office. If you put aside the CAPEX, server maintenance and upgrade needs, as well as the heat problems and the noise, this offered adequate performance and reliability.

Cloud has made infrastructure setup and maintenance a thing of the past

On the other hand, service delivery was slow and inefficient, and resource optimisation was poor. This is why over the years we have seen the cloud attract every type of business especially due to its scalability, speed, and evolving infrastructures. In addition, the network and hardware restrictions in traditional data centres make the scalability required for storage and compute impossible.

One step in the data centre paradigm has been virtualisation which has allowed IT to create agility in physical servers and at the compute level. SDDC is the second step of this virtualisation journey which creates a much broader spectrum of flexibility, allowing every single element of any IT environment to be virtualised.

Business benefits

There are several clearly defined advantages to deploying SDDCs. Firstly, the cloud has made infrastructure setup and maintenance a thing of the past. Provisioning time is drastically reduced and there is no need to spend days installing and configuring the IT environment.

SDDcs also provide a much greater level of control than traditional data centres. The different silos of the data centre (network, storage and compute) are no longer isolated, as they used to be. Instead, operators have a single point of control, something that used to be a dream.

With more automation, human error is significantly reduced. After all, nobody’s perfect, or “l’erreur est humaine” as we say in French. You can leave the machines to automate the tasks to run your data centre.

Data stores on the market can show their limitations when dealing with massive requests, especially for very large databases. Virtualising storage with solutions like vSAN extends storage and management services across different environments ensuring a consistent experience.

Perhaps the biggest benefit is in network virtualisation, where the beauty of SDDC really lies. In a legacy data centre, a server contained compute resources, storage, I/O, memory and other functions. In an SDDC, these resources are interconnected via the network, so the network is central to them all.

We now have solutions like VMware NSX with which you can configure the rules to access your networks, create your security policy and deploy the different network services (Firewall, Distributed Logical Firewall, VPN, Load balancer, DHCP, Security Groups, SpoofGuard, Data Security, NAT..) that you need to build your infrastructure in just a few minutes.

Make sure you have an overview of your local environment while keeping in mind the interoperability of elements in the cloud

Ensuring compliance

Businesses can now completely outsource all or part of their infrastructure in cloud service provider (CSP) data centres thanks to the different security certifications available. You can even find certifications specific to your business.  These include PCI-DSS, ISO 27001, SOC 1, and SOC 2, but also healthcare certification. CSPs are also making the effort to provide locations closer to their customers so businesses that outsource their services are likely to have their data hosted within their country.

Next steps

CTOs must enable a higher degree of IT agility, while at the same time lowering the cost of running IT environments, improving application performance and having the means to do so. The SDDC has arrived and, by going further in terms of virtualisation, it has a big impact on the way data centres are defined – moving from highly manual processes to fully automated environments.

However, if you want to proceed with SDDC, make sure you have an overview of your local environment while keeping in mind the interoperability of elements in the cloud, whether hybrid or not. This will allow you to facilitate your transition and control your costs. The CFO will thank you for this.


Cloud Data Centre feature software-defined data centre (SDDC) virtualisation
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