A software-defined data center (SDDC) is a type of data storage solution that uses virtualization concepts. By automating and pooling resources, software-defined data centers are deployed as resource-efficient solutions for IT services and access.
Virtualization in software-defined data centers combines the elements of infrastructure, from networking and storage to security and CPU, into a unified storage entity.
For more information on the global software-defined data center market, see below:
Software Defined Data Center Market
The global software-defined data center market was estimated to be $49.1 billion in 2020. It is expected to maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.5% over the analysis period from 2020 to 2027, by the end of which it is expected to reach $215.9 billion.
Regionally, the software-defined data center market is segmented as follows:
- The US market was estimated to be $14.7 billion in 2020, with a 29.9% share
- The Chinese market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 23%, reaching $37.5 billion by 2027
- Japan and Canada are expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.1% and 20% over the forecast period
- Within Europe, Germany is expected to maintain one of the highest CAGRs at 16.4%
- The Asia-Pacific segment, led by Australia, South Korea and India, is expected to reach $25.3 billion by 2027
Demand in the software-defined data center market is driven by different sectors by industry:
- Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI)
- Retail and e-commerce
Software-defined data center features
Software-defined data center architectures are divided into three primary layers: the physical layer, the virtual layer, and the management layer.
The physical layer houses the hardware components of the data center. It includes the storage devices, servers and physical network aspects.
The virtual layer is where the digital foundation for the data center is built. It houses virtual machines (VMs), in addition to the software-defined storage and the software-defined network.
The management layer controls the previous two layers through automation and resource orchestration.
The software-defined components of the data center include:
This is the abstraction and virtualization process of the data center resources, from the operating systems and CPUs to memory storage and management software. Hypervisors are used to bundle resources and set up VMs as needed.
Network virtualization allows administrators to operate VMs without worrying about the underlying hardware infrastructure. It works independently and combines all necessary telecom, routing, DNS, firewall and administrative work.
Virtualization combines storage resources, allowing them to dynamically operate in the data center and allocate resources where they are needed.
Management, automation and orchestration software
Software-defined data centers require specialized management, automation, and orchestration software to make all parts function together. This component reduces the need for direct intervention from IT personnel and allows remote access to the system.
Cybersecurity in SDDCs
Data security plays an important role in determining the design and architecture of a company’s digital infrastructure. The transition to software-defined data centers, particularly through on-premises and private cloud solutions, is driven in part by the importance of cybersecurity.
Virtualization service providers used to facilitate software-defined data centers are introducing specialized security and efficiency tools and services for cloud customization. This made the shift to software-defined data centers the preferred choice for more businesses.
“In an SDDC, core data center components—networking, compute, storage, and security—are consolidated, virtualized, and delivered as-a-service,” says Craig McDonaldVP of product strategy for systems, SolarWinds.
Advantages of software-defined data center
Software-defined data center solutions, whether built in-house via a private cloud or purchased as a digital service from a third-party provider, offer many benefits to users, such as:
- Improve business agility
- Increase storage scalability
- Increase cost efficiency
- Simplifying storage center management
- Reducing dependence on manual IT labor
“The future of the lights-out data center, believe it or not, actually looks bright. Virtualization and a software-defined data center are already implemented by many data centers. … This allows the system to take full advantage of the server power. And finally, storage virtualization groups multiple physical repositories into a single device, making it easier to manage,” said Michael Isberto, blog director of Colocation America.
“Software-defined data centers make it easy to automate data center systems. Automated lights-out data centers are closer than ever before.”
Software-defined data center usage scenarios
Following are some examples highlighting the use of SDDC technology with the help of various carriers:
Japan Airlines is a domestic and international passenger and cargo airline. It is headquartered in Tokyo and operates through five consolidated subsidiaries and affiliates.
Japan Airlines, along with its information and communication technology (ICT) partner, JAL INFOTEC, was on a mission to become the world’s most preferred travel company. To achieve that status, they had to upgrade their legacy IT infrastructure.
They partnered with IBM to integrate cloud systems with the same virtualization architectures. The companies also had IBM deploy a software-defined data center on the IBM Cloud that connects to their on-premises solution.
“Embracing the concept of a hybrid cloud infrastructure that evolves every six months is the key achievement for realizing the digital transformation of the entire JAL Group,” says Masahiko Obataproject manager hybrid cloud infrastructure, JAL INFOTEC.
“Engineers have largely reduced their time spent on user meetings and typical operations and concentrated on their primary work, such as design and development.”
Working with IBM, the two companies were able to build a hybrid cloud environment that grows with their business and allows them to switch between their cloud and on-premises storage and systems.
Raiffeisen Computer Science
Raiffeisen Informatik is an IT service and management company working mainly with the financial and insurance sector and is based in Vienna, Austria.
Raiffeisen Informatik wanted to improve the agility of data management through automation and knew the best answer was a software-defined data center solution at scale.
Raiffeisen worked with Juniper Networks and used Juniper Apstra to change network design and rely more on automation. This allowed Raiffeisen to make up for the shortage of IT talent.
“The main driver for network automation was people. There are fewer and fewer experienced network engineers and the obvious way to reduce scarcity is to use as much automation as possible.” says Ernest AltbartIT architect, Raiffeisen Informatik.
“With Juniper Apstra, we can automate every aspect of the design, implementation and operation of our data center fabric, enabling even smaller IT teams to better address customer needs.”
With Juniper, Raiffeisen was able to continuously upgrade and optimize its data center infrastructure and apply automation to many of its primary processes.
The Institute of Molecular Biotechnology
The Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) is one of Europe’s leading research institutions with a huge volume of research. Based in Vienna, Austria, it consists of 14 research groups and more than 200 employees who regularly need reliable access to the IT infrastructure.
To meet the growing volume and complexity of research, IMBA needed a more efficient approach to scale its infrastructure.
Working with Red Hat, IMBA was able to create a software-defined data center solution that is flexible and scalable without the need for additional staff. It used it to streamline and simplify its IT operations and optimize its digital footprint.
“Using Red Hat OpenStack Platform would also give us a comprehensive support chain, with Red Hat and the other data center service providers providing validated designs for integrations between their technologies,” says Petar Foraideputy head of IT, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology.
“We used to struggle to provide certain environments for big data analytics. With OpenStack, that is no longer an issue.”
As a result of the shift to a software-defined data center, IMBA was able to install custom HPC (High Performance Computing) environments, improve computing performance and simplify database management.
Software-defined data center providers
Some of the leading providers of software-defined data center solutions in the global market are:
- Dell Technologies EMC
- NEC Corporation
- Juniper Networks