The software-defined data center arrives

This year, there will be significant growth in the adoption of modern data center technologies, as suggested by Intel’s research. Survey respondents indicated that midsize companies and enterprises alike are preparing to upgrade their data centers. They will be giving their in-house infrastructure the feel of a public cloud using software-defined technologies in networking, storage, and virtualization.

A survey of more than 500 executives showed that several executives who have been waiting to virtualize their infrastructures are now planning to do so. About 70 percent of respondents said they would use more software-defined data center (SDDC) technologies this year, and 60 percent of them expect it to take less time to get the systems up and running.

The expected benefits include:

  • Cost reduction
  • Flexibility
  • Agility
  • Consistent management controls
  • Automation

The technologies offer IT departments a strategy to meet the relentless pace of change in competitive environments.

Where is the investment going?

The SDDC comprises various related technologies. Survey respondents saw upcoming investment in those components breaking down into:

  • More storage virtualization (55 percent of respondents)
  • Increased use of network virtualization (50 percent)
  • Hyper-converged infrastructures (40 percent)

There is also more investment to be made in the public cloud. Half of those surveyed expected to increase their spending on the public cloud, and 40 percent anticipated more data traveling between public and private clouds in their hybrid infrastructure.

What’s the hold up?

Security concerns are keeping the pace of innovation down, according to about two-thirds of respondents. Adopting software-defined and cloud technologies will mean more security problems and data breaches, according to 55 percent survey respondents. About 70 percent of respondents believe they will either have the same or more issues with internal compliance and auditing.

Part of the problem might be due to perceptions rather than reality. Slightly more than half of the respondents admitted their concerns weren’t based on experience.

This perception might be changing. About 70 percent of respondents also said they believed security would be less of an obstacle for SDDC adoption in 2016 (the survey also found that fears were less of an issue the further a respondent was from the C-level).

Is automation the answer?
Respondents overwhelmingly felt that improving automation would allay their security concerns. Automation tools that can reduce manual processing but ensure the highest standards of security were key to 90 percent of respondents.

There is widespread agreement that policy-based automation is the only way to manage and secure enormous numbers of workloads and virtual devices constantly spinning up, spinning down, and moving across hosts, network segments, and public and private clouds.

With the number of organizations planning to adopt these technologies, we’ll see a lot more automation over the next 12 months.