Software defined data center, defined

A brief explanation of what a software defined data center means, and what it means to IT.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

In less than two minutes' time, Chris Coggrave, HP chief technologist and strategist for data center consulting, provides an excellent insight into this thing called software defined data center. Before he cuts into a commercial for his employer toward the end, he provides this insightful overview:

"Software defined data center is where all the IT infrastructure – that's the network, server, storage – is virtualized and offered as a service. Control of the data center is totally automated. What it really means is that all the complexity in configuring and changing all the individual elements is abstracted to a single control level where you can make those changes with the single press of a button. "

Coggrave adds that it's important to look behind the IT infrastructure, at facilities, service delivery models, and the organization itself. A software-defined data center will only work when these elements work in a cohesive manner.

"Software defined X" is one of those new buzzphrases that many IT leaders haven't quite accepted as of yet. It remains to be seen whether the term is still around four or five years from now. But the vision it suggests -- control of a range of IT resources right from a single screen -- while utopian, is compelling. The idea of running everything on software may move business agility to a whole new level.

At the same time, it likely represents what will be achieved with systems and applications available from this point on, while the voluminous patchworks of legacy systems can only be brought into this new world gradually.

(Thumbnail photo: Joe McKendrick.)

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