Why the Software-Defined Data Center is Here to Stay
Software-defined solutions - for networking, storage and entire data centers - have become much more prominent over the last decade, as the essential technology underpinning them (virtualization) has gone from the fringes to the forefront of IT. Enterprise vendors such as VMware as well as cloud giants like Google, Amazon and Microsoft pioneered the concept of separating various IT components from the actual hardware that supports them.
The SDDC: Virtualization at a massive scale
Think of virtualization as a form of emulation: You are getting the same basic experience from the software interface you're accessing, but through a different set of hardware than it was originally intended for. Virtualizing a server or network, so that it runs on a commodity piece of equipment instead of a dedicated purpose-built device such as a proprietary switch, is analogous to emulating a video game from the 1980s or 1990s on a modern PC.
The software-defined data center is virtualization writ large:
All its important infrastructures are virtualized, from its storage arrays and security appliances, to its CPUs and IP networks.
These assets are in turn delivered as-a-service, meaning that users only pay for what they need and can get it on-demand.
Automation is the magic ingredient in the SDDC, as it drives the orchestration and adaptation that allows critical infrastructures to respond to changing technical and business requirements.
At the same time, it is important to note that SDDCs are still in the early stages and are more conceptual. X86 virtualization itself - the centerpiece of the software-defined movement - is barely more than a decade old, and the term SDDC was only coined in 2012. However, many major vendors and projects, from Amazon (via the increasingly sophisticated Amazon Web Services) to the Open Compute Project (the Facebook-led initiative for creating open source data center hardware), have contributed to the SDDC push, giving it substantial momentum.
How should IT professionals prepare for the SDDC?
There are a lot of moving parts within an SDDC. To adequately understand and manage these facilities, IT professionals will need a strong background in virtualization technologies (e.g., VMware vCloud Suite for running a private cloud on SDDC architectures) as well as in cloud computing platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Linux solutions like Red Hat and long-time enterprise staples such as Windows Server.
"The SDDC market is poised for dramatic expansion in the upcoming years."
It is a good idea to build these skills early, since the SDDC market is poised for dramatic expansion in the upcoming years. A MarketsandMarkets report has estimated that the SDDC sector was worth $25.61 billion in 2016 but would grow to more than $83 billion by 2021.
You can jump-start your career as an SDDC expert at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, where you can take a broad range of courses covering all the major building blocks of the SDDC. Find a location near you today to begin planning your next steps.