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The Automated Software Defined Data Center

by on February 17, 2014

I’m fresh back from VMware’s Partner Exchange in San Francisco where they continued to flesh out their plan for the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC).

And yes, they’re doing the same thing they do every night. They’re taking over the world.

The vision is a good one. Now that we’ve virtualized compute, why can’t we virtualize everything else? And if everything’s virtualized, can’t we code against that abstraction layer and automate everything? How cool would that be?

It is cool. As we know though, cool is not always a priority. Money and time are priorities. Here are some of my thoughts regarding SDDC, money, and time.

Compute virtualization saved a ton of money. Less physical servers cost less money. Eventually we were able to automate server provisioning, which saves us even more time and money on a per-server basis.

As we step into SDDC, we’ll virtualize networks and storage.

The bad news is, as we virtualize networks and storage, we won’t free up a bunch of physical assets. But the automation savings could be substantial.

So, here’s my takeaway on SDDC. These are great tools, but don’t focus on them. Focus on automation. Look at your IT provisioning and maintenance tasks and start automating them today. Start an automation initiative. No, scratch that, start an automation jihad. Identify key processes and create automation deadlines and goals.

Do you have standard builds? How is your server build process reflected in networking and storage requirements? Is your server build process automated? How is the provisioning process reflected in your service catalog?

As you get all of this together, the benefits from SDDC will fall into place. Buying into SDDC without an automation focus is like renting a villa in the south of France without taking off from work that week. It’s beautiful, but you’re not going to appreciate it much sitting in a cubicle manually building servers.

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