Software Defined Networking promises to disrupt nearly every aspect of networking: Software Defined WAN, Software Defined WiFi, Software Defined Fabric, and on and on. Radical changes in CAPEX and OPEX models have garnered the interest of CIO’s while coaxing geeks into dreams of replacing archaic IOS commands with the beauty and simplicity of Ruby. With the exuberance building around SDN it is important that we also consider for the much broader challenges facing enterprise IT departments.
The big networking vendors have done a wonderful job over the last twenty five years in creating Software Defined Networks. This is evidenced by their considerable market share and thousands of IT professionals who have mastered the art of programming IOS and earned the coveted designation of CCIE. Substituting a RESTful API for IOS CLI isn’t going to magically unlock CAPEX/OPEX. The programming talent pool takes one big step to the left, but the problem remains the same – some person still needs to be trained and then employed to program alone in the network silo.
At the other end of the spectrum, IT departments now face the considerable challenge unleashed by the outsourcing of everything – Bring Your Own IT (BYOIT), if you will. A decade ago enterprises outsourced operations, next went the help desk, and more recently mobile devices. With each outsourcing wave, individuals have been empowered to focus on core job responsibilities and provide for their own IT needs. This trend is reaching a crescendo in that anyone with corporate credit card is now able to procure nearly any type of IT service:
- Customer satisfaction survey? No problem, $50 on SurveyMonkey.
- Roadmap feedback? No problem, $50 on UserVoice.
- Shared storage? No problem, $50 on Dropbox.
- Intellectual property leakage? Huge problem.
Enterprise IT must evolve or face extinction as enterprise users abandon IT for BYOIT. This evolution must enable enterprise users to provision applications on demand and within the safe confines of an enterprise owned private cloud. Delivering applications on demand will require far more than SDN alone is able to offer. What is needed is a Software Defined Data Center (SDDC).
The Software Defined Data Center will replace service desk requests with self-service portals, processes with automation, and programming with management. The piecemeal approach of “software defining” networking, storage, security, compute, and application is replaced with a tightly integrated management suite that delivers applications on demand and does so without IT intervention. An entrepreneurial IT department might even be inclined to accept credit cards.
This all may sound a bit farfetched, but the reality is much closer than you might expect. The portfolio of VMware vSphere, vShield, vCloud, vFabric, and Horizon enable your SDDC journey to begin today.
Time to get started.