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IT Simplified: Software Defined Data Center (SDDC)

What is an SDDC?

An SDDC is a traditional data center facility where organizational data, applications, networks, and infrastructure are centrally housed and accessed. It is the hub for IT operations and physical infrastructure equipment, including servers, storage devices, network equipment, and security devices.

In contrast, a software-defined data center is an IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) platform that services an organization’s software, infrastructure, or platform needs. An SDDC can be housed on-premise, at an MSP, and in private, public, or hosted clouds. (For our purposes, we will discuss the benefits of hosting an SDDC in the cloud.) Like traditional data centers, SDDCs also host servers, storage devices, network equipment, and security devices.

Here’s where the differences come in.

Unlike traditional data centers, an SDDC uses a virtualized environment to deliver a programmatic approach to the functions of a traditional data center. SDDCs rely heavily on virtualization technologies to abstract, pool, manage, and deploy data center functions. Like server virtualization concepts used for years, SDDCs abstract, pool, and virtualize all data center services and resources in order to:

  1. Reduce IT resource usage
  2. Provide automated deployment and management
  3. Increased flexibility
  4. Business agility

Key SDDC Architectural Components include:

  • Compute virtualization, where virtual machines (VMs)—including their operating systems, CPUs, memory, and software—reside on cloud servers. Compute virtualization allows users to create software implementations of computers that can be spun up or spun down as needed, decreasing provisioning time.
  • Network virtualization, where the network infrastructure servicing your VMs can be provisioned without worrying about the underlying hardware. Network infrastructure needs—telecommunications, firewalls, subnets, routing, administration, DNS, etc.—are configured inside your cloud SDDC on the vendor’s abstracted hardware. No network hardware assembly is required.
  • Storage virtualization, where disk storage is provisioned from the SDDC vendor’s storage pool. You get to choose your storage types, based on your needs and costs. You can quickly add storage to a VM when needed.
  • Management and automation software. SDDCs use management and automation software to keep business critical functions working around the clock, reducing the need for IT manpower. Remote management and automation is delivered via a software platform accessible from any suitable location, via APIs or Web browser access.

What is the difference between SDDC and cloud?

A software-defined data center differs from a private cloud, since a private cloud only has to offer virtual-machine self-service, beneath which it could use traditional provisioning and management. Instead, SDDC concepts imagine a data center that can encompass private, public, and hybrid clouds.

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