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By David Angradi, Director, Software Defined Data Center Solutions, Logicalis US

Many CIOs reluctantly admit their line-of-business colleagues sometime have good reason to procure technology services outside the watchful eye of the IT department. In the absence of a more centralized, easy-to-control pool of IT resources, CIO hands have been tied by the limitations of traditional hardware-based data centers.

The way to reverse this trend is by building a software-defined data center (SDDC) where the network, compute and storage components are all virtualized and controllable from a unified interface. By creating a management layer spanning all data center resources, IT can quickly and easily deploy services in response to rapidly-changing business needs.

One of the chief reasons CIOs resist moving to an SDDC is the concern they will have to rebuild their data centers. But you don’t have to rip and replace. You can re-use most, if not all, of your existing IT investments.

In short, you’re closer to building an SDDC than you think. To help get you there, here’s a six-step process to guide you along the way:

  1. Start with a Plan: An SDDC is not just about planning the physical assets. There are also people and process components to consider. To succeed, the organization has to be ready, and everyone must be on board.
  2. Virtualize Where Possible: Create virtualized containers on top of all computing devices by creating a software layer separate from the physical hardware. IT can then build, configure, change and decommission hardware from one management interface. Dynamic swaps of space and configurations can also be done on-the-fly.
  1. Buy the Right Fuel: Compute capacity is the fuel that runs the data center and comes in different varieties—public cloud, on-premise private cloud, or a hybrid combination. Buy the capacity that most cost effectively fuels the SDDC engine.
  2. Orchestrate and Automate: Repetitive IT processes can be orchestrated and automated to free IT staff from mundane processes. Moving what’s inside their heads into software allows the team to focus on innovation.
  3. Create a Service Catalog: A catalog of technology services allows people to simply place orders for services and be charged for them internally. Providing technology as a service also enables IT to illustrate its value in a clear, meaningful way.
  1. Consider Disaster Recovery: When everything is virtual, disaster recovery becomes markedly easier. Since the data center operates from software, if hardware goes down, just replace the hardware and copy over the software.

Following these steps and moving towards an SDDC is critical. CIOs who don’t take this seriously won’t exist in the next 10 years—they will simply be too slow to keep up with the demands of their business.

To learn more about software-defined data centers, download our SDDC Whitepaper, “IT by Wire: Delivering IT at the speed of business.”

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