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

Most IT organizations today have been using at least some of the tools and processes involved in implementing the software-defined data center (SDDC) for years. Virtualization of servers, storage, applications and networking, as well as automation and orchestration initiatives are ongoing at different stages everywhere.

SDDC, however, is more than the sum of its parts. You can use the individual capabilities of SDDC to enhance the performance of a conventional technology-defined data center. The real potential of SDDC is in the integration and management of all the capabilities together to make an evolutionary leap from the technology-defined data center of yesterday to the service-defined enterprise (SDE) of tomorrow that aligns business and technology objectives in a shared vision. The fact is, you can’t reach SDE without SDDC.

Click on a Service

The world we live in today has changed dramatically in regards to how users consume IT services. Mobile computing and the consumerization of IT has caused the expectations of the typical user to far exceed the capabilities of the technology-driven data center. When users can go on a website, click on a service or application, and have it up and running on their device of choice within minutes, they are not going to be willing to wait around for months while an internal IT department sets up an infrastructure and installs a monolithic application to accomplish the same thing. Shadow IT has exploited this discrepancy in service delivery to lure business users away from internal IT departments.

The only way internal IT departments can deliver the applications and services that users want, in the timeframe they have come to expect, is to use all the capabilities of SDDC to bridge the gap that exists today between a technology-defined data center and a service-defined enterprise.

Regardless of where you are on your transformation journey to SDE, these three steps will move you forward:

  1. Virtualize as much as you can. The more you virtualize, the better off you are.
  2. Develop a plan, including an organizational structure, that focuses IT on business services instead of technology. To be successful, your plan has to be driven from the top down.
  3. Use automation and orchestration to eliminate manual steps for managing and delivering IT services. Start out in small steps and build acceptance through a series of quick wins that clearly make your employees’ jobs easier.

Pulling Together

The biggest cause of failure for SDDC initiatives is organizational: Using SDDC to transform to SDE requires changing the way people are doing their jobs. If they don’t have a shared vision of what’s in it for them, they will push back and drag their heels. Putting business and technology leaders under the same reporting structure is a good way to get them pulling together in the same direction.

The bad news is there is no going back. The technology-driven data center model is broken. It can no longer deliver applications and services at the rate that businesses require.

Exhilarating ROI

The good news is that most companies are further along the road to SDDC than they realize and the benefits of implementing SDDC can be downright exhilarating.

A SaaS provider client of ours, for example, was taking two weeks to provision service for a new customer. By implementing SDDC in their environment, we reduced the time it took to provision a customer — and begin generating revenue — from 14 days to less than four hours. That kind of ROI earns a lot of support for SDDC within an organization and boosts your momentum on the journey to become a service-defined enterprise.

Want to learn more? Watch this Logicalis SDDC video with David Angradi, as well as a WatchIT video where he talks about the software-defined data center as a stepping stone to the service-defined enterprise. Another Logicalis video, The Service Defined Experience, describes what consumers of IT want and expect today. You can also browse our overview and list of SDDC benefits — and sign up for a free workshop — at the Logicalis SDDC microsite.