“We need another IT term, right?”
So says Tom Bittman, research analyst, Gartner, who believes the problem with terms like ‘Software-Defined Data Centre’ focus on a very limited ‘how’ and not the ‘why.’
“And far too many of the infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams that I talk to use SDDC to describe how they are modernising their own data centre - and in a very architecturally-specific way,” Bittman adds.
“Or, they are talking about turning their entire infrastructure into a ‘private cloud.’ Sorry, that’s missing the mark, by a long shot.”
The problem is, according to Bittman, many/most of the services that the enterprise needs don’t reside on providers that are architecturally consistent - and the requirements might be very, very different.
“A single provider and a single architecture makes little sense,” Bittman adds. “So in the end, my I&O team is building a modern data centre that can only talk to a limited set of other data centres - if any at all.
“And far, far too often, I&O organisations are bemoaning the fact that they can’t keep up with cloud providers, and their enterprise is working around them.
“That’s because you’re being an obstacle, and not a part of the solution.”
Bittman believes enterprises don’t need a more modern data centre.
“I repeat, enterprises don’t need a more modern data centre,” he adds. “They need to to be able to leverage a variety of data centres that support a variety of services, and they need the I&O team to provide support in order to ensure efficient and effective service delivery.”
Consequently, Bittman believes the I&O team cannot be defined by the hardware they own and operate. The I&O team’s responsibilities need to be defined by the data centres and services that the enterprise needs - and not the other way around.
“Most enterprises - especially larger - will never eliminate their need for their own data centres,” Bittman adds. “But that’s not the point. Most enterprises - perhaps almost all - will be leveraging many cloud services.
“So, sorry, our data centre is just delivering a part of what our enterprise needs. We can’t let our hardware define us.
“So I like the term ‘Enterprise-Defined Data Centre’ (EDDC). The enterprise defines what’s needed, not I&O.”
To enable an EDDC, Bittman says the I&O team will leverage technologies to enable a software-defined data centre.
By doing this, Bittman believes they will use technologies to support aggregation, customisation, integration and governance of multiple cloud providers, they will build private clouds for specific services (that will become hybrid and possibly migrate to other providers over time), they will essentially take responsibility for all enterprise services, regardless of the specific provider or data centre or architectures being used. Because the enterprise doesn’t and shouldn’t care about those details.
“The core competency of I&O must change from being very good providers, to being very good brokers/managers/intermediaries,” he adds.
“There’s really no future in hardware-hugging. Very few enterprises can afford to be loyal to just their own data centres. Let the enterprise define their requirements.”