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There are sure to be plenty of new technologies and products debuting at next week’s VMWorld conference in San Francisco. But one technology trend that attendees should expect to hear quite a bit of is Software Defined Data Centers.

I can hear the complaints already. Wait Jim, what’s this thing? Is it like Software Defined Networking? I’m just kinda of starting to figure that out and now there’s something new?

Sorry to say it but, yes, it is something new that you’ll need to figure out for your organization’s technology needs and, while it has some elements of SDN, it is also in many ways quite different.

Basically, Software Defined Data Centers (or SDCC) are created by taking all of the new networking and data center technologies of the last several years and combining them to create a new dynamic and flexible data center architecture. So server virtualization, storage virtualization, public private and hybrid cloud and SDN are all mixed together to form a new type of data center.

So in an SDCC, everything is programmable, dynamic, software-based and on-demand. Whatever is needed for a data center can be created on the fly, provisioned on an as needed basis and used wherever and whenever. From servers to storage to the networks they run on, everything becomes software that can be flexibly deployed.

If you’ve read my past work, you’ll know that I’m pretty bullish when it comes to Software Defined Networking. But while I also see a lot of potential for SDCC, businesses need to be aware of the many ways that these will be positioned and potentially limited by vendors.

There’s a lot of leeway for vendors to say that they have an SDCC offering that really only handles a couple of the elements. More concerning, there is quite a bit of potential to create locked infrastructures that only provide SDCC capabilities when a customer uses products from a single vendor.

That would be a major problem as, like SDN, the greatest benefits of SDCC will be found in fully open and fully flexible deployments.

So enjoy VMWorld in San Francisco next week. And get ready for your data center’s software defined future.

For more on SDN, read and download SDN: Do Believe the Hype and for more IT trends and research, explore Aberdeen’s Information Technology page.

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