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Why Every Size IT Team Should Strive to Implement a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC)

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are working toward digital transformation (DX) to stay relevant and competitive in a fast-moving and increasingly digital world. This results in thinking through existing application workloads and new applications that might be required for DX. The software-defined data center provides new levels of network automation to accelerate IT transformation.

Figure 1: IDC’s “DX Reinvention — The Race to the Future Enterprise,” Doc #DR2019_GS4_MW, March 2019

Public vs. Private Cloud

On this DX journey, the allure of the hyperscale public cloud is undeniable: spin up workloads quickly, easily spin them down (if you remember), and scale nearly infinitely. This has driven more and more businesses to use public hyperscalers for development and testing, as well as production workloads, either sponsored by IT or as shadow IT projects directly out of business units.

That said, many IT teams have now built experience and an understanding of which type of workloads make sense in the public cloud and which do not, based on criteria such as cost, performance, security, data privacy, and more.

As a result, while many businesses continue to move workloads to hyperscalers, they are also making decisions to keep specific workloads on-premises (on-prem) or in colocation (colo) facilities running on end-user-owned data center infrastructure, or alternatively, moving to private hosted clouds run by managed service providers (MSPs) and cloud service providers (CSPs).

So, while the growth of hyperscale public cloud continues, on-prem and especially colo data center infrastructure owned by end-users as well as hosted private cloud are both growing and here to stay as part of a multi-cloud world.

Figure 2: IDC’s “Cloud Repatriation Accelerates in a Multicloud World,” Doc #US44185818, August 2018

This is clearly seen in Figure 2, where most workloads will be in private cloud environments in the ‘ideal’ state.

Software-Defined Data Center

To support DX initiatives, end-user business owners of data center infrastructure, need to ensure that their on-prem or colo data center infrastructure can provide a cost-effective, high-performance, and highly automated software-defined data center (SDDC) foundation to support the private cloud.

Software-defined data centers generally consist of software-defined networking (SDN) of the physical network (underlay) along with virtualized network (overlay), compute, and storage, all coordinated by a higher-level orchestrator such as vCenter, OpenStack, or Kubernetes.

Compute and storage virtualization, and now containerization, have made leaps and bounds over the last decade. Yet software-defining and virtualizing the data center network has continued to be extremely complicated and expensive – putting SDDC and private cloud out of reach for lean IT teams operating small and medium single-site or multi-site data centers.

This is unfortunate because DX is critical, and businesses that have automated their data center networks with SDN have seen clear economic benefits, as highlighted in the Enterprise Strategy Group’s survey results displayed in Figure 3. Where SDN users are 3.7 times more likely to be significantly ahead of their competitors in time to market (49% versus 13%).

Figure 3: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2018

Pluribus Networks – Putting Software-Defined Data Center and Private Cloud Within Reach

Along with our partner Pluribus Networks, we believe there is an approach based on open networking and open source principles for businesses of all sizes to achieve SDN, network virtualization, and network analytics cost-effectively – putting SDDC and private cloud within reach of every IT team, even for small data centers and lightly staffed IT teams.

Breaking through the barrier of automating the network is the critical hurdle to supporting SDDC and the private cloud.

Look out for our next blog, where we will cover some of the key questions that IT teams should ask, as well as how open networking plays a critical role in helping these teams achieve SDDC for any size single-site or multi-site data center.

If you would like more detail on how Pluribus helps put Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) and private cloud within reach for every IT team, please contact us at

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