Making sense of the software-defined data center

Posted by at 12:22 PM

Software-defined data center (SDDC) is the latest buzzword in our industry. SDDC is the phrase used to refer to a data center in which all infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service. Management of the data center is automated by software — meaning the configuration of hardware is done through upper-level software systems. This allows new services to be turned on or off rapidly and existing services to grow and shrink as needed.

This is very different from traditional data centers in which the infrastructure is typically defined by hardware and devices that might require multiple IT administrators to configure them, which can greatly extend the time to market for these solutions.

There are three core components of the software-defined data center: network virtualization, server virtualization, and storage virtualization. There is also an overlying layer that has to support the business logic of SLAs and application performance demands of the organization.

The software-defined data center is considered by many to be the next step in the evolution of virtualization and cloud computing. What separates the software-defined data center from the cloud is its ability to support legacy enterprise applications as well as new services written with cloud in mind. Continue Reading…

Mobile Device Management: On cloud or on premise, your pivotal decision

Posted by at 10:46 AM

It wasn’t long ago when mobile device management was a pretty simple matter. You outfitted your teams with BlackBerrys, you went with a BES solution, and the world was a wonderful place. Then along came Steve Jobs with the iPhone and changed the game for everybody.

Once the iPhone was released, Android and Windows Phone soon followed, and users started streaming into their organizations with all manner of smartphones (much to the chagrin of IT admins everywhere). And let’s not mention tablets. As any IT leader will tell you, all but the BlackBerry were unmanageable in the early days of the emergence of the mobile enterprise.

That’s the bad news. The good news: Over the past few years the landscape has changed, and dramatically so. The mobile device management (MDM) space has become very competitive, with more than 100 different mobile device management vendors in the game to date. While this certainly provides a great deal of choice for the buyer, it dramatically increases the complexity for IT leaders who have to sift through myriad offerings to find the solution that fits their organization. Continue Reading…

Lessons learned from a year in the SHI Cloud: Keeping it simple and paying attention to the details

Posted by at 10:51 AM

In my last post, I talked about how networking from the bottom up helped us reach success when we built the SHI Cloud. In the second part of our “Lessons Learned” series, I want to stress the importance of simplicity and attention to detail.

Lesson #2: Keep it simple

Customers want the SHI Cloud to provide a secure networking model, world-class virtual infrastructure, and appropriate security controls, all backed by a well-designed operations team with a resilient data center of the highest quality. After that, they want us to get out of the way.

Unfortunately, not all cloud providers do this. Amazon, for instance, has developed their own constructs for cloud computing — their own naming conventions, models, and ways of creating configurations pre-packaged for customers. So application teams, development teams, QA teams, and other functional users of IT infrastructure would have to learn to do things differently if they went with the Amazon cloud.

Customers told us they wanted a cloud that fit with their current processes and operations. The SHI Cloud was built so that customers won’t have to change anything they’re already doing. They have virtual machines running applications or hosting development environments, and they do everything in very specific ways. They’ve invested a lot in their own design, and their own view of computing.

Continue Reading…

How to maintain business continuity with a virtualized infrastructure

Posted by at 10:41 AM

The benefits of virtualization are well known at this point. It’s not like it’s a new technology. It’s been an industry standard for the last five or six years, if not longer. However, we’re still seeing some mid-market customers that are hesitant to jump on the virtualization bandwagon. While many of these organizations don’t have a robust Fortune 50-type infrastructure, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from virtualization.

Those benefits are extensive. For example, the consolidation of an organization’s IT infrastructure, and anytime, anywhere access to its applications.

The main concern frequently expressed in our conversations with customers who are considering a switch to virtualization is in regards to business continuity. IT is being challenged more than ever to assure critical applications are always available to support lines of business.

Continue Reading…

Talking the talk of the IT industry

Posted by at 10:29 AM

This past weekend, I married someone who also works for a global IT company, and I became the happiest man in the world. Please allow me to clarify.

My newly found (and undoubtedly continued) domestic bliss has little to do with my wife’s current occupation. But I’m not going to lie — it is a most excellent perk. That’s because it allows us to hold those “how was your day” conversations almost entirely in the language of the industry.

“How’d it go today?”

“Great! We saw a good response to that Time-Boxed Burst story, and there was some decent buzz around the new releases of CS 6 and SQL in yesterday’s newsletter.” Continue Reading…