Software Defined Data Centres and the blending of cultures

Published On 2013/07/23 | By Kurt Bales | Rant

As some of you may know, I have spent a fair amount of my time in the last few years designing and improving multi-tennant hosting environments. Each revision attempts to learn from the mistakes of the previous iterations, as well as bundle in new features and “advancements” from each of the different vendors in the stack.

New offerings on the storage fronts, developments in the server space in the form of the boom of virtualisation, and the simple existence of the network amongst the fact that none of these technologies changed the existing/fundamental laws of networking.

Software-Defined Networking has sprung up as a way of providing both advancements in our current architectures and providing agility in changes needed in the future, but what is truly needed is a true abstraction of the entire data centre model that encompassed all of compute, storage, security and networking. The ability to define all of the requirements of your existing data centre and have them deployed and rolled out across which ever stack you are using (Private / Public / Hybrid / Tomorrows Favourite buzz.), in a consistent and definable manner.

Merging the requirements of each of the existing silos and describing them in a uniform, consistent and repeatable manner is a great step towards blending the cultures of these teams and beginning to solve real problems instead drawing lines in the sand. Continue creating more awesome!

Platform as a Service offerings are already delivering on a model of consistent application delivery (assuming your code fits within certain criteria), but PaaS is not always appropriate for every situation. I have several large “end customers”  who do not have staging or lab environments that appropriately mirror their production environment because the current glue is far to complicated to recreate. If the entire infrastructure was abstracted to the point that they could roll out a complete mirror at the click of a button this would be a no-brainer.

Thankfully, there are many smart people thinking about just these problems, and what it means to the industry. Tom Hollingsworth wrote these words over at Network Computing discussing some of these initiatives, and the guys from GestaltIT / Tech Field Day have joined with the team from SDNCentral to bring together the Software Defined Data Center Symposium in September. It’s still early on in the buzz around SDDC but, like Cloud and SDN before it, over the next 12 months I expect we will hear far more about this as a topic and a trend.

For those of you not local to the Bay Area, the event is also going to be streamed live. For me this means tuning in from 1am Sydney time, but I plan on being online for the entire event. I had the good fortune to be present for the Software Defined Networking Symposium back in 2011, and I learnt an amazing amount from the event, and I expect the SDDC Symposium to be just as informative.

Registrations have now opened, and tickets can be booked and event details can be found at

It truly is an exciting time to be in this industry!

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About The Author

Kurt is a Network Engineer based out of Sydney Australia. He a the Senior Network Engineer at ICT Networks where he spends his time building Service Provider networks, and enterprise WAN environments. He holds his CCNP and JNCIE-ENT, and currently studying for his JNCIE-SP and CCIE R&S. Find out more about Kurt at and you can follow him on Twitter.