You have no doubt heard the hype about Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI). While it has many advantages, it can have an effect on an organisation’s infrastructure, operations, investment and overall IT strategy. We take a close look at how software-defined infrastructure is changing the shape of the way we work across many different industries.
Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) is, as its name suggests, computing infrastructure or hardware which is entirely under the control of software. It requires little to no operator or human intervention, and its goal is to simplify and automate processes.
The software-defined trend started with software-defined networks (SDN) a few years ago, bringing with it a fundamental shift to the way automation was approached. It allowed IT teams to flexibly shape their own network layers, as well as its physical components such as remote controlling switches and other network components. This is all turned into virtualized applications controlled by software.
Software Defined Infrastructure takes a modular approach with an application program interface (API) code running between the modules enabling the application to work. IT teams are able to automatically deploy, manage, monitor and scale traffic to ensure efficiency and business agility.
Automation brings big advantages
SDI deployments are simple, scalable and extensible. Based on application or administrator requirements, software defined networks can be created and modified.
And it has other big advantages ― software-defined infrastructure and applications enable greater flexibility, cost efficiency and resilience than manual provisioning processes would allow.
An enterprise can run software-defined applications in the public cloud, on owned data centre resources or both.
The SDI trend
While interest and spending in SDI is growing, businesses must continue to invest in staff training to avoid a skills gap. Concerns about skill shortages can deter decision-makers from exploring new IT delivery models, such as SDI. They also risk wasting money on infrastructure upgrades unless enterprises are prepared to invest in the skills of their workforce.
SDI trends are driven by industry looking for more sophisticated ways to provide integration across different products, platforms or physical sites. Concurrently, IT professionals are seeking solutions to effectively managing increasingly complex environments.
Challenging legacy IT culture
It’s unlikely that anyone is thinking of changing over to a completely SDI environment overnight. Infrastructure does have an expiration date, but simply replacing physical routers with virtual ones, without updating the rest of your infrastructure, management or operational systems will not suffice either.
Instead, developing software-defined infrastructure within your business which meets the demands for customisation, personalisation, agility, scale, and efficiency, means more than just adding the software-defined components. SDI also depends on improvements in deployment, integration, security, and orchestration between each of the components as well as the supporting hardware platforms.
Like any decision, the adoption of SDI should be measured against business objectives, with all future changes made in respect to policy.
In the near future, it’s expected that SDI and orchestration software will use machine intelligence to learn from past decisions and improve future decisions to create a self-analysing data centre with more inbuilt capabilities for the best security.
– Natasha Poynton