I was out reading the Internet and came across a report from EMA (Enterprise Management Associates) regarding the state of the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) in 2014. After perusing the data and highlights, I was surprised (and yet should not have been) to find so much DevOps-related content and concepts within. Neither should I have been surprised to find significant mention of software-defined networking (SDN). It makes sense, in a puzzle-fitting-together kind of way, that SDDC comprises software-defined operations and software-defined networks (and probably software-defined storage but it’s too early in the day for me to contemplate that).
In any case, a significant percentage of organizations take advantage (today) of software-defined operations and networking, based on the report:
Which of the following technologies, structures or processes does your organization take advantage of?
4. Cross-functional processes to orchestrate provisioning and management of storage, network and server resources (57%) 5. Solution for server administrators to provision their own storage volumes (56%) 6. Continuous/centralized capacity management for physical, virtual and cloud resources (55%) 9. Policy-based automation of infrastructure for routine adjustments without human intervention (50%) 10. Software Defined Networking (virtual overlay network) (48%) 11. Software Defined Networking (separated control plane from delivery plane) (46%) 13. APIs for developers to provision their own app environments (servers, network and storage) (42%) 14. Configuration management solutions (Puppet, Opscode Chef, SaltStack, ServiceMesh, etc.) (41%)
More telling, perhaps, of how critical DevOps is to enabling the SDDC is the emphasis put on not just automation but on process. When asked what respondents believed were the “most important aspects of the Software Defined Data Center”, number 2 and 3 focused on deployment and automation of applications and infrastructure:
Best-practice, repeatable configurations of software and infrastructure for workload deployment (46%)
Orchestration and automation to easily deploy applications across silos (44%)
In case you weren’t entirely convinced, yet, “operational analytics” (we might call it “measurement” or “metrics” here in DevOps land) came in number four with a respectable 42% of respondents.
There’s more in the report, some less relevant but for the most part, reading this SDDC report left me with a decidedly DevOps after taste. Which was kind of a minty chocolate coffee taste, in case you were wondering.
The concepts typically associated with DevOps are not necessarily peculiar to DevOps or SDN. They’re generally part of a larger trend to operationalize all the things: the network, the storage, the compute, the security. The business goals of SDDC are strikingly similar to those promoted by DevOps and SDN – reducing risk, lowering opex, improving stability and time to market. The collaboration through creation of interfaces designed to promote repeatable, consistent (and measurable) handoffs between groups is present and looms as large in SDDC as it does in DevOps.
The point is that DevOps may, in fact, be in the adoption process right now under the guise of another name in an organization near you – or around you. If you hear someone saying software-defined something, check it out. You may be surprised to find out that someone has snuck in DevOps through another door, under a different name.
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