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The journey to a dynamic Software Defined Environment begins by virtualising and automating IT

With a Software Defined Environment, your enterprise can respond to changing business conditions faster and more effectively. As with most IT initiatives, you can begin the journey at one of several destinations, from virtualisation to automation of your infrastructure, to automation of cloud delivery.
Learn more about how these paths can help you optimise your compute, storage and network environment.

€ 50,000
Hourly savings with
reduced downtime and

improved availabilty

Source: IBM client, August 2013

Virtualise infrastructure

Often the first step toward a software defined environment is virtualisation, which can help reduce capital expense (CapEX) and accelerate value.

However, many enterprises have not fully virtualised the data centre – perhaps server resources, but not storage or networking. A recent IBM survey of enterprises revealed only 30 percent have virtualised storage, and just 15 percent have virtualised networking on a wide scale.

The need to implement technologies like big data analytics can provide an impetus to extend virtualisation. As they generate huge surges of unstructured data, these initiatives create unprecedented demands on existing storage and network systems. Without a common framework, however, it is difficult and complex to virtualise across technology silos.

Leveraging open interfaces will speed the integration, break down these silos and offer more choice. IBM is investing in open standards through our leadership in Open Source and standards communities for infrastructure management and cloud, our recently announced OpenPOWER consortium, OpenDaylight for networking, and the Open Virtualization Alliance and oVirt for virtualisation. IBM has committed to OpenStack as the foundation for all of our SDE offerings.

According to new research, by 2018, 46 percent of overall data centre network spending will be on SDNenabled optical, switching and routing hardware.

SDNCentral, April 2013

Automate infrastructure

For organisations that need to reduce operating expense (OPEX) and boost performance, a Software Defined Environment can help by automating the IT infrastructure with policy-based resource allocation among workload clusters.

As data volumes increase, so do the transactions that process that data. Workloads like analytics, traditional Systems of Record, and messaging need the capacity to scale up or down seamlessly based on business demands. These applications require a greater degree of application server control to tie back to the existing IT infrastructure.

IBM Platform Resource Scheduler helps organisations realise improved service levels and resource utilisation in OpenStack cloud environments. It can help reduce the total cost of ownership of public and private clouds by using infrastructure more efficiently, sharing resources between tenants, and automating management tasks. By continuously monitoring the cloud and taking necessary actions, the solution reduces administrative effort and ensures that performance and availability remain optimal – even as the cloud infrastructure and workloads change with time.

IBM’s Platform Computing portfolio and Enterprise Grid Orchestrator scheduling offer production-proven technology in large scale, mission-critical enterprise environments.

The pronounced shift in enterprise storage infrastructure has been caused by the movement to cloud, explosive growth of unstructured data and big data applications.

IDC, November 2012, IDC #238044, Volume: 1 Executive Information: Top 10 Predictions

Related links

Automate cloud delivery

A Software Defined Environment can help reduce risks in cloud implementation and enable self-service agility with application-aware, pattern-based workload deployment.

IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator can help replace manual processes with automation that identifies, applies, captures and reuses workload usage patterns. It applies policy-based optimisation to define:

  • workloads in terms of the components like application servers and databases
  • infrastructure, such as firewalls
  • rules that govern how to build, deploy, scale and optimise the services that workloads deliver

Perhaps the most important function is to open up a choice of platforms for virtualisation across leading hypervisors. That means IBM PowerVM, PowerVC, z/VM, and KVM, as well as VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V, are all enabled on IBM systems to deliver enterprise-class performance and management support in a virtualised environment. KVM (kernel-based virtual machine), for example, is tuned not only for Windows and Linux workloads on x86-based hardware like IBM System x, but now also on POWER, System z, PureFlex and Flex Systems platforms.

This rich, open virtualisation, which enables a heterogeneous environment, is the first step toward an SDE that is simplified, adaptive and responsive. With intelligent resource scheduling, Software Defined Computing helps maximise utilisation, ensure compliance and decrease administrative costs beyond the data centre.

When you are able to represent hardware as software, you make the entire IT ecosystem more programmable, dynamic and subject to far higher degrees of management automation.

IBM Fellow Jeff Frey

Related links

Software Defined Environment blog posts

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Software defined environments need flexible architectures – right?

There has been a lot of noise lately around the topic of software defined environments (SDE). Some talk about software defined storage (SDS) like some sort of storage virtualisation, while others consider it a new type of software to integrate storage systems more intelligently. But people do seem to agree on one point…

Boost your network’s IQ by managing it in software

Cloud. Big data. Mobile. Social networking. These are some of the core ideas driving the new generation of critical consumer and business applications — but do they really have the modern network infrastructure they need? Forward-looking organisations looking to centralise, accelerate, secure and scale network management are turning to Software Defined Networking (SDN).


Optimise your IT infrastructure with software defined storage

One of the primary goals of a software defined environment (SDE) is to make data centre infrastructure cloud ready. In geek speak, SDE abstracts compute, networking and storage resources in the data centre as “services on demand” and makes them available to applications through a set of well-defined APIs. Software defined storage (SDS) is an integral part of SDE.