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The journey to a dynamic Software Defined Environment begins by virtualizing 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 virtualization to automation of your infrastructure, to automation of cloud delivery.

Learn more about how these paths can help you optimize your compute, storage and network environment.

€ 50,000
Hourly savings with
reduced downtime and

improved availabilty

Source: IBM client, August 2013

Virtualize infrastructure

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

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

The need to implement technologies like big data analytics can provide an impetus to extend virtualization. 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 virtualize 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 virtualization. IBM has committed to OpenStack as the foundation for all of our SDE offerings.

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

SDNCentral, April 2013

Automate infrastructure

For organizations 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 organizations realize improved service levels and resource utilization 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

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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 optimization 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 optimize the services that workloads deliver

Perhaps the most important function is to open up a choice of platforms for virtualization 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 virtualized environment. KVM (kernel-based virtual machine) is tuned for Windows and Linux workloads on POWER, System z, and PureFlex platforms.

This rich, open virtualization, 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 maximize utilization, ensure compliance and decrease administrative costs beyond the data center.

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

For software defined storage, stop comparing hardware specifications

Many storage purchasing decisions are still based on specifications, as IT or purchasing departments strive to make “apples to apples” comparisons based on hardware specification, such as cache size, quantity of disk drives and so on. In an SDE, these comparisons will fail to lead to a meaningful conclusion for two keys reasons.

image representing software defined networking

Introducing the unified Software Defined Networking Controller

We are proud to introduce the new unified IBM Software Defined Network for Virtual Environments (SDN VE) controller. It encompasses both network overlays and physical programmability of your physical devices within the same controller. Not different controllers, not different teams—one unified controller that deploys and manages all of the networking elements, both virtual and physical.

image representing software defined environments

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 virtualization, while others consider it a new type of software to integrate storage systems more intelligently. But people do seem to agree on one point…