"We are going to see an equal transition in IT over the next four years that we've seen over the past four years," he said. Maritz believes that to deliver the agility and efficiency required to meet the future, transformation is required at every level of IT from infrastructure to applications to access.
Slideshow: Hot Products at VMworld 2012
Cloud and the Software-Defined Data Center are the Future of Infrastructure
Cloud is the foundation of the infrastructure piece of the puzzle in Maritz's view. He believes all infrastructure must be virtualized and delivered as a service, and the control of the data center at the heart must be entirely automated by software: a concept VMware dubs the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC).
The core idea behind the SDDC is extend the benefits of virtualization to every domain in the data center--compute, storage and networking--and the associated availability and security services.
"The Software-Defined Data Center enables us to think even more broadly about the process of provisioning workloads," says VMware CTO Steve Herrod. "The initial phases of virtualization have made it very easy (and affordable!) to spin up virtual machines quite quickly. But when deploying workloads into a production environment, there are so many additional steps as their network identity is created, monitoring probes are installed and security policies are enforced."
"In an ideal world, no longer do we need to order some specialized hardware, then hire a consultant to install it and program the device in its specialized language," he adds. "Instead, we'll simply define an application and all of the resources that it needs, including all of its compute, storage, networking and security needs, then group all of those things together to create a logical application. There's work ahead, but I see the Software-Defined Data Center as enabling this dramatic simplification."
As enumerated by VMware, the SDDC has five core tenets:
- It's standardized. It consists of homogenous infrastructure delivered as software services across pools of standard, x86 hardware.
- It's adaptive. It offers virtualized infrastructure services provided on-demand, unconstrained by physical topology, dynamically adapting to application scale and location.
- It's automated. It features built-in intelligence that automates provisioning, placement, configuration and control based on defined policies.
- It's holistic. It's a platform optimized for the entire data center fabric, providing comprehensive infrastructure services capable of supporting any and all applications.
- It's resilient. It's software-based architecture and approach compensates for failing hardware, providing failover, redundancy and fault tolerance to critical operations.
As Maritz prepares to move on from the company he has shepherded for the past four years, VMware has begun to deliver on this vision. On Monday, it unveiled VMware vCloud Suite 5.1, integrating the company's virtualization, cloud infrastructure and management portfolio in an integrated suite intended to deliver the SDDC.
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