One of the most contentious problems in the IT industry is the fact that applications have always been the driving force behind infrastructure. The advancements in hardware or infrastructure have always been held back or limited by the desire to be backwards compatible; from batch processing to web applications and even LAMP stack, all the systems still exist and are still supported, which is why majority of datacenters these days are a melting pot of specialized legacy systems.
Software Defined Datacenters are Generation-Proof
According to VMware CTO Steve Harrod, this shouldn’t really be seen as a problem. In fact, datacenters being software-defined make them “generation-proof”, with various systems able to exist on top of commodity x86 processors as well as other similar gear. It actually helps the industry, since software is much easier to scale and can be adapted to new hardware as soon as the current one becomes obsolete. Virtualization is a good example of these, as OSes and applications that were rendered obsolete by newer and more specialized hardware can still be used through virtual machines.
Herrod explained that software defined datacenters can bring the dynamic natures of Facebook, Google, and Zynga datacenters into the mainstream. It may not be considered as good news by companies who make a profit off of extremely specialized hardware, but it is welcome news for CIOs and IT managers who are constantly required to run datacenters that are as efficient, dynamic, and inexpensive as Google and its ilks’, but must also deal with support for legacy software, which are two separate goals that can be a pain to reconcile with each other.
Specialized Software to Replace Specialized Hardware
VMware will still work with hardware partners in order to futher advancements in virtualization, but Herrod has stated that the industry has come to a point where various pieces have fallen in order to redefine infrastructure for the next generation of applications. The broad acceptance of software defined networks means that hardware manufacturers must adapt to the ever growing usage of virtualization.
VMware aims to up the ante
Steve Herrod will be providing exposition on VMware’s plans for software defined datacenters at VMworld in August. As expected, VMware’s vision is appealing and the company certainly has the resources to bring it to fruition. Now it’s up to competitors such as Citrix, Openstack, and Microsoft develop equally appealing alternatives or risk seeing VMware dominate the industry.