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Software Defined soon to be board room topic: Pankaj Prasad,Gartner

Yogesh Gupta | June 29, 2016
There are no clear trends in the direction of SDx but 2016 will be the year of emergence of SDx protocols, says Pankaj Prasad, principal research analyst, Gartner

Is SDx more like a concept like virtualization and cloud than a point product? Every vendor, every analyst and every user has their individual connotation.

SDX or software defined anything is an umbrella term for various categories. SDx is primarily composed of software defined application services (SDAS) and software defined infrastructure (SDI). Under infra, you have software defined facilities (SDF), software defined compute (SDC), network (SDN) .storage (SDS) and all those aspect.

There are vendors in each of these layers who are very keen to provide that abstraction from low lying hardware. You can do a lot of storage side but we want storage to look like platter. It's a paradigm shift as in terms of what hardware vendor had as differentiator and what will be the differentiator tomorrow. SDx is more about how to manage that low lying architecture (irrespective of the physical and logical boundary) and still provide value that is easily accessible to anyone.

Have the technology OEMs evangelized the market enough for SDx skillsets because usually in hype terms the skillsets often come much later than the actual technology adoption?

In this case, we are looking at the capability of programmability as well. Secondly, there is enough market awareness in terms of understanding the infrastructure. There is no dearth of people who are capable of managing servers, storage, and network. Instead of a datacenter full of racks, they are now given one console that gives visibility across all the racks. It is just a shift from using concepts in physical world to digital world or software world. That would a challenge but not a major disruptor.

The challenge is how these people you select with new skills to fluidly communicate across the coders (the application developers and software people) who will help program these things in SDx. That synergy is where we might see skillsets gap between these two set of people.

How do you see enterprise users building a robust SDx posture?

Many enterprises have those controls. There is often a strife between technical or IT operations team look at versus what the business teams looks at. Maybe from data scale perspective because these are emerging technologies, they are not very sure what to expect and what is offered on the platter and what the portfolio says.  The demonstrations (demos) are key. The awareness of what these providers can offer becomes an important aspect.

The second aspect from the business side is that they are more curios of real world scenario. People talking about software defined does not make much sense unless they see a case study.

There are other factors wherein nothing much can be done. How do you prevent vendor lock-in? There are no standards as protocols are still being developed on SDx management. Plus the comprehensive understanding of SDx. Do you consider virtualized environment as software defined? By itself it is not software defined (although a necessary and foundational element). The moment you see hardware component in a solution or architecture, it should start ringing the bells. (for example, Software defined should allow you to replace hardware infrastructure with minimal or zero impact to applications).


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