Category Archives: Software Defined Data Centre

IBM makes software defined infrastructure smarter

IBMIBM has expanded its portfolio of software-defined infrastructure solutions adding cognitive features to speed up analysis of data, integrate Apache Spark and help accelerate research and design, the company claims.

The new offering will be called IBM Spectrum Computing and is designed to aide companies to extract full value from their data through adding scheduling capabilities to the infrastructure layer. The product offers workload and resource management features to research scientists for high-performance research, design and simulation applications. The new proposition focuses on three areas.

Firstly, Spectrum Computing works with cloud applications and open source frameworks to assist in sharing resources between the programmes to speed up analysis. Secondly, the company believes it makes the adoption of Apache Spark simpler. And finally, the ability to share resources will accelerate research and design by up to 150 times, IBM claims.

By incorporating the cognitive computing capabilities into the software-defined infrastructure products, IBM believes the concept on the whole will become more ‘intelligent’. The scheduling competencies of the software will increase compute resource utilization and predictability across multiple workloads.

The software-defined data centre has been steadily growing, and is forecasted to continue its healthy growth over the coming years. Research has highlighted the market could be worth in the region of $77.18 Billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 28.8% from 2015 to 2020. The concept on the whole is primarily driven by the attractive feature of simplified scalability as well as the capability of interoperability. North America and Asia are expected to hold the biggest market share worldwide, though Europe as a region is expected to grow at a faster rate.

“Data is being generated at tremendous rates unlike ever before, and its explosive growth is outstripping human capacity to understand it, and mine it for business insights,” said Bernard Spang, VP for IBM Software Defined Infrastructure. “At the core of the cognitive infrastructure is the need for high performance analytics of both structured and unstructured data. IBM Spectrum Computing is helping organizations more rapidly adopt new technologies and achieve greater, more predictable performance.”

What is the role of SDN in data centre security?

Door to new opportunitySoftware Defined Networking (SDN) is a breakthrough which is seemingly in everyone’s technology roadmap, but not ‘sexy’ enough to command column inches in recent months. At Telco Cloud, Juniper Cloud Automation Architect Scott Alexander argued the use case for security.

Companies who are striving towards 100% secure are likely to be disappointed as most within the industry now accept this is not achievable. Irrelevant of how many advances are made to secure the data centre, there will always be a collection of individuals who dedicate time to find new weaknesses. The new objective for the majority is to remain as secure as possible, consistently, reacting as quickly as possible to new threats which may emerge.

One of the main challenges for the data centre is the traditional defence. A number of data centres have one large firewall around the perimeter, which can be effective at keeping out threats, but on the occasion one breaches defences, traditional data centres are very linear, allowing the threat to roam freely. Larger segments of the data centre will be ring fenced, however the same principle applies here; once you crack that defence you are once again free to roam.

Alexander highlighted once you write various SDN policies, you can define which applications can ‘talk’ to each other. Until this is defined through an effective SDN policy, an application can talk to any other application, create the free roaming problem. Once a threat is in the data centre damage control becomes very difficult.

If every application is a room with several doors, Alexander said though implementing SDN you can keep relevant doors open and close doors to areas a given applications has no need to have access to. Spinning up various applications allows you to retain internal perimeters and create a policy of damage control.

Virtualizing a company’s assets can be a painful process, as it has to be done application by application. This however can be an advantage as Alexander highlighted to understand what doors are open and closed, you have to analyse the applications individually; there isn’t currently a method to do a blanket risk assessment of your applications. As you are migrating the applications individually any case during the virtualization efforts, it shouldn’t be too much of a task to understand what doors are open.

For the most part, the concept of 100% secure has seemingly been irradiated from the industry; most have accepted it is almost impossible. However, segmented security can aid a team in driving towards the objective of remaining secure as possible, consistently.

Software-Defined Data Centre to become a common fixture in US – survey

Cloud computingA survey from security and compliance company HyTrust claims the Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC) is on the verge of becoming a common fixture in corporate America.

65% of the respondents predict faster deployment in 2016, while 62% anticipate increased adoption of the SDDC. Nearly half see greater adoption of network virtualization, while even more, 53%, anticipate and increased adoption of storage virtualization. 50% of the respondents also anticipate higher levels of adoption of public cloud across the course of 2016 also.

“This survey is truly interesting in that it uncovers a new level of maturity in organizations pursuing a SDDC leveraging virtualization and the cloud. It’s long been happening, but now faster and with greater conviction and comfort than perhaps ever before,” said Eric Chiu, President of HyTrust. “Security and privacy have always been the critical inhibitors, and no one denies that these issues still concern senior executives.

“But now we can also see that technologies like those offered by HyTrust, which balance a high level of security and control with smooth automation, are having a major impact. The benefits of virtualized and cloud infrastructures are undeniable—think agility, flexibility and lower cost, among many other advantages—and the obstacles to enjoying those benefits are increasingly being overcome.”

From a security perspective, 74% of the respondents believe security is less of an obstacle to adoption compared to 12 months ago, however that is not to say security challenges have been reduced significantly. 54% of the respondents believe there will be an increased number of breaches throughout 2016, whereas only 11% say the contrary. In terms of migration, 67% believe security will ultimately slow down the process, and 70% believe there will be the same or even greater levels of internal compliance and auditing challenges following the transition to a SDDC platform.

While the Software-Defined Data Centre should not be considered a new term or trend within the industry levels of adoption and trust have been lower in comparison to other technologies in the cloud world. As the industry continues its journey towards automation, the SDDC trends will likely only become louder, as the survey demonstrates.