Why Does Hardware Matter in a Software-Defined Data Center?

Today, organizations with a modernized infrastructure (aka “modernized” firms) are much better positioned to handle emerging technologies than their competitors with aging hardware. Modernized firms can quickly scale to meet changing needs. They understand the importance of flexibility, especially when it comes to handling demanding applications and processing the insane amount of data inundating us from all angles!

The right software-defined data center (SDDC) solutions can help organizations address those heavy demands and accommodate future growth. SDDC breaks down traditional silos and plays a critical role in a firm’s data center transformation. Since all elements in an SDDC are virtualized – servers, storage, and networking – they can easily adapt and decrease the time to deploy new applications.

With all these benefits, it’s no surprise that most organizations see value in SDDC as a long-term strategy. They want to be there, and know they need to be there to succeed long-term. But getting to that point is a journey – and one that must start with the right foundation.

Setting the Record Straight

When it comes to SDDC, one of the biggest misconceptions is that hardware doesn’t really matter. Those of us in hardware don’t take it personally (after all, it is SDDC, not HDDC). But that mindset couldn’t be further from the truth. Having the right hardware doesn’t just matter, it’s critical. Why? For one thing, SDDC runs on hardware. This may seem like a given, but without the right servers in place you can’t do all the other cool stuff that comes along with SDDC. Servers are the foundation of SDDC, and without a solid foundation? Well, we all know what happened to the guy that built his house on the sand…

To provide a little more context, here are 6 Reasons Hardware Matters in an SDDC:

  1. Increased Capacity: Because SDDC runs on hardware, performance is constrained by the capacity and limitations of your servers. You’re forced to operate within the boundaries of resources available, and if those resources are limited, your SDDC capabilities will be, too.
  2. Faster Deployment: A modern infrastructure helps reduce the time it takes to deploy new applications. Automation tools such as zero touch deployment make life a lot easier for your IT staff. With aging infrastructure, it can take IT organizations days, weeks, or even months to deploy new versions of applications in their data centers. Modernized servers help to drastically reduce this time.

  3. Scalability – The right hardware enables you to more easily scale to meet your changing needs. Modernized servers support data growth, because they give you the capability to add additional resources such as memory. You can scale out to meet business demands, avoiding infrastructure “sprawl.”
  4. Emerging Workloads – Today’s workloads are more complex than those of the past. Emerging workloads that require large amounts of parallelized computation need modernized servers designed specifically to support them. If your organization uses (or plans to use) predictive analytics, machine learning, or deep learning you need to have the right infrastructure in place. A recent study by Forrester found that 67% of servers purchased in the next year will be used to support emerging technology workloads including IoT, additive manufacturing, computer vision, predictive analytics, and edge computing.[1]
  5. Customized Workload Placement – Another benefit to modernized servers is the ability to customize your workload placement based on your specific needs and resources. This means you can run some workloads on-premises (such as data-sensitive applications), while keeping others in the cloud. For example, PowerEdge MX7000, which was designed specifically for SDDC, is a modular, software-defined infrastructure that can assign, move, and scale shared pools of compute, storage, and fabric with greater flexibility and efficiency.
  6. Improved IT Staff Productivity – With aging infrastructure, your IT staff likely spends a large chunk of their time managing day-to-day tasks. This doesn’t leave much time to focus on strategy or work on things that will contribute to overall business results. Modernized servers help you automate tasks, making it much easier to deploy, monitor, and maintain, so your staff can add more value in other areas.

The journey to an SDDC can be challenging, and unfortunately the path to get there isn’t clear cut. But if you start with a solid foundation, including the right servers, you’ll be positioned to adapt and grow to meet your changing business needs.

For more info about the importance of server refresh and modern infrastructure, check out Forrester’s recent study Why Faster Refresh Cycles and Modern Infrastructure Management Are Critical to Business Success or the Dell eBook The Journey to a Software-Defined Data Center.

To learn more about PowerEdge, visit dellemc.com/servers, or join the conversation on Twitter @Dellservers.

[1] A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dell, “Why Faster Refresh Cycles and Modern Infrastructure Management Are Critical to Business Success,” May 2019.

About the Author: Emily O'Shaughnessy

Emily is a Technical Marketing Manager for Dell PowerEdge and VMware, where she works to highlight the many unique benefits of running VMware software on PowerEdge servers. Prior to her current role, Emily was a content storyteller for Dell EMC and used her extensive marketing background to bring the PowerEdge brand to life. Before joining Dell, Emily worked in digital marketing where she handled inbound marketing, strategy, content creation, social media and marketing automation for a wide range of clients. She has written for a variety of industries including finance, business, higher education, tech and healthcare. She received her MBA at Tulane University in New Orleans where she also enjoyed her fair share of po’ boys and crawfish. Emily lives in Georgetown, TX, and loves spending time outdoors with her husband, three daughters, and two sweet but mischievous spaniels.