The recent Garner Data Center conference spent a lot of time discussing new philosophies like Software Defined Networking (SDN), Bimodal IT, and the Internet of Things. All of these terms, as far as enterprise IT is concerned, fall under the umbrella term Enterprise Defined Data Center (EDDC).

What does the EDDC mean for your mission?

Flexibility. Agility. Accountability.

EDDC is a data center responsive to business needs and not anchored to its hardware or software. As more storage is needed, as compute demand surges, or as networking channels flex, the capabilities of the data center change. That doesn’t mean that they grow unconstrained, but rather change based on the business service model itself. Private clouds can be stood up, possibly become hybrid, and be migrated across providers. The data center is focused around enterprise need, rather than specifically defined by a particular architecture or technology.

One attendee defined the ultimate EDDC: directly adjusting IT resources and costs to maximize revenue for each segment of the enterprise in real time.

How is this different from today’s data center?

NJVC has well defined processes that have been in use for years, helping customers missions succeed. In general, our EDDC processes are very similar, but on a faster timescale.

The dynamic environment businesses run within today requires responses in “internet time.” Instead of a traditional acquisition cycle for hardware, software, compute and storage, taking perhaps months, a project may need to spin up additional resources in minutes. As demand diminishes in the EDDC, those resources, instead of becoming idle as in modern data centers, are simply released back to the wild.  

Built for Flexibility

In order to provide this responsiveness, an EDDC must be designed to allow systems to adjust. That means laying a foundation of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), allowing compute and storage to be provided as a commodity and adding in Platform as a Service (PaaS) to move, control and manage applications efficiently. These dynamics impact the network as well, demanding the switches, routers and firewalls configure themselves to move the traffic without letting threats in, perhaps using software defined networking.

Tying it all back together are capacity management tools that monitor the resources. The resources might be in the on-premises data center, in remote locations, at community/co-location sites, or even in the public cloud. The tools must be able to consolidate all information in all locations and present the data to decision makers so that the cost of moving an app to the cloud, or bringing data into the data center, can be clearly understood.

How does the enterprise convey the business requirements to the data center?

The processes to spin up resources have to be tuned for self-service when possible and must be aligned to company policies. Tools like NJVC’s Servicefront moves the focus of the process from the IT help desk back to the business.

Does the EDDC equal the cloud? Gartner says “no.” The cloud is another resource that the EDDC should use. In order to be cost effective, a modern EDDC will have on-premises as well as cloud components. The hybrid cloud is a cornerstone of EDDC.

NJVC has been working to make our customers’ data centers true EDDCs.

Using VMWare and similar products, we’ve laid IaaS foundations. We’re now deploying Cloud Foundry as our preferred PaaS solution. We’re improving the capacity management processes and tools. Critical to the whole EDDC success, however, is Servicefront as a management tool, allowing the enterprise to focus on business need without being anchored by specific technologies.

That’s how the enterprise defines the data center.