Software-defined data centers bring powerful analytic and storage options to businesses of all sizes without requiring companies to invest in difficult-to-maintain, onsite hardware or numerous high-value technical staff resources. Effectively, software-defined centers are virtualized, reducing costs and hassles for companies. Moving from defined hardware to cloud-based servers isn’t the right choice for every business, though.
What is a software-defined data center?
A traditional data center can be located outside of the business, but is comprised of a finite network of servers in single or redundant locations. Software-defined data centers are delivered as part of a service model, which means companies pay for the ability to store and access data in a manner that meets predefined requirements. The end-user isn’t concerned with the number of servers or where they are located as long as the vendor meets business productivity, access, and security needs.
What are the benefits?
One of the biggest benefits of software-based server and network systems is flexibility. A 2013 review of growing software-based data center solutions from Wired discusses growing and exciting data-service options being developed for businesses of all sizes. Rather than placing static policies and processes in a cloud environment, software-based solutions let vendors build new, cloud-powered processes. In addition to flexibility, business benefits include:
- Reduced IT and infrastructure costs. Hardware is expensive—not only is initial data-center setup costly, but also companies must pay to maintain systems and replace out-of-date hardware. When data centers are offered as a service, the onus for hardware maintenance is removed from the business.
- Faster time to data center value. Software-based solutions leverage virtual networks, where hardware and functionality already exist on multiple platforms. Components can be customized through software, letting businesses set up and tweak data systems quickly.
- Not locked into hardware. Businesses aren’t stuck with legacy hardware, such as servers that no longer meet processing needs, when data center solutions are purchased as a service package.
- Complete redundancy. A virtual network provides the best possible redundancy for data storage, because data can exist on, be accessed from, and transferred to multiple environments from individual control stations.
What are the disadvantages?
Subjectively, one disadvantage of software-defined data centers is that the technology is relatively new, especially in the scope of general business functionality. The same critiques commonly voiced about cloud services apply to software-based data services, including fears about security. In reality, professional cloud services have reached security levels that match or rival many physical services. The ability to create hybrid software-based solutions lets businesses maintain physical security for the most sensitive data while leveraging the benefits of virtual environments for increased efficiency and decreased costs in other areas.
Though many security worries are unfounded, some businesses require a greater level of control than software-based solutions afford. Businesses in heavily regulated industries or companies with extraordinarily sensitive data may require oversight into data processes, which makes it hard to hand the keys over to a vendor. In such cases, vendor colocation or a private, exclusive data network may be a better choice.
Where does Caronet fit in?
Today, data is a valuable commodity. It must be maintained, analyzed, and protected, and businesses of all sizes are struggling to meet data needs while maintaining productivity and budget requirements. New solutions in data management evolve rapidly, making it difficult to keep up with the best options for business needs.
Caronet works with companies to define data needs and match those needs with viable solutions. Data is a foundation for almost every process in your business, so it’s important to address cracks and develop routine maintenance plans. Are you confident in the security, accuracy, and availability of your data? Software-based data centers offer peace of mind and efficiency that drives profits.