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“Infrastructure of the future will be programmed,” said Dante Malagrinò, co-founder and CEO of Embrane, at GigaOM’s Structure conference on Thursday. That’s a shift from how much of the current data center infrastructure, and networks, are configured, and this evolution has profound implications on who manages it, how it works and how you evaluate it, says Malagrinò.
So what exactly are software-defined data centers? According to Martin Casado, Co-Founder and CTO of Nicira, you can spot them by their reliance on software to tie together the generic hardware and components that are being used to fill massive football field-sized data centers. The generic hardware might have high failure rates, but the software acts as a orchestration layer, explained Casado. It’s a way to “scale out, instead of scaling up,” he said.
Jonathan Heiliger, a General Partner with North Bridge Venture Partners, and a former Facebook exec, called software-defined datacenters “a neat idea,” and said it’s “about giving developers the power to control the underlying elements that their applications use, whether that’s the network or servers or other resources that their serving.” Developers can get in there and manipulate the system, which is a total flip about from how it was previously deployed and managed, said Heiliger.
Malagrinò called software-defined data centers the buzz word over the next twelve months. So expect to hear a lot more about this trend. It’s a shift from the administrator managing the network to a figure of a coder or developer taking over, said Malagrinò.