The road to a software-defined future

New-age data-driven applications lead to rethink of underlying infrastructure

Tags: United Arab EmiratesVMware IncorporatedVirtualisation
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The road to a software-defined future Gilmartin says a software defined architecture can extend the capabilities of traditional apps into new-style applications
By  David Ndichu Published  November 4, 2015

With virtualisation now the de-facto standard for running applications, focus is now shifting towards automating the entire data centre.

Therefore, how to apply the knowledge gained through server virtualisation and extend that to the network and storage is what IT managers are currently discussing, says John Gilmartin, GM and VP, Integrated Systems Business Unit, VMware. After this, Gilmartin adds, the process of automating the data centre can advance.

This comes as the software defined data centre concept gains steam. “The world is shifting from hardware-based solutions to software, which gives the scale out capability and the agility organisations demand today,” observes Gilmartin. “The next generation applications need this type of infrastructure in order to scale up quickly and with the right security built from the get go. Our software-defined data centre approach is the right infrastructure for supporting those types of applications” he adds.

A lot of customers are starting to think about building out these new infrastructures, Gilmartin notes, but they require a common set of management tools so they can manage both the traditional applications and the new big data applications. This system should offer the same types of insight and automations for both types of applications, according to Gilmartin. “And that’s the beauty of a software defined approach, in that you can extend the capabilities of traditional apps into this new-style applications,” he explains.

The move towards software-defined datacentre is based on the general shift towards the mobile cloud, asserts Gilmartin. The motivation there, he adds, is the quest for novel ways to engage with customers and end users while building business models that drive new revenue opportunities and bring greater insights into organisations.

“This is very relevant here in the Middle East and I encounter great conversations in the region around the use of data and providing that data out to people so they can make better decisions and build better applications,” he says.  

Security is the biggest driver for network virtualisation, Gilmartin notes, further pushing this trend into the mainstream. The idea of being able to take an application and wrap security right around that app is very appealing to developers. “It’s a fundamentally new model which you cannot accomplish with physical systems. Network virtualisation is thus changing the way organisations can apply security onto their applications,” Gilmartin says.

Overall, Gilmartin notes, people are considering how they can build their next-gen infrastructure to support this new mobile/cloud world that we live in. IT organisations themselves are thinking how they can adapt and change and meet the demands of application developers and end users, Gilmartin adds.

In the Middle East and particularly in the UAE, there are a lot of discussions around Smart City initiatives and around the use of Big Data. “The use of data is very exciting, more so here than other parts of the world. The authorities in the region are thinking forward, looking how the use of data can help improve the lives of residents,” Gilmartin says.

Big Data offers the opportunity analyse data but to get there requires infrastructure that is scalable, agile and that can be modified very quickly as well as built-in security. “These are things that VMware can help organisations with-build cloud, scalable data infrastructure that is secure from the design up and then enable application developers build great apps to use that data,” Gilmartin says.   

Moving forward, customers will continue to think of how they pool resources across distributed geographies and manage those as hybrid clouds or as a single extended data centre, notes Gilmartin. “You will also see continued growth of mobile applications as well as new-style scaled out applications built with a different type of methodology and architecture as opposed to the traditional. We will continue to see the growth of Big Data which will change the way that people interact with their customers,” Gilmartin says.

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