What is a software-defined data center, and why is it important?

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What does it mean to software-define something or to move into the age of automation? These phrases may sound strange at first, but if you look around, companies all over the world are doing these things every day.

Take pizza, for example. You might not think you can software-define pizza, but it has already happened, and you probably didn’t even realize it. A major pizza chain has distilled the pizza-ordering experience down from calling the store, to ordering pizza online, to now only requiring one simple action: text its pizza emoticon, and your favorite saved order is delivered to you. That pizza emoticon may look like a tasty morsel, but this pizza chain has transformed it into a template that you can customize, edit, and use to repeatedly and reliably order your favorite pizza with minimal effort. That’s what it means to “software-define” something.

Software-define your data center

For a data center, it’s just as important to take the complicated processes of old and distill them down into repeatable, automated actions. Bring the magic and simplicity of software and integrate it directly into the hardware at the most basic level, so that from start to finish, the process is defined and controlled through software automation.

For example, instead of manually provisioning servers one-by-one, your infrastructure management software enables you quickly and reliably discover, deploy, and provision your data center. Like the pizza emoticon, you should be able to create templates for your workloads and applications and apply them to servers with minimal effort.

Maintaining those servers through their lifecycle is just as important, so when requirements change or firmware needs to be updated, you merely edit a single template. Changes are easily propagated across your infrastructure in the same repeatable and reliable fashion that you used to set it up.

Controlling your infrastructure through software doesn’t stop at templates. Part of moving into the age of automation also means taking advantage of everything digital has to offer to create the optimal solutions.

Looking back at our pizza example, the pizza chain didn’t stop with the pizza slice emoticon. It has partnered with some of the coolest tech around, such as smart home speakers and smart TVs, to enable its customers to easily order – even when their phone is buried deep somewhere in the couch. In fact, the list of ways this pizza chain lets customers order food is mind-boggling — it seems to have something for everybody.

Here’s something to think about. Does your data center take advantage of today’s tech to have something for everybody? Do you have tools that make your infrastructure easily accessible to developers in your company? Do you have automation tools that make life easier for IT admins?

Templates are great but automating them is even better. Integrating tools that can intelligently predict changes in workload needs and shuffle around resources to meet them are the kinds of tools you want. The best way to achieve this is to choose an infrastructure management solution that has an open, unified API that allows you to easily integrate these tools with minimal effort.

Lastly, it’s also key to make sure you’re able to software-define with one infrastructure management solution for many different platforms within your data center, not just servers or storage. Lots of companies offer management solutions that manage all your servers, and then another solution to manage your storage, and another to manage your networking. Keep in mind, the pizza chain doesn’t have separate tools for you to order pizza, brownies, or a salad. Your data center is one product that is delivering services to your company, so you should manage all of it as one.

Software-define your infrastructure with HPE OneView

Are you ready to software-define? Software-defined infrastructure lets IT administrators easily provision and manage physical infrastructure using software-defined templates and APIs to define and automate infrastructure configuration and lifecycle operations. 

Consider HPE OneView — infrastructure management software that enables you to automate, integrate, and innovate better in your data center. HPE OneView takes a template-driven approach for deploying, provisioning, updating, and integrating server, storage, and networking infrastructure.

HPE OneView also supports a broad software partner community to enable your automation initiatives across cloud, DevOps, containers, IT operations, and facilities management. Using the HPE OneView API, a set of HPE-managed SDK’s, and open source integrations, IT admins and developers have a choice and can easily utilize the tools that suit their specific needs. With HPE OneView, you can software-define your HPE solutions such as HPE ProLiant servers and HPE Composable Infrastructure.

Think about how automating your data center can make your processes simpler and faster, then head over to hpe.com/info/oneview to learn more about how you can leverage HPE OneView to get started. Or, download the free e-book, HPE OneView for Dummies to learn more.

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About Frances Guida

frances guida
Frances Guida leads product management for HPE OneView Automation and Ecosystem. Her team drives the direction for solutions that use the unified Composable API, a single, open API native in HPE OneView, to automate the provisioning, configuration, and monitoring of HPE infrastructure. By integrating with this unified API, ISVs can provide solutions that let customers reduce the time spent on managing their environments and accelerate time to value. With more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry, Guida has held a variety of roles at HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which include product management for HP servers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, managing HP alliances with leading independent software vendors, and driving innovative programs for solutions. To read more articles from Frances, visit the HPE Shifting to Software-Defined blogsite.

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