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Monday, 05 October 2015 16:46

Software-defined Infrastructure will ‘overhaul’ data centre services opportunities: research

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Software-defined Infrastructure will ‘overhaul’ data centre services opportunities: research Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net/images

Rapidly increasing usage of converged and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions will be a norm in the new generation of datacentre build-out and transformation initiatives, and the increasing uptake of software-defined infrastructure will transform the role of IT services providers, according to a newly published global report.

According to market analysis firm IDC, the increased usage of converged and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions represent implementations of the software-defined infrastructure philosophy and infuse enterprise IT architectures with the “cloud-like attributes of elasticity and scalability”.

IDC Senior Research Manager, IT Services, Pushkaraksh Shanbhag says the market is at the threshold of “significant disruption in the datacentre space” with relative newcomers such as Nutanix (a hyper-converged solutions vendor) jostling for space against the giants of the software-defined world such as VMware - and the entire breadth of IT infrastructure vendors rushing to build out appealing converged and hyper-converged solutions portfolios.

In this latest report, from IDC estimates that, as the enterprise infrastructure landscape evolves rapidly and grows increasingly crowded, incompatible or immature IT asset management practices will prevent 80% of enterprises from taking full advantage of software-defined infrastructure solutions through 2016.

But, IDC says IT services providers will have a key role to play in helping enterprises put in place optimal solutions, processes and services best suited to support their specific business objectives, and ensuring that critical business functions continue to function seamlessly during potentially disruptive transitions.

In noting that increasing uptake of software-defined infrastructure will transform the role of IT services providers, Shanbhag suggests that enterprises will look to IT services vendors for a wide range of services relating to SDI - consulting and advisory services for SDI-enabled strategy and roadmap, design and architecture services for software-defined enterprise environments, services around SDI implementation and managed services to help enterprises with ongoing operations.

"Among other longer-term disruptive changes, rapid adoption of SDI will negatively impact the demand for discreet infrastructure support services, while demand for premium support services around the infrastructure abstraction layer in SDI environments will see rapid growth.

Cathy Huang, IT Services CIS Program Lead, IDC Asia/Pacific says that "In the beginning of the SDI evolution, there was lots of focus on the infrastructure dimension, which meant the initial services opportunities were around network consulting and integration (NCIS).

“While NCIS is still important, there is growing interest around workload-related services, including workload design, workload virtualisation and workload migration, unified management (including applications management) and service orchestration."

"Additionally, it will allow the service providers to expand the scope and focus of datacenter services because of the automation potential throughout the control layer of the software defined datacenter," adds Huang.

IDC also says it believes that service providers will be able to deliver significant value through partnerships with infrastructure vendors, particularly those with offerings that leverage open standards such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight so they are able to provide a wider choice of standards-based, interoperable software-defined solutions to their customers while avoiding vendor lock-in.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).