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The data center environment has gone through considerable change in the last ten years with advancement in technology leading to unheard of efficiency and gains. One of the predominant areas where technology has made strident improvement is server virtualization. Market leaders such as VMware have taken the server market by storm with their innovative creations such as the virtual machine.
The next most natural step to bring in more agility to the data center world is network and storage virtualization. Having all of the data center infrastructure virtualized, and completely managed by software and policies is the next generation vision that market leaders today are moving towards. A software defined data center greatly abstracts complex infrastructure such as the network to make it more user friendly and accessible. It paves the way for the highest goal of modernization, viz. of having the entire ‘IT as a service’.
With the internet becoming the backbone of modern connectivity and the number of devices and applications using this backbone increasing exponentially, it is predicted that the global network will be used to connect over 50 billion nodes by the year 2020, as compared to the 10 billion of connections today. To meet this incredible demand, the most path-breaking of all research in the future will be in the area of software defined networking (SDN). With SDN, network capacity can scale to multitudes of what it is today and applications can utilize that capacity on demand.
Some of the innovations already taking shape in this area are Cisco’s Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) which addresses the ever growing need of having an intelligent network edge and the ‘network anywhere’ capability. With the trends in virtualization accelerating, what will also become important for data centers is the ability to process loads of unstructured real time data and make business sense out of it. Use of big data technologies in data centers is a reality of tomorrow that most data centers are getting geared up for today.