Many companies trying to take advantage of cloud computing are embracing the moniker of the “Software Defined Data Center” as one way to understand and communicate the benefits of moving towards an infrastructure resource utility model. VMware has taken on the term SDDC to mean doing everything in your data center with software and not requiring any custom hardware. Other companies sell “software-defined” products which do require particular hardware for various reasons but the functionality can be programmatically controlled and requested all in software. Whether your definition of “software-defined” mandates hardware or not the general premise (nothing to do with premises!) is being able to deliver and scale IT resources programmatically.
This is great but I think SDDC is just a stepping stone to what we are really trying to achieve which is the “Policy Defined Data Center”.
Once you can deliver IT resources in software, the next step is ensuring those IT resources are following your business rules and processes, what you would probably call business intelligence policy enforcement. These are the things that your business asks of IT partly for regulatory reasons like data retention and storing credit cards securely but also encompasses a huge amount of what you do in IT.
Here are a few examples of what kinds of policies may you have:
- Users need to change their passwords every 30 days.
- Local admin access to servers is strictly controlled by AD groups.
- Developers cannot have access to production systems.
- You can only RDP to servers over a management connection.
- Critical services need to be replicated to a DR site, some synchronously, others not.
- Production servers need to get priority over test and development servers.
- Web server connections need to be secured with SSL.
- SQL Server storage needs to have higher priority over say print servers.
- Oracle VMs need to run on particular hosts for licensing considerations.
- Load balanced web servers need to sit in different blade chassis in different racks.
- Your trading application needs to have maximum x latency and minimum y IOPS
- Your widget application needs to be recoverable within an hour and no be more than 2 hours out of date.
- Your credit card database storage needs to be encrypted
- All production servers need to be backed up, some need to be kept for 7 years.