At the recent VMworld 2019, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger detailed a vision for the software-defined datacenter (SDDC) leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate compute, storage, network and security. At a high level, VMware envision a “self-driving datacenter,” a highly adaptive and autonomous environment that is perfectly optimized for the dynamic and fluid business applications so intrinsic to operations in today’s datacenters.
This thinking aligns with our view of how power distribution in datacenters can be improved through AI and predictive analytics to optimize energy utilization. In fact, this time last year, VPS announced industry-first integration of our Intelligent Control of Energy (ICE) platform with VMware vCenter to automate IT workload migration based on power availability.
VMware’s role in optimizing datacenter performance is indisputable, which is why I’m eagerly following details of Gelsinger’s long-range plan, called Project Magna. While initial implications of the initiative are centered on hyperconverged infrastructure, such as VMware’s vSAN, Project Magna’s ultimate goal is to put the SDDC on autopilot, literally and emphatically. Through a roster of cloud services, datacenters will be able to self-initiate, -secure, -tune, -heal, -escalate and -explain, resulting in “hands free” operation that manages itself but will call for help if needed.
All the capabilities VMware is accomplishing with server virtualization define the first pillar of the SDDC. At the same time, virtualization advancements are being made in the second and third pillars–storage and network—led by companies such as Dell EMC and Nicira, respectively. It’s no coincidence that the latter was acquired by VMware (in 2012) when the reality of the SDDC was but an optimist’s dream.
Even with all the good work on the compute, storage, networking and security fronts, the finish line in the race for the fully realized SDDC cannot be crossed until the fourth and final pillar, which is power, is in place. As the creator of Software Defined Power (SDP), VPS remains on course at full speed to deliver what will enable datacenters to reduce stranded power, wasteful over-provisioning and rack sprawl while increasing rack density and rack power capacity.
No matter which pillar is addressed, participants on the SDDC course share a raison d’etre that focuses on the following:
- Reducing capex and opex
- Minimizing or eliminating downtime
- Boosting efficiency, agility and responsiveness
- Simplifying facilities management
In step with VMware’s approach to server virtualization, VPS’ SDP offerings are hardware- and vendor-agnostic. Of critical importance, VPS delivers power-aware workload orchestration, which increases reliability and availability of mission-critical workloads while increasing overall datacenter power utilization. (To view a video, click here.)
We applaud VMware for its unwavering software virtualization vision. If questions remain about the future of the datacenter, the answers most likely can be found in software. Remember, only a true software provider can bridge all the various hardware silos and do it in a “safe to buy” way that does not create or perpetuate vendor lock-in.