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Software Defined Data Center

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

Data centers spring up regularly in North America and software defined data centers are slowly beginning to follow. In this lesson, we'll take a look at data centers, and their cousins, the software define data center.

Behind the Magic

Have you ever wondered what drives the engine behind Google's search capability? You know, that magic Google has that allows you to answer your most intimate questions about the meaning of the universe. Or the power behind Amazon's web store, and their Amazon Web Services (AWS) offerings? Well, you can bet it isn't magic. There is a honking big computer farm behind each of these capabilities. Sometimes, it's even multiple farms, each focused on specific geographic areas. But whatever it is, you can bet that it's significant. How else would they be able to service so many people across the world in a timely fashion?

What is a Data Center?

Each of these computer farms is known as a data center. It is a facility that houses the computer hardware used to make the magic happen. It is made up of thousands, or even tens of thousands, of CPU's and associated devices such as storage (hard disk space), and communications devices. It is physical, meaning that the pieces described actually exist. You can walk up to them and touch them. And they provide the basis for all offerings provided by the companies that use them.

In the old days (pre-1990), data centers were based on mainframe technology. The idea here is that one big central honking computer does everything. This worked, but the computer was expensive, and became a single point of failure. As you might imagine, this caused many problems over the years. As mentioned, data centers now-a-days are based on multi-computer technology. In this approach, many computers are networked together to provide the needed capabilities. Ultimately, this approach is cheaper, and removes the possibility of a single point of failure.

What is a Software Defined Data Center?

A software defined data center sits on top of a regular data center. It is a facility where processing power, storage, networking, and security are virtualized, meaning that they don't actually exist in a physical fashion. They exist through the use of software, and are provided as a set of services. Amazon's AWS, and Microsoft's Azure are significant examples, but there are others. Regardless of who provides them, they offer meaningful capabilities, for acceptable prices.

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