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Marching Orders 2016: The Year of Software-Defined XYZ

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. For this entry, we invited Keith Ward, founding editor of RCP sister publication Virtualization Review magazine, to weigh in on top trends in virtualization.

When I helped found Virtualization Review magazine in 2008, server virtualization still had that new-car smell. Many companies were dipping a toe into the technology, but few had jumped into the deep end of the pool. Caution was the word of the day; virtualization was so disruptive that companies were wise to take it slow.

Today, of course, server virtualization is standard in almost any company of any size. It's now just plumbing: Leave it alone and only take a peek when something goes wrong.

In 2016, software-defined xyz is what server virtualization was in 2008. IT admins and developers know what it is, have read about it, and have likely done some testing with it. They're hesitant to dive into the deep end, too, because it is also disruptive. But it's time to implement software-defined technology for your customers to help them get the big benefits that come with it.

Two areas to start with: software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined storage (SDS). They have some of the biggest immediate benefits for the typical company, in terms of increasing efficiency and moving to the cloud. Are they complex? You betcha. Do the positives outweigh that negative? Most certainly.

Also look at what VMware is doing in moving companies to the ultimate software-defined goal, the software-defined datacenter (SDDC). It's one of VMware's chief focus areas, and with good reason; as the virtualization leader, it knows that server virtualization is at (or nearing) the saturation point, and it needs new revenue streams.

It's more than financial, though: VMware also recognizes that for companies to truly embrace the future, software-defined technologies have to be part of it.

That goes for you, too.

More Marching Orders 2016:

Posted by Keith Ward on January 07, 2016 at 10:46 AM


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