Guest Blog: Five Tips for Smooth Migration to an SDDC
While there is little doubt that moving to a software defined data center is a good move, some companies are putting off the inevitable because of the stress and complexity they expect it to cause. In many cases, it’s true—it involves changing technologies, at least partially; having to share resources in a way that crosses divisions; and the learning curve for new processes can definitely cause stress for both business stakeholders and the IT staff.
With a some knowledge and perhaps a little help, it’s definitely doable. Here are some tips for a smooth migration:
1. Consider the goals of the organization as a whole. This is always the best first step before any sort of technology or process shift. Does the business plan on growing geographically or into new areas? Are you considering outsourcing your IT? Is your business subject to specific security or compliance rules? All of these issues are critical to how you approach the software defined data center.
2. Think through the steps it will take to take you to your end goal. If your current data center has very little virtualization, it will clearly take more effort to reach the end state than if some parts of the data center already include some converged or hyperconverged architectures. Most data centers are already at least partially virtualized. “It’s usually an evolution, not a forklift upgrade,” says Dan Conde, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. If time is an issue or there isn’t enough qualified IT staff to migrate the system, consider using a validated design or reference architecture. This approach explains exactly what is required to build a software defined data center and leads the IT organization through the process step by step.
3. Decide whether you want or need to retain existing applications and technologies, or whether you want to start fresh with new applications and technologies that work well with the software defined data center. Sometimes, there isn’t much choice. For example, if the company operates in a specialized industry and has had to heavily customize their CRM or ERP system, it may not make sense to let it go. In that case, it pays to consult with an expert about what it will take to truly integrate those legacy applications into the SDDC environment.
4. Start small. Although it may be tempting to transform everything in one fell swoop, resist the urge. Instead, try a pilot with one service. If that works well, expand slowly.
5. Don’t forget the impact of this change on personnel. “You can’t just take this technology and drop it on them,” Conde says. In most companies, for example, each department and function works separately, and each maintains control over their own technology resources. That structure doesn’t work with the software defined data center, which instead uses a model in which everyone shares resources. That’s a big culture shift, and one that should be fully explained and documented, Conde says.
For more information on the Software-Defined Data Center please visit http://www.vmware.com/software-defined-datacenter/index.html