In this article

As organizations strive to become more agile to keep pace with increasing business demands, many IT departments are turning to software-defined data centers (SDDC) to accelerate the delivery of consistent data center services. The widespread appeal of SDDC comes from its ability to offer greater flexibility, cost efficiency, speed and consistency compared to traditional IT infrastructure.

WWT has partnered with many organizations on their journey to SDDC. And like with any major technology transformation, we can guide you past any obstacles that arise along the way. To help organizations better prepare for SDDC, we've compiled the six most common challenges and how to address them.

1. Breaking down silos

Traditional IT infrastructure typically consists of several siloed teams. When switching to SDDC, a main benefit is the streamlined processes that result from combining and virtualizing network, compute and storage. Organizations must be willing to break down silos among teams and redefine roles to successfully work together in their new infrastructure. While it often requires executive sponsorship to implement the necessary large-scale organizational changes required to successfully remove these barriers, it's worth pursuing.

2. Establishing appropriate objectives

When helping organizations implement SDDC, we often encounter the assumption that SDDC alone will deliver a Private Cloud. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings when it comes to establishing appropriate objectives for SDDC. SDDC is not equivalent to Private Cloud — it simply enables Private Cloud.

Here's an analogy to help describe this relationship. Just like anyone can buy the supplies needed to create a piece of artwork (e.g., paint, brushes, canvas, easel, etc.), anyone can buy the right SDDC components. But just like owning the right art supplies doesn't mean you now have a Picasso hanging in your living room, procuring the components of SDDC doesn't mean you now have a private cloud. SDDC is one step toward achieving a Private Cloud, but it's not the only step. This concept is important to understand if we're to set appropriate objectives.

In addition to enabling private cloud, SDDC can also help organizations optimize their data centers and support modern applications.

3. Prioritizing the software platform

The first step in implementing SDDC is — surprise! — choosing the right software platform for your organization. Then you can build your entire infrastructure around that platform. While it's common for organizations to start by choosing a hardware solution first, doing so can create limitations later on in the SDDC journey. Bottom line: start with the software platform and build out from there.

4. Understanding SDDC cost savings

SDDC can reduce costs over time due to faster speeds and greater consistency. But oftentimes organizations expect to experience immediate savings, like those associated with a Public Cloud migration. Whereas public cloud can deliver initial savings with potential cost increases over time, SDDC requires significant upfront costs but delivers greater long-term savings. Understanding how and when SDDC reduces costs can ensure your organization sets realistic financial expectations.

5. Treating SDDC as a greenfield environment 

Whether an organization is solely implementing SDDC or developing a full Private Cloud, both must be treated as a greenfield environment. A common tendency is to try to convert the existing architecture to fit into SDDC or Private Cloud. Our experts recommend building the SDDC or private cloud as a new environment in a corner of the data center and allowing it to grow over time. Remember, this transformation should be viewed as a fresh start with minimal workload migration.

6. Adapting to the rapid pace of Private Cloud

When switching to SDDC or Private Cloud, organizations should make certain to consider both technology changes and IT operational changes. IT must be able to react quickly to accommodate infrastructure needs, as users can consume resources on demand. It's crucial for IT to forecast potential problems and shortages and have a plan in place to address these issues when they inevitably happen. This is a significant shift from the slower pace of traditional IT infrastructure, with its standard ticket requests and lengthier timelines. Taking time to ensure your IT staff is well equipped will make for a smooth transition.

Start preparing for your SDDC implementation

As outlined above, there are many challenges and misconceptions to address when transitioning to SDDC or Private Cloud. Our team of experts is here to help every step of the way — from planning and designing through implementation and more. Get started today by requesting a VMware Cloud Foundation Briefing to learn how this SDDC solution deployed on Dell's VxRail can help you reach your organization's goals.