The next IT platform: CIOs go ‘software defined’

Eugene Wolf, Managing Director at Logicalis SMC, looks at further results from the Optimal Services Study 2014, which confirms CIOs will move to adopt software defined technologies (SDx), as part of a ‘service-defined’ transformation – but faster than anyone imagined.

This blog has covered ‘software defined technologies’ – from here on referred to simply as SDx – a great deal over the last 12 months. Quite simply that’s because many of my colleagues and I are rather excited about its transformational potential – it’s potential to accelerate corporate IT’s now inevitable shift onto what IDC refers to as the ‘Third Platform’.

In more everyday terms, corporate IT infrastructure is moving away from a technology defined reality - one in which IT departments hold the purse strings, buy the technology, manage and maintain it. Instead, IT departments, as pointed out in a recent post here, are rapidly transforming themselves into internal service providers, with roles much more focused on IT services management and service integration.

In short, IT departments will do less buying in future, and will instead focus on developing, maintaining and integrating a service portfolio designed to meet the needs of the business, and shaped by demands from line of business colleagues.

What does this all have to do with SDx, you may well ask? In simple terms, SDx has the potential to transform networks and data centres into dynamic service platforms. Their policy driven programmability is crucial to this, making it easier for internal service providers to respond to business demand for agile IT whilst reducing the costs of managing ever more complex operating environments.

It seems this has not passed IT leaders by - they see SDx as vital to a service-defined transformation of enterprise IT. According to the latest Optimal Services Study more than three quarters (83%) plan to make software defined solutions part of their wider ICT strategies:

  • Almost two thirds (61%) expect software-defined solutions (SDx) to impact their IT services and delivery strategies over the next three years
  • A third (34%) expect that to happen in the next two years
  • 10% expect to engage with SDx in the next 12 months.

In truth, these findings are no great surprise to me. They are entirely in keeping with CIOs’ priorities, as they strive to re-invent IT departments as service brokers and internal service providers. I have a feeling, however that the speed at which many CIOs see SDx becoming an investment priority may well come as a surprise to many in the wider market.

Tags SDx, Software Defined Networking, SDN