eWEEKChat May 14: Software-Defined Everything: Truth or Marketspeak?

On Wednesday, May 14, at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKnews will host an eWEEKChat on "Software-Defined Everything: Truth or Marketspeak?"

On Wednesday, May 14, at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKnews will host its 20th eWEEKChat event. The topic will be "Software-Defined Everything: Truth or Marketspeak?" It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, who serves as eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.

Some quick facts:

Topic: "Software-Defined Everything: Truth or Marketspeak?"

Date/time:May 14, 2014 @11a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. GMT

Hosted by: @eWeekNews
Moderator: Chris Preimesberger: @editingwhiz
Tweetchat handle: Use #eWeekChat to follow/participate in the chat

Chatroom real-time links: We recommend two: http://tweetchat.com/room/eweekchat or http://www.tchat.io/rooms/eweekchat.

eWEEKchat Event news page: http://www.eweek.com/innovation/eweekchat-events/

A lot of IT people—especially marketers—are now describing something called the "software-defined data center." This is indicative of automation at work in virtually every corner of these powerful enterprise nerve centers.

For the last three or four years, we've already seen the fast adoption of software-defined networking, which is all about new intelligence inside routers, controllers and switches and the automation of how and where—and how fast—data flows from node to node.

As hot marketing terms tend to do, the term "software-defined" has spread to other parts of the IT system, namely in software-defined storage, software-defined servers, software-defined security—even software-defined I/O—first brought to market by Xsigo (acquired by Oracle in 2012) in 2007.

Software-defined everything now is coming into play: servers, networking, storage and now data centers. This is merely a marketing term, but it also is indicative of the clear trend toward centralized control in new-generation data centers.

IDC analysts said SDN hardware/software/service revenues driven by sales to enterprises and cloud service providers reached about $360 million in 2013, and are expected to balloon to a whopping $3.7 billion by 2016. Those numbers includes sales of everything SDN-related, from the associated network infrastructure and applications to control plane solutions and professional services.

Established networking vendors such as Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks and Brocade Communications are deeply into the SDN trend, and a host of startups are bringing their solutions to market. At the same time, there has been some consolidation in the industry as larger players—including some with little or no presence in the data center networking space—have bought smaller vendors to augment their SDN capabilities. Those include Big Switch Networks, Adara and Pica8.

For example, VMware in 2012 spent $1.26 billion for SDN startup Nicira, and a week later, Oracle bought Xsigo for an unspecified amount of money. In November 2012, Brocade bolstered its SDN expertise by acquiring SDN startup Vyatta. Cisco Systems has made a number of SDN-related acquisitions.

Talking points in Wednesday's eWEEKchat will include how your company is moving, or planning to move, to an SDN fabric; what network painpoints SDN solves; and why all this automation is clearly the future of the industry.

Some questions we will use include:

--Is software-defined "everything" more of a marketing/positioning play than a real-world solution at this point? How much of an business advantage is this initiative in your mind?

--What types of "software-defined" architecture are you currently using in your IT system? If so, describe.

--How is software-defined networking helping your enterprise improve its business mission?

--What are some differences you see between SDN and say, autonomic (self-healing, patching, maintaining) computing?

--If you are using software-defined networking, storage or servers, what issues did you encounter with utilizing legacy hardware?

--True or false: Not all enterprises will need high-end software-defined IT architectures. However, companies that automate IT will eventually be the ones in the driver's seat.

Join us on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. GMT. It should be well worth your time.