Not everyone is creating a software defined data centre (SDDC)

You’ll read lots of blogs and white papers about the Software Define Data Centre, or SDDC. This is a good thing, in the future SDDC may be coming to a data center near you. However, this wasn’t always the case. In the good old days, we used to have an infrastructure strategy that leant itself to plenty of hardware, electricity and heat. And when I talk about the good old days, what I really mean is almost yesterday.

But that philosophy has not disappeared. There’s still plenty of old kit, sitting in data centres around the world, that is still being used today. Sometimes it’s been there for the last two decades (possibly longer) and although it’s no longer supported by either the hardware or software vendor, it’s still a business critical application.

And that’s the rub. It’s all fine and dandy for someone like me, or you, to come along and evangelise the benefits of Cloud and Virtualisation. But it’s of little benefit when there’s no chance of any support from the Line of Business application vendor, or worse, an application written in house that’s had little in the way of maintenance in the last 15 years.

The most recent example of this was in a UK Government department, where a critical application needed to be retained for archival purposes. It had decades of payment and medical history details on the aged server, running Windows NT4.0 that was required for pension calculations. However, the web server had died sometime ago and the app/database server was now liviing on borrowed time and borrowed parts,  perpetually patched up with parts from another donor server that was parked in the corner of the room. The kicker to this was that the staff turned off the server every night and prayed every morning that it would come back on. When it did, it always had the same date, January 1st 1601…

You’d think they’d be keen as mustard to virtualise this application and get it off the precarious old server, but they wouldn’t even entertain the idea.

As far as I know, it’s still running. As for SDDC, they wouldn’t touch it with the proverbial barge pole…

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