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Toigo: What are software-defined data centers?

Vendors have positioned software-defined technologies as a way to outsource some of their customers' IT functions. But for analyst Jon Toigo , it has also become an area of consternation at times as non-technical management weighs in on IT best practices.

"It's become a thorn in the side of anyone doing IT at a corporation right now that they are constantly second-guessed by people who don't know technology," Toigo said to his Storage Decisions audience.

He said some have called software-defined data centers the "undiscovered country" of IT, but many of the concepts -- such as virtualized infrastructure, infrastructure as a service, software as a service, compute cloud and others -- are essentially recasting the same basic concepts.

"These were models intended to facilitate multi-tenant outsourcing," said Toigo. "Google, Amazon Web Services and others could offer you -- as a service -- your data center."

He noted that since many of these services arose during the economic downturns of the early 2000s, companies considered outsourcing IT as a way to save money. Toigo said this led to management second-guessing their IT staff.

"Whenever there's a recession … there tends to be an interest in companies to re-examine the role of IT and whether they want to budget money to IT in their own company [asking], 'Is IT really a core competency? Or can I outsource that to somebody else,'" said Toigo.

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