Facility Infrastructure Management is the Critical, Missing Pillar of the Software-Defined Data Center

“Over the last decade, hardware, network, and software management norms have been disrupted driving significant technical advancements. In contrast, facility designs and deployments have stayed relatively the same. Most data centers still deploy 1.5-3x the required power and cooling capacity to cover potential outages…They design for the lowest common denominator.” - Dean Nelson, Industry Expert

While the concept of the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) has been around for a decade, it’s served to drive the virtualization and utilization of compute, storage and networking through shared platforms. The missing crucial element is management of the facility’s infrastructure itself. We must enable software to intelligently manage the facilities themselves in order for data centers to achieve maximum efficiency and efficacy in a virtualized ecosystem.

It’s at the facility level where we can use software to make strides in power management. Data centers routinely have approximately 50% of power capacity stranded and unusable, oftentimes forcing the build-out of more data centers. Software-Defined Power (SDP) platforms can reclaim over half of this trapped power, enabling data centers to reuse 30% of power capacity. SDP utilizes machine learning and big data analytics to provide real-time awareness and recommendations, including how, when and where power should be used to better inform the capacity planning process.

By extending the value of virtualization to the electrical power infrastructure, SDP enables large enterprises to unlock stranded capacity and optimize power utilization while reducing cost (lowering $/kW by 50% or more), risk and carbon footprint.

And just as described, reclaiming power at the facility level does not require front-end integration. “Hardware mentality” can marry with software advances to optimize brownfield facilities, as well. As noted by Clark Jeria, VP Product Management, in a previous post, “Power Utilization Strategies Require New Thinking About a Decades Old Challenge – Top Down and Bottoms Up!,” for brownfield facilities with 50% to 80% of their power stranded and unusable, SDP enables reuse of 30% to 60% of the power.

In today’s environment where cloud and on-premise portfolios are depending less and less on physical infrastructure, data center owner/operators need to anticipate a new cost reality and adjust accordingly. In this recent interview at Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC’20) annual meeting, industry luminary, Dean Nelson, describes the new elements that need to be included in the Software-Defined Data Center concept and how operators should take advantage of them to “increase their margins, capacity and resiliency.”


In his report on SDP, Deloitte Consultant, David S. Linthicum observed, “The Software-Defined Data Center, considered by many to be the final step in the evolution of virtualization, ignores the main cause of most application outages: power.”

Software-Defined Power is driving change in how we think about power at the facility level. It’s time for facility infrastructures to reap the many benefits of real-time power utilization in order to intelligently allocate power capacity where and when its needed. Over provisioning power needlessly drives up costs and environmental impact.

The time is now for Software-Defined Power.