Having attended both Cisco Live 2015 in June and the VMworld 2015 conference this past week, the message has been loud and clear: We at the cusp of a major transition. Data centers will look and function much differently in the next few years. As IT Professionals, the best career move we can make is to stay on top of the transition, be agile, as well as be willing to learn new technologies outside of our comfort zone. 

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is one step in the evolution of the data center. Many manufacturers have packaged the SDN solution and all require a robust underlay or physical network – preferably in a leaf-spine architecture. Often the decision of which SDN solution you choose will be dictated by previous IT decisions. For example, if you use only vSphere, then NSX may be the best fit. If you’re using multiple hypervisors, then ACI might be the logical choice.

Regardless of which SDN manufacturer you choose, moving to an SDN environment will get you to a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). We’ve virtualized servers and storage for some time and the network has always been the bottleneck to quick – and agile – IT in the data center. SDN now allows IT professionals to realize a complete SDDC. We can now reach the end goal of bringing Google or Amazon-style self-service IT to the corporate data center by layering on orchestration software.

The application is at the forefront of the data center. IT professionals can no longer work in silos, so the server, storage and network teams must come together and understand applications. And, after attending numerous breakout sessions and walking the show floor at VMworld, the number one word mentioned was, you guessed it: applications.

I challenge you to stay on top of this transition; it’s a great time to make your mark.

For more on trending topics at VMworld 2015, check out coverage by BizTech Magazine’s own Ricky Ribeiro.

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