Elisabeth Stahl on Benchmarking and IT Optimization

With Manatees and SDE, Optimizing the Environment

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Last week I had the opportunity to be in the warmest place on earth — for manatees that is. About 30 miles outside of Tampa, Florida, is the Manatee Viewing Center. It is actually part of a power plant which is why when it’s so so cold outside it is so so popular with manatees. When Tampa Bay reaches 68 degrees or colder, the mammals seek out a canal by the power plant filled with warm saltwater. This area is now a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary that provides critical protection from the cold for manatees.

At the Manatee Viewing Center, everywhere you go is manatees. On the day I went, you could see hundreds of manatees in the water, sucking on barnacles and soaking up the sun. Manatees are everywhere. Pictures of manatees at the entrance, manatee billboards to take your picture with, plastic manatees near the picnic tables. A manatee Instagram extravaganza. And of course, as a sucker for cute gift shops, I came home with manatee postcards, a manatee key chain, manatee pajama shorts and an awesome manatee sun dress.

The Manatee Environment got me to thinking about some terminology we are using a lot these days in IT — Software Defined Environment.


The Internet of Things is changing the way businesses interact, engage and transact with consumers. These new-age interactions have to be supported by up-to-the-minute, programmable infrastructure. This movement from static, legacy infrastructure to infrastructure-on-demand is software defined environment.

A Software Defined Environment (SDE) optimizes the entire computing infrastructure — compute, storage and network resources — so that it can adapt to the type of work required.

In today’s environment, resources are assigned manually to workloads; that happens automatically in an SDE. In an SDE, workloads are dynamically assigned to IT resources based on application characteristics, best-available resources, and service level policies to deliver continuous, dynamic optimization.

Integration, automation and optimization. And those are enablers to some of our most important IT applications today: Cloud delivery and Big Data analytics. SDE basically has the capability to accelerate business success by integrating these workloads and resources so you have a responsive, adaptive environment.

So SDE really is an end-to-end view comprised of Compute (SDC), Storage (SDS), and Network (SDN). SDE totally brings to life the old Service Level Agreement (SLA) concept we know and love — and puts it on steroids.

SDE is not achieved overnight but is built over time. The three phases or levels of SDE that are essentially our goals to achieve are:

  • 1. Open virtualization of resources across domains
  • 2. Policy-based optimization and elastic scaling
  • 3. Application-aware infrastructure

Patterns, which are best practice connections between applications and service levels, determine policies for workloads. These policies focus on many non-functional requirements including performance and security. For instance, you could have a silver level policy or SLA that employs PowerVM, Storwize, and certain switches. Or z/VM, SmartCloud, GPFS, OpenFlow . . . And this policy could easily and automatically change based on application or compute, storage, or network changes. Because of this holistic focus, IBM is uniquely able to assist with SDE hardware, software, and services.

SDE is a mosaic of technologies that outlines an emerging data center operating model; one that is increasingly at the core of creating a successful and sustainable cloud service business model.

Like the manatees automatically seeking out the warm waters, with SDE we can automatically achieve the best for our workloads.

Ultimately, for all of us, it’s all about optimization. Of whatever environment we’re in.


The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or IBM management.

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Written by benchmarkingblog

January 29, 2014 at 9:44 am

Posted in SDE

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