Chung Sheng Li
Chung Sheng Li 
Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM

Software Defined Environment


Two phenomena are happening simultaneously during the past few years: Enterprises are increasingly aggressive in moving mission critical and performance sensitive applications to the cloud. In addition, many new mobile, social and analytics applications are directly developed and operated on the cloud. These two phenomenon drove the shift of the value proposition of cloud computing from cost reduction to simultaneous agility and optimization. These requirements (agility and optimization) drove the recent disruptive trend on software defined computing where the entire computing infrastructure – compute, storage and network – are becoming software defined and dynamically programmable. 

Software defined environment originated from the compute environment where the computing resources are virtualized and managed as virtual machines or containers (including bare metal containers). Software defined network (SDN) moves the network control plane away from the switch to the software running on server for improved programmability, efficiency and extensibility. Software define storage, similar to software defined network, separates the control plane from the data plane of a storage and dynamically leverages heterogeneity of storage to respond to changing workload demands. Software defined environment brings together software defined compute, network and storage and unifies the control planes from each individual software defined component.  Unified control planes allow rich resource abstractions to enable assembling purpose fit systems and/or providing programmable infrastructures to enable dynamic optimization in response to business requirements.   The key elements within software defined environment include capability based resource abstraction, policy based workload abstraction, and outcome based continuous mapping of the workload to the resources. The logical abstraction of the software defined infrastructure (that includes compute, storage, and network) for the available resources in compute, storage and network across one or more data centers.  The available resources can be potentially extended by using hybrid cloud (or cloud broker) technologies to include multiple private and public clouds. This logical model of software defined infrastructure includes pools of computing and storage resources interconnected by networking resources. This abstraction of the data center enables the equivalent of Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) at the data center or multi- data center levels.   

In this talk, we will discuss the key ingredients of this disruptive trend on software defined computing, and illustrate the potential benefit in the context of mobile, analytics, and managed service environment. 


Chung-Sheng Li is currently the director of the Commercial Systems Department.  He has been with IBM T.J. Watson Research Center since May 1990.
His research interests include cloud computing, security and compliance, digital library and multimedia databases, knowledge discovery and data mining, and data center networking. He has authored or coauthored more than 130 journal and conference papers and received the best paper award from IEEE Transactions on Multimedia in 2003. He is both a member of IBM Academy of Technology and a Fellow of the IEEE.
He has initiated and coinitiated several research programs in IBM on fast tunable receiver for all-optical networks, content-based retrieval in the compressed domain for large image/video databases, federated digital libraries, and bio-surveillance.
He received BSEE from National Taiwan University, Taiwan, R.O.C., in 1984, and the MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989 and 1991, respectively.