Software-defined data center (virtual data center, VDC) is a marketing term that extends virtualization concepts such as abstraction, pooling, and automation to all data center resources and services to achieve IT as a service (ITaaS). In a software-defined data center, "all elements of the infrastructure — networking, storage, CPU and security – are virtualized and delivered as a service."While ITaaS may represent an outcome of SDDC, SDDC is differently cast toward integrators and datacenter builders rather than toward tenants. Software awareness in the infrastructure is not visible to tenants.
SDDC support can be claimed by a wide variety of approaches. Critics see the software-defined data center as a marketing tool and "software-defined hype," noting this variability.
An analyst projected that at least some software-defined data center components would experience market growth. The software-defined networking market is expected to be valued at about USD $3.7 billion by 2016, compared to USD $360 million in 2013. IDC estimates that the software-defined storage market is poised to expand faster than any other storage market.