This paper introduces five architectural principles guiding the development of the next generation data center (NGDC). It describes key market influences leading a fundamental enterprise IT transformation and the technological trends that support it. The five principles are: scale-out, guaranteed performance, automated management, data assurance, and global efficiencies. Cloud infrastructure delivery models such as IaaS, private clouds, and software-defined data centers (SDDC) are foundations for the NGDC. In an era where IT is expected to ensure productiongrade support with a plethoric flow of new applications and data, these models demonstrate how to eliminate bottlenecks, increase self-service, and move the business forward. The NGDC applies a software-defined everything (SDx) discipline in a traditional, hardware-centric business to gain business advantage.