When it comes to the operational and business challenges of IT, is Africa really any different to the UK?

alanbellHaving recently transferred with DELL EMC UK to a new territory covering North, East and West Africa you’d think, quite naturally, that I would see many differences… And, of course you’d be right! The excitement and experience of something completely new is amazing, and I do wonder why I haven’t made the move before.

However, despite the striking cultural and economic differences (and even some similarities – though I still think the UK Government is slower in its decision making processes!), there is one commonality: The challenges that have to be confronted by the IT Operations Department are similar, irrespective of whether one is in the UK or North, East or West Africa.

A prime example of a headache that both regions face is Copy Data Management… Recent reports by Analyst firm IDC suggest that by 2018 the copy data problem will cost IT organisations $50.63 billion (worldwide). The continuing growth in data volumes and the need for businesses to have multiple copies of data (estimated at between 5 and 14 copies for an average enterprise) for production, test and development, backup and archiving environments is without doubt an Operations Department nightmare, whose impact is being felt right across the cost, performance and efficiency KPI’s of an Information Technology Department. Not to mention that this increasing data sprawl exposes a business to additional risk as more data copies are in circulation.

While several approaches exist for Copy Data Management, they all struggle fundamentally with storage sprawl, limited frequency, and complex operations resulting with not enough copies, bloated, handicapped or stale copies, painful creation and compromised business processes.

The Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG) conducted research with 300 database managers and professionals, and what activities that spend most of their time on each week. The results are surprising: Figure 1 shows that 30% spend a significant amount of their time on creating copies. However, this does not end here as testing and quality assurance as well as patching are all tested first on non-production environments.


Figure 1 – Database Management activities taking up most time each week (source: Unisphere research, efficiency isn’t enough: data centers lead the drive to innovation. 2014 IOUG survey)

DELL EMC All Flash Arrays solve this problem by providing high-performance, fresh and free copies with zero overhead using a unique integrated copy data management (iCDM) services.  For example XtremIO Integrated Copy Data Management is the only solution that enables consolidation of primary data and associated copies on the same scale-out all-flash array for high-performance, efficient, instant application copies. DELL EMC AppSync is used to automate and manage application integration and orchestration, and AppSync plugins, scripts and web portals enable self-service capabilities for these copies.

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