Road to Efficiency, Part 1

In the new IT, there are so many buzzwords, especially around cloud services. Where does the cloud actually fit?
Clouds can be private or public, and they can serve traditional “Platform 2” applications as well as new “Platform 3” applications. So let’s look at cloud services from that perspective.
Road to Efficiency 1Of course, some things don’t change regardless of the quadrant of the matrix. We always need to:

  • Protect the data wherever it is
  • Simplify management across environments
  • Get more value out of the data

When talking about the cloud, two important aspects are frequently overlooked:

  1. Private clouds should be as easy to manage and as elastic and flexible as public clouds are
    Private clouds shouldn’t get graded on a curve because they come from traditional IT teams. In that sense, I appreciate

    Road to Efficiency 2

    the urgency that the public cloud revolution has placed on traditional infrastructure providers. It’s time to modernize the solution end to end, not just build a bigger system.

  2. If you move your data to the public cloud, you still need to protect it
    The responsibility for resiliency and access may move to the cloud solution provider, but if data is deleted (inadvertently or intentionally) or corrupted on a logical level (and we know applications never corrupt data, don’t we?), it doesn’t matter on which infrastructure it runs. Furthermore, most businesses typically require more than just the most recent point in time copy of data. Finally, remember that these requirements apply equally to IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS solutions.

What are we building to help with this transition? In the Data Protection Cloud unit of EMC’s Core Technologies Division, we look at four primary items:

  1. Data Tiering to Cloud
    Any data, regardless of whether it sits on primary storage, protection storage, end points or in-cloud should be able to move to and from any cloud. This is very important because it covers all customer data—past, present, and future!
  2. In-Cloud Data and Application Protection
    EMC already has industry-leading on-premises enterprise data protection solutions with NetWorker and Avamar data protection software paired with Data Domain. But we need to be able to protect data that sits in public clouds as well as opaque data that is present within some software-as-a-service solutions. New products such as Spanning Backup by EMC come to life for SaaS application data protection.
  3. Converged File and Protection Services
    Everybody in the industry is talking about converged infrastructure, focusing on different models of consuming on-premises technology. In the cloud, we can converge multiple types of data usage into simplified and unified solution. The cloud can be my authoritative central copy of data while I maintain local caches as I need them for fast access. Suddenly, I don’t have to worry about managing multiple copies; including distribution and replication, I can have all the features I expect from data protection built-in with my primary solution. And of course, that will apply to both public and private clouds. The best part? I don’t have to worry about all of the dedicated physical infrastructure to make that happen. But why stop at converging infrastructure? Converge your production and protection—globally! Can we do this? Stay tuned!
  4. Extend Search, Hold, Discovery Platform
    In the end, we need to enhance the value of the data itself. One way is by providing insight into all data, regardless of whether it resides on-premises or in the cloud, on primary storage or as part of data protection solution. Once we can gather and identify all data, the key is unlocking its value. Global search, hold and discovery are just some of the initial use-cases.

After seeing how far the cloud can take us, now we can map all four of them to the same diagram we’ve used earlier:
Road to efficiency 3

How important is it for IT to adapt to new times and actively seek ways to improve—not just financial efficiency, but in delivering value to the business? Take a look at the following quote. In my mind, nothing can be more true today in the IT world: “The advantage you have yesterday, will be replaced by the trends of tomorrow. You don’t have to do anything wrong, as long as your competitors catch the wave and do it right, you can lose out and fail.” —Stephen Elop, Ex Nokia CEO

About the Author: Valdimir Mandic