About Howard Rubin

My name is Howard and I’m a marketing guy. There I said it! Admitting to it is the first step right? Truth be known, I started “life” as a phone support guy then got promoted to Sales Engineer due to my good looks. That role dragged on far too long. Hanging out in data centers at 3am installing and troubleshooting ATM and Frame Relay gear got old; just like that technology. When I’m not marketing tech stuff, I’m either playing with my own tech gear at home or travelling to some exotic destination with my incredible wife, Mary. Fifty/Fifty chance it’s a shopping or exotic beach destination next time you get my out-of-office message.

Backup as a Service: The On-Ramp to Cloud Services

Howard Rubin

Howard Rubin

Consultant Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division
My name is Howard and I’m a marketing guy. There I said it! Admitting to it is the first step right? Truth be known, I started “life” as a phone support guy then got promoted to Sales Engineer due to my good looks. That role dragged on far too long. Hanging out in data centers at 3am installing and troubleshooting ATM and Frame Relay gear got old; just like that technology. When I’m not marketing tech stuff, I’m either playing with my own tech gear at home or travelling to some exotic destination with my incredible wife, Mary. Fifty/Fifty chance it’s a shopping or exotic beach destination next time you get my out-of-office message.

In a recently published white paper by IDC, Program Vice President, Laura DuBois outlines and reviews the challenges IT departments are having with meeting the data backup SLAs required by the business.   Laura discusses how cloud services can fundamentally change the cost model around backup and how enterprises are leveraging these new backup-as-a-service (BaaS) offerings as a means of outsourcing nonstrategic tasks.

For enterprise IT shops considering offloading backup, IDC provides great reading and advice in choosing the right service provider (see EMC’s Velocity Service Provider) and the most appropriate service offering based on your business needs.  If you’re an EMC Velocity Service Provider, not currently offering BaaS services, Laura provides guidance about the different BaaS deployment models and what approach makes the most sense based on current and future service offerings.

Check out the IDC White Paper titled: Backup as a Service:  Approaches and Advantages for Service Providers and End Users.  It’s a great read and offers some good advice.

Cloudy with Restricted Visibility

Howard Rubin

Howard Rubin

Consultant Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division
My name is Howard and I’m a marketing guy. There I said it! Admitting to it is the first step right? Truth be known, I started “life” as a phone support guy then got promoted to Sales Engineer due to my good looks. That role dragged on far too long. Hanging out in data centers at 3am installing and troubleshooting ATM and Frame Relay gear got old; just like that technology. When I’m not marketing tech stuff, I’m either playing with my own tech gear at home or travelling to some exotic destination with my incredible wife, Mary. Fifty/Fifty chance it’s a shopping or exotic beach destination next time you get my out-of-office message.

In my blog Cloud Control to Major Tom I talked about the top five reasons enterprises don’t leverage cloud technology. This month I want to focus on the first bullet on that list: data privacy concerns.  While many people consider this as a top inhibitor to cloud adoption, the reality is that most businesses are already using cloud technology for critical business operations. Think about it.  Is your company payroll managed and serviced by ADP? Does your sales organization leverage the power and analytics of Salesforce.com? Is your MS Exchange server or other business application running at service providers like SunGard or Xerox .  If you said “yes” to any of these questions then you’re already utilizing and realizing the benefits of secure cloud technology.

Don’t feel bad if you answered yes and didn’t already know where you are data was living. In a recent study by Wakefield Research, 54% of Americans claim to never use cloud computing. However, 95% of this group actually does use the cloud and just never equated the applications and cloud technology together.   For the cloud and application providers, on the other hand, data security and privacy have always been the number one priority. That’s because in most public or hybrid cloud deployments, the cloud infrastructure (hardware and software) is a shared or “multi-tenant” approach.  Remember, cloud infrastructure that is sold in a utility-based cloud pricing model typically becomes economically feasible when a service provider can “divide up” hardware and software across several paying customers.  Multiple customers could be running their backups on the same Avamar storage grid or Exchange instance on the same server running a different virtual machine.  As you would imagine, customers sharing any of the cloud infrastructure will never know about any other customer using the same hardware or software applications. And that’s exactly the number one priority for any cloud provider – 100% data privacy.

If I haven’t convinced you by now that cloud security is not just good, but is very good, and ready for prime time in any large enterprise, then I recommend you check out some of the industry initiatives.  The global RSA Conferences starting the week of February 25th, 2013 has several sessions on Cloud Security.  There are also industry cloud organizations such as The Cloud Security Alliance driving standards and are even certifying cloud providers with a STAR registry (Security, Trust & Assurance).  All of these industry initiatives are forecasting a much better cloud-filled outlook so check them out.

Cloud vs. Evil

Howard Rubin

Howard Rubin

Consultant Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division
My name is Howard and I’m a marketing guy. There I said it! Admitting to it is the first step right? Truth be known, I started “life” as a phone support guy then got promoted to Sales Engineer due to my good looks. That role dragged on far too long. Hanging out in data centers at 3am installing and troubleshooting ATM and Frame Relay gear got old; just like that technology. When I’m not marketing tech stuff, I’m either playing with my own tech gear at home or travelling to some exotic destination with my incredible wife, Mary. Fifty/Fifty chance it’s a shopping or exotic beach destination next time you get my out-of-office message.

By Howard Rubin, Product Marketing Manager, Backup and Recovery Systems

My blog last month entitled Cloud Control to Major Tom talked about the top five reasons enterprise don’t leverage cloud technology.  I focused on one specific reason pertaining to loss of control and visibility as being one of the top five.  This week I’d like to focus on another bullet on that top 5 list:  The belief that cloud computing needs to mature more.  In a publicly available report by Enterprise Strategy Group, 29% of the 256 respondents in their study noted this to be the reason for them not to adopt a cloud strategy.

       Courtesy ISACA.ORG

So exactly what does “mature” mean in this use case?  Are these IT departments waiting for some other IT division or data center location to be the guinea pig?  Perhaps “mature” means they’re waiting for next generation of software and hardware technology that improves upon the imperfections of the current version.   Or maybe they’re just waiting for the cloud providers and market analysts to report double and triple digit growth numbers.  Why make trillions when we could make….billions? But I digress….

The reality is that enterprises are levering cloud technology today to help alleviate their IT pain points.  And those pain points are convincing them to spend to the tune of $110.8 billion on cloud services in 2012 according to a recent Gartner report.   (Dr. Evil might be on to something).

At a high level, let’s take a look at another (top 5) list of reasons why enterprises are looking to leverage cloud service providers for some existing IT processes.   The list includes:

  • Technology infrastructure issues: Can’t afford new hardware or upgrades every year
  • Datacenter issues: Space, cooling, power or remote disaster recovery site
  • Financial issues: CAPEX to OPEX conversion
  • Personnel resource issues: Limited/reduced headcount or technical competence
  • Legal compliance: Support for regulatory and auditing compliances required by the business

So what constitutes market maturity for you?  Why wait for trillion’s when you can solve your pain points today when the industry is already over 100 billion?  Check out EMC’s Velocity Service Providers Trusted Partners who can help adopt a cloud strategy.  You’ll only need one VSPP partner to take that one first step – not a billion.

Cloud Control to Major Tom

Howard Rubin

Howard Rubin

Consultant Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division
My name is Howard and I’m a marketing guy. There I said it! Admitting to it is the first step right? Truth be known, I started “life” as a phone support guy then got promoted to Sales Engineer due to my good looks. That role dragged on far too long. Hanging out in data centers at 3am installing and troubleshooting ATM and Frame Relay gear got old; just like that technology. When I’m not marketing tech stuff, I’m either playing with my own tech gear at home or travelling to some exotic destination with my incredible wife, Mary. Fifty/Fifty chance it’s a shopping or exotic beach destination next time you get my out-of-office message.

By Howard Rubin, Product Marketing Manager, Backup and Recovery Systems

For any enterprise to consider the outsourcing of IT operations to the cloud, the organizational and operational benefits have to be financially vetted. Handing over long-standing IT business practices can cause angst and concern all the way up the IT food chain. Some of the most cited reasons that organizations shy away from public cloud adoption include:

  • Data privacy concerns
  • Belief that cloud computing needs to mature more
  • Performance concerns
  • Regulatory or compliance concerns
  • Loss of control and visibility

The last bullet, loss of control and visibility, is key to helping alleviate the concern with cloud computing.  With the right service portal features, proper education, and customer validations, cloud service providers can overcome the real and the perceived barriers.   A common method of initiating cloud computing for organizations that have concerns is by using it to augment their existing computing environments.  Enterprises may start by offloading certain applications to an as-a-service (aaS) model (such as Backup as a service), or by experimenting with adding compute or storage capacity in the cloud instead of buying additional on-site equipment.  When delivered along with impactful financial reporting and a user-friendly self-service portal, IT organizations will likely attain a comfort level before committing wholeheartedly to a larger cloud-based deployment.

What are your cloud hesitations or misgivings?  Is your data too big to backup?  What will it take for you to move part or all of your process to the cloud?  Team up with an EMC trusted cloud partner and take control of your journey.

I Got Sunshine On A Cloudy Day

Howard Rubin

Howard Rubin

Consultant Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division
My name is Howard and I’m a marketing guy. There I said it! Admitting to it is the first step right? Truth be known, I started “life” as a phone support guy then got promoted to Sales Engineer due to my good looks. That role dragged on far too long. Hanging out in data centers at 3am installing and troubleshooting ATM and Frame Relay gear got old; just like that technology. When I’m not marketing tech stuff, I’m either playing with my own tech gear at home or travelling to some exotic destination with my incredible wife, Mary. Fifty/Fifty chance it’s a shopping or exotic beach destination next time you get my out-of-office message.

By Howard Rubin, Product Marketing Manager, Backup and Recovery Systems

Sunshine on a cloudy day

How appropriate a title this is for my blog!  I planned to work at home today to focus on writing this blog about backup to the cloud.  As I look out my window, I see a sky full of clouds, yet sunshine reflects down onto the start of the colorful fall foliage in my yard.   After a quick step out my front door I immediately gaze up to the sun and cloudy skies and notice that everything appears black and white.  I think to myself, how ironic this is, because nothing about moving IT resources, business practices or applications to the cloud really is a black and white decision.

Enterprise IT departments today are dealing with the explosion of Big Data on many levels.  Along with this explosion come the challenges of having to backup and quickly restore that data, should a failure occur.  According to a Forrester Research report, if your organization is like most, you’re probably dealing with IT budget issuesAlmost three-quarters of IT budgets – 73% on average – goes to maintain existing legacy systems, both infrastructure and applications–only 27% is spent helping advance the company to be more competitive, become more intimate with its customers, and gain a competitive advantage.  Combine that with a projected data deluge of 44X this decade and it’s obvious that this situation is putting a strain on backup windows, storage costs and management.

Hiring isn’t an option either.  According to a survey done by Enterprise Strategy Group last year, almost half of IT enterprise organizations expect flat growth of IT budgets while data continues to grow.  These IT departments need to figure out how to do even more with less.  And even worse, according to this same ESG report, about 14% of those enterprises foresee a reduction in staff headcount if these budgets cannot get under control.

So, what do you do? Should your organization stay the course and continue down the same path resulting in sufficient cost and people cutting just to keep your head above water?  Or should you consider some type of cloud or hybrid cloud deployment that potentially could allow you to support the SLA operations within your current IT budget? And do it without impacting personnel.  Here’s the good news.  Adoption of a cloud strategy would allow you to support the increasing workloads within your budget constraints and give you the ability to shift from a CAPEX to OPEX model.  If I was standing in those shoes, I would definitely take a concentrated look at many of the cloud options being marketed today.  The answer isn’t black and white, but it’s a proven way to succeed when traditional CAPEX models are showing more red in your budget.

I’d be surprised if your company hasn’t already leveraged some aspect of cloud computing.  Is ADP handling your payroll?  Maybe your sales management is leveraging Salesforce.com or perhaps your MS Exchange is hosted by an outsourcer such as Rackspace.com? These are all cloud services that SMBs to multi-billion dollar enterprises leverage every day.  In a recent study by Wakefield Research, 54% of Americans claim to never use cloud computing.  However, 95% of this group actually does use the cloud.  If your organization is already leveraging similar services, then Backup as a Service (BaaS) is just another step in your IT Transformation journey to the Cloud.

So what’s the right cloud Backup and Recovery option for your organization?  It seems like there are so many private, public and hybrid cloud options out there to choose from, right? Amazon Web Services, with all its colorful flavors like Glacier and EC2 and EBS…oh my!  The confusing part is that they all offer to solve your data storage and backup problems by allowing you to store and recover your data in the event of a disaster.  The answer should be black and white, while in reality it’s not.

While there’s a lot of talk about cloud storage and being able to restore, a lot of confusion exists over the differences. All cloud storage offerings are not created equal.   Popular services, such as those from Amazon, allow you to cheaply store data and read it back, however there’s a fundamental difference between Storage as a Service (StaaS) and BaaS.  Read carefully: all BaaS is storage, but not all StaaS is BaaS.  Quick data recovery is the key difference.  Without a quick recovery plan or committed SLA, you’re at the mercy of the cloud provider to get you back online as quickly as they can.  BaaS always has a quick restore/recovery SLA, resulting in the savings of tens of thousands of dollars to a business in time of need.

A more colorful outlook on the horizon

So, what should you do when you find no easy solution to the IT budget dilemma you’ve been dealt? Why not jump on the cloud bandwagon and start living on “Cloud 9,” as the saying goes?   As I mentioned earlier, cloud adoption for IT business practices have been a proven method for organizations dealing with flat or reduced IT budgets.  While the decision isn’t easy, nor is it black and white, a corporate decision to adopt a private, hybrid or public cloud strategy can deliver a more colorful outlook than one that shows only red in your bottom line today.