Yeah, Baby!

Heidi Biggar

Heidi Biggar

Marketing and IT Consultant, Data Protection and Availability Division
I’m often asked how a political science major at Tufts wound up in the IT world, covering backup, storage, virtualization and cloud of all things. Truth is, it’s really a love for learning, a need to understand the “bigger picture” and a desire to share that view with others that’s steered my path over the past 20 years, from campaign manager to editor, analyst and marketer. After hours, you’ll find me hanging with family, running 10ks through Peachtree City’s 90 miles of cart paths, watching football or reading. I’m a New England transplant enjoying life in the South. In my previous life, I also blogged for ComputerWorld, Enterprise Strategy Group and Hitachi Data Systems, but The Backup Window is my baby. It's been great watching it evolve.

Okay, so I can’t resist… As my 15-year-old daughter would say, “It’s just too good.”

I’m talking about the massive media response to Mike Myer’s recent baby news, as edited and looped by Conan O’Brien’s team. Hi-lar-ious!

I think Los Angeles Times columnist Meredith Blake summed it up best: “As groaningly predictable as each individual ‘Yeah, baby’ joke is, somehow edited together, the effect is magic, proving that sometimes the whole is truly much greater than the sum of its parts.”

I know it had my entire family—from my husband to my 13-year-old daughter—laughing and doing their best “Yeah, Baby” impersonations, and only my husband and I have seen the movie. (By the way, my husband nailed it. He’s the Abstract Thinker in the house.)

Now, if only I get them to respond to technology topics in such a way. De-dupe… protection storage… backup transformation… yeah, baby!

I can dream

Help! I’m Stuck in the Muck of My Job, Part II

Guy Churchward

Guy Churchward

President, Data Protection and Availability Division
I'm an enterprise infrastructure hack. Really, if you think of my career as a building, I’ve spent it underneath in the sewer lines and the electric plumbing, making sure things work. Invariably, my businesses end up being called boring. But that’s okay. It means they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do, which means their customers can do what they need to do. I come to EMC by way of BEA Systems, NetApp and most recently LogLogic, and my mission is to lead EMC Data Protection and Availability Division's efforts to deliver a protection storage architecture that leaves us all in better shape for the next guy, or gig, that comes along. Oh, and make no mistake about it, I want everyone to know who’s number one in backup, and why.

147285353“I enjoyed the bit of introspection that followed the quick read as I started my day–it helped put the tasks for the day ahead in perspective!”

This is just one of the comments I received from my last post. Others shared their personality types with me (#9 from last week’s list); and many others told me they were adding one or more of the books I mentioned to their ‘must-read’ lists. To say I’m flattered to hear this is an understatement. Wow!

Okay, so now it’s your turn, managers. As promised, below are my 16 tips for you. Check them out—and let me know what resonates. Tweet @guychurchward or comment below.

My Gems for Managers:

  1. Remember, the monkey is in a tree. When you look down, all you see is smiling faces. But when your team looks up, all they see is (fill in the blank). Lead by example and don’t become complacent. You hire smarter people than you, and they will naturally watch and judge.
  2. Always be sure to have a Plan B: Markets change; businesses shift; and super stars leave. Be ready and flexible, the larger your span of control, the more you have to watch for the holes.
  3. Dont create single points of failure. Make sure you have invaluable employees but also make sure there isn’t any one person who holds the only key to your future. It’ll choke your progress and create bottlenecks, and inadvertently you may feel held for ransom.
  4. Professional managers.’ Professional managers have the same MO. They generally work on the same timeline: they join, assess, ask lots of questions and start to make changes within 2-3 months. Much sooner or much later than this generally shows a lack of understanding of the business, I’ve observed. So, be sure you test your managers continually as you gain knowledge about them and their management styles, and, importantly, as they say in the States, make sure to make changes before you’ve drunk too much of the Kool-Aid.
  5. Find managers who have a shared belief system. Figure out what’s common among your team and rally around it; this is ‘the glue’ that will bind you together. For my team, it’s the fear of failing. This may seem odd, but in practice, it isn’t at all. Not only do my teams strive not to be the weak link, but they also don’t want to fail the team. They are there for each other when a ball is dropped. Teamwork at its best (see #6 below)!
  6. Empower your team. You want your team to work together but you also want to challenge each person on your team to see the bigger story and its value to the organization. On your part, don’t keep information to yourself. Share it. Impart it as actionable data bytes to stimulate debate and innovation.
  7. Provide clear direction and dont re-steer the boat until it lands (Joakim).  Part of empowering your team (#6) is conveying a clear plan and, importantly, giving them time to execute. Fail to do this and your team may spin in circles, and they won’t deliver results for you.
  8. Plan for the time continuum. Everyone is good at thinking in some ‘window of time.’ Some work best ‘in the now,’ others a couple of years out, and still others are bigger picture, longer-term thinkers. You want to build a team that spans this continuum—and that’s good at the handoff between phases (Wai). The norm is big thinkers who can’t connect back to ‘the now.’ They talk a big game but don’t execute nearly as well.
  9. Dont try to blur your cultural identify with your corporate values. In a diverse business, divisions and locations should have their own cultural identity but share corporate values and objectives.
  10. Embrace the Yin and the Yang. No individual or team is perfect but if you strike the right balance, you’ll see powerful results. Product management and product marketing, as examples, are two sides of the same coin (70/30 or 30/70 technical inbound/business outbound), as are sales and pre-sales.
  11. Read Good Is Great and take heed of the ‘window mirror’ section. Good managers look out the window for praise and in the mirror for mistakes. Bad managers do the opposite.
  12. Eliminate HIPPO thinking. Managing according to the Highest Paid Persons Opinion (HIPPO) principle (i.e., bring questions and the boss gives you the answer) is archaic. HIPPOs must evolve from ‘THE decision maker’ to ‘THE question asker.’ You want your team to arrive at the answer by applying the right data to the questions posed. If your team is used to delivering data and waiting for someone to make a decision, you create a bottleneck and confirm it’s okay not to apply any logic to their jobs.
  13. Root out the trouble employees. Bad vibes travel faster and take exponentially longer to recover from than good vibes. Figure out who fits the ‘arsehole rules,’ evaluate their value to the business and either box them in or agree to part company.
  14. Ensure learning is continuous. Teams that are continually challenged with new projects and ideas tend to stay together. You’ll lower your attrition rate and, following on #6, you will help energize people to think for themselves. From an engineering perspective, try to ensure you have more than one technology or project going on in each location. Keeps things interesting and helps with #3.
  15. Dont over communicate or over produce communications. Authenticity and believability is huge. Your team needs to understand ‘who you are and where you come from’ and your customers need to believe in your business. Connect at a ‘real’ level. People buy people!
  16. Listen to your customers! It’s amazing how little customer feedback actually makes it into a business plan or roadmap. You have to work hard at getting this right or your business will lose context.

Finally, remember, “Managing is not measured when things are going well, it’s measured on how you react when things are upside down. So assume they will be and you won’t be disappointed.”—Chasing Mavericks

I’ll Take “EMC for SharePoint” for $100 Alex

Gene Maxwell

Gene Maxwell

Technical Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I am known by many as the creator of documentation that helps others easily understand technology. This is because I discovered that I myself was a visual learner as I worked in many different IT roles over the years. Prior to my technical marketing role, I was an EMC technical consultant for six years. I also have many years of experience as a customer in IT responsible for data center management & disaster recovery, including backups. My hobbies include building PCs, collecting movies (Casablanca is my favorite), singing and playing my guitar. I have a twin brother who is three minutes older than I am.

I’ll take “EMC for SharePoint” for $100 Alex.

As I participated in the Chicago SharePointFest event last week I talked with lots of SharePoint customers about the many ways that SourceOne for SharePoint could help them.  Several of these customers asked me an interesting open-ended question that made me stop and think.   “So what does EMC do for SharePoint?”   With so many good answers to this question, I thought this would make a great new Jeopardy category.

If “Why EMC for Microsoft SharePoint?” ever appears as a category on Jeopardy, here are what some of the answers would be:

  1. What is Primary Storage:  EMC offers multiple primary storage options that offer a wide variety of storage features many of them with our Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) technology.
  2. What is Virtualization/Cloud Platform:  EMC as part of VCE offers VBlock for first class virtualization of any application environment including SharePoint and the other Microsoft applications.
  3. What is Externalize Active Content:  SourceOne for SharePoint gives customers the ability to externalize their active SharePoint content out of the SQL database enhancing SharePoint performance & scalability and decreasing licensing costs while maintaining full transparency to SharePoint users.
  4. What is Archive Inactive Content:  SourceOne also provides the ability for customers to archive inactive SharePoint content out of their SQL databases by moving it to a more cost appropriate tier of storage that can leverage features like deduplication, compression, and single instancing. SourceOne offers SharePoint users full access to their content via a web plug in, maintaining ease of search and full transparency to SharePoint users.
  5. What is E-Discovery:  SourceOne Discovery Manager provides easy-to-use yet very powerful e-discovery capabilities across all SourceOne Archive data.  SourceOne Discovery Manager can discover, manage, and apply secure hold to any content in the EMC SourceOne archives.
  6. What is Archive Storage:  EMC offers multiple archive storage options for SharePoint including Data Domain, Atmos, and Centera that provide many storage efficiency and data protection advantages.
  7. What is Backup & Recovery: Avamar and NetWorker with Data Domain provide the best backup and recovery for SharePoint with intelligent agents that allow recovery of individual SharePoint items (when combined with Kroll) or the entire SharePoint farm.
  8. What is Enterprise Content Management:  Some customers try to get SharePoint to do things it really wasn’t designed to do.   EMC Documentum integrates with SharePoint to provide many of these common document management requirements such as business process management and compliance while maintaining the familiar SharePoint user experience.

I’m probably forgetting something, but that’s one heck of a list!  I think EMC has SharePoint well covered.

Highlight Reel from VMworld Barcelona

Mark Galpin

Mark Galpin

EMEA Product Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
As a product marketing lead based in Guildford, Surrey, I'm often seen presenting to EMC’s partners and end users at various events across Europe. I have over 20 years experience in the storage market, largely gained in the financial and legal sectors, including PaineWebber, part of UBS, and Clifford Chance, the international legal practice, where I was the storage manager for a number of years. But I've also held had product marketing stints at Quantum and previously at EMC. I'm married with two children and live in Guildford, Surrey.

EMC Booth at VMworld Barcelona

It was Barcelona’s turn to host this year’s VMworld Europe conference. Thousands of attendees descended upon this beautiful city for a week of VM education. For EMCBackup it was a particularly relevant show, as we discussed in our previous blog. On Day 1, VMware announced updates to vSphere Data Protection Advanced 5.5 (VDP Advanced 5.5). The updates included some major benefits for existing EMCBackup customers, who are now able to replicate their backups to an EMC Avamar grid or choose to use a local EMC Data Domain system to consolidate all of the backups from a number of virtual VDP appliances. You can read more about the why VDP Advanced 5.5 is better with Avamar and Data Domain together here.

To be expected, there was a massive amount of social activity about these new features, therefore I have decided to summarise a selection of this activity into a Storify Blog which you can read here.

See you next year!


VDP Advanced and EMC Backup – A Winning Combination

Chandra Jacobs
I love creative and challenging projects in the emerging technology product space. I have a background in tech, innovation, and product development, especially as applied to web and mobile apps in the entrepreneurship arena, but have recently moved into marketing. In my role as a product marketer, I have gravitated toward digital marketing as well as analytics/data mining. It fits well with my techie geek bent as well as my cloud angle on The Backup Window. (Be sure to catch my posts on Innovation Station too!) Outside of work at EMC, I enjoy exploring Boston’s culinary and jazz scene (often in combination), and travel as much as I can (35 countries and counting).

VMworld is taking place in Barcelona this year, which is famous for many things – fine art, fine tapas, fine sangria, and not least of all, the football (soccer) club FC Barcelona, affectionately known as Barça. What makes Barça so great? It’s not only the fact that the team wins (a lot) – but it’s the quality of play, and the way the team works together. If you’ve read this article on the two famous Barça strikers, Messi and Neymar, then you know what I’m talking about – the pair understand each other perfectly, assist and support each other accordingly, and the team benefits through their symbiotic relationship.

Courtesy of Christopher Johnson

The same goes for two star players on your backup and recovery team – EMC Avamar and EMC Data Domain, now both seamlessly integrated in VMware vSphere Data Protection Advanced (VDP Advanced) 5.5, just announced (live at VMworld Barcelona no doubt). Avamar and Data Domain work together to provide increased scalability, reliability and disaster recovery for your VMware environment. Your backup and recovery team is the clear winner.

Winning Combo for VMware

And not only that, but our long-time star forward, Avamar, continues to go the distance – VDP Advanced 5.5 now provides new backup data replication to another VDP Advanced virtual appliance or to an EMC Avamar Data Store.

VDP Advanced with EMC Data Domain

Your team’s Disaster Recovery (DR) capability both on and off the field (onsite and offsite) is now extended to a flexible DR strategy – either to your own DR site or to a Cloud Service Provider that uses Avamar for Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). For your Cloud Service Provider choice, check out this handy list of recruits that you can add to your roster depending on the exact skill-set you require. And, here are the new replication configurations available for you to play:

VDP Advanced Replication

No matter whether you’re playing at home or away (onsite or offsite), you’re sure to win with VDP Advanced 5.5 replication.

There are a number of other capabilities announced in VDP Advanced 5.5 that I encourage you to read about here, but the bottom line for your backup and recovery team is clear:

Like Messi and Neymar are a winning combination for Barça, Avamar and Data Domain are a winning combination for VMware.