Cloud Driving the Economy

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).

From tech startups (like mine) to Fortune 200 tech companies (like mine) alike, cloud has been a global engine of growth as well as as an enabler of rapid innovation. And even through the recent recession, cloud adoption has continued to skyrocket leading to an entire economy being built around it (PaaS, SaaS, ITaaS, BaaS, XaaS…).

Did you know that cloud will generate 14 million jobs worldwide by 2013? Or that IT innovation through cloud computing  leads to $1.2 billion per year in new revenue? These were some of the recent findings that came out of an International Data Corporation study commissioned by Microsoft. And, in the next decade it is predicted that cloud will be a $240 billion industry.

This is more than many countries’ GDP!

So, are you on the fast track with cloud?

It can be argued that much of the uptick in cloud adoption has been, in part, due to the recent economic downturn. With IT budgets down or flat, it has just been more practical to turn those capital expenditures into operational expenditures through cloud. The flexibility that cloud provides is also a key benefit in times of economic uncertainty. Not sure your company can predict accurately its IT needs in the next year? Cloud is a great answer since you can downsize or upsize as needed according to your business demand. In support of this, last year Bloomberg released a survey of business decision-makers around cloud technology listing the top four main  benefits of cloud-based services as: efficiency, cost savings, scalability, and variety of features. you can have access to these and more through an optimized cloud strategy implementation.

What’s more, cloud is a great leveler for innovation. While the internet can be thought of as the first wave of leveling, cloud technology is definitely the second. It effectively allows startups and small businesses with limited resources to have access to a global playground of as-a-service technologies at a reasonable cost, without having to develop it in-house. In many cases, cloud enables startups to compete with well established companies by providing agility to match rapid product development without legacy IT infrastructure weighing them down. For my own tech startup, I’m actually dynamically provisioning the cloud services I need when I need them, and only paying for what I use. This helps me keep costs down and efficiency up, while giving me room to scale as I grow. Without cloud this would not be possible.

A lot of times it’s just overcoming a mindset (“we’ve always done it this way in the past and it’s always worked”), and other times it’s fear of the unknown or simply a lack of understanding that cloud has come a long away to address concerns around compliance, regulatory, security, and control issues. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of education to overcome objections of the past on the journey to the cloud.You may also be wondering which industries are the most mature in terms of cloud computing adoption. The usual suspects of banking, insurance, education, media,  and government (mostly private cloud) top the list. Lagging behind are manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and energy/utilities. Doing this gap analysis reveals that there is an opportunity space emerging in these underdeveloped industries for which cloud can play a future role, given the right positioning.

……….Wordle Cloud of this Cloud Article……….

These days, cloud not only allows smaller companies to compete in a global marketplace (and larger companies to retain their competitive advantage if they are effectively employing cloud), but it also can be a nimble canoe of differentiation in a sea of Big Data. Big Data analytics allow us to glean insights and generate tailored reports about our customers like never before, getting real-time metrics about demand, buying habits, engagement effectiveness …you name it.  Companies that can respond to rapidly changing market conditions with agility, armed with the insights combed through effective reporting mechanisms, will succeed in tomorrow’s marketplace. And what’s the underlying gateway to this success?

Think Cloud.


Storage DNA (and Beer) – Brilliant!

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).

I read an article a few weeks ago in The Economist about test-tube data. It begins in a similar way to most stories we hear in the data and storage industry. Data growth is massive, becoming more and more unwieldy and expensive. IT budgets (and budgets in general) aren’t keeping pace with that growth. We in the industry have read (and lived) that story again and again and know it dearly.(yum)

But this is another story. A story about beer drinking, back-of-the-napkin machinations, and innovation. And a story about drinking and deriving. What happens when you put a couple of research wonks and real-world problems in a pub together? Magic.

In this case, what fell out was the seedling of an idea that data, this data that was growing exponentially and expensively, could be packed up and stored in artificially constructed DNA. Imagine storing data in a condense form factor of 2.2 PB/gram (that’s right, gram).

But wait, there’s more. Because, what else is DNA great at? Replication without error (or at least, with very few copying errors). This data fidelity from the “hard drive to the test tube” is accomplished with great elegance through a ternary encoding schema, chunking out the files into non-overlapping and overlapping segments, and then also baking in parity bits for error-detection.

Ah, but how does one decode the data, you ask? It’s a simple matter of utilizing s standard chemical reaction to generate multiple copies of the chunks and then interleaving them back together. Fun with chemicals, sign me up!

Of course there’s a catch. In this case, it’s the glacial pace at which data can be read back (it took these researchers 2 weeks to reconstruct 5 files). And, the other catch is cost. With this technology in its early stage, the cost/MB stored is around $12,000.

But seriously folks, this is cool stuff. Even as is, DNA-based storage techniques can still be suited  for less intensive archiving scenarios where a medium is required that practically never degrades or needs replacing. The longer you need to archive your data, the more attractive (and practical) this methodology becomes.

Now, imagine what could happen if we put some serious computing power behind this data encoding/decoding problem to speed it up and bring the cost down?

EMC meet DNA? Hmmm…

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.

How to Ensure Data Protection As You Move to the Cloud

Tom Giuliano

Tom Giuliano

Marketer and EMC Data Protection Advisor Expert
I love to listen to customers discuss their data protection challenges, their experiences and their needs, and I’ve had a lot of opportunity to do it. For the past 15 years, I’ve brought network and storage products to market through roles in sales, product management and marketing. When I’m not driving go-to-market initiatives, identifying unique and creative methods to build product awareness or launching products, you’ll likely find me cycling, skiing, boating or running. And, who knows, maybe you’ll hear some of my more interesting experiences in one of my posts from time to time.

According to Mark Prahl, a high-tech business professional who has been talking or writing about products and gadgets for business or personal consumption for some time, data protection needs are more acute for as-a-service cloud models and require new approaches.

Mark Prahl, Managed View

What can you do to ensure data protection as you move to the cloud?

Prahl explains what it means to augment a successful data protection solution and extend it with a new distributed architecture and analysis engine to cloud deployments, without losing any usability benefits (i.e. without making it complex) in his post “EMC Data Protection Advisor For As-A-Service Cloud” on our sister site Managed View.

Click here to read the full post, including Prahl’s take on DPA 6. Then, come back—and let me know what you think. What’s your biggest data protection challenge in moving to the cloud? I want to know.








Did Dinosaurs Like the Taste of Tape Cartridges?

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.

Whenever I see physical tape cartridges still being used for backups, I can’t help but think about cavemen and dinosaurs. They have so many things in common:

  • They are both old and outdated (OK, one is a little older than the other)
  • They are problematic (the problem is, what good are they to anyone anymore?)
  • They are undependable (just try and get a caveman to do something for you these days)
  • They are inflexible (what does a Dinosaur do… anything it wants to do!)
  • They are expensive (do you know how much it costs to feed a dinosaur these days?)
  • Nobody wants them anymore (am I right?)
  • They’re extinct (but may not realize it yet)
  • They represent the past, a bygone era that most people have moved beyond

So how does a progressive human fix the age-old problem of doing backups with physical tape?  Go simple, go fast, go tapeless!   Deduplication technology is the enabler to get your backups out of the stone-age.  Deduplicated disk storage backups provide many advantages over physical tape:

  1. Backups are much faster
  2. Backups are far more reliable
  3. Life is simpler eliminating the need to manage thousands of tape cartridges
  4. Restores are easier and will actually work
  5. Reduce backup costs by eliminating maintenance for tape libraries & drives
  6. Reduce valuable data center floor space by eliminating tape libraries & tape storage
  7. Eliminate the costs of tape handling, tape movement, and tape storage
  8. Reduce the risks of tape cartridges being lost or stolen (and expensive fines)
  9. Simplify Disaster Recovery and enable better DR testing (need I go on…)

The decision is yours.   Stone-age or 21st century?   Dinosaurs or Deduplication?  You decide.   If you’re ready to take your backups out of the stone-age, we are ready to help with industry leading backup and recovery solutions.