Male Answer Syndrome is a worldwide affliction that prevents people from saying “I don’t know.” Do you answer questions that a couple is whispering … 10 feet behind you? If somebody asks a question filled with acronyms that you don’t understand, do you make up new acronyms… daring somebody to call your bluff? Do you shout out your responses to Jeopardy… inside Target? If so, welcome to my world. You suffer from Male Answer Syndrome.
Sometimes, however, I see something so important that I admit, “I don’t know what that means. I need to learn about it.” Ever since Mozy became part of EMC Backup Recovery Systems Division earlier this year, people have asked, “What is the future of Mozy? What’s the future of cloud? What does it mean for our broader portfolio?”
While I’m tempted to pontificate with great specificity about the next decade of data protection, I don’t know how everything will turn out. There, I admitted it. However, what I do know is that Mozy is at the nexus of a number of trends:
- Consumerization of IT. An increasing number of end users tell us their consumer IT experience far exceeds their enterprise experience. With its roots in the consumer backup space, Mozy brings a fresh perspective on simplicity to EMC Backup.
- IT as a Service. It is a cliché, but users want to solve business problems, and somehow they end up hearing about IT’s technology challenges. Mozy sells protection services, not software and hardware, so they think about “product” differently.
- IT convergence. While most people think in terms of physical systems, IT convergence is more about consolidating different workflows to streamline operations. The Mozy team views backup as just one of many services to offer customers.
As for questions like, what exactly will Mozy look like in five years and how long will the industry take to transform? I don’t know. But I do have a good idea on how cloud protection will evolve:
- Cloud in a traditional protection architecture. Customers are writing and replicating traditional backups to the cloud. Like VTL for disk, it’s not the ideal solution, but it’s the simplest to deploy.
- Cloud-centric data protection. Customers will use cloud protection solutions to address existing pain points. We saw the same approach with disk-centric protection: compliant archive (Centera), remote office (Avamar), and application-direct backups (Data Domain). Cloud will likely address: endpoint protection (mobile devices), compliant archive (constantly-evolving regulations), and disaster recovery (companies without a second site).
- Cloud-centric data management. This will be the change that disrupts the industry. Currently, we see disk driving the evolution from backup to data protection (convergence of disaster recovery, backup, and archive), which disrupts traditional backup architectures. The next disruption will occur when organizations realize the only difference among their protection, test & dev, analytics, and collaboration copies is how these copies are managed and accessed. The cloud model will break down the boundaries between the copies, and the convergence will transform protection from an insurance policy into a daily business asset.
These shifts can be daunting, especially if you’re still running traditional tape backups. Fortunately, there is a well-established path to walk from tape backup to disk backup to infrastructure-centric data protection. Meanwhile, a solid architecture can help you manage the transition to cloud—however it actually plays out. That is why we advocate a Protection Storage Architecture; it will help you bridge the gap between backup, data protection, and data management—at your own pace.
Over the next decade, cloud will transform data protection and management. Over the next few years, there will be chaos in this space, as multiple companies search for the right balance of technology, process, and business model. I’m thrilled that we have the Mozy team who focus on this transformation and who approach the challenge differently than I. Even as a longstanding victim of Male Answer Syndrome, I know when to say, “I don’t know. Help me learn.”