What the CxO Says…

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My recent TBW post “Business Execs Are from Mars, IT Execs Are from Venus” is sparking some good conversation and social sharing on Forbes, and it’s got CxOs talking on LinkedIn.That conversation is copied below.

Take a quick read, and chime in. Do you agree?  From your vantage point, what’s causing the disconnect and, importantly, what is your business doing to try to narrow the gap. And how concerned are you and your biz/IT counterparts?

  • Comment by CIO | CTO | IT Director:Thanks Heidi. Some of the disconnects in perception are startling. 

  • Q: What’s the biggest disconnect you’re seeing?
  • Comment from CEO:

    Organizations trying to move IT beyond being a cost center find it easier to put together a cost model than they do a business value or revenue model. In many cases they are limited by the legacy ERP they are still stuck with, which lack activity based management features. They struggle with IT Billing and the allocation of costs across a revenue or performance hierarchy, which can get very political as well as technically complex. Consequently, trending costs is an easier fallback position. That may explain some of the effects pointed to in the article.

  • Comment by CIO | CTO | IT Director:

    The thing that jumps out to me is the disconnect about the progress in delivering IT as a service (“Reality Check” graphic) especially the 30% of IT folks who think it’s already operating as a service compared to 18% of their business peers. If you look at the trends in that chart, early on the business is ahead of IT in their perception of progress, but later on IT is ahead of the business.

    I interpret that to mean–in general–business is more the driver here, with IT following somewhat reluctantly. IT seems to be slower to get on board, and quicker to assume completion compared to their business peers. That matches with my experience in real life.

  • Q: Do you find that certain teams within your IT organizations are more business-minded than others? Who are the laggers? What are you doing on a people, process and technology level to move things forward? Where does data protection factor into the equation, if at all.

  • Comment by CEO:

    Heidi, I don’t know what business minded means. Most people in business, no matter what they do, believe they are making a contribution, even if they focus exclusively on their craft. They are unable to articulate their value in financial terms, which is a problem given that financial management is one of the missing links between corporate strategy and IT investments. The move beyond cost centers and running IT as a business is largely affiliated with ITSM, which along with the corruption in the early 90s has placed a focus on governance. Like the cobbler’s children, IT lacks the tools to address these issues efficiently, in addition to the shift in mindset. To move things forward organizations need to do a much better job in processes such as financial, demand, service portfolio and IT asset management. We also need to find a way to better integrate project and service portfolios to meet the unbelievable expectations of the end user community, who think everything should happen instantaneously, even if they don’t have a clue what they want.

Be sure to check out my other posts on Forbes, including “Three Signs Your Company May Be Losing It’s Mojo” and a “Two-In, Two-Out Rule for Data Protection.”

Heidi Biggar

Heidi Biggar

Marketing and IT Consultant, Data Protection and Availability Division at EMC Corporation
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.

Transformation Will Happen… With or Without You

“We are no longer in a period of rapid change! We have now entered a unique period of time, unlike anything any of us have ever seen, that can best be described as transformation.”

Powerful words from Daniel Burrus, founder and CEO of Burrus Research, in his recent blog Transform Now … or Struggle to Survive.  While I encourage you to read the full post, the gist is this:

  • We’re reached an inflection point, resulting from years of massive technological advances in processing power, digital storage and digital bandwidth, which necessitates a dramatic change, or transformation,  in the people, products, processes and services that drive and support our organizations.
  • The rules of business have changed from finding out what your customers want and giving it to them to giving your customers what they want before they even know they want or need it. As examples, Burrus cites two: Apple giving its customers the iPad before they even knew they wanted and Blockbuster asking customers to tell them what they wanted to make their store and shopping experience better. One transformed a market; the other limited a business.
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  • Transformation is a must-do not a nice-to-do if your organization wants to “survive and thrive.” As Burrus reminds us three things: 1) Transformation will happen, 2) If it can be done, it will be done, and 3) If you don’t do it, someone else will.
  • When I first saw Burrus’ post on LinkedIn, my team was in the final prep for our Data Protection launch. Stephen Manley and I were mapping out the final parts of his latest blog series The Right Architecture Is Priceless, and I had had just wrapped up production on the EMC Backup and Archive Game Plan eBook, which details the why, the what and the how of backup transformation, including the transformative role and components of a Protection Storage Architecture.

    So, I was curious, to say the least, to hear what he had to say about transformation at an organizational level and how it would align with our messaging at an IT and data protection level:

  • Data protection has reached a breaking point, resulting from massive data growth, infrastructure complexity, poor visibility and related budgetary issues.
  • The rules of data protection have changed from thinking of data protection as a cost center to thinking of it as a strategic investment in your business’s future. Backup, in particular, has transformed from a “low-value, high-cost insurance policy” to a “business accelerator.”
  • Backup transformation is a must-do not a nice-to-do if you want to accelerate IT transformation and maximize opportunities.

Looks like we’re in synch. So, what about you? What’s holding you back?

If backup is, be sure to watch the recording of the on-demand webcast of our special event Backup to the Future to learn why backup is now the long pole in the tent of IT innvoation.

Heidi Biggar

Heidi Biggar

Marketing and IT Consultant, Data Protection and Availability Division at EMC Corporation
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.

The Future Is Now: Data Protection Worthy of Your Data

Today marks an important day in the history of our division and for EMC as we announce new capabilities across major parts of our protection storage and software portfolio. While the launch headline is “Backup to the Future,” I’m taking it a step further to include archiving as well. As you know, LadyBackup is equally as passionate about archiving as backup. What does it mean – the future is now? Continue Reading…

Lady Backup
Lady Backup’s career in IT dates back before the time of the Spice Girls. Initially I started in high tech journalism in the US and eventually transitioned to become an industry analyst. My analyst years also coincided with my education – during this period of my life I was working on my MBA. After 7 years of going to school at night, I graduated with distinction with an Information Age MBA degree from Bentley University (at the time it was still Bentley College) located just outside of Boston. With degree in hand, what’s a restless girl to do next? This is where networking with fellow classmates led to a job at EMC. Starting our Hopkinton headquarters, I moved outside of the US with EMC International when I felt it was time for my next change. Today, Lady Backup is an American on the loose in the world. Living outside the United States has been a fascinating experience. For the moment I call England home. But I’m feeling my next wave of restlessness coming. Here are two hints: I love sunshine and I’m improving my Spanish.

Real Life Solutions for a Real World Architecture

aprimo banner final - liveThe Protection Storage Architecture is EMC’s North Star for data protection. With loosely integrated modules for protection storage, data source integration and data management services, it provides the road map for the journey to backup transformation. It guides our product development. It anchors our customer discussions around backup transformation. We have Protection Storage Architecture pictures, posters, t-shirts, and refrigerator magnets. I’m considering buying a face tattoo of the architecture… for one of my employees.

Therefore, it’s a great day when we deliver product that fills in the Protection Storage Architecture. That’s why we’re excited to announce new releases of EMC EMC Data Domain, EMC Avamar, and EMC NetWorker. In doing so, we build out all layers of the Protection Storage Architecture.

  • Protection Storage: Data Domain is not merely making bigger, faster Purpose Built Backup Appliances; it is defining the new class of storage that will finally meet the industry’s need for scale – Protection Storage. In the last decade, backup performance has fallen so far behind data growth that we need an entirely new approach to scaling.Therefore, we’re proud to announce the new Data Domain systems with 4x performance and 10x capacity of their predecessors. More important, however, is that the systems redefine protection scalability. Instead of simply storing traditional backup images, Data Domain now consolidates storage for all protection data. Key benefits include:
    • Versioned Replication – full data center support for incremental forever backups (synthesized into full backups).
    • Archive – support for over 20 leading applications, with the ability to store dramatically more objects/files at an even lower cost.
    • Disaster Recovery – instantly access VMs off the Data Domain in the event of a disaster, and storage vMotion them to primary storage at your convenience.
  • Data Source Integration: We’re not merely “supporting” all backup sources; we integrate deeply into their data and management layers. The data sources have both the intelligence to optimize protection performance and the user interfaces through which their users want to view their protection. This is especially important as we move into Big Data and Cloud. Therefore, we have extended our “application direct” backups to Data Domain to include SAP, SAP HANA and Oracle Exadata. Further, Avamar has extended its industry-unique NAS backup optimizations to Isilon – delivering backup performance that scales with the largest NAS environments. Finally, we have developed a vCenter management plugin that connects VMware’s vSphere Data Protection Advanced(VDPA), which is built on Avamar technology, to our full Avamar and NetWorker solutions. Built on the same technical foundation, customers have a natural migration from VDPA to Avamar or NetWorker.
  • Data Management Services: We are changing the way protection storage management, catalog, policy management, and consolidated is done and providing unmatched visibility:
    • We simplify protection storage management in two ways. First, all Avamar data center backups (VMs, applications, files) can target a Data Domain. While customers can continue to use their Avamar Data Stores, they no longer need to have two protection storage solutions for Data Center Protection. Additionally, NetWorker can now run Data Domain BOOST-optimized backups over Fibre Channel, simplifying the management of the protection storage environment.
    • We enhance the protection storage cataloging with the ability to track storage-layer protection (VMAX snapshots, VNX snapshots, RecoverPoint) and Oracle Flash Recovery Area (FRA) Backups. Therefore, if an Oracle DBA runs an FRA backup, NetWorker can automatically discover, catalog, and enhance the policy around that backup.
    • We deliver policy management for protection. Customers have struggled to ensure all their VMs are protected. Now, when a VM is created, it will automatically inherit a baseline backup policy – ensuring that everything is protected, without picking up the phone or sending an email to the backup team!
    • We are simplifying the management of backup. In this release, you can see the common VM protection capabilities between Avamar and NetWorker. That is no accident. This is the most concrete technical proof that EMC is bringing together our backup software into a unified offering.

Providing Real Customer Value

How can these solutions help you? How do they shift entire markets? Where do we go from here? Check out this link to watch our special webcast event and this  link to get answers to all these questions and more from our team of experts, customers and analysts.

By the way, if you want to sign up for that tattoo of the architecture, let us know – #backuptothefuture, @EMCBackup. We’ll get you some counseling… after we take a picture of the tattoo and post it on Twitter. Join us in our journey to backup transformation with the Protection Storage Architecture.

 

 

 

Stephen Manley

Stephen Manley

CTO, Data Protection and Availability Division
Over the past 15 years at both EMC and NetApp, I have traveled the world, helping solve backup and recovery challenges - one customer at a time (clearly, I need to optimize my travel arrangements!). My professional mission is to transform data protection so that it accelerates customers’ businesses. I have a passion for helping engineers pursue technical career path(without becoming managers), telling stories about life on the road and NDMP (yes, that’s NDMP).

The Right Architecture Is Priceless, Part V

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The John Hancock Tower (a.k.a. The Hancock) in Boston is synonymous with architecture disconnected from reality. A 60-story glass skyscraper in Boston, the tower is a tourist attraction and an exemplar of modernist architecture. But it also has a long, embarrassing history. At one point, it was dubbed the “Plywood Palace.” When 500 pound panes of glass fell off the building, engineers temporarily replaced much of the glass with plywood. Then, in high winds, the tenants of the upper floors suffered from motion sickness; to solve the problem, engineers installed a tuned mass damper. Finally, when it was discovered that the building could collapse under very high winds, engineers added thousands of pounds of steel bracings.

A monolithic architecture can look elegant on paper, but real life engineering depends on flexibility and the ability to evolve quickly. The right architecture needs to translate into reality.

Traditional Backup vs. Protection Storage Architecture

A perceptive reader asked: “How is your Protection Storage Architecture different than a traditional backup architecture where backup software (management) triggers backup clients (data sources) that send data to tape (protection storage)? And why should I care?”

Traditional backup architectures are closed and monolithic. The Protection Storage Architecture is open and modular.

  • Data Access: Traditional backups store data in a closed, proprietary format; you cannot access your data without the backup app that created it. The Protection Storage Architecture prefers to store backup copies in their open, original format – i.e., backups of database files as database files, VMs as VMs, and files and files – instead of locking the backups into proprietary tar images.
  • Metadata Access: Traditional backups limit backup visibility by closing off access to the protection metadata. Non-backup administrators, so they cannot easily understand what the backup application is doing. The Protection Storage Architecture opens backup visibility and control to the data source owners, via their preferred interface (e.g., Oracle RMAN, VMware vSphere).
  • Alternate Protection Methods: Traditional backup architectures refuse to manage or monitor backup copies created outside their monolith (backup application driving backup client to write data to backup storage). They also struggle to support new data source layer performance optimizations (e.g. snapshots, replicas, changed block tracking), delivering a sub-par bolt-on module years later. The Protection Storage Architecture’s modularity enables it to treat all protection copies as 1st class citizens. This includes all types of protection (e.g. snapshots, replicas, backups, archives), created by all users (e.g., DBA, VM admin, or any third-party backup software), and all optimization modules.

The difference in architectural approach is stark: closed and monolithic vs. open and modular.

What’s the Value?

The value of the Protection Storage Architecture boils down to two things: performance and visibility.

  1. Performance: A traditional backup client cannot scale backup and recovery performance with data growth. On backup, it reads through all the data to find what to protect and write into its proprietary format – searching for needles in haystacks. On restore, it must translate all the data from the proprietary format and write it to primary storage. The data can only be accessed once the customer finds primary storage capacity and runs a, potentially, multi-TB recovery.A modular architecture leverages the intelligence in the data sources (e.g. hypervisor, application, primary storage) to optimize protection performance. Instead of searching for needles, the data sources can track exactly what new data to protect because they’re writing the data. One can reduce backup and recovery times from hours to seconds… if your architecture is modular enough to leverage the intelligence in the data sources.The Protection Storage Architecture scales recovery because it leaves data in open formats. Since it stores data on disk in its original format, customers can instantly access their data. In the event of a disaster, an application can be up and running in minutes, instead of days. Or, if multiple users lose files, they can recover their own data, instead of hitting a bottleneck waiting for the backup team and tools to help them.The open, modular architecture optimizes and scales both backup and recovery performance.
  2. Visibility: With traditional backup architectures, everything must run through the backup team bottleneck. These architectures drive a “my way or the highway” approach from the backup team – my backup app, my schedule, my clients, my data format, my absolute control. It’s no surprise that other groups are choosing the highway and rolling their own solutions.The Protection Storage Architecture wants to increase everybody’s data protection visibility. Regardless of how a protection copy is made, or by whom, the Protection Storage Architecture’s Data Management Services will discover, report on, and catalog it. Furthermore, the Protection Storage Architecture wants to ensure that each key user has a native user-interface into all versions of their protected data – be it their application (e.g., Oracle, SAP), hypervisor (e.g., VMware), storage array (e.g., ViPR), or user protocol (e.g., NFS/CIFS).

How Do I Adopt the Protection Storage Architecture?

One of the virtues of a modular architecture is that you don’t need a “rip and replace” to move to the architecture. The modularity of the Protection Storage Architecture enables companies to set long-term goals, while deriving value today and each step of the way. How you move forward depends on your environment, your business and your objectives. Some choose to adopt whole layers (e.g.,protection storage or data management services) across their legacy environment; others opt to focus on end-to-end use cases (e.g. database backups, VM backups), and still others decide to follow a hybrid approach.

Your organization, like ours, is moving to a services-oriented backup and IT approach. As it does, it’s critical that your foundation is open and modular.

Backup is broken because the traditional architectures are closed and monolithic. Companies will not succeed in deploying rich services on top of a legacy backup architecture. With the Protection Storage Architecture, the engineering team can evolve the environment, quickly solve pressing business challenges, and unify data protection services.

Amazingly, in 1977, just after the plywood debacle, the American Institute for Architects bestowed the Hancock Tower with a National Honor Award. Sometimes, architects forget that the right architecture is not about a beautiful monolith on paper – it’s about putting the engineering team in the best position to solve real-world problems.

Stephen Manley

Stephen Manley

CTO, Data Protection and Availability Division
Over the past 15 years at both EMC and NetApp, I have traveled the world, helping solve backup and recovery challenges - one customer at a time (clearly, I need to optimize my travel arrangements!). My professional mission is to transform data protection so that it accelerates customers’ businesses. I have a passion for helping engineers pursue technical career path(without becoming managers), telling stories about life on the road and NDMP (yes, that’s NDMP).