It’s Not Too Late: How to Build Trust in Your IT Organization

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The more trust that can be earned and guaranteed, the bigger and faster the impact of these trends [cloud computing, big data, mobile devices and social networking]. Conversely, the less trust that is established, the more limited these trends will be.—Joseph Tucci.

Behind every successful business is a trusted IT organization.

But what does a trusted IT organization look like? Can trust be earned and, if so, how? What types of technologies and practices do trusted IT organizations leverage? How do they interface with business teams? How do business benefits translate into trust? All great questions.

Our recent Global IT Trust survey provides some insight. It tells us that maturity is generally a very good barometer of trust (i.e., the more mature, the higher the trust) and that business confidence in specific areas like data protection, security and availability increases significantly with each of level of maturity.

Further, as I mentioned in last post, the survey finds that businesses are far more likely to engage in strategic IT initiatives, such as Big Data analytics, when they have a high level of trust in their IT organizations.

And it shows that there’s a direct link between confidence and investment, meaning organizations with higher trust in IT are more likely to have increased IT spend than those with lower trust.

Where does your organization fall on the Trust Curve? To find out more, go to www.emc.com/trustcurve.

But what are IT organizations doing to earn or increase trust?

If you’ve been following us for the past year or more,  you know the answer lies with transformation. IT organizations looking to improve their trust factor are re-thinking the role of data protection within and to their organizations, and they’re re-architecting their data protection environments with the bigger business picture in mind. They’re communicating with business peers. They’re thinking as internal service providers.

Our own Stephen Manley  walked us through the backup transformation process in his “The Right Architecture Is Priceless” series, but I wanted to end the year with two more helpful resources. The first is a new IDC White Paper; the second a new, bigger, badder eBook.

The paper includes three (short) case studies, the results of an ROI analysis and its perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing businesses today. The eBook is really the culmination of our journey this year. It addresses everything from combatting the accidental architecture, to transforming your backup infrastructure, to improving application performance, to arming yourself with stats to bring to your management team.

Consider them my  present to you. Happy holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Payback from Backup Transformation – Part 1

Lady Backup likes to deal with facts.  Instead of giving you generalizations about the benefits of backup transformation, I want to show you the facts – quantifiable facts.

In our latest project, EMC commissioned a study by IDC to do an in-depth analysis of backup transformation, looking at the “before” and “after.”  To do this, IDC analysts interviewed several leading companies in key industries like financial services and telecommunications across the Middle East and Turkey.

This study is the second such study we’ve commissioned, the first IDC study was a similar analysis of a dozen companies across Europe and South Africa.   Using a consistent methodology, the findings between the two studies are similar, which says these studies are good indicators for companies around the world.

Let’s start with the outcome of the financial analysis.  According to IDC, companies saw a 5-month payback from their investment into EMC solutions.

The math from the IDC analysis is pretty simple and compelling on why it makes sense to transform your dated backup infrastructure:

  • Benefit: Over a three-year period, companies saved on average $4.6 million in hard costs by replacing tape and reducing backup storage capacity requirements. If we include soft costs associated with productivity gains for both IT and end users, the total financial benefit was more than $8 million over three years.
  • Investment: In a three-year period, companies invested an average of $1.3 million into their EMC solutions, including the initial acquisition, deployment and annual maintenance costs.
  • Net Gain: IDC shows more than a $7 million gain over three years from replacing dated backup infrastructures with EMC.

If you would like to see how the picture looks over three years, I’ve included a chart from the IDC report.

ROI

What do these numbers tell use?  By investing into a modernized EMC backup infrastructure you are reducing costs of data protection while improving service levels to the business.  And your investment is paid for in a matter of months.

In the next part, we’ll look in more detail at the category of savings.

All of the details about this study are hosted on a dedicated Web page.  And we invite you to join the conversation using #IDCROI.

Read more at ThoughtFeast!

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.

Software-Defined Storage, SLOs, and the Protection Storage Architecture — The Story Continues, Part I

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“Software-defined [fill in the blank]” has already made a huge industry impact. Admittedly, there’s a lot of buzz around the term, but it’s no small feat to triumph over “big data” so quickly. And as with many over-hyped terms, there is some real substantive change behind it. So, overlooking the obvious cynical jokes (e.g., thank goodness we don’t need that pesky hardware to store data anymore!) what will software-defined storage mean to data protection and the teams that provide it?

Software-Defined Storage—It’s about SLOs

Software-defined storage (SDS) is about delivering service levels to your applications with your storage assets (compute and media).

Too often, people assume  SDS means that it’s finally time to build a storage system out of software to run on commodity hardware. They’re about 15 years too late; it’s already happened. What makes a Data Domain different from a VMAX? The software. So, if so much of the value in storage has already moved to software, why the noise about software-defined storage? One word… simplicity.

Managing storage environments is excruciating. Each type of array has a unique set of functionality—a storage personality—that must be managed differently and on dedicated islands of hardware.

Customers like the distinct functionality (e.g., Data Domain’s space optimization and data durability, VMAX’s predictable performance and availability, Isilon’s scale) but hate the operational complexity. In some cases, operational simplicity wins and customers select a one-size-fits-all “good enough” storage solution. In other cases, they grind through the complexity. In either case, they have to settle.

Software-defined storage promises to simplify storage management by delivering service level objectives across the various storage systems. Instead of having to be an expert on the intricacies of the VMAX, VNX, and Isilon—imagine a software layer that selects and configures the appropriate storage personality for your workload.

That’s why software-defined storage is so exciting—you can have your cake (all the unique storage functionality) and eat it too (none of the agonizing management complexity). While most customers immediately focus on service levels objectives like response time, throughput, and availability, that’s not where you’ll find the maximum value in software-defined storage. It’s in protection. And it can help you achieve a whole new level of IT productivity.

Software-Defined Storage—It’s about Protection SLOs

Protection has created the greatest amount of complexity in storage environments. While each storage array has a different personality, each also has a well-established set of performance and availability capabilities. In other words, most people know the difference between a VMAX and an Isilon. However, each array offers multiple native protection methods (e.g., SRDF, TimeFinder clones, RecoverPoint) in addition to traditional (e.g. backup client) and next-generation (hypervisor or application-level) backup techniques. The complexity multiplier is staggering. If storage management is excruciating, protection management is soul crushing; it’s impossible to make the right choice.

How can software-defined storage address the protection management challenges?

  • First, customers need to extend their SLO expectations to include Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Recovery Time Objective (RTO), retention, and recovery resiliency (e.g., geography, number of copies, etc.).
  • Second, they need to select a protection storage personality that integrates with the data movement and control mechanisms from their key data sources (e.g., primary storage).
  • Third, they need to connect the protection movement to the application.
  • Finally, they need to demand data management software that can span all the different protection mechanisms. If this sounds familiar… it should. The protection storage architecture recognizes that in the “software-defined” world, storage will take a much more prominent role in protection than it has.

The ultimate goal for software-defined storage is to enable a customer to provision protected storage to meet their SLOs.

The Future Won’t Look Like the Past

While the software-defined storage battles currently are more sound and fury than substance (e.g., a “one-size-fits-all” storage OS is “software defined” in the same way that Michael Bay’s films are “diverse”). Ignore the petty debates and focus on the substance—the storage market has become a breakneck race to see who can deliver SLO-based storage provisioning and protection.

Software-defined storage will have profound implications on the roles of the backup and storage administrators and how companies build (and purchase) protection solutions, and it lays the groundwork for the next massive shift in our industry—from data protection to data management. If you thought my last series was long… wait until you see this one.

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).

Purdue Pharma and EMC Backup Recovery Systems Transform IT

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).

It’s Not What You Know But How You Think That Really Matters (to Your Business)

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My absolute favorite interview question goes something like this:

“You’ve decided to move, and you are given three options:

  • Hunt for the perfect house in the perfect location.
  • Find an empty lot and build your dream home.
  • Find the dream plot and work with the tired house that’s already there.

Which do you choose?”

There is no right answer, and in fairness, I’m not really looking for one. Rather, I’m looking to see how the person tackles the question, how he/she breaks it down and ultimately how he/she responds. The speed of response alone is telling and so is the thought process that’s involved in getting there.

This type of questioning helps flush out if the person is a:

  • Tank or Plumber
  • Linear or Abstract Thinker

In my previous post, I jumped on my hobbyhorse and galloped around espousing the differences between Tanks, Plumbers and Chameleons; and now in part two of this “Know Yourself” series, I’m going to explore the differences between Linear versus Abstract Thinkers. Both are critical to know when you’re assembling a team.

If asked, the knee jerk reaction for most is to say they’re Abstract Thinkers. Why? Well, let’s face it, Abstract sounds cool, sassy and forward-looking; Linear seems one-dimensional and a little, um, boring. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Let’s look at some definitions:

  • Abstract Thinkers: Have the innate ability to “connect the dots” or see how “stars align”; they’re normally fast on their feet when it comes to discussions and the answers. However, the last mile isn’t really that interesting to them so the final execution feels kind of unnatural… sort of like catching a ball with the wrong hand. It’s possible but not something they welcome trying to do.
  • Linear Thinkers: See what’s in front of then and form tasks into a single work stream, knowing which part needs to be knocked off the list first before they move to the next one, and so on; they’re very process-orientated. They are generally not the first to answer a question; they’re more cerebral and like to formulate a response first. They’re not known to shoot from the hip.

Why is this important to me?

Knowing what I am good at is one thing, but equally important is knowing what I’m not so good at. It’s critical that I have a healthy balance of both attributes in my immediate circle of decision-making and influence so my team crosses the finish line strong and on target. (Yep, I’m a Tank and an Abstract Thinker.)

Additionally, it’s important for me to understand how each member of my team thinks as some will rush to an answer while some will need the space to formulate. All opinions are important after all (ever watchful of implicit bias).

If you go to the trouble of creating a diverse management team or, in the more specific case of IT, an effective protection team, you really need to understand how each person ticks or your initial efforts will render a suboptimal result.

You need to understand how your CIO thinks, your DBA thinks, your storage admin thinks, and so on. Else risk internal chaos.

So, you can be a Plumber or a Tank and within these personas be an Abstract or Linear Thinker.  The challenge for organizations and managers, as the book “Good to Great” explains, is making sure you get the right people on the bus and in the right seats.  Companies succeed or fail on this simple principle, and I contend their mojo depends on it.

How’s your company doing?

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.