Now that some of the largest storage conferences have seen the largest audience ever in Las Vegas, I think it’s time to take a step back and brainstorm a little about why we were so many interested in those conferences and what were we truly looking for.
We are living some very exciting moments don’t you think? When we take the time to step out of our every day in IT, the world of data management is shaping in front of us in ways we have never considered nor imagine before. While the End User Computing is taking some times to take off, the data management model gets all the attention from the IT sphere… and maybe it’s not a bad thing after all.
Either you are passionate about technology or actually how technologies are enabling IT to drive the largest change ever in every organizations, let’s admit that raw data is at the heart of many questions that too often we are faced with in trying to find solutions for.
Sure you can buy a box that does miracles with your data, the reality is, too often, those miracles are a little shy in your everyday and quantifying the true benefits is a full time job on its own. The reality is that we are focussed on the wrong problem.
Looking at technology solutions to alleviate business problems is not a model that will sustain very long and I encourage you to extract yourself from this mindset and consider approaching the questions you have, in another way to truly add the value your leader is looking from you.
Seat back and holistically look at what you are trying to achieve, from a business eye and abstracting yourself from the feeds and speeds will often show you the path to follow, which you can THEN apply technology to.
A great article http://blog.infotech.com/analysts-angle/seeing-the-world-through-the-ceos-eyes/ form which “Not taking leadership over business processes nor translating them into a technical strategy that will produce business results” and “true innovation can only occur when IT has a firm understanding of business challenges” resonated in my head.
Think: The reality of data management
Managing data has never been so complex; “managing data” means *understanding* the requirements of servicing SLA in an application centric model: it requires a deeper knowledge than just reading a “specs sheet”.
Our datacenters are getting overwhelmed by various source of data (http://shar.es/V0Irp) and you’re tasked to “box” in a predefined architecture and frankly I’ve seen magiciens in my career; Between tiering data (http://searchcloudstorage.techtarget.com/definition/automated-data-tiering), extending the cache of controllers or moving hot blocks outside the array, the agility of technology has allowed many of us to be highly successful in addressing all expectations, at an expensive price: OPex.
Managing these requirements in an operational model is another story on its own.
Analyze: Understand, Modelize and Execute
We all need to take a step back and rethink how we approach our projects. Analyzing is an on-going activity; it allows an on-going review of the data model and how business expectations have changed. Is it mobility? Is it archiving? Backup? Virtualization? VDI?Whatever needs, remember that data follows business, and business moves forward, therefore data change so is technology: how you will truly understand that data is crucial.
First, we need to *understand*, Second, we need to *model* and Third we need to *execute*.
Understanding requires careful actions. Metrics are endless, and gathering them, while a fundamental element, cannot be done without an expert touch. Tons of utilities will allow you to get these metrics. Thousands of technologist will gladly help gathering metrics. How many can do something valid for your unique business? Understanding requires an #expertise and an #experience that are only found in few #integrators that are able to #simplifyITcomplexity.
Modelling metrics on its own is an art, period! Been able to have the credibility to look at data and its metrics in a 3 Dimensional aspect does not mean to match a solution to a result. It allows a fresher look at what drives the #Innovation the business is trying to achieve through the data model and matching the current state, based on the past to shape the growth.
Executing requires “savoir-faire”. ONLY THEN can we really understand the value of the technology. ONLY THEN can we really quantify the derived values of IT in an organization. Not being biased by the information we are day in day out bombarded with, truly is, what differentiate one IT #integrator from another. Why one technology more than another? The understanding and modelling activities will lay the most #optimal path to long term predictable IT service. Predicting service, opens the door to #Innovation and refreshes business offerings through new opportunities.
In a nutshell, starting by looking at the nots and bolts will eventually lead to a miss in expectations.
We can extrapolate this post to other areas of data management, or data movement. Data is stored, optimized, and travels from the datacenter on the network to the consumers.
Getting the right audit and auditor for your data is the next level where your talent will shine. Getting the right talent in front of your needs and delivering on it is key at walking the path many talk about, but few execute on.
*Understanding* the true data value of an organization is a talent that few are able to articulate and demonstrate through a deep understanding of the business. It requires far more than just talking about a hardware technology or try to “fit” requirements into “boxes”, it needs to be deeply analyzed, reviewed, mapped to your unique needs and integrated seamlessly into your existing ecosystem.
Many can collect metrics. Few understand their value. Less can truly *integrate* them.
Have a good weekend friends