Transforming Your Business Shouldn’t Have to Be Death-Defying

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The month of May, and specifically EMC World, has become a regular reflection point for me. As I head into my third EMC World this week, I reflect back to year one where – as the newly appointed head of what was then EMC’s Backup Recovery Systems division, my primary mission was to evolve our approach to backup and archive. Last year, at my second EMC World, we amped up our portfolio by adding replication and availability to the mix to provide customers with integrated solutions spanning the entire data protection continuum. Fast-forward once more as we head into EMC World 2015 having combined our data protection and storage businesses under one umbrella (called “Core Technologies” which I now lead…no pressure) to deliver even more value to our customers through deeper product integration and simplification across our portfolio.

What a difference three years make. Not just at EMC, but at every company. The pace of change has accelerated to lightning speed, and those that don’t move with it, risk the same fate as our dodo bird and dinosaur brethren. Obsolescence in this case is not an “if,” but a “when.”

At the forefront of this disruption are the mega trends of big data, cloud, mobile, and social – with IT caught in the epicenter. Increasingly, companies find themselves living in two worlds: They are being asked to do more with less, leveraging their current IT infrastructure (which is typically on-premise and geared to handle traditional workloads), and at the same time, innovate for the future and drive new growth (think next-generation, app-centric workloads enabled by cloud). It’s a balancing act for sure, and by no means an easy feat.

Which brings me to my number one mission this year, and the focus of my cameo in today’s general session at EMC World – to help our customers tackle this challenge and keep them moving forward.

At the risk of stealing my own thunder on today’s main stage, the path forward can be broken down into three interrelated steps: 1) simplify and automate storage, 2) ensure a path to the cloud, and 3) protect data everywhere, regardless of where it lives. Achieving each of these successfully is predicated on having the right technology in place. Technology that helps you pave the way from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ seamlessly, and ultimately, transform your business.

This is why we are taking great pains to transform ours. Within Core Technologies specifically, we are continuing to drive transformation across our portfolio through integrated, software-enabled storage and data protection that delivers simple, scalable, and trusted infrastructure to fast-track your journey forward. While we are doing this a number of ways, for brevity’s sake, I’ll put it into the context of the steps described above.

Simplify and automate storage
Recently, I penned the blog ‘Looking at Storage through a Different Lens’ which likened EMC’s various storage platforms to what I consider to be their camera model equivalents. The main point I tried to get across is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to either of these domains. It’s about picking the right solution for the job.  Since most companies compensate for this by having multiple storage systems, which can create storage silos and drive up cost and complexity, simplifying and automating storage becomes paramount. This can be attained by using software to centralize, optimize, and manage service-level objectives and data services across your environment. Two ways we help you achieve this:

  • XtremIO – The industry’s leading all-flash array (AFA) with unprecedented performance and scale with inline “always-on” data services, XtremIO is the fastest-selling storage array in EMC history. It allows you to run traditional apps more efficiently and scale-out as needed to keep up with data growth, eliminate storage sprawl, and deploy next-generation workloads more quickly.
  • VMAX3 – This is not your father’s VMAX. We’ve separated the data services from the back-end storage to enable you to move active, mission-critical data to high-performance storage tiers and inactive data to low-cost, high-capacity tiers. You can also take advantage of these features on alternative storage platforms and the cloud.

By driving out cost and complexity with these and our other storage solutions, customers can redirect resources for new, future-focused initiatives.

Plot a path to the cloud
No doubt, the cloud can be a double-edged sword – full of both opportunity (greater innovation and agility, along with lower costs) and risk (more complexity, etc.). This can make the journey there muddy at best. Enabling the cloud as an integrated component of your infrastructure offers a clear path forward – allowing you to leverage it on workloads where it is best suited. With EMC’s acquisitions of TwinStrata, Spanning, and Maginatics last year, we’ve made it easier for you to unlock the value of cloud where it makes sense for your business and to protect your data wherever it resides.

Protect data everywhere
This brings me to my last point. Data itself can be transformational, but not if it isn’t protected.  Between massive data growth, data mobility, and ever-changing workloads, this can be a challenge. Taking a holistic view of data protection across all workloads – whether on-premise, in a hybrid cloud, or in a public cloud – will ensure your data is protected regardless of where it lives, where it may move, and against whatever might happen. And as I mentioned earlier, EMC is uniquely suited to help you address this challenge with cloud-enabled solutions that span the entire data protection continuum.

So, can these three steps make you a pro tightrope walker overnight – maintaining an effortless balance between managing the IT challenges of today with transforming for tomorrow? Maybe not… but it can make your job and the journey there a lot less death-defying.

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