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5 things to think about as your IT environment changes


In the last couple weeks I have attend two conferences that presented a tremendous amount of information that is relevant to every organization.   There were 5 things that stood out as challenges everyone will need to address.


1.  Cloud Is here for the long term 
For many organizations public cloud storage provides low cost elastic storage options with amazing flexibility.  The adoption of cloud storage is often the simplest place to start leveraging Cloud.  For some consumers, the risk is perceived as too high.  They may turn to hybrid solutions like NetApp Private Storage, which allows the use of public compute without the risk of data being trapped in the cloud.  The Nirvanix fiasco last year made many cautious of the risks associated with public cloud storage.  Hitachi Data Systems object storage platform

 continues to evolve into the cloud. Their solution lets HCP serve as a cloud broker. It maintains control and knowledge of the data but provides the ability to put the information where it should live. This could mean locally, remotely or publicly.


Compute is also driving cloud for the long term.  Similar to the App Store in iTunes, more applications are becoming accessible through places like the AWS Marketplace. This is making it possible for smaller application developers to reach a much larger audience.  On the flip side, it is allowing organization the access to software they may have never even heard of. This adoption and exposure leads to faster development lifecycles.  Organizations today have more flexibility than ever before. The challenge now becomes how to leverage this securely, efficiently, and cost effectively.


2.  Public Cloud has proven that large-scale, centralized IT is possible.  Enterprise IT requires newer, Internet-style technologies to compete and be cost-effective
Public cloud has provided scale, efficiencies, flexibility, and cost reduction.  For smaller organizations, public cloud allows them to focus on their core business rather than the rapidly changing IT environment.  Larger organizations have a more difficult challenge.  The scale of their environments often means the cost of building can be less expensive than outsourcing to public cloud.  Many organizations are turing to hybrid solutions that provide the security of private IT resources with the ability to use some public cloud for elasticity or availability. 


Public Cloud has proven that Enterprise IT must adopt internet-style technologies to compete.  Tools and capabilities like Docker, AWS Marketplace, AWS Lambda, and hundreds of others are making it possible to develop, test, and deliver faster than ever before.  If Enterprise IT adopts these new technologies, costs go down, utilization goes up, and production increases.


3.  Unstructured file level access drives data growth
While the adoption of cloud compute and storage continues to grow, legacy applications will still require traditional access methods.  REST protocols just can't provide the performance needed to support block and file based access protocols.  Unless the entire application and data set are located in the cloud, the applications fail.  This drives the need for a cache mechanism that provided traditional block and file access at high speed locally but manages the movement or tiering of data into the cloud.  Integrating cloud as a tier of storage means organizations can reap the benefits of Internet scale while still meeting the needs of a rapidly growing storage demand.


4.  Metadata drives value today
The creation of data grows out of control for most of us.  We hesitate to delete anything because we might need it.  Regulation requires organizations to retain information forever.  How can this deluge of information be managed?  Metadata.  It can be machine generated with imbedded creation or modification dates.  Pictures are tagged with EXIF data that includes what lens was used, where the picture was taken, what camera, which settings, etc.. What all metadata has in common is the ability to bring structure to unstructured.   The use of metadata expands further when users tag freely which creates a folksonomy rather than a taxonomy.  This allows information to take on a life that can apply differently based on region, age, demand, use, etc..  It is this metadata that drives the value of the information we create, collect, and use on a daily basis.  The better the metadata, the faster we find the value in our data.


5.  Enterprise Data Mobility allows Business to operate at the speed of thumbs 
The power of mobile devices and tablets has transformed the way we operate business today.  In the past, Employees have used floppy disks, CDs, and thumb drives to move data from one location to another to improve efficiency and flexibility.  This presents risks to the organization that are often not known until it is too late. With regulation and compliance requirements, organizations must be able to prove they meet or exceed the requirements through audits.  Today organizations must provided mobile solutions that keep information safe, audit-able, and protected.  This allows employees to use the mobile devices they rely on without risk to the organization.


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