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ROUNDTABLE

How to build

Business

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DEALING WITH THE DATA DELUGE

R

ead enough industry journals and you might get the mistaken impression that every large organisation in Australia is diving headlong into ‘big data’ - deploying new analytics engines, writing algorithms, solving world peace… The reality, of course, is that most CIOs in Australia have inherited a data storage legacy that doesn’t lend itself so easily to the kinds of calculations the CMO might want IT to solve. Its hard to build something new when you’ve barely the resources to maintain what you already have. These were the conversations that dominated the Commvault Conversations roundtable, moderated by iTnews columnist Justin Warren. A former storage engineer, Warren has since completed an MBA with a focus on bridging the gap between IT and the executive function. How do successful CIOs get out of the weeds of storage and focus on the issues that matter? We hope you enjoy the discussion

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How to build

Business

Services

Stop wrangling data and start brokering services Australian IT organisations are under pressure to store every piece of data generated in the workplace in perpetuity, and to simultaneously provide richer, user-friendly access

to it, all while keeping the data safe and secure. Achieving all three goals at once is a formidable challenge in the content of the downward pressure CFOs are placing on IT

costs and competition to IT shops from cloud services. iTnews joined a group of IT leaders at a recent CommVault Conversations roundtable event in Melbourne to learn how

From left: Brian Stibbard (Commvault Area VP, Australia), Dave Denham (Commvault Sales Director, southern region), Al Bunte (Commvault COO), Michael Porfirio (Commvault Director of Systems Engineering A/NZ), Justin Warren (Managing Director, PivotNine)

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Roundtable

various industries are addressing the challenges of the modern IT department.

Keep Everything, Forever Denis Clare, director of IT at The Royal Women’s Hospital, stores a lot of data. “Research have unlimited desires to store data,” he told his fellow panellists. “That’s always a problem. It’s really difficult to handle that under the current funding arrangements.” Tooraj Enyati, manager of infrastructure services at The University of Melbourne, faces similar pressure. He points out that regulation plays a significant part in their need to retain data.

Al Bunte, Commvault “Any research data where human experimentation is involved has to be kept for 30 years after any product is developed as a result of that research,” he noted. Andrew Oldaker, CTO at Melbourne Health, agrees. “We’re very highly regulated. Our data retention and recovery policy is - like most government departments keep everything forever.” But while the demands to store and retain data are ever-growing, the methods for storing it haven’t www.iTnews.com.au 5


kept pace. Attendees expressed frustration with managing legacy storage environments – particularly for data stored on tape. There is growing understanding across organisations that simply keeping the data isn’t enough. For it to be useful, it needs to be accessible.

Accessing the Data

“So we’ve stored it. Big deal,” Oldaker said. “How do we get it back, and in a timely fashion?” Melbourne Health’s stakeholders no longer care about where the data is physically, he said, and their requests tend to follow the following narrative:

Justin Warren, PivotNine “Who cares where it is? I don’t care whether it’s local, whether it’s in the cloud, whether it’s under your bed. Not interested. What I care about is the ability for you to give that back to me in a timely fashion so I can make a decision that will affect the outcome of a patient’s care.” Al Bunte, COO at Commvault said the conversation has to move from operational issues to those more pertinent to the business. “So long as you already have the data, why don’t you simply use it?” Rather than focusing

on specific technologies, executives described a need to take a broader, “business services”-style approach to providing access. “Up to now, we’ve been just procuring products, putting it together, and running it,” Enyati said. “We’ve been trying to do more with less. By providing services, we need to bring out all aspects of the service, including cost and the value to the business. It’s a contractual arrangement that we will be providing the service for a period of time. That takes a Michael Lawrey, Telstra

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different level of maturity.” Michael Lawrey, executive director of Defence engagement at Telstra advocates a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) approach to providing data access. “We’ve always tried to drive a specific box down to a specific cost,” he said. “Wrong approach. In the new world, it’s about total cost of ownership. We’re changing our whole procurement business

I don’t care whether it’s local, whether it’s in the cloud, whether it’s under your bed Andrew Oldaker around looking at TCO now, rather than just the price of a box. “It’s all cash at the end of the day,” he said. “It’s got to be about value for money.” The University of Melbourne has had some experience as a broker of IT services. The university recently moved all student email to Google’s GMail service. Enyati said the university Andrew Oldaker, Melbourne Health

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is now looking into doing the same for staff, but he is mindful of the broader implications. He recommends being astute with contracts on offer from cloud service providers. Becoming a broker of services “requires a different frame of mind [and] a different maturity level for organisations,” he said. “Whether we are ready for it or not, cloud services are forcing us to move in that direction.” Cloud services are becoming more and more available in Australia, from both foreign- and domestically-owned suppliers. The recent arrival in Australia of Amazon Web Services’ Glacier product is just one of a myriad of cloud


Roundtable

Re-invigorating your storage strategy Research The first step has to be research. Understand where your organisation is at now and how you got here. Be brutally honest with yourself. Learn about your customers Justin Warren within the business, as well as the external environment your business faces. How would they prefer to access data?

Plan to a future-state Plan out, based on your research, what your future looks like. How fast will you need to change, and, based on your history, how likely is it you will succeed without external help? Allow time in your plan for inevitable hiccups and hurdles along the way.

Invest in new skills Invest in new skills in marketing, sales, and financial modelling. A services-based organisation looks very different to one dominated by technology products, and you’ll need to convince your board that you know what you’re doing. Decide if the skills should be in-house, or not. Train existing staff, hire new ones, and buy temporary help from consultants and contractors, but structure it such that the skills can be dialled up and down as required.

Focus The over-arching principle is simple: stop doing things your customers [internal users] don’t value, and do more of those that they do. The changes required are complex. But they will happen one way or another. The only choice you can make is whether you, as manager of the IT department, will make those changes - or whether someone else will.

www.iTnews.com.au 9


storage offerings. Geoff Beggs, The actual cost of Dept. of State storing data in cloud Development, Business, services isn’t what’s and Innovation compelling, said Ian Raper, regional vice president for Riverbed Technology – the degree to whether cloud but rather, it’s the cost of economics stack up. “operating the data.” But one of those Challenges of operating costs is the Cloud in Australia network costs required to reach data stored in the “One of the big costs in cloud. Australia is the carriage The National Broadband of data across the wire,” Network is subsequently a Oldaker said. major point of interest for “The infrastructure data storage engineers, as its is there. The high speed eventual form will dictate capability is there. But

“Whether we are ready for it or not, cloud services are forcing us to move in that direction” Tooraj Enyati

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Roundtable

Brian Stibbard, Commvault

the cost element of the carriage of data across it is where we’re getting stung.” Lawrey, a Telstra executive, countered. “One of the big issues is that people are very inefficient about how they move data around,” he said. He stressed that CIOs need to look more carefully at what they are trying to achieve and apply appropriate solutions and technology - such as de-duplication and WAN optimisation - to remove the need for major investments in new bandwidth. “Storage-as-a-Service is absolutely real,” said Raper. “We have customers using our storage gateways on cloud-provisioned services at Telstra, and others, in Australia, right now.”

Need for Business Skills CIOs represented on the panel agreed that a broader business perspective was required to solve the issues, and that it would require more than simply identifying solutions and tallying up costs. With a

long term, strategic view, solutions would need to be agreed to at board level. But the opportunity and exposure - of operating at board level is not for the faint of heart. Michael Lawrey counselled: “Too often, we go, ‘Oh ok, we’ll try to achieve it’ and everyone fails. The company fails, the individuals fail, and then we all beat ourselves up over it. It’s because we don’t have the hard conversations up front.” “You’ve got to stand up for what you believe in. Nothing is for nothing in this world,” he said.

Kon Mellas, ME Bank www.iTnews.com.au 11


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backup & recovery > replication > analytics > archive > search & ediscovery www.commvault.com n 2 Crescent Place n Oceanport, NJ 07757 Regional Offices: Europe n Middle East & Africa n Asia-Pacific n Latin America & Caribbean n Canada n India n Oceania ©1999-2013 CommVault Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. CommVault, the “CV” logo, Solving Forward, and Simpana are trademarks or registered trademarks of CommVault Systems, Inc. All other third party brands, products, service names, trademarks, or registered service marks are the property of and used to identify the products or services of their respective owners. All specifications are subject to change without notice.


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