Agile Digital Transformation

Agile Digital Transformation

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Agile Digital Transformation Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Jason Bloomberg

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What If All Data Were Hot Data? Flash Storage Hits Two Inflection Points

The history of data storage ranging from our devices to our data centers amounts to a years’ long progression of bigger, faster, and over time, cheaper.

Within the enterprise data center, today’s state of the art is the All-Flash Array, which depends upon non-volatile Flash storage to provide high performance and durability, as compared to the spinning disk technology that preceded it.

Mat Kixmoeller, Vice President of Strategy for Pure Storage, celebrating at Pure Accelerate.

Mat Kixmoeller, Vice President of Strategy for Pure Storage, celebrating at Pure Accelerate.

Hot, Warm, and Cold Data

Until recently, however, Flash arrays were decidedly more expensive than hard drives, prompting enterprises to implement a mix of different storage technologies for different purposes.

At the high end, Flash supports high performance computing (HPC) and certain mission-critical tasks that require real-time processing of data – what we call ‘hot data.’ For top performance, hot data require expensive network protocols like InfiniBand or similarly costly storage-area networks (SANs) that depend upon Fibre Channel networking technology.

In the middle are ‘warm data’ on hard drives that leverage earlier spinning disk technology. Due to their moving parts, such disks wear out with annoying frequency. In larger data centers, replacing them can be a full-time job.

Furthermore, it takes a moment for a such a disk to start spinning – on the order of milliseconds. Milliseconds don’t sound like a lot, but Flash ‘spins’ up (in quotes since no spinning is involved) in microseconds – a thousand-times improvement in latency.

And then there are ‘cold data,’ typically on tape. Yes, the magnetic tape familiar from quaint movies of 1960s data centers – with more advanced technology to be sure, but still tape. Tape is really not good for anything but backup purposes, but it’s still a favorite technology because of its extraordinarily low media cost.

The problem with tape – or any backup technology, for that matter – is that all of its business value depends upon the ability to recover data from the backup. Given that tape wears out over time, the only way to make sure all the data are recoverable is to try to recover them.

Just one problem: most enterprises have so much information backed up on tape that making sure all of it is recoverable is a fools’ errand. Instead, they perform random tests, maintain duplicate backups for some information (thus increasing costs), and cross their fingers about the rest.

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Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, Pure Storage is an Intellyx customer. None of the other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Pure Storage covered Jason Bloomberg’s expenses at Pure Accelerate, a standard industry practice. Image credit: Jason Bloomberg.


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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.