The Tech Team Behind IBM Storwize Demonstrates Innovative Thinking.

Nov 30, 2016

Surprised? We’re not.

You may have seen that in my recent musings, I’ve talked a lot about how enterprises need to be looking at emerging technologies to help them solve some of the age-old problems they are facing.

If you missed it, the long and short of it is that enterprises are not making it their business to keep abreast of technologies that transform. This means a continuation of deploying expensive solutions that are not addressing today’s problems.

Comfortable slippers…

Take the movement of large volumes of data as an example. This is a daily problem for businesses as, the larger and more varied the data gets, the slower it is flowing from place to place.  We speak to many businesses that are still spending vast sums of money on the ‘comfortable slipper’ solution without real life improvement to performance or optimization of existing infrastructure.  Despite this being a risk in terms of business security – think about this problem in terms of how important networked data transfer speed is to backup, replication and disaster recovery planning – IT buyers still seem happy to place themselves in the hands of the large, slow moving incumbents rather than executing on a better approach.

However, you will be relieved to hear, that there are some smart enterprises out there that understand it and have made a commitment to ensure that the best and highly innovative technology is not only on their radar but in use.

It’s not a surprise that some Tech Titans are ahead of the game

To become a Tech Titan, you have to build an ethos that challenges the status quo and a mentality that looks to find new ways to overcome obstacles. Look at every major tech company – they all had this thinking when they started, slowly these Tech Titans have converged in the eyes of their customers, with reducing differentiation. In reality customers are looking to these Tech Titans to bring new and innovative products. So in order to get the jump on the other Titans they look outside for innovation and differentiation.

Many will probably have looked at my recent advice about making it crucial to the business to seek out new tech solutions, liked the sentiment, but figured that they aren’t going to be an initial adopter.

However, what you don’t realize is that one of the big guns – IBM – are operating by stealth, incorporating new tech in to their products so that their customers can experience the benefits of more efficient solutions. A Tech Titan leading by example.

The question for you is should you be adopting the same style of innovative thinking?

I think the answer to that question, has to be yes. Let me give you an example that will show you why…

Because they are a diligent and informed business, IBM realized that to stay ahead of competitors they needed to come up with a new solution for IP replication that went beyond just using FCiP; a very costly option.

IBM sourced and recognized a new technology that would complement its Storwize arrays. Under closer inspection, came the realization that gave IBM an opportunity to provide a major advantage to their customers and prospective customers.

The technology implemented in to its software stack was data acceleration technology from Bridgeworks, redefining data transfer speed over the WAN. Its footprint within the stack was negligible and the accelerated IP Replication that IBM was now able to offer – without any further cost to the customer – is a game-changer for tens of thousands of IBM customers

So by proxy, IBM Storwize customers have the ability to think differently.

But what does the# implementation of this acceleration tech mean at ground level for businesses?

Let’s take an example that we have seen, all too often.

Forced by latency and packet loss restrictions, a customer was replicating from a primary storage location to a local secondary site which was far too close to the primary site.  The customer knew all too well that this was a risky business as all the Circle of Disruption advice says you should put distance between your sites.  However without a solution to solve the challenges of latency and packet loss, the customer was relying on luck and a hope that nothing would occur to cause a problem.

The same customer now uses the IBM solution (with the addition of Bridgeworks WANrockIT data acceleration technology). WAN issues of latency and packet loss are now issues of the past and the customer is now able to locate the secondary site hundreds of miles away substantially removing risk.

Not only that, the customer was able to replicate his data faster than before, despite the distance.  If that wasn’t a big enough return another huge bonus was that replication completed each and every time.

Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) were not only easily achievable but were significantly reduced.  The knock on effect was a diminished time to recover (RTO).  With one smart and informed technology decision the business was future-proofed for the anticipated data growth and the data change rate.

But what happens if you are not an IBM Storwize customer?

Why should this make any difference? The point I’m making here is that IBM’s approach should not be limited to the big boys.  This kind of thinking is what got them to the top of their game in the first place and it is an approach that should be replicated from small to large IT departments.

My advice is to take heed of how IBM problem solved their IP replication issue. Businesses large and small should apply the same ferocious appetite to staying ahead of the game which means staying informed and well-researched.

IBM started with a problem and a need to offer a market-leading product, they undertook research, due diligence and testing and this led them to a ground breaking solution.

In my opinion this kind of thinking should not be limited to disruptive agile startups or large big budget enterprises with huge resource. For all sizes of business, across all sectors… technology that challenges and changes the status quo will always be the future. You have a choice, to keep up or fall behind.

In this fast paced world, competition is cut-throat so I ask you whether you can afford to remain in the dark?