Monthly Archives: May 2011

Does size matter when it comes to “Big” Data?

by Glenn Gore, Chief Technology Officer, Melbourne IT

As Information Technology continues to underpin just about
everything we do on a daily basis, growth in information and data is increasing
at ever increasing rates. Individuals have data spread far and wide as they
interact with multiple service providers from banking to travel to
entertainment services. With Enterprise organisations managing 80% of the
worlds data, the ability to process and extract valuable information from these
large data sets is becoming a new area of investment and innovation to create
new insights, value and opportunities to customers and business owners. Dealing with these large data sets (measured in hundreds of terabytes per set) is
referred to as “Big Data”.

A common misconception around Big Data, is that only the
biggest companies and online sites can work with Big Data concepts. The truth
though is that every company from small to large can take advantage of the
technologies being developed by the “big guys” to get greater insight into
customer behaviour, trends analysis and business intelligence. A more
simplistic definition of Big Data that addresses a broader range of use case
scenarios is where you are trying to run analytics on a data set that doesn’t
fit onto a single computer (whether it be a laptop or a server).

The primary concepts behind Big Data are:

–  The ability to break a data set up into smaller
chunks that can be processed individually

–  The ability to run analysis processes in
parallel against the many chunks of data

–  Working with structured and unstructured data
sets

–  Analysis often requires multiple passes over the
same data-set to generate higher level models

Melbourne IT is working closely with EMC on how Big Data
learnings and the latest in Storage Technology can be used to help analyse
customer behaviour across a platform that generates >150 Million
transactions per day across more than 60,000 customers. Processing a month’s
worth of activity requires pattern analysis across more than 4 Billion customer
interactions comprising more than 60 Billion individual data points. Using
traditional techniques, it would take longer than 24 hours to load and report
on 24 hours of activity.

EMC Inform 2011 will provide insights into how EMC is
helping customers deal with their own Big Data challenge.

What does EMC do that is fundamentally different?

By Clive Gold, Marketing CTO, EMC Australia and New Zealand

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asks me that! EMC and the acquisitions we’ve made might seem like a random walk through IT logos; the question is what ties all this together from a core capability point of view? In a flippant way, I say it’s because EMC goes out of its way to not care!

That sounds bad, so I have to explain quickly. EMC built its business on storage in the 1990’s, by providing the fastest, most available and most reliable way to store your data. EMC didn’t care what machine, what operating system, what database or what application those 1’s and 0’s came from. Our job was to keep them, keep them safe, dish them up fast, copy them across the globe, and make them available for use in as many different ways as people needed.

The rest of the IT market looked at all this differently, from a horizontal stack point of view. A lens that was focused on a certain application, a certain operating system or a certain machine architecture. EMC’s focus was horizontal, applying the same technology across the board. Allowing customers to do things in one way across their entire environment! A massive value due to the simplification, consolidation and then the automation of these tasks!

Today this remains EMC’s core value proposition. Think about the major brands and how they all fit my ‘horizontal’ model. RSA technologies implemented at the hypervisor layer that look at traffic flows, are technology stack independent.

While application vendors push doing everything in their application, which leads to higher complexity again, the “Super Vendors” as Gartner classes IBM, HP, and Oracle create supermarkets where you get everything but it’s all average. EMC and our best-of-breed partners, Cisco and VMware, provide a unique value proposition of best-of-breed, and totally integrated infrastructures that are open! I believe Larry Ellison once suggested Oracle was open he said “You can run any software stack on Oracle; Financials, JD Edwards, Peoplesoft and Seibel!” Totally open if your entire world is just Oracle which his is!

What’s the significance of this today? Think about the net effect of ‘cloud’, it is moving the market EMC’s way. The market also ‘doesn’t want to care’ about the technologies. They want and we are ready to provide technologies that look after themselves that people don’t have to care for, but just use! Maybe that is what is fuelling EMC’s growth – we have the right pieces and the right approach to realise our vision of being the provider of cloud technologies!

RSA making virtual and cloud more secure than traditional IT

Andy Solterbeck is the head of EMC RSA in Australia and New Zealand, and when you hear him speak about trust and risk and cloud, you will feel how passionate he is about the subject.

I listened to him doing a rehearsal of his presentation for Inform, “Building
trust in the Cloud” and it became evident to me that RSA is architecting the next generation security for the cloud world! There is no doubt that there is a transformation underway with IT and no more pertinent is the changes to IT security, we are going to get it right this time.

If you are one of the IT professionals who say that you are not adopting cloud
technologies because of Trust or Security concerns, you must not miss this session at Inform!

David Banger KPMG at Inform Australia

I’ve been at Dimension Data’s Executive Dimensions event in Hobart this week and got a sneak preview of David Banger’s presentation. David is the Director of IT for KPMG and outlines what they have done and the problems and issues that he has faced. Very interesting if you are virtualising or clouding or transforming your IT.

Dimension Data has worked with KPMG to help them realise their new strategy to work with world class technology innovators in build a showcase of capabilities, technologies and an ITS organisation.
Working in an IT firm has interesting challenges when thinking about brining the alignment of the business with IT. David has some interesting things to say about what terminology to use, to get things done.

Nice video’s as well.. really bring things to reality.

Telco’s glue the cloud together – Telstra joins Inform

Sometimes people overlook the fact that the network is the glue that makes the cloud work. So one market model that makes absolute sense, is to have a major telco provide the cloud services that we are looking for. Why, well there is the obvious advantage of having them ‘in the pipe’ that you connect to. But don’t overlook the culture and ethos of these organisations to be “Telco Grade”. Telstra has actually been delivering what is today known as XaaS services since the early 2000’s, starting with a storage service and expanding to cover the rest of the services you might require.
With the help of Komatsu as an example of a cloud consumer we are pleased to announce that Telstra will be at Inform. This fascinating tale of cloud adoption has a few twists in the tale that will interest anyone who is considering adopting cloud technologies. And there is nothing to be scared of because each twist the benefits of adopting the Telstra service were far beyond the original business case.

When EMC meets VMware and Cisco

by Clive Gold, CTO Marketing EMC Australia and New Zealand

The technical content of Inform fill in the pieces you need today to realise the longer term transformation..

If you are technical you might notice that the key message for Inform this year about Cloud and Big Data, but there are a lot of sessions dealing with transforming IT through virtualistaion. In fact we have just added a dedicated VMware session!

The key question of, “Is Cloud and Virtualistion the same thing?” In my opinion the answer is no but Cloud is dependent on virtualisation to realise the benefits of hybrid cloud.

So to tempt you to Inform let me outline what the virtualisation sessions add up to. The goal is to create a hybrid cloud, where workloads and data can be moved between on-premise and off-premise environments. Todo this we work up the stack, firstly the basic infrastructure needs to work together and so it needs to be pre-integrated and as such there is a session about the integration points between EMC and VMware. A new survey supports out leadership in this area and show how many companies use EMC for virtualistaion and more interesting is how users of other storage systems wish they had made an EMC decision.

Now we have the foundation at a storage level, there is obviously a need to re-engineer the networks that are in the data-centre. Cisco will talk about the key changes in convered networks and how to move users from one place to the next without dropping their connection as well a glimpse at the compute layer.

Following Cisco we need to take the final step and forget all these pieces and rely on VMware, Cisco and EMC to integrate, test, and look after an infrastructure produce called Vblock. To demonstrate and change your mind about what converged infrastructure is, we show you a single button to manage it all!

Lastly is this all real, well lets hear from a cloud supplier Enspire who Logicalis has been working with to put this all in place and offer a desktop as a service product to the market.

Technical details, we will give you and more! See you at Inform starting next week.

What will the cloud look like in 2011?

By EMC Marketing CTO – Clive Gold

I wonder at what stage ancient man looked up at the sky and instead of just seeing ‘clouds’, distinguished them as storm, rain, or snow clouds? I think 2011 will be the year we look inside the Clouds and understand what they are going to deliver. Why this weird thought, well last week I attended a Data Scientist conference, that was attached to EMC World, and one of the speakers made a comment that “I’m glad Big Data is no longer called Cloud!” Now big data, most of which is Cloud Data, is being recognised as a separate discipline.

Now we can say it’s been an interesting few weeks for the world of cloud computing. Amazon’s elastic cloud service’s hiccup, has given people a new perspective on what is a true cloud service. NIST’s definition of cloud computing, (here),  states the characteristics as:

– On-demand self-service
– Broad network access
– Resource pooling
– Rapid elasticity

Notice none of the traditional IT metrics are mentioned, such as reliability, availability, and performance. EMC, since the start of this conversation, (and kudos to Chuck Hollis who from the start has been posting on the subject, check numerous posts on his blog), has stated that there is a need to bring these two sets of requirements together to create the new computing model.

What has become apparent is that some cloud services are nothing more than a system being run over the wire rather than on-premise. One example that I’m battling with right now, is that EMC uses a ‘cloud’ based expense processing system, which has been unavailable for a week! Does that mean that EMC made the wrong decision, absolutely not. The system provides a more efficient and most cost effective way to process expenses, but we now understand that it will suffer the same issues as any other IT system.

Now on the other end of the scale, has anyone got an unavailability message, when trying to do a Google search? I’ve never met anyone who has, and most of the people I know are nerds like me… so it’s not for lack of use!
My prediction is that 2011 is the year the cloud is ‘de-mystified’. We will see adoption leap to the next level, as people will know what they are going to get and will be able to decide on the risk and reward levels that they are comfortable with. There will be in-expensive services that might go down every now and then, there will be fault tolerant systems which cost more, but are out of the reach of the people who will use them.

So if you are interested in getting an update on where Cloud Computing is today and some idea of where it is going, be at EMC Inform!