Tag Archives: IDC


Analyst firm IDC and EMC have released “The Privacy Index”, (here), which surveys our willingness to trade privacy for certain ‘benefits’. They measured a range of indexes shown in the picture above, but what is interesting to me is the … Continue reading

How IT Buzzwords Impact Healthcare

Picture from: http://www.healthcarereformmagazine.com/issue-16/feature-issue-16/healthcare-cheaper-better-faster/

Every industry loves their buzz words, and IT does more than most. Today you can’t talk about technology without one of the big four, (Social, Mobile, Big Data or Cloud), being dropped into the conversation. The question is, what has this to do with Healthcare? Well let me discuss this in the next few blog posts, but first context is required.

According to many commentators, such as analyst firm IDC, IT is entering its third epoch. Starting with the birth of IT in the form of the original mainframes, through the current ‘pc’ dominated client server and into the emerging 3rd Platform, typified by the ‘web-scale’ organisations. What I find interesting is that I can see the parallels with healthcare, let me explain.

The first platform was a time shared infrastructure which you would go with a particular job and walk away with a certain outcome. Sound like a hospital?  The issue with this model is that a massive infrastructure investment is required, and it makes use of very high levels of expertise, to use it effectively. That is why today, while there are still many mainframes in use, the ‘jobs’ they tackle are very specific to what it was designed for and where it is the most efficient way to achieve that outcome.

Today, however most computing is performed on the second platform – client server – enabled by the birth of PC’s and networks. This new model enabled new capabilities, such as interactivity, specialisation and a lower cost of production. The ‘work’ was split into different layers and specialist organisations created software solutions which automated processes.  (Think a PACS, RIS, EMR.) This structure is mostly a hub-and-spoke, with specialists performing their specific task and then passing on to the next layer. I would argue much like the delivery of healthcare outside of the hospital today, where a GP refers to a specialist that refers to an ‘ology’ that reports back to the specialist that diagnoses/treats and then reports back to the GP – each performing a task and passing off to the next entity. Now this model is effective at automating a processes but does it inherently improve that process or add to the quality of what is being done?

In my previous blog post I spoke about Big Data and some of what is enabling this… “What’s changed? Over the last decade technologies that can economically store and reason over disparate data types have been developed… (carry on reading here).”  This leads us to the 3rd Platform, if you like consider how the ‘web scale’ organisations do what they do! Such as Amazon predicting books you would like to read, Google giving you the latest information and Facebook changing social connectivity.

What does this mean to healthcare?  You are familiar with the past, computers have helped add up numbers and do accounting, (mainframe), they have automated processes like patient record keeping and image management, (client-server), now technology is help us to predict, understand and tap into the collective. In doing this we get assistance in diagnosis, discovering new protocols and drugs, and predicting likely outcomes. The advantages to healthcare of better planning, decision support and accelerated innovation are dramatic. In essence this is the platform enable healthcare to move into ‘Personalised Wellness’ or ‘Patient Centric Healthcare’. Consider the 3rd Platform as now helping improve thinking, the human process!

Three ‘platforms’ for technology and three ‘platforms’ for healthcare delivery. The IT industry delivers better, faster and cheaper, our challenge now is to use these technologies effectively to deliver better, faster and cheaper healthcare!

EMC Strategy Update 2014 – Gateway to the Future.

ViPR signals the future of computing and now I understand this!

First a confession, sometimes it takes me a while to fully understand the impact of some technologies. I remember seeing the first iPod adverts and pondering why anyone would want to carry a hard disk drive around in their pocket!  Likewise when I first encountered ViPR, I thought neat way to manage storage… but it’s not going to change the world?  Like the iPod I have come to understand that this is industry changing. Big statement let me explain.

ViPR has two major components, a controller and data services.  The controller has had a lot of focus, as it was the most built out at release time. Fundamentally it provides virtualised storage and automated management across your whole environment. This gives you visibility into all your storage and a consistent way to manage it; resulting in lower costs and higher reliability. If you were sceptical you would say this is just the next generation of storage virtualisation, and it would be hard to argue that.

Now before highlighting the revolutionary power of the ViPR data services let’s make sure we are on the same page, with respect to the shift in IT technology that is currently underway. Analyst group IDC puts it succinctly as the movement from the 2nd platform to the 3rd platform. (Depicted below)


This is the movement to an infrastructure that is capable of servicing billions of users, with millions of apps, (driven by social, mobile and big data computing), will look very different to current infrastructures. Enter the Software Defined Datacentre, where we use software to manage and control these elements, (ViPR controller). More importantly, to gain the scale and elasticity required a new hardware construct is required!

One example is illustrated by EMC’s acquisition of ScaleIO.  ScaleIO presents a virtual storage array, that is built from the storage in the servers that participate. Surely this competes directly with EMC’s core storage business today? Yes maybe, but if I need 1000 engines driving a massively parallel workload, I can’t achieve that simply with the hardware resilient architecture of ‘traditional’ storage arrays. While scale out architectures like Isilon scale to the hundreds of nodes, ScaleIO grows to thousands to support the 3rd Platform requirements.

So re-think ViPR in this context, today I am firmly in the 2nd Platform and I implement ViPR to gain control, lower cost and improve availability. Then I get a request to support a 3rd Platform application, let’s say Hadoop. Do I rush out and purchase dozens of servers or how do I plug in the HDFS Data Service into ViPR and support them immediately out of my existing hardware infrastructure?

Here was my ah-ha moment… as I grow my 3rd platform services, I deliver these as data services against existing hardware today and move into specialised or commoditised hardware infrastructures, depending on other factors, but without disruption! Now ViPR becomes a mechanism for me to co-exist in these worlds and move between them as need be. (After all there is still a lot of mainframes/1st Platforms in use today!).

So if I’m right what would you expect to see from EMC? Expect more ‘Data Services’ which will look like virtual versions of the current ‘hardware’ products that exist today!

The Australian Cloud – Mainstream Now


Preparing for a talk this week I went searching for the latest estimates of how large the Australian cloud market is. Two companies are often quoted in the IT press as the market analysts, Gartner and IDC. True to form I found two recent estimates; IDC says A$2.33 billion by 2016, (CAGR of 24.8%), (IDC here), but Gartner says it’s already there at $2.4 billion in 2012, (Gartner here).

See the issue? They would argue they count different things, so you can’t really compare the numbers. Which I kind of understand, but what is the size of the market? Maybe that doesn’t really matter, what is important is it is now substantial and it’s growing fast!

What I’m seeing is that ‘cloud’ is now mainstream, just about everyone I speak to has deployed at least one cloud service. To generalise what I would say is that SMB’s are almost totally cloud, why would you purchase and look after infrastructure if you were a small business or a start-up? In the mid-tier it seems like the cloud is the second datacentre used for backup and DR. And at the high end it seems as if the cloud has become the third datacentre. (Perhaps active-active between the two primary datacentres with the cloud providing the third; test, dev, triangulated DR.)

Confidence is building as well, perhaps not in the Traditional public cloud providers as fast as its growing with the home-grown enterprise centric providers like Telstra, Optus, etc. (In-fact the IDC article above says 70% of their survey group agree with this.)

Anyone who is still riding the data-sovereignty and “patriot act” rationale for not adopting cloud, is breading shadow IT in their organisation. Which is very dangerous! There is now nothing stopping any user pulling out the corporate credit card and setting up that Dropbox or AWS service to get something done quickly. Now IT has no control and data security is totally breached! However providing a trusted, secure and enterprise facility which is readily available in Australia by some of Australia’s most trusted brands… does seem more logical to me.

Now if I convinced you to take the leap into the Australian cloud be aware of another prediction, 30% of cloud suppliers will be out of business by 2015, (IDC). So when choosing the vendor you still need the due-diligence as no matter how good your contract is, once an organisation goes under, your data and systems and processes go with it!

What’s your experience with the Australian Cloud?

EMC Storage is Smashing the Competition

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Austrlia and New Zealand.

EMC’s Storage is simply thrashing the competition. It’s been a great week for

From 'The Register'

EMC storage, in particular VNX, and me! I’ve said it before, I know that people listen to what I say, but then look for validation. Why, because I have ‘Marketing’ in my job title and we technical people are all cynics! So when there are a flood of customer testimonials and industry validation for what I’ve been saying, I can have a little “I told you so” moment, (in my head only, so as not to be rude! ) A win announcement hit my inbox, a major mining house selected EMC to replace all other major vendors, to complete their consolidation project. Their reasons for selecting EMC were:

  • EMC was the only vendor with a credible platform to meet all their service level requirements across all their applications and datasets. (The power of VMAX!)
  • The quality of the EMC people. (Which is interesting as they had product from all the other major vendors and EMC was the only new vendor they dealt with!)
  • Transparent pricing structures: (Some people still perceive EMC as ‘expensive storage’, which was the case more than 10 years ago, but has not been since then.)
  • Excellent references: (As they say the proof is in the pudding, and EMC’s reputation for product quality and customer service are way ahead of the industry, we just simply care!)

Then IDC announced the storage market share numbers for Q3; EMC continues to hold more than twice the market share than the next vendor, (the Register article (here) and thanks for the graph). This is not a ‘chest beating’ exercise, but a thank you for your confidence in EMC. Market share is your vote, after all its how you vote with your $’s that counts and holding the size of EMC’s market lead shows that we are delivering better innovation, quality and customer service.

And its not just in ANZ, this morning an international case study hit my inbox, (here). Carglass, (German version of O’Briens), who selected VNX for some compelling reasons over Netapp:

  • Increased Performance and Efficiency—Carglass has achieved 5X faster performance with EMC VNX and FAST Cache under high workload conditions, such as quarterly financial reporting.
  • Reduced Footprint—With VNX, Carglass has reduced power consumption in its data center by 50%.
  • Simplified Management—With the unsurpassed simplicity of the VNX, Carglass’ IT managers can now set up a hardware test environment in just 2 hours, 36X faster than before, and spend less time on maintenance and configuration.

So customers have spoken loud and clear and therefore I have to say to a leading analyst in Australia, who I’ve known for over 20 years, and he always says to me… “It’s not that I don’t believe you Clive, but when a customer tells me something, I can trust it”. Well I guess now you can advise your clients that EMC and the VNX is truly a generation ahead of the market!
(I did tell you that, didn’t I!)

Socialytic Apps- new term from IDC

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

The idea of Socialytic Apps is really interesting. Last week I mentioned the IDC briefing I attended and covered the first half of the discussion here.
Now the more thought provoking part and IDC’s other new term, the Socialytic app. To start they said that the socialytic app has the following attributes:

  • Aggregate social data from public and private social data sources
  • Real-time search and monitoring
  • Social metrics dashboard
  • Natural language processing (NLP) with linguistic analysis capabilities
  • Visualization and simulation
  • Social trending
  • Human search

(There has been some reporting but CIO seems to have the best summary I found, here.)

The argument put forward by IDC is that companies are using social media externally, to increase brand awareness and manage and enhance relationships with customers and prospects. Internally they are using the tools to improve collaboration and productivity, with the intention of achieving the three essentials of revenue growth, cost reduction and risk mitigation.  At the same  time IDC’s research shows that CIO/CTOs rate business intelligence as being high on their list of priorities, with the intent of improving decision making, driving revenue growth and managing risk.

So it would seem these two, social media and BI, are inexorably related!

What’s the problem then? Well traditional BI is too structured and too slow for this work. Too structured as when data warehouses are set up they have a schema which pre-defines the questions that can be asked. Too slow, hence data has to be summarised to enable queries to be run and once again limiting the scope of the system. All that has now changed, with the new analytical databases that are now available.  These systems are built to be highly parallel allowing the processing billions of structured rows in realistic-time as well as use tools, such as Hadoop, to process semi-structured datasets. But the real kicker is that these tools leverage standardised hardware, which drops one or two zero’s from the price tag, when compared to proprietary systems.

The key to me is the integration or mashup of this social media data with your internal systems. A cute example of this was shown during Pat Gelsinger’s keynote at EMC World. Where they looked for competitors in the audience, used public data to build a resume, used internal systems to get references, and then fired off the hiring system.

A new world is really on us, so do you use any social media integration into any of your core systems?

IDC Cloud Briefing, Cloud in 2015

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

It has been an IDC week for me. First the Digital Universe study, (here), even a radio interview with Andy Wells, (here), and then an IDC Cloud briefing. Very interesting stuff and IDC put two new terms into my vernacular, vPC and  socialytic.

First was a discussion about the buying trends of customer’s w.r.t the various ‘cloud’ offerings. Chris Morris, Research Director at IDC’s Asia/Pacific Practice Group, immediately got my attention when he said that he expected the term ‘Cloud’ to disappear to be replaced by out-sourcing 3.0, a new set of sourcing models. Yes, may not agree with the name, but you have to agree with the point! He pointed out that the largest market share growth will be from virtual private clouds or vPC, and then went on to describe a vPC. It is what EMC has been working on with the leading providers like; Telstra, Optus, Macquarie Telecom, CSC, MelbourneIT, Enspire, etc. That is the delivery of enterprise class, off-premise, flexible, infrastructure as a service. Sounded to me like the demand is for something that : ‘Looks like mine, you run it and I pay for what I use.’  This model overcomes the risks of the public cloud, (apparent from recent incidents), but still provides the economic and flexibility benefits. In-fact IDC sees that the
percentage of the market that the Public Cloud offerings have will decrease over the next five years. He also highlighted the fact that a number of the CIO’s he talks to are concerned about, “cloud vendor churn”.

The other point that Chris made that you might be interested in, is that the ‘power’ of the market is shifting from consumers to service providers. Many vendors like EMC have established service provider programmes and have changed their go to market models to cater for their needs. Vendors slow to adopt the new licencing and consumption pricing are at risk. I guess some ISV’s
who still think, “there is a licence fee in that” are in for a surprise and maybe this explains recent moves in share prices and profit downgrades.

The second part was more thought provoking and less statistically based and gave rise to the Socialytic app. But I don’t have space to describe that here… next time.