Speaking at EMC World, President of Core Technologies Division at EMC Guy Churchward joined Jeremy Burton, President of Products and Marketing, to outline one of the industry’s primary challenges, technical debt.
The idea of technical debt is being felt by the new waves of IT professionals. This new generation is currently feeling the pressure from most areas of the business to innovate, to create an agile, digitally enabled business, but still have commitments to traditional IT systems on which the business currently operates on. The commitment to legacy technologies, which could represent a significant proportion of a company’s IT budget and prevents future innovation, is what Churchward describes as the technical debt.
“They know their business is transforming fast,” said Churchward. “Business has to use IT to make their organization a force to be reckoned with and remain competitive in the market, but all the money is taken up by the current IT systems. This is what we call technical debt. A lot of people have to do more with what they have and create innovation with a very limited budget. This is the first challenge for every organization.”
This technical debt is described by Churchward as the first challenge which every IT department will face when driving towards the modern data centre. It makes business clunky and ineffective, but is a necessity to ensure the organization continues to operate, until the infrastructure can be upgraded to a modern proposition. Finding the budget without compromising current operations can be a tricky proposition.
“When you live in an older house, where the layout doesn’t really work for the way you live your life and there aren’t enough closets to satiate your wife’s shoe fetish, maybe it’s time to modernize,” said Churchward on his blog. “But do you knock the whole house down and start again? Maybe it’s tempting but, what about the investment that you’ve already made in your home? It’s similar when you want to modernize your IT infrastructure. You have money sunk into your existing technology and you don’t want to face the disruption of completely starting again
“For many companies, this debt includes a strategy for data storage that takes advantage of a shrinking per-gig cost of storage that enables them to keep everything. And that data is probably stored primarily on spinning disk with some high-availability workloads on flash in their primary data centre. The old way of doing things was to see volumes of data growing and address that on a point basis with more spinning disk. Data centres are bursting at the seams and it’s now time to modernize – but how?”
Churchward highlighted the first-step is to remove duplicate data sets – EMC launched its Enterprise Copy Data Management tool at EMC World this week – to reduce unnecessary spend within the data centres. While there are a number of reasons to duplicate and keep old data sets for a defined period of time, Churchward commented this data can often be forgotten and thus becomes an expense which can be unnecessary. Although the identification and removal of this data might be considered a simple solution to removing a portion of the technical debt, Churchward believes it could be a $50 billion business problem by 2018.
The Enterprise Copy Data Management software helps customers discover, automate and optimize copy data to reduce costs and streamline operations. The tool automatically identifies duplicate data sets within various data centres, and using data-driven decision making software, optimizes the storage plans, and in the necessary cases, deletes duplicate data sets.
This is just one example of how the challenge of technical debt can be managed, though the team at EMC believe this challenge, the first in a series when transforming to a modern business, can be one of the largest. Whether this is one of the reasons cloud adoption within the mainstream market cloud be slower than anticipated remains to be seen, though the removal of redundant and/or duplicated data could provide some breathing room for innovation and budget for the journey towards the modern data centre.