Building on yesterday’s message, today was all about how the data era is disrupting our industry. Listening to the keynote, I was reminded about my trip to the Grand Canyon at the weekend. Not because of some tangential analogy about seismic activity (see my day one blog…) and how the uplift of the Colorado Plateau disrupted the flow of water and led to the creation of one of the seven wonders of the world – but because of how it made me feel.

In a word, awed. I always knew the canyon was big, having seen it on TV – but until I got there and walked along the edge looking at the other side, I had no context. It is so far away, it felt like my brain couldn’t process it properly – perspective meant the other side didn’t move as I walked, it just looked like an incredible oil painting!

Similarly, the “Data Era” sometimes feels so abstract and unwieldy that you struggle to put it into the context of your everyday life, your business and your whole world.  From our perspective it is the huge backdrop that we can’t impact and doesn’t really impact us.  I feel like – “This is something really big, and powerful – it doesn’t scare me, but I don’t really know how it happened or whether it really affects me?”.

A key quote in the Day 2 keynote was that IDC are predicting “the Global DataSphere will grow to 163 zettabytes”, and compared to how much data we look after today this is a completely different scale. Looking back at my notes from two years ago, at MS Future Decoded 2017, one of the questions in my head was “How do we, as infrastructure guys, understand what our role is in this new world of development-driven intelligent computing?” I feel that, in 2019 I have an answer to that question!

Our focus has not changed – the end goal has always been and should always be the data.  Previously, we hid behind the infrastructure systems and let the developers, or the business analysts, or the users, manage the data. The modern infrastructure has cleared the water – managing the data is on us! The business provides, owns and consumes the data, but it is our job as IT admins to understand about the data, the metadata – and to use this knowledge and understanding to enable our businesses to consume it in a fast, modern and safe way.

Dell’s take, on what we as IT professionals need to do, boils down to some key imperatives to handle this data:

  1. Powerful and modern infrastructure
    We need to manage both structured and unstructured data in a modern way, making it accessible to ML (Machine Learning) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) tooling.
  1. Hybrid cloud strategy
    The debate is over – people need and want both public AND private cloud, but the definition of Cloud has changed. The cloud is moving ever closer to the edge, and a true hybrid cloud encompasses compute in the public cloud, at the core in the on-premise datacentre, and in the devices at the Edge. Compute is placed:
  • In the Edge to respond quickly to user demands and data changes
  • On-prem to secure and comply where required
  • In the Public Cloud for hyperscale performance, availability and scalability

What we need to unlock this is to provide a common control plane to manage our workloads, in all locations.

  1. The Edge
    As mentioned above, the Edge is Key in enabling our users to operate in the data era, a modernised Edge to generate, access and work with modernised data. As the data grows, the Edge needs to grow.
  1. Software Defined
    We need to be critically assessing our workloads and looking to transform them wherever possible into software defined entities, enabling us to scale them in with security, performance, mobility, cost optimisation.
  2. Workforce Modernisation
    This is the one that I see being misunderstood the most often. There are 5 generations now in our workforce:
  • Baby boomers
  • Gen X
  • Gen Y
  • Millennial’s
  • Gen Z

So whilst we need to cater for all of them, the Gen Z workforce as digital natives are used to modern devices, they want to work in a modern way, and they are influencing the other generations. They natively understand these modern interfaces and can think about the data in the way the business wants to.

This is not something we can manage, but it is something that we should be thinking about when we are evolving our Edge and choosing or configuring our devices.

The data era is here now, and our newest generation of workforce know this.  If we as IT Pros are going to deliver what our businesses need to be successful, we need to keep the above factors at the forefront of our decision making and architecture.

For more information, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help.


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