EMC SVP: ‘A massive sea change in IT is under way because of cloud’

9 Oct 2012

(From left) Eric Herzog, senior VP, product management and product marketing; James Petter, VP and UK MD; and Jason Ward, country manager, Ireland, EMC

A massive IT transformation wave is sweeping the world as cloud computing, virtualisation and mobile technology transform the landscape, EMC’s head of product marketing Eric Herzog said today. According to EMC’s own research, 81pc of local businesses will transform their IT functions in the next 12 months.

Herzog, whose full title is senior vice-president of product management and product market, was in Ireland to address the EMC Forum in Dublin. He said EMC itself has embraced cloud computing across 52,000 employees worldwide and discernible changes in work practices and roles are already apparent. EMC employs 2,700 people in Ireland.

“You’ll need to pay close attention to how this revolution will impact the jobs market, it will mean redefining people’s roles in a team and the key is to make sure your team is adequately trained in terms of security, for example.”

According to EMC’s research, more than three out of five Irish businesses believe cloud computing will create new roles and responsibilities for IT staff over the next three years.

The survey also revealed that 65pc of businesses believe they will need to create new roles, such as cloud architects, to transform their IT infrastructure, while 50pc of companies believe big data will generate a need for data scientists.

According to the survey, 81pc of businesses are planning to transform their IT environments over the next 12 months, with 63pc citing data storage and management as their top IT priority.

Just less than half of businesses, or 47pc, say increasing revenue is their top business priority, followed by enhancing customer experience and engagement at 43pc, and improving governance and compliance at 40pc.

Four out of five businesses say they are aligning IT strategies with wider business goals while seven out of 10 companies believe they have the skills and knowledge to implement their IT priorities.

Agile IT environments will thrive amidst a data tsunami

Herzog said the cloud revolution will have serious implications in terms of security issues for financial and legal departments of organisations but the most profound changes will be felt within the IT department.

Server administrators, for example, will have less servers to administer, thanks to virtualisation, but they will have a new set of challenges in terms of minimising the cost of running infrastructure.

“Questions of ‘will I add storage, a public cloud server or more compute power?’ will sit alongside questions of ‘will I use Flash in my storage infrastructure?’.”

“This is a definite sea change that began with virtualisation and was given momentum, thanks to the global financial crisis.

“The cloud saves money but by using Flash in storage infrastructure firms can save incredible amounts of money in terms of capex and opex.

“Goldman Sachs saved 75pc on its capex budget for storage in the last three years. It serviced 50pc of IOs with 1pc Flash. The industry average has been 5pc.

“It depends on your configuration but the reality is that Flash has changed the storage landscape. Next year, we’re going to be putting Flash into our entry line-up. We’re going to embrace it ubiquitously.

“That’s why you’re correct in describing it as a sea change in terms of the impact that cloud has had on server infrastructure and storage.

“Add to this mix mobile and the demands of providing information securely in real-time to BlackBerry devices, Android devices and iOS devices, and these present heavy demands on infrastructure.

“Amidst all of this, IT budgets are being cut back, so IT managers need to look for solutions that optimise manpower and deliver real return on investment.

“There are great storage arrays across the world but using a little bit of Flash will save money, ensuring the next refresh won’t be as expensive as the old days. The cloud will deliver a return on investment, but the savings will be accrued far more quickly in a way that CIOs couldn’t do before,” Herzog said.

IT priorities for Irish businesses

The EMC survey showed that the top IT priorities for Irish businesses are:

  • Data storage/management [63pc]
  • Maintenance of existing technologies – software and hardware [58pc]
  • Further technology (systems, applications and data) integration/process management [57pc]
  • Data backup and recovery [50pc]
  • Optimisation of reliability, scalability and performance [46pc]
  • Cloud computing [38pc]

“These findings show that businesses are are no longer simply undertaking IT transformation to cut costs but rather using it to actively drive growth,” said Jason Ward, EMC’s country manager in Ireland.

“By aligning the IT transformation agenda across cloud, big data and IT security with the business-development model, companies can implement a fully integrated strategy that accelerates growth,” Ward added.

Ireland’s digital leaders will gather to discuss cloud computing and the big data revolution at the Cloud Capital Forum on Friday, 23 November, at the Convention Centre Dublin

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years