Say “No” to “Rogue”: Three Steps to Transform Technology into Trusted Infrastructure

482219197For many organizations, information infrastructure has become a leading corporate concern because of the expense of managing the legacy environment, poor responsiveness to business needs, and the potential for significant risk of data loss. Other than that, they’re happy.

What happens when business teams don’t get their needs met? They go rogue and bypass IT in search of better services. Despite the disruptive shifts in technology and the way IT is consumed (i.e., consumption models), IT can not only regain the confidence of the business but also position itself as trusted advisor. It’s all about trust.

What Is Trusted IT – And How Do I Make It Happen?

Trust is the contract that binds IT to the business.

When things go wrong (failure, cyber-attack, natural disaster, or stampeding alpacas), the business looks to IT. When there are issues with application performance and availability, the business looks to IT. When information accessibility is locked into one vendor, the business looks to IT.

Regardless of the technology or consumption model (e.g., on-premise, cloud, etc.), trust is the foundation of the information infrastructure. Transforming technology into a trusted infrastructure requires three things: streamlining protection services, creating application-intelligent infrastructures, and enabling cross-infrastructure data mobility.

1. Streamlining Protection Services

Poor service levels and lack of visibility into the protection copies have weakened the relationship between protection teams and their customers (i.e., business and application owners).

Most IT environments employ a bewildering assortment of protection products, or technologies, at different layers of the infrastructure (application, hypervisor, server, and storage). The result: capital expense, operational complexity, poor oversight, and failed recoveries. This creates the perfect setting for business teams to “go rogue” and deploy their own solutions.

But IT can reconnect with their customers by breaking down the protection silos they’ve created and enabling their customers to play a more active role in protection.

Take the virtual machine (VM) team – one of the critical users. They ask for three things:

  • Access to data protection controls via standard VM interfaces.
  • The ability to manage protection at a VM-level of granularity, rather than larger storage containers.
  • High-performance unified protection management for VMs – rollback a VM after a logical corruption, full failover after a catastrophic disaster, and the ability to test the recoveries.

By delivering better performance and more visibility, the infrastructure team can deliver streamlined protection services. They can deliver trust.

2. Creating an Application-Intelligent Infrastructure

IT builds credibility with the business by delivering application service levels reliably and quickly. To better meet SLAs, IT must understand the relationship between application and infrastructure. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

While virtualization optimizes the IT environment in many ways, it has also increased the complexity of understanding what is really happening. When diagnosing an application-level issue, who knows what infrastructure it depends on? When assessing the potential impact of an infrastructure change, who can predict the upstream application impact?

To cut through the layers of virtualization, IT needs two things:

  • Holistic visibility into the environment. The VM admin needs control over both the protection policy and the protection infrastructure to get a full view.
  • The ability to capture and validate application requirements. Applications comprise multiple components. To track the interdependencies, the VM admin needs a grouping mechanism (e.g., consistency groups). Then, to validate the grouping, the VM admin needs to be able to test that the application, as defined, can be accessed (e.g., DR testing).

By delivering a consolidated view of an application-intelligent infrastructure, the infrastructure team can deliver greater agility to the VM admin and to the business. This fosters trust.

3. Enabling Cross-Infrastructure Mobility

Nothing deteriorates trust and a sense of security in an IT organization than being locked into one vendor – either a vendor or a cloud provider. While unique functionality creates some vendor stickiness, the weight of the data creates the most powerful lock-in. The complexities of migrating large amounts of data, often stored in proprietary formats, make data mobility an enormous challenge.

With the proper architecture, however, the information infrastructure team can position themselves as trusted infrastructure brokers. Successful teams focus on two areas:

  • Selecting the right layer for data management services (e.g. protection), considering both efficiency and flexibility. Many customers have chosen the VM as their unit of data management because it eliminates storage lock-in and links well to the cloud, via hybrid cloud.
  • Deploying efficient, reliable data movement technology. The customers must have complete confidence in the mechanism they choose to actually move the data. Since data may move over great distances and between clouds, network efficiency becomes even more critical. Moreover, since this is the company’s data, proven reliability is the only option.

By delivering cross-infrastructure mobility, the infrastructure team assures the business that they are putting the right data in the right place at the right time. Now, that’s trust.

The Future Is Now

The information infrastructure team must reach out to their customers to re-establish trust.

We have talked in the past about connecting directly with the application teams. We have recently launched products to connect protection and primary storage. Now, we are focused on connecting to the VM team.

RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines helps the infrastructure information team deliver trust to the VM team. As the launch details, it delivers reliable, high-performance data protection technology into the hands of the VM team.

More importantly, however, it continues our focus on embedding trust directly into the infrastructure, which will enable your IT organization to take important steps to regaining their position as infrastructure broker – regardless of where the physical equipment lives. There are few things as precious and valuable as trust. Now is the time to begin the journey of building a trusted infrastructure – you never know when the alpacas are going to stampede.

About the Author: Stephen Manley