Tag Archives: Founder

Digital transformation process: Align business and IT, shake legacy

At the Strongbow Consulting Group, founder and managing partner Cathy Horst Forsyth and her team help large enterprises digitally transform — specifically around network and infrastructure. From her experience with Fortune 500 companies, legacy applications and systems and misalignment of technology and business strategies can cause significant setbacks in the digital transformation process.

In this SearchCIO interview from the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Horst Forsyth details the trends and challenges that she’s seeing in enterprises that are going through the digital transformation process and what’s needed to be successful.

Editor’s note: This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

What parts of the enterprise are leading the charge in the digital transformation process?

Cathy Horst Forsyth: You see it all on the edges of the business where we have lines of business working directly with their customers, with their individual goals. I think where we see digital transformation being most progressive and most successful is when those lines of business — at the front end of the business — are working closely with their technology partners. What doesn’t seem to work well, or at least what can fall back and have negative consequences is when the lines of business are transforming and driving digital transformation that does not align with a corporate strategy and isn’t compliant with [an organization’s] technology strategy. So, where we see the most success, whether it’s marketing, sales or any particular functional area within the firm, is really that alignment with the business executive and the technology team to make sure the execution is both successful and compliant with the overall goals of the organization.

What parts of the enterprise are less far along in the digital transformation process?

You really can’t underestimate the [extent to which] legacy infrastructure systems and applications tether large companies down.
Cathy Horst Forsythfounder and managing partner, Strongbow Consulting Group

Horst Forsyth: Again, it’s kind of hard to generalize from my perspective. I can’t say one department or function is necessarily behind. But I would say that with organizations that are tethered to legacy applications, legacy infrastructure or legacy systems, it’s very difficult to dig themselves out of that. It’s probably not for lack of wanting to transform digitally, but you really can’t underestimate the [extent to which] legacy infrastructure systems and applications tether large companies down. Again, that’s one of the reasons [Strongbow] focuses specifically on the largest of enterprises. It is a lot easier to start ‘greenfield’ and to drive innovation when you haven’t been a classic Fortune 500 company for the past 50 or 100 years. Even though it’s about culture, leadership and many other things, the legacy infrastructure really can be an impediment. Where there are sunk costs or where it’s difficult to even understand where that infrastructure resides — which is an issue at times — we really see those organizations being hindered.

What kinds of strategies are effective in getting the entire enterprise to the same level of digital prowess?

Horst Forsyth: Once again, I go back to the top executives and the executive committee and [having the ability to] really understand and articulate business strategies. So, what are we trying to accomplish? Why are we trying to accomplish it? Anything can be framed in terms of opportunity or threat. Having everyone understand that simplistic business strategy is definitely a forerunner to then understanding how to leverage technology and achieving [digital transformation]. I think that, to some extent, technology strategy should be driven across the business — including on the front lines — but it needs to be monitored so that it’s consistent and compliant with corporate standards. And I think that the executives need to monitor and keep track of what’s going on, but allow it to go on and grow in a flexible fashion.

StorOne attacks bottlenecks with new TRU storage software

Startup StorOne this week officially launched its TRU multiprotocol software, which its founder claims will improve the efficiency of storage systems.

The Israel-based newcomer spent six years developing Total Resource Utilization (TRU) software with the goal of eliminating bottlenecks caused by software that cannot keep up with faster storage media and network connectivity.

StorOne developers collapsed the storage stack into a single layer that is designed to support block (Fibre Channel and iSCSI), file (NFS, SMB and CIFS) and object (Amazon Simple Storage Service) protocols on the same drives. The company claims to support enterprise storage features such as unlimited snapshots per volume, with no adverse impact to performance.

TRU software is designed to run on commodity hardware and support hard disk drives; faster solid-state drives (SSDs); and higher performance, latency-lowering NVMe-based PCI Express SSDs on the same server. The software installs either as a virtual machine or a physical server.

StorOne CEO and founder Gal Naor said the TRU software-defined storage fits use cases ranging from high-performance databases to low-performance workloads, such as backup and data archiving.

‘Dramatically less resources’

“We need dramatically less resources to achieve better results. Results are the key here,” said Naor, whose experience in storage efficiency goes back to his founding of real-time compression specialist Storwize, which IBM acquired in 2010.

StorOne CTO Raz Gordon said storage software has failed to keep up with the speed of today’s drives and storage networks.

“We understood that the software is the real bottleneck today of storage systems. It’s not the drives. It’s not the connectivity,” said Gordon, who was the leading force behind the Galileo networking technology that Marvell bought in 2001.

The StorOne leaders are sparse on details so far about the product’s architecture and enterprise capabilities, beyond unlimited storage snapshots.

Marc Staimer, senior analyst at Dragon Slayer Consulting, said StorOne’s competition would include any software-defined storage products that support block and file protocols, hyper-converged systems, and traditional unified storage systems.

“It’s a crowded field, but they’re the only ones attacking the efficiency issue today,” Staimer said.

“Because of TRU’s storage efficiency, it gets more performance out of fewer resources. Less hardware equals lowers costs for the storage system, supporting infrastructure, personnel, management, power and cooling, etc.,” Staimer added. “With unlimited budget, I can get unlimited performance. But nobody has unlimited budgets today.”

StorOne user interface
TRU user interface shows updated performance metrics for IOPS, latency, I/O size and throughput.

Collapsed storage stack

The StorOne executives said they rebuilt the storage software with new algorithms to address bottlenecks. They claim StorOne’s collapsed storage stack enables the fully rated IOPS and throughput of the latest high-performance SSDs at wire speed.

“The bottom line is the efficiency of the system that results in great savings to our customers,” Gordon said. “You end up with much less hardware and much greater performance.”

StorOne claimed a single TRU virtual appliance with four SSDs could deliver the performance of a midrange storage system, and an appliance with four NVMe-based PCIe SSDs could achieve the performance and low latency of a high-end storage system. The StorOne system can scale up to 18 GBps of throughput and 4 million IOPS with servers equipped with NVMe-based SSDs, according to Naor. He said the maximum capacity for the TRU system is 15 PB, but he provided no details on the server or drive hardware.

“It’s the same software that can be high-performance and high-capacity,” Naor said. “You can install it as an all-flash array. You can install it as a hybrid. And you’re getting unlimited snapshots.”

Naor said customers could choose the level of disk redundancy to protect data on a volume basis. Users can mix and match different types of drives, and there are no RAID restrictions, he said.

StorOne pricing

Pricing for the StorOne TRU software is based on physical storage consumption through a subscription license. A performance-focused installation of 150 TB would cost 1 cent per gigabyte, whereas a capacity-oriented deployment of 1 PB would be $0.0006 per gigabyte, according to the company. StorOne said pricing could drop to $0.002 per gigabyte with multi-petabyte installations. The TRU software license includes support for all storage protocols and features.

StorOne has an Early Adopters Program in which it supplies free on-site hardware of up to 1 PB.

StorOne is based in Tel Aviv and also has offices in Dallas, New York and Singapore. Investors include Seagate and venture capital firms Giza and Vaizra. StorOne’s board of directors includes current Microsoft chairman and former Symantec and Virtual Instruments CEO John Thompson, as well as Ed Zander, former Motorola CEO and Sun Microsystems president.

Advanced machine learning, database automation touted at OpenWorld

SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison this week detailed the company’s autonomous Oracle Database 18c for the cloud, which Ellison said will rely on advanced machine learning techniques to greatly reduce database administration tasks, such as tuning and patching. 

At the heart of this Oracle cloud database is extensive use of machine learning, which Ellison called “the first branch of artificial intelligence that really works.”

This application of machine learning, which employs neural networks and other modeling algorithms to sift large amounts of log data and detects recurring patterns of database activity, is also part of a cybersecurity product for automatically patching databases that Ellison pledged to discuss further at the event.

For Oracle Database 18c, machine learning allows it to “patch itself while running, all without any downtime whatsoever,” according to Ellison, who spoke at Oracle OpenWorld 2017. He also said operations improvements allow his company to offer an Oracle Database 18c SLA that guarantees 99.995% reliability and availability, while reducing planned and unplanned downtime to less than 30 minutes per year.

Automation of database administration

While, the system, which Ellison dubbed as “self-driving” and “the world’s first autonomous database,” may be unique by some measures, it is also part of a long-standing trend that is well under way.

Automation of database cluster deployment on cloud has become increasingly common, and wider automation can be anticipated, according to Tony Baer, an analyst at Ovum.

“You can see how cloud databases are doing automation — with database sharding as a major example,” Baer said. Meanwhile, query performance and other database activities are also being affected by advanced machine learning technology, he said.

Baer noted that “Oracle has all kinds of database activity logs. That is big data that acts as a corpus for machine learning that can figure out what is a normal pattern, and highlight queries that are going to cause trouble.”

Advanced machine learning adds another element to the mix, but the latest Oracle moves are best viewed as part of an evolution in process automation, according to Vinod Bhutani, database services manager at DBAMart Database Services in Broomfield, Colo.

“There is a whole lot of automation for the database already. For example, there are such tools as Oracle SQL Tuning Advisor and Segment Advisor,” Bhutani said in an interview at Oracle OpenWorld.

“In my view, the database is 60% to 70% automated already,” he said, adding that the amount of automation employed is often based on the database administrators’ comfort levels with such automation’s effectiveness.

Bhutani said he would be looking for additional details, particularly on Oracle’s cybersecurity offerings, to see how much further Oracle takes database automation.

Whither the DBA?

In his Oracle OpenWorld keynote, Ellison admitted the move to greater automation for the Oracle cloud database could be seen as a threat to DBA job security. But he was basically sanguine on the prospects.

“Yes, you are automating the ways of database professionals, but they already have more work than they can possibly ever get to,” he said.

Greater database automation will free up DBAs from routine patching and repetitive tuning, he said, enabling them to focus more on schema design, analytics — including advanced machine learning styles of analytics — and securing data.

Noel Yuhanna, an analyst at Forrester, on hand at Oracle OpenWorld, agreed. “The DBA job is being changed toward more data-driven initiatives, with more emphasis on security and governance — and architecting the future of the data,” he said.

“The DBA will focus more on business value, as opposed to technology,” he said.

Meanwhile, analyst Baer also pointed to an increasingly important role for the DBA. “There is definitely a future for the DBA. There is just no question about it,” he said. “You can’t automate everything.”

Hearing Redshift steps

Ellison said the Oracle Database 18c, running on Exadata infrastructure on the Oracle Cloud or Cloud at Customer , will become generally available in December for data warehousing only, with a transactional version appearing in June of 2018.

This “data warehouse-first approach” emphasizes Oracle’s intention to compete more fully with Amazon, its cloud and its Redshift cloud data warehouse. At Oracle OpenWorld, Ellison repeatedly cited Redshift as a competitor, claiming superior uptime and better relative pricing for Oracle.

“We guarantee our bill will be less than half of what Amazon Redshift will be,” he said. “We will write that in your contract.”

The company further moved to sweeten its cloud pricing deal recently, introducing a “bring your own license” policy for existing customers moving databases, middleware and more to the Oracle cloud platform.

With the “18c” designation, Oracle takes on a model-year style naming format for its database, not unlike that of Microsoft SQL Server. Aligning database naming with calendar years is in some part a bow to the growing use of yearly, subscription-based pricing models for databases on the cloud. 

For Sale – GTX 980 FE, Boxed

Hi, got Inno3D GTX 980 4GB Founder Edition, Bought at OCUK Oct 2014 (got proof of purchase)

Box included, insured delivery at my cost

Had it for nearly 3 years, all working fine, went down to GTX 970 so hence sell this

Collection NN1 Northampton

Price and currency: 175
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: ppg, bank transfer
Location: Northampton
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – GTX 980 FE, Boxed

Hi, got Inno3D GTX 980 4GB Founder Edition, Bought at OCUK Oct 2014 (got proof of purchase)

Box included, insured delivery at my cost

Had it for nearly 3 years, all working fine, went down to GTX 970 so hence sell this

Collection NN1 Northampton

Price and currency: 175
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: ppg, bank transfer
Location: Northampton
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – GTX 980 FE, Boxed

Hi, got Inno3D GTX 980 4GB Founder Edition, Bought at OCUK Oct 2014 (got proof of purchase)

Box included, insured delivery at my cost

Had it for nearly 3 years, all working fine, went down to GTX 970 so hence sell this

Collection NN1 Northampton

Price and currency: 175
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: ppg, bank transfer
Location: Northampton
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.