Datacenter Disruption

posted Nov 12, 2015, 12:58 PM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Nov 12, 2015, 10:29 PM ]
Today Safepark attended IDC's Datacenter Disruption Conference at Hotel D'Angleterre in the center of Copenhagen. The venue was the atrium garden of the newly renovated old and elegant hotel close to Nyhavn. It was a good day with really many excellent presentations.

But what does the conference title really mean? Some years ago we attended another conference at which a Dane working with strategy development for HP presented his view of  the datacenter in 2020 or maybe more to the point the ability of the CIO five years from today. His senario, whas that of a CIO working for a car company and during the night a news broke about problems with a competitors offering related to car performance. As soon as the CIO received the news he commission extensive simulation resource from cloud to perform simulations related to the problem and also started social media searches related to the news story. All this happened form the CIO phone at home while having breakfast. I think today conference although using the word "disruption" in the title was a bit more down to earth. Most people don't really look for disruptions in their tife or work.

After the welcome by the conference organizer Trine Børve and the almost standard presentation of IDC's concept of the so-called 3rd IT platform, which involve mobility, cloud, big data analytics and social business,she gave the word to the first speaker: Carla Arend. Carla Arend is a German, who works out of the IDC Copenhagen office and speaks excellent and fast English. She also speaks Danish. The title of her presentation was "Key IT decisions to take NOW to enable Digital Transformation". She introduced six technologies: Robotics, Natural Interfaces, 3D Printing, Internet of Things, Cognitive Systems and Next Gen Security, which she labelled as innovation accelerators. She continued to outline 5 areas of digital transformation or disruption in the coming years: leadership, omni experience, information, operating model and work source. In order to move to a situation, where IT and business are not separate, business need new skills in data analytics, and according to IDC's data only 2/3 of current businesses will make the transformation. Carla also mentioned that the year old conflict between IT and the business had to be put to rest once and for all.

Displayed next to the speakers podium was a new IDC banner with the text "IDC Analyze the Future", and I could not help wondering what predictive technology IDC was using to get the necessary data about the future to perform this task.

The 2nd speaker was Hans Zai, who is currently cloud advisor at IBM. He started by stating, that all companies were using the cloud, even if they had no formal cloud programs. IBM have found almost 1000 hidden cloud services in European companies. Examples of companies mentioned by Hans Zai were Airbus, who had reduced aircraft turnaround time for airplanes to just 25 minutes by a focus on providing people with access to information on mobile devices. Another, was Delhaize - a US retailer, who used weather data to predict buying patterns. Also mentioned was Citi Bank, which had engaged mobile developer communities to develop more than 700 apps. The Nordic bank Nordea have done something similar using a hackaton at the approach to mobile development.

The 3rd speaker was Ulrich Slothuus from Tintri, a company which I had not heard about before today. They provide hyporvisor aware storage appliances in both pure flash and hybrid versions. Too large for the needs here at Safepark.

After the first three presentations there were workshops. Workshops are IDC's word for parallel sessions. We attended an excellent session by Victor Engelbrecht Dohlmann from Veeam. He focused on the question of why we make backups and how long a restore should take in order to maximize business availablity and minimize business interruption. However, the message was somewhat spoiled by using too many slides with statistical information from which passed by almost quicker than you could read the slide title. That made the audience confused about the purpose of the talk, which clearly was not just to talk about the company's product, but in my view rather to have the audience reflect on the purpose of making a backup and how that could most effectively be done. Veeam use a technology based on images, which allow them to demonstrate to auditors and others to that a backup image can indeed restore  the busines in less than 5 minutes. I believe, that Veeam's technology is similar to what is provided by the default file system in the newest version of openSUSE called Leap 42.1 released last week. During the talk Victor Dohlmann also mentioned, that Veeam would soon support Linux systems. However, no time frame or distros were mentioned.

After lunch we heard three user cases. The first were by Karsten Rosgaard, who is risk & compliance officer at Coop. He mentioned among other things, that IT at Coop Bank is completely separate from Coop Danmark, due to the different regulatory environment for banks. He also hinted, that the bank, was not a huge success, properly because of its limited service offerings. The second was by Martin Wiesener, who is director of IT core services at Falck. Falck has ground tremendously of the past 10 years both w.r.t. revenue and number of employees. Among other things Martin mentioned, that is the third largest provider of ambulance service in USA. The third was by Esben Vsikum, who is VP CIT Technology & Security at the LEGO Group. He outlines their enterprise systems, and their idea of an engagement systems. The LEGO Group expect to double the number of children they are in contact with by 2022, and again by 2032. The focus is on expanding LEGO global presence and leverage digitalization.

Towards the end of the day there were also room for a legal view point from Peter Lind Nielsen, who is a lawyer with Bird & Bird. He clearly stated, that cloud services is just another form of outsourcing, and the same rules apply.

All in all Datacenter Disruption 2015 provided excellent user case stories from 3 very different Danish companies, and I am sure I will remember the day for them. Although we were also inspired by IDC, IBM and Veeam.