According to Gartner, 63% of IT budget is typically spent running current IT infrastructure, 21% on ‘Grow’ to meet the natural growth in application performance requirements and data, and only 16% on New Opportunities. I wrote previously about why that needs to change: The Evolution of IT - CIO's move from builder to broker. But imagine the impact on a business when 100% of IT budget and resources are focused on running current IT infrastructure, because it’s not working and customers are leaving…..
A tale of 3 (very different) meetings
I first met Johan Kummeneje, CTO of Binero – one of the largest web hosting companies in Sweden – in May last year. And they were not in a good place (not Sweden, which is a very nice place, but the state of their business). Having built the company from nothing in 2002 to an impressive 20% market share by 2012, they were suffering severe service outages every few weeks. As you can imagine, thousands of customers were affected (they handle 1.5 billion e-mails each year for example!) meaning stories of the business impact to their customers appeared regularly in the media. And for the first time in their history, they were losing customers. All due to underlying data storage platform problems. Nearly the whole of Johan’s team were dedicated to trying to keep it working. They had to take a different approach, to restore an increasingly damaged reputation.
The second time we met was in October last year. A very memorable meeting – I think the first time in all my travels that I have been greeted at a customer by a small dog! The other reason it was memorable was that Johan had decided to move to a NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP storage foundation a few months earlier. The system was now up, running and performing very well. The impact? Less bad press. Happier customers. And no longer 4 people dedicated to working on storage, but now only 1 part-time. Meaning the other 3 members of the team could start thinking about new services to drive business growth again.
The third time we met was a few weeks later, at VMworld Europe in Barcelona. The NetApp storage platform was by now fully in production and they could see the true value of Non-Disruptive Operations. Our conversation was almost entirely focused on what exciting New Opportunities lay ahead for the team at Binero.
I think this story is a good example of how important choosing the right data storage foundation is for a business. Especially as organisations look to spend less time operating IT, and more time using IT (and data) as a competitive weapon. It also is a good reminder that, while agility, performance and efficiency capabilities are typically what differentiates one storage platform from another, reliable data availability will always be the top priority.