Data, Are You Ready For Your Glorious Sunset?
Everywhere you go, you will hear the phrase "Digital Transformation" used to describe software-driven projects. It shouldn't come as a surprise, as reports show companies that embrace digital transformation generate more revenue, are more profitable, and achieve higher market valuations. (Cap Gemeni, 2012) But the genesis of the term was to describe the transformation of traditional legacy businesses into forward-thinking, web and app-driven juggernauts. I recently had lunch in Singapore with the CIO of an ASEAN conglomerate ($B+) and we were discussing their actual digital transformation. There is one thing that he said that really stood out for me:
"We realize that we need to be the ones to disrupt our own business. To do so, we are rapidly embracing Digital Transformation across all of our companies: Power, Broadband, Education, Travel, etc. Data Lifecycle Management is my biggest challenge today. We are struggling with how to properly retire our old applications in a way that keeps them available for audit, reporting, and regulatory purposes."
As we discussed this in more detail, he explained his situation more fully. Even though the business is updating their legacy applications to, or replacing them with, more modern applications; they still have rigorous requirements that mandate they can produce data from those applications for over 7 years afterward. Pre-transformation, traditional 'backup and restore' methodologies as a means to satisfy audit requirements were expensive (software and storage), time consuming, and arduous.
Post-transformation, the old solutions cannot address the complexity required to pass audits. Not only does the business need to retain the old application data, but the new applications and all of the "transient state" in-between as they phase out/upgrade/replace individual pieces of the application. New applications will leverage loosely coupled services with many small data sources that will require far more orchestration to create complete datasets required for functional, system, and performance testing (as well as analytics); and the total volume of data will rapidly continue to grow. Traditional backup and restore solutions are simply just untenable in a "digitally transformed" environment.
At this point, I am listening with a Cheshire cat grin. The scenario he was describing is where Delphix excels. In fact, for the last two years Delphix has been ranked as Leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Application Retirement (link below). We discussed how Delphix could help him in his environment and several application details. Both of us were very excited about the possibilities and agreed to follow up with a more in-depth session with our technical staff.
The following is the basic high-level explanation I gave to him about how Delphix addresses his Data Lifecycle Management around application retirement:
First, Delphix non-disruptively connects to your production application and data sources to initialize your application data repository.
After that point, Delphix will stay in near real-time sync with your application, providing you a timeline of production data.
Your production data is now under version control. You can create copies, in mere minutes, of your production data from any point in time to service your digital transformation & application modernization projects, as well as auditing requirements. Delphix virtual copies have all the characteristics of traditional data copies, but are completely automated and delivered extremely quickly. This means you can actually leverage Delphix to dramatically accelerate your transformation and modernization projects. All of this requires little additional space (~90% non-production storage reduction).
And when your old production application is ready to be retired, your data is still preserved. Delphix can still serve up copies of your retired production application well after it no longer exists in production. We have had numerous customers leverage Delphix in this capacity to pass SOX audits over a year after a major system upgrade, like Oracle EBS 9 -> 10 upgrades.
When I finished explaining to the CIO he replied with "Wow. You take an extremely complex process and make it simple." And, it is true. One thing I find myself commonly repeating is "Delphix is simple. Delphix is a sophisticated solution that eliminates your complex data problems". Just like the cost of care goes way up for an aging population, so does the cost go up for the care of your aging data. But the good news is that it is not too late to start planning today. How do you plan for your data to live out its golden years? It is completely feasible for your data to live a full productive life until the very end. Delphix makes this a possibility.