DataOps - Coming Full Circle

The antidote to data friction is DataOps, the Delphix DevOps Data Platform, and Data Pods. These three things together will help companies liberate their data and take control of their future.

Back in March, I blogged about our yearly Company Kickoff and how we found the “Missing Ingredient.” Since then we have furiously been working away at incorporating that ingredient into everything we say and do. It was then that we realized that the industry, including Delphix, had been looking at the data problem askew. So we began working on something special that culminated in our #LiberateData event on August 3, at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center (watch the recording here).

The event took place in five segments. First, Delphix CEO Chris Cook addressed the massive data problem that adversely affects virtually every person and organization throughout the world. Chris shared that 84% of digital transformation projects have failed, and to date, the industry has incorrectly interpreted the data problem as a storage problem and has focused on creating “leaner and meaner” storage and cloning technologies. While there have been minor advances, the problem has become exponentially worse. Chris reframed the problem as “Data Friction,” which he described as the inherent resistance that occurs between the demands of data consumers and data operators. Chris phrased it concisely, “Data friction simply kills innovation.” Yes, we need to think about problems in a new way, but Chris also suggested we must think about solving those problems in a way that will liberate data.

“Data is the oxygen. It is what moves the world.”

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Chris then invited Jay Nath, CIO for Mayor Lee at City and County of San Francisco, and Jitendra Kavathekar, Managing Director of Open Innovation labs at Accenture, to speak about bridging the innovation gap. Jay and Jitendra shared their thoughts on why bridging the gap is important, and also shared some new and interesting data innovations to which they have recently been exposed, ranging from banking to eliminating traffic deaths. Jitendra explained that, “Data is the oxygen. It is what moves the world.” The overwhelming sentiment behind their talk was that companies can innovate faster if they eliminate barriers that slow people down, both in process and technology.

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Next, Chris shared a video with comments from various industry notables on accelerating innovation by connecting people to data. Specifically, we asked them “What are the top challenges you face today to meet your technology and business needs?” We had some great responses from:

There were a lot of great quotes in that session, but one that stands out to me was from Dave Golbach, “If you can’t manage the data, you can’t manage anything. You’re, basically, going to shrink of the vine and die off. And no one will know you in ten years, right? That’s kind of the way it works.”

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After that insightful video, Chris shared some eye-opening stats about perceptions from senior business leaders about IT. A very notable statistic was that two-thirds of digital IT initiatives in their company were not aligned to the business. In response to this, Chris suggested that it’s no longer Business vs. IT, but instead data consumers (those who need and use the data) and data operators (those who control, deliver, and secure the data). Especially as data continues sprawling, the requirement to secure data has never been more critical. All of these demands and stressors create data friction, which is what brings innovation to a halt.

“If you can’t manage the data, you can’t manage anything."

Chris announced that Delphix was committing to DataOps as the path for companies to follow to eliminate data friction from their lives. DataOps is the alignment of people, process, and tech to enable the rapid, automated, and secure management of data at scale. By simultaneously focussing on people, process AND technology; companies can improve individual and team outcomes by bringing together those that need data with those that provide it, eliminating friction throughout the data lifecycle.

Chris then also announced the Delphix Data Platform to the world. The focus of the Data Platform is to get data, wherever it is, seamlessly into the hands of the people that need it, wherever they may be. Patrick Lightbody, our VP of Product Management, explained the technology to the crowd. Some of the highlights include:

  • When the Data Platform is connected to data sources, you are able to virtualize, secure, and manage your data. So you can connect the Data Platform to your production Oracle EBS instance, and configure the Data Platform so that developers, testers, and accountants can have access to copies of production; but the developers and testers only have access to masked data.

  • Users can request and deliver data themselves; whether that is via the self-service portal or rich API’s. The end result of this is that data consumers can obtain masked copies of full data sets (i.e. 50TB), in minutes.

  • The platform creates data pods, which are personal environments that every data consumer has access to. The data pods contain one or more datasets and provides powerful self-service controls that allow you to do things like going forwards or backwards in time, sharing your data, or refreshing your data from production. The five key qualities that data pods must have are that they must be personal, secure, portable, lightweight, and dynamic.

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Chris asked a diverse panel to come speak on the need for companies to innovate faster. This panel was comprised of Milo Sprague, CTO of Silicon Valley Bank; Ken Piddington, CIO of MRE Consulting; and Paul Scott, Practice Director at Accenture. Paul outlined how legacy data management methods came into practice but noted that they just can’t do the job today. In almost every company he visits, he hears the same thing, “test data is the bottleneck.” Paul agreed that eliminating data friction is the only way to move companies forward. Ken noted that it takes an executive sponsor who is willing to step “outside the firewall” to seek out new solutions to new problems. Milo explained that eliminating data friction was why Silicon Valley Bank had adopted Delphix, and that as a result, they were able to shift from environment provision times of 10 hours to 5 minutes, and debugging now only takes them a tenth of the time. There are many great questions and dialogues the occured the rest of the session, such as Paul’s proclamation of the inevitable death of QA testers, Ken’s assertion that virtually no one that claims digital transformation has done it, and Milo’s take on cooperating with his competition at Silicon Valley Bank.

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During the last session of the day, Chris announced a new partnership between Delphix and Microsoft Azure, and platform support for Delphix on Microsoft Azure. Scott Emigh, CTO of Microsoft’s US Partner organization, joined Chris on stage. Scott acknowledged that there is indeed a paradigm shift going on right now that is disrupting the market. Together with partners, like Delphix, Scott explained that Microsoft wants to lead the edge of the paradigm shift to drive value to their customers. Their customers are migrating customer-facing, revenue-generating, applications into Azure, and because of these shifts to the cloud, some of these customers are becoming ISV’s and delivering their products to other customers in a SaaS-style model. He also sees big data & analytics workloads moving into Azure, as well as traditional “lift and shift” of IT from on premise into Azure. He noted that products like the Delphix Data Platform removes the hassle of the movement of data. Scott closed out the session by pointedly saying that Microsoft’s goal to be the market leader will only occur through leveraging great partnerships, like that with Delphix.

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Chris then brought the exciting day to a close. In his closing remarks, he reminded us that data will continue to grow out of control; that data friction kills the speed of innovation; and that the antidote to data friction is DataOps, the Delphix Data Platform, and Data Pods. These three things together will help companies liberate their data and take control of their future. Delphix is fast, secure, and everywhere!