Simplifying the IT Landscape: Data Migrations and Archiving

Mike Kan

Mike Kan

Mike is the head of Channels & Alliances in EMEA, and focuses on how trends, technologies, and products impact the channel in EMEA and globally.

With almost any growing IT landscape, our customers express two seemingly contradictory objectives:

  • IT costs are too high and need to be reduced.
  • Data needs to be maintained to address governance requirements throughout its lifecycle.

Florian Piaszyk’s mission at Germany-based fme group (which recently joined the InfoArchive Consortium) is to help guide companies through such complex tasks. In the blog below, he describes some of the typical challenges and real-world approaches to help IT address these challenges, transform, and “renovate for the future”.

Simplifying the IT Landscape: Data Migrations and Archiving
Florian Piaszyk, fme Group
Manager of EMC Certified Solution, fme migration-center for EMC InfoArchive

In my experience, a typical IT environment consists of two primary categories, which most of the time and resources are spent on:

Legacy Systems, comprising applications that have been superseded by new solutions or have been inherited as a result of a business acquisition. These are of low value, but must be supported to ensure access to the data is available to meet compliance regulations and reporting, audit or legacy discovery. They are often running on non-supported infrastructure, and there is limited knowledge of the applications within the company. They are expensive to support and represent a risk to the business.

Active Applications, which support the day-to-day running of the business. Applications that run on high-end servers, high-cost storage platforms and are supported by expensive backup systems and configured for high availability and disaster recovery. As the volumes of data being generated and managed by these systems grows, so do the costs. Without effective management, performance degrades, backups cannot be completed in available windows, additional software licenses are required, and upgrading applications becomes extremely difficult and time consuming.

It is likely that organizations trying to solve these issues will have introduced some form of archiving tools. Typically these are “point solutions” addressing a particular system or data type and result in the creation of an increased number of information silos. Or they use backup as an archive, which ultimately addresses only the compliance challenge, but doesn’t offer data management or cost reduction benefits, and can introduce other challenges.

Today, companies have a great opportunity to reduce the complexity of their IT landscape, if they consider the following recommendations:

  1. Sophisticated tools – to ensure simplicity (ironically) you need sophisticated tools to help you determine what goes where and in what form it’s preserved and to handle compliance requirements in regulated environments.
  2. Product documentation – check to see that your vendor’s documentation is clear and straightforward, so you can get started on your own, right out of the box.
  3. Customer service and training sessions – be sure the vendor you work with can provide superior capabilities when you deploy something new. Especially if it’s a more complex situation they should be experienced in advising you on the best project approach.

With this approach, they can simultaneously achieve the following:

  • Increase the performance and reduce the storage and backup cost of their infrastructure by separating static from active content,
  • Manage structured and unstructured information in a single enterprise archive, and
  • Quickly and react flexibly to different requirements of archiving, decommissioning or even migration projects.

Bottom line? It’s simple. When addressing IT complexity is done right, IT transforms and is better prepared for to address the needs for the future.

When considering a data migration, archiving or app decommissioning project, are you taking the “simple” approach?

Information Transparency in the European Oil & Gas Industry

Jasmit Sagoo

Jasmit Sagoo

Jasmit Sagoo, Principal Systems Engineer, EMC Information Intelligence Group

Transparency (both regulatory and voluntary) is vital to any industry as it is the only effective way to keep all stakeholders, decision-makers and the public more informed about the realities of individual initiatives. This is no more important than in the oil and gas industry. Transparency can reduce environmental concerns or confusion that involved parties might have and ultimately reduce risks associated. This is nowhere more important than in contentious projects, such as those associated with fracking.

Information transparency is vitalFracking has the potential to revolutionise the supply of energy in the short to medium term and as such cannot be ignored. In the United States, shale gas has seemingly emerged from obscurity to become the main engine of economic recovery in the country. Meanwhile, Europe’s future gas supply has seldom been less certain. According to figures from Oxfam, Europe currently imports half of its energy, with Russia the top supplier for both oil and gas. Indeed, European countries paid more than £200 a person to Russian oil and gas companies last year.

Europe clearly needs a long-term solution to its energy needs and one that will allow it a measure of independence. On the surface, shale gas seems the perfect fit.

But many Europeans are not so sure. For some, the social and environmental impacts of fracking, the process by which shale gas is extracted, are too big a price to pay for a secure energy supply. Many Europeans worry that fracking will disrupt their local communities and bring with it mining techniques that may not be safe. There is a perception fracking could also cause gas to leak into the water table, potentially polluting potable water reserves. Though these contentions have yet to be proved, the worry remains.

Opinions on fracking vary greatly across EMEA. In France, Bulgaria and Romania fracking is illegal because their governments are concerned about the potential environmental impact. Other countries, such as Germany and the Czech Republic, are considering Continue reading

Betcha Didn’t Know We (At EMC Documentum) Did That!

Lori McKellar

Lori McKellar

Director, Market Development, Life Sciences

We’ve all experienced it. You’ve done your preliminary research for a vacation, car or other consumer good. After reviewing the websites of the top brands, checking out available ratings and reviews, and checking in with friends and family who may have made a recent similar purchase, you’ve gained some clarity but you are still confused. On the surface, all the options sound pretty similar. This familiar consumer experience also holds true when searching for solutions in life sciences.

If you look at the competitive landscape for life sciences solutions, you see multiple, viable vendors. Yet, if you peruse their websites, you’ll see a pattern of familiar and similar messages focused on performance, scalability, access, ease-of-use, efficiency, configurability, compliance, control, collaboration and cloud. With so many vendors extolling similar benefits to customers, how do you ask the right questions and make the right decision?

With so many vendors extolling similar benefits to customers, how do you ask the right questions and make the right decision?

It’s never easy. Buying cycles for significant, mission critical applications can be a complex process. The key is to cut through the clutter. To make a good decision, you need to search deeper and increase your knowledge and understanding. In our recent Life Sciences Customer Advisory Board meeting, our conversations not only focused on the “what” but more importantly, on the “how.” Understanding “how” vendors are delivering their stated value is key to simplifying decision-making.

Here are some examples of the “how” approach to get you thinking. Instead of taking the claim of global scale and performance for granted, ask how. Instead of focusing on a single business process, look beyond it to determine how critical information flows in and out of that process….is there an opportunity to share or link content instead of having to import and export the same information across systems? If cloud is important to you, understand how you would deploy it. What type of cloud solution do you need – private, hybrid, or multi-tenant― or maybe some combination of all three? And, it would probably be good to know how the vendor will get you from your current solution to the new solution and how to address all the (soon to be legacy) data that needs to be retained and accessible.

At EMC, we want to answer your “how” questions. And, we suspect that there’s a lot we’ve been up to lately that you may not be aware of. Therefore, we are launching a video series called, “Betcha Didn’t Know We Did That.” These are short, snappy and fun video snippets that highlight some of the ways we’re redefining life sciences with the EMC Documentum for Life Sciences solution suite.

We hope these videos will catch your attention, make you smile but more importantly, highlight challenges that we’ve all grappled with. We hope these videos entice you to ask us questions, have deeper conversations with us and understand the how. Our first video is focused on the regulatory submission process. If you’re looking to bring control to this mission-critical process, take a peek below. Keep checking back for new videos and the start of new conversations.Together, we can redefine life sciences!

What would you like to redefine? Share your comments below.


A Billion for New Mexico Department of Transportation

Rob Silverberg

Rob Silverberg

Industry Director, Public Sector, Information Intelligence Group - EMC

Last week I had the opportunity to visit with a current customer and hear about their recent technology achievement. What I found was very impressive and something that other similar agencies would find interesting to hear about.

Like many departments of transportation across the country, New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) had an aging legacy content management system that containedThree%20construction%20workers%2097771850[1] all the electronic documentation, records, and images for the entire department. This includes all the construction documentation for roads and bridges. The primary issue to overcome was that the repository contained approximately a billion records. That number is staggering to comprehend and the thought of migrating that content to a new system would be quite a challenging project.

NMDOT selected EMC Documentum as the new content repository as they believed that it could handle the volume and would be able to scale effectively. The project began earlier this year and Documentum was installed and configured. The new configuration also included a component called Retention Policy Services (RPS) such that each document or record migrated would be assigned a retention policy. This component will allow NMDOT to purge records when their retention date is met.

Documents and metadata were extracted from the legacy system in batches and then loaded into the new Documentum system using ten client machines running in parallel. Tuning the migration was an iterative process where bottlenecks were identified and eliminated to achieve the best throughput possible. The expert technical staff at NMDOT Rio Grande Gorge Bridgewere able to modify the load scripts and adjust the configuration for best performance.

The whole project completed in approximately nine months with the majority of the time spent monitoring the progress of the migration. I am pleased to report that the new Documentum system is now in production and in use by the employees at NMDOT.

Bruce Oakeley, Deputy CIO at NMDOT, praised his team for their work on the project and the success they achieved. Bruce plans to take the system forward in phases and add incremental components and new capabilities as follow on projects. The goal for information technology at NMDOT is to deliver better systems to the department’s workers and better service to the public.

Is your department ready to take on a billion?

Data and Business Agility – Survival of the Fittest

John Heck

John Heck

Director of Business Development Financial Service Industry – North America

Whether driven by regulators, risk management, customer service, operations or other needs, data is the life-blood of a financial service organization. We have gotten used to consuming more information, more frequently. The places and times we need information are changing, the amount of available data to evaluate is growing exponentially and we are rapidly becoming mobile information gatherers. As a result, our tolerance for the amount of time it takes to get information has dwindled and our reliance on data access, including past-event audits, current access for real time customer exchange and projecting our future data needs is at an all-time high.

In short, how an organization accesses and manages data will have a significant impact on the overall enterprise performance. The idea of an enterprise data management solution is hard to fathom for many large organizations which are still linked to their “2nd platform infrastructures”, i.e. use of desktops, client-server models, systems and software.

Further exasperating the situation, many financial institutions still rely on document-centric environments. In this model, documents are retrieved and data is manually extracted and used in other software solutions as part of the business operations. Stored documents contain a tremendous amount of data, but this data is many times “locked” in the documents. Consequently, in this model, whenever the data is needed, the document must be recalled and if the data needs to be accessed, then the document must be edited.  This leads to unnecessary processing errors, wasted energy and time, and as data grows in general, the problem will grow in direct proportion.

As I have mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, sooner than later, the financial services industry will come to a position of mutual agreement that we are in the manufacturing business; oversimplifying, we “manufacture” data. I’m in agreement this data must be in the proper business context, but in the end, it’s all about having the right business content in its proper business context.  Data is being created at an alarming rate. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, “90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years”. They also said that 80% of the world’s data is unstructured.

The solution is to provide an enterprise-wide interface to the data and data services they need, regardless of where the data is stored or how it is organized. In essence, the data needs to be “virtualized” by using techniques and technologies that enable this type of enterprise access.

I recently met with one of the top global banks which had recently reorganized all of their fulfillment services reporting to one key executive. For example, mortgage processing, student lending, auto lending, credit card processing, etc. Although this is a brilliant business strategy, unfortunately this bank currently does have the necessary IT infrastructure to support this business model in real time.

When linked together, solutions like the cloud, managed services, capture, intuitive data processing and archiving technologies proactively address this crucial business need and can be adopted rather quickly and cost effectively and most importantly, work in conjunction with legacy systems of record.

Such a “platform” would work in conjunction with the myriad systems of record and proactively allow banks to transition to the 3rd platform at their desired speed but instantly realize the business benefits realized by this solution.

In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”¹

In summary, Darwin’s quote is analogous to every financial service organization’s need – adapt to the dynamically changing business needs or lose market share and profitability. To survive and to remain competitive, adaptivity and change need to become the new norm.

I submit that business agility has become the most important factor for continued success for any financial service entity. Where are you in the “struggle for survival”?


¹On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, Charles Darwin, November 1859