Re:Invent and the ‘complexify’ conversation

By Jennifer Gill

Commvault showcased our leading cloud solutions for data management at re:Invent, which was executed virtually Nov 30 – Dec. 17. In his keynote, CEO Andy Jassy talked about his eight tactics for building a culture of reinvention. The tactics resonated with me and made complete sense – that is, until the end.

So, first, let’s talk about what the eight tactics were:

  1. The leadership appetite to invent and reinvent: You need to fight “but we have always done it this way.” I am sure some things have maybe been going well, but “going well” is not where you want to be; you want to be exceeding expectations, and that will require some change.
  2. Acknowledge that you can’t fight gravity: Do not ignore current conditions – like wearing a bathing suit outside in Boston in January. Just because you want it to be 80 degrees doesn’t mean it will be. Look at the trends across the market. Listen to your customers. Listen to the weather report.
  3. Talent that is hungry to invent: Build a team that is ambitious and wants to find new and better ways to do things.
  4. Solve real customer problems with builders: It can be really tempting to build cool stuff. Believe me, I know that. It is really important to build stuff that meets a customer need, offers your customers a competitive advantage, or solves a business challenge.
  5. Speed is a choice: You don’t have to go fast. It might be better to do so, but you don’t need to go faster. Just be aware of the sacrifices and advantages that going a bit slower might bring and then make the best decision for your business.
  6. Don’t complexify: I like this one a lot. Do not add complexity to the environment. If you think solving every problem with a single point tool is the answer, you will “complexify” your environment.
  7. Use the platform with the broadest and deepest set of tools: The antidote to complexification is finding a platform that can manage one aspect of your business completely, like for data management, protection, and your cloud strategy, for example.
  8. Pull everything together with aggressive top down goals: The leadership team needs to set the tone for the company, so work with the other leaders in your company and create goals that align and unite the business plan.

These eight tactics made sense; I was thinking, “How did I not come up with this?” Until his last statement, he said, all of these except maybe one are not technical. I was thinking, “Maybe one?” In my opinion, there are clearly two things that have technical solves: the elimination of complexity and using the platform with the broadest and deepest set of tools. I am guessing the complexity he mentioned is definitely rooted in technical issues and the state of the world has only exacerbated this.

In March, we all started working remotely, and it was almost overnight. Organizations started pointing tools at problems for the quick solve. This clearly will cause the “complexification” of the business. I bet that more than one person who is reading this made one or two investments in a tool to fix an immediate need, but that has no long-term value to the business. In fact, perhaps the tool is already not delivering value. This is the complexification of IT that many organizations are suffering from, but how do you correct it?

Organizations need a platform to “right” their cloud and transformation journey. Several tools have been thrown at the problem, and not only have these tools not solved the issue, they have caused more complexity.

Jassy discussed leveraging a platform on which to build your business. Let’s be clear: he meant the AWS Cloud platform, which is not a shock. A public cloud can dramatically simplify your environment as you will not have to manage all the underlying infrastructure, storage, servers, patches, firmware updates, etc. (it can add years to the end of your life!). Additionally, it gives you resources on demand to meet a new business objective quickly. A strong cloud platform, like AWS, can absolutely deliver the services your business needs and simplify many activities.  

Along with a leading cloud platform, you need a leading data management platform. If you watched Commvault’s session, “Optimizing protection for AWS service workloads at petabyte scale and beyond,” then you heard Coca Cola’s cloud story where it used Commvault’s powerful data management capabilities. It is using one person to manage 150,000 snapshots and 1.2 PB of data. This is across three geos and six regions. Imagine a platform so powerful that one person is managing this expansive environment! This is the power of Commvault.  

However, I bet a few readers don’t have a plan or the ability to put all their workloads in the cloud – and that’s OK. There are some applications that just won’t fit in the cloud without a significant effort – and the investment might just not be worth it. Do you really want to introduce something else to manage that environment? This is where using the platform with the broadest and deepest set of tools becomes even more relevant. You want to apply this thought not just to your cloud data – but to ALL your data. Commvault manages all workloads – cloud, physical and virtual.  If you have VMs or are using containers, Commvault is still the best solution.

So what does Commvault consider holistic data management? Well, it means orchestrating your AWS snapshots, migrating your EC2, RDS and EKS workloads to/from your AWS Outposts. It means a single console to define your business data protection SLAs, and then monitor compliance via visual dashboards, reporting and alerting. It delivers the ability to cost optimize data storage on your terms by taking data out of your AWS services, optimizing it and then storing it for long-term retention or compliance needs. It provides the ongoing insight into your data for optimization of cost, security posture and privacy. Commvault delivers these services across your on-prem, Outposts and AWS region data. It helps de-complexify (is that my new word of the week?) your environment while reducing risk and cost at the same time.

Do not complicate your environment.  Simplify things as much as you can now, with a powerful and simple platform that completely supports your data management needs. We don’t know what significant shift we will see next. Be ready for it with Commvault.