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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Freeing Data from Vendor Lock-in; Leveraging Data for Today’s Digital Enterprise

October 3, 2017 No Comments

Today’s enterprises are struggling to unlock the promise of the “Digital Enterprise” but in order to do so, they must unleash the power of the cloud amidst rapid data growth, non-compatible storage and data management platforms, and budgetary constraints. In today’s exclusive IT Briefcase interview, Data Dynamics’ Senior Vice President of Field Operations, Cuong Le, shares his thoughts on why IT professionals need to be put back in total control of their data – and the best ways to make that happen.

  • Q. As you speak with enterprise IT professionals, what challenges are they facing around managing and leveraging their data assets?

A. C.L. First and foremost is data sprawl.  The IT professionals I speak with constantly tell me that they simple do not know what they have.  They do not know where it is located and they do not know what the content contains.  After years of adding file shares, NAS devices, SAN, DAS, iSCSI and the rest, they are over-burdened with too many storage silo’s containing unknown file assets, with unknown value.

  • Q. Is ILM or information lifecycle management still a key priority for IT and business professionals?  And, how has the concept of ILM evolved over the recent years? 

A. C.L. ILM remains a key priority, but there is a “catch.”  IT Professionals told me that they were “burned” by ILM solutions that promised to solve their data management issues.  These products, based on gateway appliances, virtual filesystems, file stubs or global namespaces, worked for awhile; but in time they became just as difficult to manage as the problem they were designed to solve.  And to make matters worse, they created vendor “lock-in” where many lost control of their data.

  • Q. What key capabilities are customers now expecting, that they may not have even thought about just 5 years ago?

A. C.L. They want to rapidly deploy new applications, new capabilities and enable a digital enterprise.  Data is the key backbone behind the digital enterprise, however Data is trapped on disparate storage silos with proprietary technology and vendor lock-in.  They need their data to be dynamic, and be available to them when they want, where they want it in the form they want it for free.  Your files should always be yours, and you should always be able to access your files natively – no middleware standing between them and their data.  Many vendors offer archive solutions, but all of these require an archive software layer to access the data, and incurs an annual fee for data archived.

  • Q. Has the recent spate of hurricanes shifted priorities, or data management strategies for your clients?

A. C.L. My customers are large bank, healthcare and similar, so disaster recovery is something that they prepare for.  We provide for a richer set of capabilities in helping customers with preparing for disaster recovery, such as the ability to replicate and sync data from any file storage to any other file storage.

  • Q. You recently launched your StorageX 8 – can you tell us a bit about it and how it addresses the aforementioned comments?

A. C.L. Beginning over two years ago, we began work on StorageX 8.0.  We listened to our customers and there were some key themes behind the help they need.  First, data growth and sprawl was creating a significant stress on IT, to the point that nobody knows what the data is anymore.  Yet data is a company’s most important asset, and a source of significant value and competitive advantage.  The paradigm for managing storage needed to change to make data management possible.  A couple key capabilities are the addition of analytics to help customers understand what they have.  We added S3 Object support to provide customers both another tier of file storage, but more importantly help them leverage analytics and applications based on the cloud.  Our customers see object storage as the long term solution to data growth.  Whether using on premises S3-compatible object storage, or using cloud-based AWS S3 blob storage, they wish to collect files from all the distributed storage silos and located the files in a single, central repository.   And importantly, they do not want any middleware between them and their data.  File migration is a one-time fee, but post migration access to files is direct using a S3-compliant browser or S3 API.

C.L. All of our customers are looking for ways to create a business advantage, they are looking at digital transformations of their enterprise.  Modernization capabilities in StorageX help customers become a digital enterprise, it creates significant leverage, it empowers lines of businesses, application owners, and data owners to drive and automate their data management needs via StorageX API.  Who better to manage the data than those who create and own the data.

  • Q. Any parting advice?

A. C.L. At Data Dynamics, we believe that company data is an important (if not the most important) strategic asset.  For data to become a strategic asset and be used for business intelligence, the data must be analyzed, groomed, tagged and located in a location where it can be accessed and analyzed for BI.  At Data Dynamics, we put our customer back in control of their data.


Cuong Le brings over 20 years of information technology experience in enterprise infrastructure sales, marketing, and development. He brings his experience in storage, server, and systems management to his role as Senior Vice President of Field Operations for Data Dynamics.  Prior to joining Data Dynamics, Cuong was the Executive Director of Enterprise Technical Sales at Lenovo, where he was responsible for leading the world wide technical sales community for the Lenovo Enterprise Business Group. Prior to his role at Lenovo, he was the Director of Worldwide x86 and Pure Systems Technical Sales at IBM and was responsible for transitioning the IBM x86 technical sales organization to Lenovo as part of Lenovo’s acquisition of the IBM x86 business. As the technical sales leader, he developed the technical sales team’s capacity, capability, and competency in driving sales execution, collaboration and innovation with clients.  Cuong held a diverse series of technical and management assignments at IBM. He worked in product development as a product architect and manager responsible for delivering storage and systems management products. In his role in development, he was awarded 17 patents. He was in a technical sales management and leadership role for 8 years, where he was certified as a Distinguished IT Specialist.  He earned a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Arizona.



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