When Constrained, Innovate

Jan 20, 2022
IT Leadership

Seagate Technology’s CIO and Executive VP of Storage Services Ravi Naik talks about what he hears from CIOs and business leaders regarding the treasure trove of value they manage—and how the data-centric cloud can help.

Credit: Seagate Technology

What do you think keeps CIOs up at night these days?

CIOs are telling me that they function under plenty of constraints—everyone is being asked to do more with less. They must innovate under constraints. Successful CIOs recognize that this is not a bad thing. In fact, a constrained environment is often a source of innovation because it helps drive creative solutions. IT departments should not be overlooked when it comes to finding solutions that drive more business value.

Give an example of when a creative solution arose out of constraints.

Seagate’s storage-as-a-service platform is a recent case. Seagate Technology is a world leader in mass-data storage. Our internal data storage conundrum forced us to come up with a creative solution. It started with a data issue. Like many organizations, we migrated much of our data to the public cloud. Then we kept running into challenges because of the way the public cloud is architected. We wanted to be able to do more with our data without having to spend a lot of money on egress charges and API fees. But our data-related costs started to go up.

Rising data costs are not a CIO’s friend.

Correct—and we wanted to have full control of our data platform. Seagate’s high-capacity drives power the storage that public cloud provides, all at a very favorable TCO. So we decided to build our own cloud services platform for our own data. As we were building it, I kept hearing from CIOs with the exact same pain points. At times, they felt as if their own company’s data wasn’t truly their own. They wanted predictable and simple cloud economics. They did not want surprising bills as their companies scaled. So they got curious. Some of them asked me, “How can we leverage your innovation and experiences for our organization?” That’s when we decided to make our always-on storage-as-a-service solution, Lyve Cloud, available to other companies close to where their data is created, at the edge of the network.

We rolled out Lyve Cloud last year. Soon after, we announced a deal with Zoom to offer their customers the option to save their meetings on our platform.


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Seagate Technology

What does easy access to data mean for companies?

It directly translates into being able to put this data to use, which, in turn, boosts business value—profits, customer retention, brand reputation, etc. It means that data is always available, ready to use when you need it without having to wait for hours to put this data to work. I mentioned that Lyve Cloud is available near where business data is created. Sometimes proximity to data matters for compliance reasons when data governance, protection, and privacy are paramount. That is the case, for example, in Europe, because of the GDPR legislation.

Business leaders sometimes underestimate the role that IT organizations play when it comes to strategically harnessing the wealth of data that belongs to their companies. Data is power. We used to be limited by compute power and storage capacity. Now we are limited only by our imagination. You never know what new business insights the algorithms of tomorrow will find in yesterday’s data. Access to data is access to today’s business currency, made possible by solutions like the data-centric cloud.

What is the data-centric cloud?

When CIOs and business leaders used to think of the cloud, they did not think about where the cloud was. They sent the data over the wires, and it got stored somewhere. This is not the case anymore. Enterprises want to know where the cloud is.

Is it near the data sources? Does it meet compliance requirements? Do we know the cost of storing and accessing data? Can we take our data with us?

A data-centric cloud caters to these concerns, providing a clear view of where the data is and how it meets compliance, as well as line of sight into TCO and full freedom for the data to move.

Two key features of the data-centric cloud are the proximity of storage to data sources and interconnectedness via transfer stations. Proximity, addressed with edge storage, reduces latency and ensures compliance, and interconnectedness allows for an easy way to connect data to compute. Both proximity and interconnectedness enable data activation.

And just like that, out of constraints, innovation arises.

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