Conventional wisdom is that Enterprises have strategies, that are implemented through products and services, justified on an ROI basis, owned by project managers and rolled out on a conventional roadmap cadence. In the conventional view, IT doesn’t create opportunity. IT may have little up-front involvement in business tactics, and it there to keep the lights on, occasionally investigating and provisioning resources for
something new. Among other things, this explains the classic ILM conundrum where IT knows 80% of the data hasn’t been touched in a year, but they no authority to kill it or offline it.
But CIOs that are doing their job know today that IT can create value, and that IT services are elastic. Elasticity implies the reverse of the conventional top-down application development cycle. Elasticity happens when IT identifies an opportunity to create value, deploys a solution, an promotes it upstream to business units. Hadoop and Splunk are examples of technologies where the thought leadership may come from the IT side. Notwithstanding the danger of assuming “If you build it they will come”, visionary IT departments and CIOs are increasingly identifying the opportunities for differentiation in their enterprises.
Another example of elasticity relates to storage capacity. Conventional storage is horribly inelastic because the cost and time and complexity associated with new solution deployments means they can only be justified in response to major project initiatives.
But if storage were “free”, then is there a class of applications lurking as a secondary priority in the enterprise, that suddenly become viable? By “free” we mean easy, instant, elastic, and could be deployed on demand with existing resources. Certainly cost matters, but these attributes are far more relevant values to an IT org than the vendor-to-vendor variations in variable cost of storage. Free means frictionless. Free means agile.
At NooBaa we have found that storage can indeed be elastic if the marginal cost and complexity of storage is low. One of our customers is an NGO founded in the 40’s, with decades of documentation history formerly locked away in a salt mine. The customer's IT team took that opportunity to initiate a digital archival project, scanned those historical documents, and is using NooBaa as a digital archive. This was all achieved with existing hardware, where costs were already sunk, thus providing a frictionless and elastic solution to a lingering business need.