UPDATED 16:29 EDT / JUNE 10 2013

Steve Wojtowecz IBM NEWS

Key Big Data Challenge : Deciding What to Keep + How to Use It #IBMEdge

Steve Wojtowecz, VP Storage & Network Management at IBM, explored Big Data and storage trends together with theCube co-hosts Dave Vellante and John Furrier, live at the IBM Edge 2014 conference in Las Vegas.

Steve Wojtowecz IBM

Commenting on data growth, Wojtowecz said that “typically the majority of growth is in the copies. The challenge is to decide what data to keep and how to use it for analytics,” which data is important, for what reason, and manage to keep as few copies as possible.

Usually, companies keep 15 to 20 copies of data. “We recommend our clients to figure out how to implement many of the technologies that exist today. Think provisioning, de-duplication, compression, all of these can help you reduce the size of your data,” Wojtowecz explained.  “Today, when you have a specific workload, you take the data, move a copy and move it the data into the app. In the future, we will move the app to the data.” The number and type of copies and how they are used for are a big part of reducing the amount of stored data. “Without analytics, the exponential curve is not going to stop,” he added.

What’s Software-Defined “Everything” mean for Storage?


Asked what software-defined everything means to the storage and how does it relate to software defined networking and software defined data centers, Wojtowecz responded by first saying that the typical tenants of data centers are compute, network, and storage. “You build software and apps on top of it.” Software-defined storage is “simply one part of the software defined environment,” it is the ability to extract the level of hardwareness and allow workloads. “It’s about workloads being able to attach and draw resources from that storage/network. We’re trying to build a level of software on top of the hardware pieces. We’re going to implement open and compete on the implementation of open,” he added, commenting on IBM’s strategy.

Talking about the choice customers now have to make, Wojtowecz said that when presented with an option such as “here are the pieces and here is the whole, if the solution packaged together can provide me as the consumer and help drive down the economics, if all those things together provide me with a better value proposition, I am going to buy that.” He explained: “at the end of the day, IT is enabling business drivers.”

The conversation is changing — it’s about what a company’s SLA is, and IT companies have to talk to the customers about how they can help them to solve their business problems and drive value, not what happens under the covers of the solutions and products they provide. Customers are looking for sustainability, reliability, and availability.

“Optimization is always a matter of progressively getting better. Workloads are always ‘needs to be improved’,” he added.


Big Data?  Big R&D.


Commenting on Big Data, Wojtowecz said “there are certain propensities on how you can draw value out of data and how you then present it to customers in a certain industry.” The conversation is different depending on the persons you talk to. The workloads and the analytics are different depending on industry.

“We’ve been in the virtualization business for 30 years, we’ve been in storage virtualization for a decade. I would contend that our end game is probably a hundred times bigger than any startup’s VC money can get. Our ability to take advantage of our robust R&D, that is going to make a fundamental difference in how customers use storage in the future,” on storage management, and on how data is curated. Virtualization, cloud, and driving insights based on analytics are key.

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