UPDATED 13:00 EST / MAY 22 2014

Pushing the envelope for Cloud trainees | #EMCworld

Tom Peitler of Calibre

Tom Pietler, director of IT at Calibre, sat down with theCUBE’s Stu Miniman and Steve Kenniston at the EMC World 2014 conference in Las Vegas. Calibre is a management, consulting, and technology services company based out of Alexandria, Virginia. With more than 700 employees, Calibre offers a wide range of services, including data analytics, program management, and strategic planning.

Pietler currently manages 20 people on his IT staff, but he is not a proponent of just having one person for each role. Using a robust training program, Pietler has implemented a cross training program to make sure that even if one person leaves the team, the rest of the team can compensate and fill the role of the person who left. The most important part of running any company, Pietler emphasized, is the people. “We believe in taking care of our people,” he stated. “We get them to the right training. In fact, right now I have one of my systems engineers with me here at EMC World so he can learn more about what he works on every day.”

When it comes to the infrastructure at Calibre, there are two different entities. The commercial side includes all of the corporate applications, such as email, SharePoint, and file shares. Another circuit is sponsored by the U.S. Army. Unlike the commercial side of things, Calibre’s dealings with the military require an entirely different set of requirements. Initially, Calibre went through the  Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process process with the Department of Defense (DoD), and then going forward they went through regular accreditation.

The Calibre IT team has used a number of applications for operations management. “We’ve gone through the whole breadth, and we’ve gone from 10 racks on our commercial side down to four, and we’re probably 90 percent virtualized,” Pietler said.” On the military side, I would say we are also 90 percent virtualized, and we’ve been able to get some economies of scale and drive value into the business by doing that.”

When discussing pushing the envelope of the cloud, Pietler explained that Calibre is now getting into the third platform with two unique projects. The first, a “meter data management system,” is focused around big data. This initiative alone lowered one Army site’s utility costs by 60 percent.

In the mobile and third platform arena, Calibre has had a long-standing project involving logistics where IT takes supply, management, and financial data, and brings that into one platform. “It’s traditionally been an online-only-type platform, and we’re moving it to a mobile application so that we can get the soldiers in the field the data so they don’t have to go back to base. Instead they’ve got an iPhone or an Android and they can securely access that data.”

The most important thing to keep in mind about the cloud, according to Pietler, is to push the envelope with new technology and regularly examine if you can find a better way of doing things. “As time goes on, we’re pushing the envelope, and that’s what I recommend to everybody,” said Pietler.

While not an issue at Calibre, Pietler has heard from his peers in the field that innovation can be a hard sell when companies try to manage a shrinking budget. But that is when the best innovation comes into play, he said. “You can use a smaller section of your environment to do it. And that way you have knowledge that when you’re talking to your customers, you really understand their problems and then in turn you can bring in a brand new technology solution that nobody else has done, and then really innovate.”

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