A day in the cloud with a CIO


David Ata starts his day as most people do, checking his phone. David is the CIO of a large global financial services company called Cumulus, and spends the majority of his day in the cloud – whether he knows it or not.

In between his alarm going off and his first cup of coffee David will have already messaged his family to say good morning, checked his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds, and read the current breaking news stories from his favourite news app. As he begins to get ready for his day, David uses his phone to book his usual train from London, back home for the weekend. By the time he has made his breakfast, David settles down to check his emails and the FTSE market to make a note of any changes overnight, pondering the mayhem that might ensue if the transaction records data ever got lost in storage.

David quickly discovers that in the early hours of the morning a large American bank acquired another, smaller European bank, causing a potential shift in the market. A stream of emails descends upon his inbox. There had been some rumours of an acquisition for a while, however the news broke very suddenly, meaning David and his team were not entirely prepared to react. Various colleagues began emailing him with data requests, to present to their clients to show how this news will affect their business. Details of the acquisition will be needed quickly, so David saves it to their on premise system.

Checking his calendar, David sees a new crisis meeting has been added first thing in the morning, at the opposite end of town from his office. Living in London means he has curated a large collection of travel apps on his phone, so he quickly opens one up to plan out the best route to his meeting. He is swiftly bombarded with numerous alerts regarding severe tube delays. Why on today of all days, he laments. Begrudgingly, David fixes on a bus route into work – and decides he will have to grab an Uber over to his first meeting from there.

Once on route to his meeting, he starts contacting his colleagues in offices around the world to start collating as much data as he can. He settles on creating a conference call to brief everyone on the situation in one go, and while finding a time to suit all the different time zones is tricky, he finds a thirty minute window and sends around a Skype invitation.

While he is travelling to the office he decides to play some calming music, using his favourite streaming service. As he logs on he is told there has been a problem with the company’s cloud storage and subsequently all of his account information has been lost – typical, he thinks. He starts listening to his ‘recommended’ music and is presented with a selection of songs he has never heard – and would never choose to listen to. Without his history, the service is near-useless. ‘I may as well just listen to the radio,’ he thought to himself. He makes a mental note to check with the IT team that his data is being safely backed up somewhere in the cloud, where it can still be reached when needed.

Flurry of activity

Arriving back at the office mid-morning, there is a flurry of activity, both on and offline thanks to news of the acquisition. Emails and video calls fly about as people hurry around the office floor trying to pull together as much information as possible. Some of the records are buried in backups, somewhere in storage, and the team has to search through the entire data landscape to find it, while some are closer to home. David hurries to his desk and settles into his Skype call with 15 different countries, quickly realising that he has a huge wealth of information at his fingertips. He explains the situation as it stands and exactly what data the teams need to provide within the next few hours.

Settling into work, he is amazed that throughout the course of the day his colleagues have been able to share information gathered from all over the globe. He creates a file on the company’s document management application, hosted on an enterprise cloud server, so his colleagues can begin inputting their findings instantly. Soon a clear picture begins to form and David is able to pull all of the information into a succinct document to share with his clients.

At 5:45 pm David requests an Uber to collect him and take him to the station – why even bother with London’s public transport at this point? As he makes his way to the train station he shares his journey information with his family, noting with huge relief that his train is running on time.

His hectic day and the drizzle of rain against the car window made David long for a well-earned break. David pulls out his phone and starts trawling through some travel blogs for inspiration, bookmarking his favourite spots, before heading to a flight comparison website. With two kids still in school he is forced to look at dates within the school holidays, wincing as he compares the cost of flights to the same location just one week earlier. He finds a couple of good deals and sends the options to his family to get a group consensus.

As David reflects upon his day he is struck with just how much information he has available to him. From re-planning his route to work to coping with an international acquisition, he realises that everything he needed was accessible to him at just the touch of a button.  It all comes down to data management, he mused, scalable and instantly accessible data flows meant service providers like  Uber could meet his daily needs. He’d never taken the time to truly appreciate how connected he was.

The data fabric and its intricate ecosystem had supported his workloads, his transport, and his ability to get through his day. Behind the scenes, there had been layers of seamless processes in place – from backup data analysis, to data lineage and data case management – building upon robustly integrated data management infrastructure. It is this expertly executed data management that had kept him connected and his data flexible throughout the day. He began to comprehend how catastrophic it would be if the data fabric went down.

And with that, he sat back in his seat plugged in some music and let his mind drift into the clouds.

Martin Warren, Cloud Solutions Marketing Manager, EMEA, NetApp
Image source: Shutterstock/Omelchenko