The Power of Movement

OpenDrives actively cultivates an  atmosphere of open-mindedness. Being open-minded isn’t just about articulating your own ideas. It’s about thoughtfully listening, considering, and folding new ideas into your evolving perspective. Our CEO, Dave Buss, has recently written about the importance of open-mindedness to a thriving corporate culture that focuses first on listening to the needs of our customers. I couldn’t agree more.

Blue-sky ideation is great but means very little if you can’t put those ideas into action. Implementing solutions and delivering the value to customers is the hard yet satisfying part. Converting ideas into action and implementation is the very essence of technical innovation. OpenDrives was founded on this principle, by creatives solving their own technical problems because storage vendors weren’t doing that, and it’s deeply and permanently embedded into our DNA.

Let’s extrapolate the power of ideas being put into action, which is what actually generates value, over to enterprise data. All that information your organization processes and stores has potential to create real business value, but only if it’s in movement and being accessed and used by people, applications, and workflows. Aldous Huxley observed, “Change is only possible through movement.” Huxley surely wasn’t referring to enterprise data in the 21st century, but the observation is applicable nonetheless. Data, like great ideas, must move and be put to good use in order to create change and generate value.

Tearing Down Barriers

Unobstructed data movement accommodating access requests is critical to this entire notion. If your data environment has impediments preventing free access to and movement of data–and most do–then you can never actualize its entire value. When a user or application needs to work with critical data but can’t access it, then the workflow breaks down and forward momentum halts, which is never good for the business.

So what are the possible obstructions to freely accessible data? All sorts of architectural and procedural conditions can erect these barriers, from the avoidance of protocol standards to design peculiarities adding complexity to the environment. Even worse, some technology vendors purposefully avoid open standards and industry best practices, instead ensuring that only their own proprietary technologies work smoothly with all the component parts. We call this situation vendor lock-in, because the customer must choose between remaining in a very constrained “walled garden” of single-vendor technology, or rejecting it by implementing other more open vendor solutions, which incidentally risks seamless compatibility. Escaping vendor lock-in can also be cost-prohibitive, especially if it’s a rip-and-replace scenario.

The Open Ecosystem Is Different

As an enterprise storage vendor, we’ve always known that the “walled garden” is counter to our promise of delivering the best solutions for our customers and letting them make the choices that work best for them. Our company has evolved past a singular focus on engineering highly performant storage toward a broader emphasis on creating software-based solutions that facilitate unfettered movement and access of data. To that end, we’ve begun building out our vision for an entire data environment designed around open standards and open integration: the Open Ecosystem.

The role of enterprise storage in the Open Ecosystem isn’t just to house data at rest but rather to promote data access and movement so that the user or application can get to the right data at the right time at the right moment within any workflow to accomplish the task at hand, thereby generating tangible business value. Software-driven storage becomes the overarching logistical intelligence making sure that data stays in motion and gets to where it’s needed most. By embracing open standards and protocols and making it easy to integrate any complementary solution into the overall ecosystem, we can ensure seamless interoperability within a totally vendor-agnostic environment. The high-value outcome is that users don’t need to worry about the underlying ecosystem. It just works. They can then get their core business done efficiently to maximize the entire value of their data.

Compare the Open Ecosystem to the US interstate highway system. Lots of different cars from dozens of vendors, all with their own differentiators but utilizing standardized parts and specifications, adhere to basic design principles and best practices in order to make vehicles move safely on the roads. Other vendors offer food, lodging, and other necessities that arise during travel, all interconnected by the highway system that facilitates movement throughout and access to all services along the way. The highway system is the vendor-neutral ecosystem of all movement, commerce, and activity on the roadways, based on common rules and laws. The Open Ecosystem serves an identical purpose, only within the digital world of enterprise information.

Coopetition is a Good Thing

You may have heard the phrase better together, which means two or more entities working toward a common goal to achieve success through collaboration and cooperation. In the Open Ecosystem, open standards and simplified integration encourage vendors to work for the good of our collective customers. We’re realists, so we know that we’re also in a highly competitive market space. But that’s okay. The Open Ecosystem thrives on coopetition, too, because competition energizes organizations and encourages better performance and innovation. The bottom line is, If our customers benefit, then we all benefit.

Through partnerships, collaboration, and coopetition, we can build out the Open Ecosystem and remove barriers to data movement and access. As data changes and evolves, we will continue to make sure, through sophisticated data logistics, that the right data gets to the right user or application at the right time to generate value. No matter where data needs to go, we will facilitate it. In this way, we can sustain an Open Ecosystem that’s virtually limitless.

The future of information in the Open Ecosystem is truly borderless, don’t you think–why not join us there?