Dave Simmons: EMC Information Technology Cloud Architect

Dave Simmons currently holds the the designation of Expert Level Cloud Architect with EMC. Dave Also holds current certifications as a –  CISSP, VCA, MCSE, MCP+I, CompTia A+ and CCSE. At the moment Dave is an  RSA at EMC, a leading provider of Information Technology storage hardware solutions to promote data backup and recovery and accelerate the journey to cloud computing.

Q. That’s a lot of acronyms after your name, how long have you been at EMC? And what is your title / job function currently

A: I have been with EMC for 10 years. My current title is Advisory System Engineer.

Q. No doubt things have changed since starting there. What is your current information technology focus?

A: You are correct; a lot has changed over my tenure at EMC. When I first stated back in 2004 my focus was on eliminating physical tape devices in our customer’s data center and replacing them with Backup-to-Disk solutions. Today I focus on helping customers leverage cloud solutions for a hybrid deployment (on and off premise). This consists working with Amazon’s S3 platform, Microsoft AZURE or creating their own internal “private” cloud deployment.

Q. Can you briefly suggest how SMB’s might position themselves for future changes in information technology?

A: Cloud, Cloud, Cloud. Did I mention…cloud? Large enterprises, 50,000 employees and up, are looking at cloud for test and dev. However, with Office365 and other SaaS solutions, these same enterprises are deploying more and more front line production applications in the cloud. The VC (venture capital) groups use to provide funding with the direction the funded organization go out and buy infrastructure for test/dev, etc. Today those same VC’s are telling their clients to sign-up for some cloud based service and only “rent” what they need in case the client goes out of business in a few months or a year or so.

In my experience SMB’s just don’t have the same financial resources as a larger enterprise company so they have to be more strategic in their IT spending. Leveraging cloud services allows them to better use their dollars to get just what they need when they need it without a huge capital investment. This also future proofs their investment as the cloud service is always updating their technology which the SMB’s get direct benefit from.

The one caveat to moving to the cloud is cost. Any cloud solution needs to be vetted to make sure it is of true value. Some cloud cost models are not all that clear and if not worked out before you buy it could cost more than implementing a similar solution in-house. Every company has to do their due diligence to make sure whatever solution they go with is right for them.

Cloud Architect

Q. What’s your personal favorite technology?

A: Wow, that’s a hard one! I’ve been in IT for 25 years. I’ve seen an incredible transformation in OS’s, hardware, internet connection speeds (my first dial up was over a 14.4 modem!) the birth of virtualization technology and the incredible density changes in hard drives (I still have an old 10GB hard drive on my desk)

I would have to say the single piece of technology that continues to amaze me has to be internet connectivity. Let’s face it, if you take that technology out of the mix, there would be no iPhones, Netflix, YouTube, Skype, etc. The strides made in internet connectivity has and will continue to connect end users to the information they want and need. So much has changed in the last 10 or even 5 years. Imagine what will be available and what everyday people will be doing on the internet in another 5 or even 10 years.

Q. More often than not technology implementation is a team effort can you share some of the most common pitfalls and how your team overcomes them?

A: Communication. I have been part of many implementations that have gone wrong because someone “assumes” someone else has been included or updates on steps or status. Far too often these days we rely on emails and WebEx meetings to make sure updates are sent out to an implementation team. Unfortunately what happens in these “virtual” meetings is people check out.   They are doing emails or 6 other things when they should be listening and paying attention. And, yes, I do realize teams are spread out and could be in different time zones and/or countries.   This is why it’s extra important to make sure goals, targets, deliverables and expectations are communicated and understood by everyone on the team, especially with the customer!!

Q. And finally….. In your view which major software company is better positioned to expand in the coming years?

A: Right now, today, I see Microsoft pushing hard in the cloud space. I know, I know, I said Microsoft. They are pushing hard to get as much customer data as possible into their cloud architecture: Office365, AZURE, etc. They were slow to the cloud game, but they are coming on strong. Hyper-V continues to gain market share on VMWare. Functionality isn’t quite as good as VMWare yet, but with each new release the product gets better. Their new ExpressRoute offering allow companies to access AZURE cloud data on a secure, non-public internet, link. Almost all, if not all, companies use Microsoft’s products already so Microsoft has a build in customer base to draw from.

However, that being said…I would have to say the “major” software company positioned to expand in the coming years is the one we haven’t heard about yet! This industry is changing so fast and customer expectations change just as quickly. Who knows what we will have in 2, 5 or 10 years.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Dave!

Certification acronyms defined:

CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional, VCA – VMware Certified Associate, MCSE – Microsoft Certified System Engineer, MCP+I – Microsoft Certified Professional + Internet, CompTia A+ Certified Computer Technician, CCSE – Checkpoint Certified System Engineer.