Paul Lewis

If mobility was just about mobile phones, it would be easy

Blog Post created by Paul Lewis Employee on Jul 20, 2014


Punctuation is how I weed people out of my life. It’s my friend sorting-hat.


I employ the 3-strikes rule for every criticism of my errant use of a comma.   Any passing remark of my invalid use of a semi colon, well…that's a trip to the mortal enemy list.  And if anyone suggests that I am missing a period from a bulleted list of witty ruminations, well…the ninjas have already been deployed.


I’m also not a huge fan of the word “actually”.  As in:


  • - I actually enjoyed reading your blog (as if you were surprised that I could combine English words to make a full sentence) *or*
  • - I really felt that decision was going to be the worst one you ever made, but it actually worked out (in fairness I should have seen the use of “actually” coming from the first several words) *or*
  • - Actually, Disneyworld is much bigger than Disneyland  (anyone who thought otherwise is already low on my list)


And what’s with homonyms, specifically the word “complimentary”?   (side note #1: it’s usually combined with “actually” when I’m on the receiving end regardless of meaning “free” or a backhanded praise).


The same confusion of definitions is true when discussing “Mobility”, specifically data mobility. (side note #2: transitions are not my strong suit).


One tends to think of data mobility from an end user perspective.  Specifically “how can I see and use my data from a mobile device”, which is perfectly reasonable however completely and totally unappreciative of the complexity of making that happen in the real world. I scoff at those people.  Pfft.


Data Mobility is defined in multiple parts, woven together as a complete solution:


  • Abstracting Data from Applications and Infrastructure (mobility of data FROM places): For the most part, data is tied to the application that created it, and the infrastructure on which its stored and protected.  Developers rarely intend for data to live outside of the application domain, and closely couple the lifecycle of data with the lifecycle of the application as a whole. For the most part, data created by an application is the side effect or by product of the application’s functionality, not an asset in and of itself.  Data mobility unlocks that control, and encourages data to co-exist with the application portfolio.  Remove that tie that binds, making that data accessible to other applications, and allow it to be consolidated with other sources of data.  Solutions require out of the box integration with many application and cloud storage vendors; open APIs to build new, potentially complex custom integrations; automated data movement and policy enforcement; and scalable destination infrastructure.


  • Consolidating and Enhancing Data (strengthen data mobility TO places) :  Allowing your data to be mobile from your applications is valuable, but now it’s essential to consolidate those individual sources and “unify” the information across sources.  It’s it not really about physical location, as federated models (leave it where it is and use when needed), while more complex, are perfectly acceptable architectures.  Once consolidated, you do need a means to correlate information across sources in preparation for creating new and unique value.  Take for example a single spreadsheet produced within the finance department.  Now imagine that document being lost in a sea of thousands of other documents with the only distinguishing factor being the name Book1.xlsx.  Ugly.  Now imagine searching for a document that is enriched with valuable meta-data, both system and user generated: Name of author, Purpose of Document, Year of Financials, Line of Business, Year Ending, etc.  Even more interesting, imagine searching for all data in your organization including that spreadsheet among several, email, scanned fax’s and data from the general ledger that met the criteria: Widget Line of Business, FY12, Customer Invoice, Accounts Receivable, and Issues.  Modern information systems increasingly require system general and custom metadata, indexing, temper free storage (e.g. WORM), linking information sources, single instancing, cross data type search, enterprise security and protection.


  • Data Availability for new Value (making data mobile FOR places): From the first two parts, data is now abstracted from the application, consolidated and enhanced, protected, and finally available (with technology) to create limitless new value for the organization.   Some of this new value is synchronizing access for multiple screens (laptop, tablet, phone, tv), and sharing that information securely with colleagues within the organization or external partners. Data is now available to implement automated control of regulatory or legislative data lifecycle governance including archiving and purging based on a very complex set of policy for each line of business, and client according to data classification guidelines.  Data is now available and mobile for deployment into complex analytical engines, or Big Data algorithms to answer questions or provide new insight.  Or data is simply, available for searching across all of your datasets to appreciate a correlation that would never had been known, if the data remained controlled by the application that created it, and left alone.   


And how would one implement a data mobility solution? A flexible, secure and cost effective foundational object platform, of course.


Data Mobility…defined!


I’ll leave you with words of wisdom from Emmet: Yes, it's true. I may not be a master builder. I may not have a lot of experience fighting or leading or coming up with plans. Or having ideas in general. In fact I'm not all that smart. And I'm not what you'd call the creative type. Plus, generally unskilled. Also scared and cowardly. I know what you’re thinking: He is the least qualified person in the world to lead us. And you are right.