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The Application Development Time Machine

Late last year Actifio introduced new product enhancements for Oracle environments. The updates were very well received by industry analysts and helped promote Actifio to Platinum Oracle Partner status. What Oracle recognized, many Actifio clients already experienced – robust capabilities to deliver data virtualization solutions that dramatically advance business agility and resiliency. But customer conversations were also highlighting another top-of-mind topic of customer interest – application development.

Beyond copy data management, backup and business resiliency, customers recognized how data virtualization could simplify and accelerate their application development initiatives. It wasn’t a new idea to us, but the rise in client awareness and interest was remarkable. Across nearly every customer conversation, regardless of size, industry or application focus, application development had become an important topic. And it’s a key part of the Actifio value proposition.

How come?

clockNo surprise really if we follow the money. Estimates of costs for application development and support are eating up a third or more of typical IT budgets. These expensive apps are central to business success and competitive advantage. But the process of creating, rolling out, sustaining and retiring them continues to be extremely inefficient and time consuming. Frustrating. So, suppose that big IT development expenses could be dramatically cut, AND apps developed faster, AND that competitive edge captured? It isn’t a supposition any longer. That’s why we’re having more of these discussions.

Take the example of challenges faced by a major nationwide retailer working to complete development and rollout of a new point of sale application. This was a top priority project with CIO-level visibility and board-level expectations. Time-to-market objectives demanded significant non-production infrastructure to ensure release quality. That included assured support for the full application lifecycle, post-production rollout, on-going maintenance and periodic enhancements. The scary part for all concerned was that traditional development methods would expend nearly $2.5MM to achieve a 5-year TCO. The investment included significant time and labor expense and a number of timeline uncertainties.

In part, a widely publicized security breach was driving their aggressive schedule. So they accepted higher staffing costs to support a faster rollout. But costly downtime events were draining days of development time. They were maintaining a complex system to support 18 data copies for development, test, QA and staging. Painfully, it was all being managed with half a dozen disparate tools. Storage costs were soaring.

Enter Actifio.

By enabling data virtualization, this customer was able to address multiple development difficulties in succession. First, access to virtual data copies meant that physical copy counts dropped from eighteen to four. That allowed adjustments to storage tiers and reduced capacity requirements. Actifio’s single data management platform eliminated their patchwork toolkit and provided developers with self-service data access.

Long-term expenses are now projected to drop by more than 80% and they’re anticipating a 77% reduction in required storage capacity. TCO savings could reach $1.5MM+. Our field team calls it “the impact of cascading benefits.”

But for the development team, the most important payback was in time.

From the outset, their primary objective was to achieve a more agile development lifecycle – to save time. Their new capabilities enabled instant provisioning, automated workflows and on-demand data access. Provisioning times plunged 90%. Development accelerated. Extra staff are no longer needed. Progress is measured in minutes not days.

Customers in diverse business are seeing similar impacts. One insurance company saved $100k on storage but their more important savings is in data provisioning that’s 73% faster.

A large and rapidly expanding automotive services business has reduced storage capacity by more than 70%. A new agile application transformation is up and running with automated workflows and self-service live data provisioning. Refresh times are 80% faster and, again, recovery time in minutes.

There’s a pattern here and, unfortunately, these are not unique “before” circumstances. Each of these businesses were struggling with costly, slow, and unwieldy development programs.

Now they’re gaining competitive advantage. Yes, they’re reducing data copies. They’re lowering storage capacity and costs – by a lot. They’re improving data management and becoming more agile in application development. But most of all they’re becoming more efficient. They’re saving time.

Call it the Actifio Time Machine.

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