The world is rich with some iconic landmarks. So iconic that in just a glance, almost anyone in the world can identify the location by it. Take, for instance, the Eiffel Tower, Paris, or the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan! Both impressive. But there’s a man-made structure reaching almost 10 times higher than Lady Liberty and over two-and-a-half times the height of the Eiffel Tower: it’s Dubai’s prominent skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa.
As the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, or Burj Dubai, is an absolute beacon of Dubai’s oil-based prosperity. And as with any well-executed product, be it civil or software, hard work alone could never produce such a colossal and successful feat. If we took time to look beyond the simple admiration of a finished product and appreciated the exceptional knowledge, experience and team work needed to build such a wonder, our appreciation for the tower would most certainly expand.
What can we learn from the Burj Khalifa from a cloud storage technology perspective?
Well, cloud storage is evolving rapidly. The next best thing today may easily be obsolete 3 years down the line due to a new service, brilliant innovation or growing infrastructure. Absolute stagnation in technology will almost certainly be the eventual downfall of any service or product offered in the cloud. We cannot afford to be resistant to change or simply ignore it.
Former USA Congressman Donald Rumsfeld said, “But there are also unknown unknowns.There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” There may be something new out there that’s absolutely revolutionary in both simplifying and improving the things we do. But how will we know about it if we don’t know about it? This is where the discipline of reaching wider comes in.
Reaching wider with cloud storage means looking beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones and daily routines to familiarise ourselves with the things outside of our current scope. There are many sites that publish emerging technologies and trends in the cloud industry. Sometimes when something new emerges it’s very easy to see why it would be beneficial, especially if it fills a gap we’ve been aware of. Other times, however, we need to grapple a while to understand what purpose and place it would have in the industry and in our frames of reference.
Another valuable habit that goes along with reaching wide is to follow certain thought leaders who are influential in an industry. We can learn rich lessons that go beyond theoretical implications and understand accomplishments, failures and lessons learnt without having gone through it all ourselves. It’s also to look out for solid comparisons to familiar technologies that allows us to make better suited decisions if we implement something new.
The spectrum is ever widening and there is an endless amount of information out there. Reaching wide means getting enough exposure to understand something without digging into all the implementation details. However, only reaching wide leaves us as a jack of all trades but a master of none.
To be successful in the cloud storage technology and software industry, we must learn to dig deep. Digging deeper is essentially taking something and experimenting, observing, scrutinising, refining and eventually mastering it. This is especially true in the cloud backup industry. Performance counts. Storage space matters. Use of resources are crucial. At small scale cloud backup may not seem significant, but as you scale up, these factors become exponentially more critical.
The Burj Khalifa, is an example of a project of enormous scale. If the building was only a couple of storeys high, the foundation wouldn’t be something to write home about. However, they had to dig deep and create almost 50 metres of reinforced foundation to support the almost half a million tonnes of building weight it holds. If we do not dig deep, we may start out great, but as we scale up, our efforts become meaningless and our product unusable.
Implications for Cloud Storage Technology
If we don’t dig deep, we cannot scale well. But if we don’t reach wide, we hinder innovation. We cannot separate the one from the other, they are absolutely interdependent.
A good mixture of these ingredients makes something truly remarkable that will stand the test of time, scale and change.