Scott Miller is WWT’s Senior Director, Data Center. Working with the Executive team, Scott provides technical leadership, vision and experience. Scott has 20 years of experience in IT with a strong engineering background. Scott was the co-founder of Server Centric Consulting which was acquired by WWT in 2009. He resides on multiple partner advisory boards for partners such as Cisco Data Center, NetApp, EMC, VCE, VMware and Citrix.

Q&A with Scott Miller

Tell us about your background and how you got into technology.
My career has always been in the channel. I started out as an engineer back in 1995 in Overland Park, KS working for Ikon Technology Services. I carried certifications such as A, CNA, MCSE, MCSE+I, MCP, CCA, CCP and CCEA. I specialized in Windows Servers, backup and Enterprise scale Citrix design and deployments. In 1999, I did a short stint at Alexander OpenSystems then opened the first ever branch office for Choice Solutions in St. Louis in 2000. In 2002, I launched Server Centric Consulting. I ran this successful business for 7 years and then sold it to WWT in 2009.
What is your role at WWT?
I am responsible for all partnerships, the go-to-market strategy and solutions related to data center, which is north of $1.5B in business and includes virtualization/cloud, compute/converged infrastructure, storage and enterprise desktop solutions.
What innovation is happening in your technology focus area that has you really excited?
Now is such an exciting time in the space of data center. There is so much rapid innovation allowing our clients to be more optimized with costs and provide higher agility and speed. We have the luxury of doing all of the engineering for the Data Center labs in our $100M Advanced Technology Center. Our great partnerships with all of the major strategic OEMs in Data Center segment often allow us early access to the latest products and solutions getting us hands-on access to better understand the real potential benefits that these new product developments can have for our clients specific use cases and if and how they can impact their business.

For example, the old way of managing a data center with silos in storage, compute and networking are no longer effective to be able to provide the application developers and end users with the dynamic and agile experience they demand. We are working closely with our partners and customers to help them understand the efficiencies to be found through converged infrastructure and automation that could be leveraged as part of their on-prem portion of their hybrid cloud strategy. There are a lot of options to consider from traditional converged, hyper-scale or hyper-converged and all are viable options depending our customers use case. In all reality, there is no one single vendor that can provide this for our clients today and hence why they find our knowledge, experience and access to multiple OEMs to show if and how this may apply for them in the ATC so valuable.

In the storage segment, there is huge disruption happening as well. The rapidly dropping cost of flash has suddenly made flash the new standard for storage of data. Customers are trying to understand if they should invest in all flash or hybrid arrays and/or invest into flash on the server hosts. Similarly, the idea of storing data for backup and recovery on tape is now an extinct concept going forward. We are helping clients understand the best way for them to store data for data archive within the ATC. They want to make this change but often don’t have the time, space or want to take a perceived risk to make this leap. There is often confusion as to if this data should be stored more optimally on-prem or from a cloud service provider. We can eliminate all of these hurdles and confusion by building out a replicated production environment in the ATC so that they can evolve this portion of their data center strategy forward.

Another area with storage under disruption is what is happening with software defined storage. The features and scale that can be found from software defined storage are rapidly evolving. We are constantly comparing and contrasting the major players in this space in our software defined storage lab. SDS is a requirement in the optimal data center design in order to meet the automation needed so it can provide the dynamic data center demanded. If and where to leverage SDS with compute nodes as the storage device is a common thing we help explore with our clients today.

The recent innovations with flash combined with the renewed interest in security, mobility and performance for enterprise desktops has us very busy consulting and employing large scale virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

Finally, the data in the data center is moving either to Flash for performance or object for cheap and deep. Most of the incremental data storage growth is coming in the form of object in order to support the new growing demand coming from mobility, IOT (sensors) and analytics with big data. Once again, there is a lot to consider in this space from scale up to scale out. We help clients explore the best for their needs in the object lab in the ATC. In summary, there is a lot of exciting things happening in the space of data center. It is a lot of fun, sharing our information with our clients and exploring new ways these innovations can help them transform their business and/or possibly disrupt their particular vertical.

Describe a recent interaction with a customer that led to solving a problem.
There is huge number of examples of where we have helped clients solve problems such as:

  • Helped an Oil and Gas company to explore cost effective ways to leverage object storage in order to bring a 100PB of data on tape on line so that they could explore this seismic data again to see if and where they should consider drilling now that fracking is a new option to consider.
  • A large credit card company to eliminate fraudulent charges and retain business by providing a faster approval response when verifying credit charges
  • A healthcare company leveraged flash to help speed up their core application (Epic0 for providing a faster and better health care.

Want to know more? Check out our 37 Questions with a WWT Expert video series where Scott discusses the changes coming to the data center industry, choosing between converged and hyper-converged infrastructure and some of his favorite things during the holiday season.