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During AWS re:Invent, I had the opportunity to speak with executives from three really innovative organizations to hear how they have led their teams through cloud transformations, anticipated major industry and market shifts, and set their businesses up for the future.

While each organization’s path to the cloud varied slightly, the execs were in consensus on the cloud’s potential to unlock business innovation. For example:

Ensuring scalability and business continuity with cloud-based operations

For Graham Peddie at VFX studio Cinesite Montreal, the migration to the cloud was a technology decision. “Montreal’s very competitive, there are lots of high-tech companies, and demand on the local (rendering) farm is pretty extreme. With Qumulo, there’s a much larger pool of cloud locations to get our jobs done. Qumulo replicates our pipeline to another region, uploads our workload there, and returns it pretty seamlessly. It allows us to do the work that needs to be done.”

“Once we got Qumulo in the house, it spread very quickly. We had such success when it came time to look at cloud options, it was the first we looked at,” Peddie said. ”(Qumulo’s) sales and customer support are top of class across the industry and that makes it appealing. When I have had a problem, when I’m up late working on it, they’re up late with me.”

For Jean-Paul Godmaire, head of IT from animation studio Industrial Brothers, his journey to the cloud started with the need to ensure business continuity. “When COVID first hit, we didn’t have a way of working remotely,” he explained. “We had Qumulo in-house and the quickest way I saw to bring the studio up was with Qumulo in the cloud. I was very happy that it was very quick to replicate the data we had on-prem to the cloud, fire up workstations, and get people to start working again. Qumulo was critical to the success of Industrial Brothers to continue business operations in the cloud.”

And did the cloud-based solution enable the studio to work as it did before? “Amazingly, yes,” said Godmaire. “I was skeptical but it amazingly just worked. We have over 50 users using workstations in the cloud with the Qumulo service, and looking at firing up hundreds of workstations to do rendering. Cloud is in our foreseeable future at this point.”


Building business resiliency in the time of COVID-19

Tanya Hannah is CIO for King County, Washington, the twelfth largest county in the U.S.. She notes the challenges her team faces are pretty similar to Industrial Brothers and Cinesite. “We’re talking about scale, being able to add additional capacity when needed, and business resiliency.”

Like many organizations, Hannah saw her team’s journey to the cloud fast-tracked by COVID-19. “Certainly the pandemic has been the chief innovation officer in the public sector,” she says.

“Prior to the pandemic, we were already on our cloud journey and then the pandemic hit and all of a sudden we were trying to do virtual courts, or enabling mobile sites to handle pandemic response from a public health perspective.” She continues, “I’m expecting as a result of COVID that we’re seeing the momentum pick up and fast-tracking of things that would take years, will be done in months. We’re coming up with solutions and how to pivot.”

Likewise, Godmaire talks about how the pandemic forced the studio’s leadership team to re-think its traditional “butts in seats” mindset after its workforce became remote nearly overnight. “We all have to adapt a bit, but that part I find interesting,” he said. “It seems like it took a pandemic to force the issue but it’s showing we can do things that aren’t always the way that we’ve done it. You can use people in different ways, now that the pressure to limit yourself based on [in office seating] capacity, has all gone away.”

Lessons learned: The outlook for the cloud is clear

All three executives were optimistic about their experience with the cloud so far, as well as its potential for the future.

  • Jean-Paul Godmaire: “Don’t be afraid of it. It’s not as difficult as you think it would be. AWS and Qumulo both have great support. Embrace, utilize all the resources you have. Don’t be afraid. Jump in and give it a shot!”
  • Graham Peddie: “It pays to be proactive. If you can ask things when the pressure is off, that helps. It’s to your advantage to be ahead of the game; no harm in kicking the tires.”
  • Tanya Hannah: “We’re never going back to pre-COVID times, so you have to position your business to move quickly. The pandemic has shown that organizations that can move quickly are better able to adapt.”

Learn more and view the session on-demand

View the full session on-demand here to learn more about how these organizations were able to innovate and move their businesses forward using the public cloud. Read this ebook to learn how to unleash the power of your file data in the cloud.

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