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Shutterstock’s first CIO to build software-defined data center

Clint Boulton | Aug. 15, 2016
The stock photo company’s new CIO finds himself in a familiar role: Leading a major data center transformation for a growing business.

shutterstock cio2

When David Giambruno was interviewing for the CIO role at Shutterstock earlier this year CEO Jon Oringer, an entrepreneur and software programmer, asked him how he felt having a tech-savvy CEO.

"I was like 'Oh my God, I won’t have to explain everything all of the time,'" says Giambruno, adding, "He asks awesome technical questions.” Giambruno, who in June became the stock photo company’s first CIO, is an enviable, if not unusual, position. Given the choice between tooth extraction and making the case for technology investments to their board, some CIOs might choose the dentist.

David Giambruno, CIO at Shutterstock.

David Giambruno, new CIO at Shutterstock.

Thanks to Oringer's understanding of technology, it’s not a dilemma Giambruno faces. He can move at the velocity he needs to scale IT for a company that is on pace to hit $1 billion in two years, thanks in part to expansions into music and video licensing and deals with Facebook and Google. To align IT with business growth, Giambruno is formulating plans for a software-defined data center (SDDC) that supports the company's shift toward a service-oriented architecture (SOA), which will replace application silos that have accumulated since the company’s inception in 2003. To achieve this goal, Giambruno plans to build a hybrid cloud in which programmers can develop software without worrying about constantly negotiating with IT to rack and stack servers and other computing gear.

“Speed in our world right now is one of our competitive advantages,” Giambruno says. "The faster I take the infrastructure out of the way for our development and product teams, the faster we get product out," Giambruno says.

Virtualize everything!

Building an SDDC is no mean feat. It entails virtualizing servers, storage, networking and other technologies, essentially creating pools of computing resources that can be dynamically provisioned. The SDDC makes it easier for companies to automate software production in accordance with DevOps principles, allowing IT organizations and service providers to respond quicker to business demands. Gartner predicts the programmatic capabilities of an SDDC will be considered a requirement for three-quarters of large enterprises that seek to implement a DevOps approach and a hybrid cloud model.

But there’s a catch: SDDCs require advanced expertise in I&O engineering and architecture, says Gartner analyst David Russell. And legacy infrastructure can often thwart even the keenest of IT architects implementing SDDCs to pursue more agile businesses.

Fortunately for Shutterstock, Giambruno completed a similar project as the CIO of Tribrune Media. In 2014, the Tribune Co. split its media and publishing business. With the latter retaining the legacy infrastructure, Giambruno rebuilt the media company's IT from scratch, migrating broadcasting and other data and content from 54 data centers into a new data center. He replaced the existing IT infrastructure and applications with VMware's compute, network, storage and security services -- an SDDC.


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