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Protecting data to recover sunken treasure and more from Danny Allan

Danny Allan understands the necessities of success and the importance of embodying those necessities to rise above.

Veeam presentation Danny Allan
Image: Veeam

Meet Danny Allan, the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy oversees the global product roadmap and strategy group for Veeam®.

He’s responsible for leading Veeam’s technology vision as the industry’s #1 provider of backup solutions that deliver modern data Protection.

As part of his role, he engages with large service providers, global enterprises, and business-to-business clients to assess and ensure long-term success in the industry.

His passion for software innovation and solving customer problems stems from more than 20 years of software technology experience.

Allan was the chief technology officer of Desktone, a cloud-based desktop platform acquired by VMware, which provided hosted desktops for cloud service providers.

A former IBM director of security research, he co-authored IBM’s secure engineering framework as a member of the security architecture board. He holds multiple patents in the fields of cloud computing and security.

A VeeamON 2022 keynote presentation to remember

computer on table with green plant
Image: Unsplash

Danny Allan began by regaling the packed audience of Veeam enthusiasts with a tale of sunken ships and recovered data. He had started this tale three years earlier and was poised to finish today. 

The story began in 2013 when Danny Allan read a book called “Due to Enemy Action,” about the USS Eagle-56 warship that sank off the coast of Portland, Maine, on April 23, 1945, only two weeks before the official end of WWII.

Eight minutes after an explosion erupted 300 feet in the air, 100 people witnessed the sinking of the last US Navy ship to sink during the war.

It was universally concluded that the boilers on the ship exploded and propelled the sinking of USS Eagle-56. 

In 2005, a historian researching enigma codes discovered that there had been an enemy U-boat in the area around the same time as the sinking of the American battleship.

He spent three years searching for the USS Eagle-56 but to no avail.

Upon finishing the historian’s literary account, Danny Allan became very interested in the idea of recovering the sunken ship.

So, he contacted the historian. Allan asked if he might see the data he had collected during his initial search.

With the data from the historian, Allan and three friends spent the next three years with a magnetometer, and two more after that with side-scan sonar, tracing the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Maine in search of the USS Eagle-56.

They found nothing.

Data uncovers the mystery of the USS Eagle-56

picture of a ship

Allan knew that data services had come a long way in the many years since the historian had first gone in search of the sunken ship.

Therefore, he dumped all the GPS data, the magnetometer data, and the sonar data they had collected onto the cloud.

Using the data, Allan’s team could locate the ship’s bow in only two weeks in the summer of 2018. Two weeks after the bow was located, Allan located the stern. 

The stern of the USS Eagle-56 still had 12,000 lbs. of TNT secured and still on board. But no boilers were found. They needed to locate the boilers to answer the question about why the USS Eagle-56 went down. 

So, Allan returned to the data but studied different data sets this time. He produced specific weather data from April 1945 off the coast of Maine.

He also studied recovered data on wind and water currents and quickly located two boilers intact alongside the mangled end of a German U-boat torpedo. 

No boiler had exploded that day in 1945, and Danny Allan had the data with the innovative data services that had found the boilers and the torpedo to prove it. 

How data saves the day

storage drive
Image: Unsplash

Danny Allan shared the story of uncovering the mystery of the sinking of USS Eagle-56 with a captivated audience of Veeam employees, partners, and customers to show the new capabilities of data.

He proved that with the newest data services in place, the right data can solve the impossible and change the course of history.

Allan had the privilege of attending ceremonies where the victims’ families finally received Purple Hearts for the men who died serving on that ship. Their families knew now that an enemy torpedo had killed these men. 

Danny Allan continued to proclaim that data can change the course of history, a pandemic, and even an individual’s life.

Due to Allan’s findings, Chief Engineer of the USS Eagle-56, Harold Patterson, who, sadly, passed away two years ago, learned before he died that he was not responsible for the loss of 49 of his shipmates that day in 1945.

Even the ship’s captain was exonerated due to the media attention received from the recovery process.

What shipwrecks taught a data genius

Danny Allan also wrote about the Nomad exploration team’s discovery, exploration, and documentation of the wreck on LinkedIn, in 2019.

He makes specific notes that the shipwreck and time used for discovery had shown him the value of a team, planning, and being persistent.

Team

For Allan, the idea of “team” includes a necessity for transparency, collaboration, trust, and a willingness to admit and correct weaknesses in real time.

When the right team is intact, the success of any mission and the amount of enjoyment in pursuing that success multiply.

Planning ahead

Laptop computer with clouds illustrations

The Veeam CTO writes that planning is the one key to overall success.

Whether diving for ship wreckage or in a professional environment like Veeam’s offices around the US and worldwide, Allan says,

“Planning and ensuring predictability for deliverables is equally important in every aspect of an organization. Growth, improvement, and success can only be realized when planning is measured honestly against the expected outcomes.”

Persistence

The search for the USS Eagle-56 began in 2015, and Allan writes that, on many days, they felt miles away from success, but the important part was that they kept going.

They found the ship due to their persistence and a will never to stop looking.

In an article on LinkedIn called Lost shipwrecks. Successful projects, Allan wrote, “The difference between success and failure is the awareness to know that these are the days that you keep going.

You will not be successful if you don’t persist through those darkest days as a team.”

The ultimate asset

So, why did Danny Allan tell the story of the USS Eagle-56 and the learned truth of its sinking through data to a huge audience of data protection enthusiasts at VeeamON 2022?

He wanted to show the audience the importance of data protection, how it has monumentally changed in the past 15 years, and how it will innovate and change lives over the next 20, 30, or 40 years.

Allan spoke of the importance of data. More importantly, he focused on the data in the cloud and how companies like Veeam can leverage cloud data.

Cloud ecosystems allow data to be moved across infrastructures in ways that will unlock the world’s mysteries, exactly like the mystery of the USS Eagle-56 had only a few years ago.

Danny Allan understands the necessities of success and the importance of embodying those necessities to rise above.

Yet, in the end, it comes down to data and the fact that data is the most important asset we own, and we must manage that data with the care it deserves. 

Veeam continues daily to strengthen its single platform to protect all data in the hybrid cloud so that data will stay protected and available.

In 75 years, when Danny Allan’s grandkids decide to set off in search of sunken ships of today, they will be able to easily seek out data stored with Veeam to find exactly what they need to rescue the treasure down below.

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