Tech Trends – Object Storage – Robert Cox – Ep13

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve chatted about some of the emerging tech trends that I expect to see continue to develop during 2017 (Have a read of my look ahead blog post for some examples). To continue that theme this episode of Tech Interviews is the first of three looking in a little more detail at some of those trends.

First up, we look at a storage technology that is growing rapidly if not necessarily obviously, Object Storage.

As the amount of data the world creates continues to grow exponentially it is becoming clear that some methods of traditional storage are no longer effective. When we are talking billions of files, spread across multiple data centers across multiple geographies, traditional file storage models are no longer as effective (regardless of what a vendor may say!) that’s not to say that our more traditional methods are finished, in fact a long way from it, however there are increasingly use cases where that traditional model doesn’t scale or perform well enough.

For many of us, we’ve probably never seen an object store, or at least think we haven’t, but if you’re using things like storage from AWS or Azure then you’re probably using object storage, even if you don’t realise it.

With all that said, what actually is object storage? why do we need it? how does it address the challenges of more traditional storage? what are the use cases?

It’s those questions that we attempt to answer in this episode of Tech Interviews with my robert-coxguest Robert Cox. Robert is part of the storage team at NetApp working with their StorageGrid Webscale object storage solution.

During our chat we focus on giving an introduction to object storage, why is it relevant, the issues with more traditional storage and how object overcomes them, as well as Robert sharing some great use cases.

So, if you are wondering what object is all about and where it maybe relevant in your business, then hopefully this is the episode for you.


If you’d like to follow up with Robert with questions around NetApp’s object storage solutions you can email him at

You can find information on NetApp StorageGrid Webscale here 

And if you’d like a demo of StorageGrid then request one here

Next week we take a look at one of the most high profile of tech trends the emergence of DevOps, to make sure you don’t miss out you can subscribe to the Tech Interviews below.

Hope you can join us next week, thanks for listening…

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Through the IT Looking Glass – Hannah Breeze – Ep 12

When we spend all our time in the technology industry sometimes we can get a little close to it, to close to certain vendors or solutions and it can be very useful on occasion to step back and try to look at a wider picture.

This week we try to do just that as I chat with technology journalist Hannah Breeze. Hannah is deputy editor at CRN (Channel Reseller News) and writes about the relationship between vendors, distributers and sellers of technology,or as it is known, the IT channel.hannahbreezeheadshot-230x230

As part of her role she is invited to many of the industries key channel and customer events. As someone who also attends a few of these events, I found an article she wrote at the end of last year an interesting outsiders view of the industry ( Her “four things I’ve learned” article can be found here) and talks about the goals, strategies and messaging of four of the technology industries biggest players HP/HPE, Cisco, Dell/EMC and NetApp.

After reading it I thought it would be a great opportunity to have a chat with Hannah and share that as a podcast.

We talk about what she heard from a range of vendors last year, their messages, their focus, how the channel feels about those messages and whether we think vendors really are dealing with the challenges we, delivering IT in to our organisations, are actually seeing day to day.

So, I hope you enjoy this different view of the technology industry, here’s the episode.

I’d like to thank Hannah for her time, if you’d like to read up on Hannah’s work you can find here in the following places.

Her articles on CRN are here

And on twitter at @Hkbreeze

If you enjoyed the episode then please subscribe on iTunes, Soundcloud or at

In the next few episodes I’m going to be looking at some key technology trends as we discuss Object Storage, DevOps and Hybrid IT, I hope you can join me.

Thanks for listening.

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This ain’t no predictions BLOG

Last week I was fortunate to be asked to appear on one of my favourite podcasts, Arrow Bandwidth. I was joined by a group of my technology peers and was asked to do the thing that people like to do this time of year and make some predictions for 2017.

I’m not much of a predictions person and not licenced to drive a crystal ball, so thought it would be better to, rather than try to predict things that were going to take us by surprise in 2017, focus more on things from 2016 that will potentially grow more rapidly in 2017.

I’m not going to steal the thunder of my co-conspirators on the episode, you can check out the entire episode at the bottom of this post, but I did think it would be worth sharing those handful of topics that I expect we will see a lot more of this year;

Overall Theme – Data

Pretty sure no shocks here, how we store, secure, protect and get
the best from our data is going to continue to be a very significant part of IT focus in 2017 and will drive many of the key trends that I think we’ll see develop and dominate the tech landscape this year.

Governance and Control

This really accelerated last year and I can’t see any slowdown in 2017, hot topics like GDPR will ensure that control and security of data is high on the list of many a tech leader.

(Wondering why should you care about data privacy? Check out my chat with Sheila Fitzpatrick here to find out more)

It will be imperative to know the

  • What
  • Where
  • Who
  • When
  • Why

of our data. Not knowing who is accessing it, where it is, what it contains and why it is accessed will become increasingly unacceptable for leaders of an organisation. If it isn’t, you may want to ask the question why isn’t it?

I’d expect to see the continued growth of tools that provide behavioural analytics as the only realistic way of managing this problem, it’s no good working with tools that are based on knowns, they have to be things that can understand what is the norm and when that norm is deviated from.

Getting the most from your data

I think this is a truly fascinating area and fits with my belief that the most successful businesses will be the ones who know how to gain valuable insight from their d

The more and more data we gather, the more value can be gained from it if we know what is in it and have the tools to understand it. What excites me about this, is how the big cloud providers have truly democratised the ability to do this. The likes of Microsoft, Amazon, data-analyticsGoogle and IBM means that any organisation with a need for data analytics can access these services easily and cost effectively.

Increasingly these tools are getting easier for us to exploit, take something like Microsoft’s PowerBI plugged into familiar applications like Excel, allowing us to use powerful analytics from the comfort of our own desktop.

A word of warning though, to truly gain value from data you do need to know what you are doing, I read this great article in Forbes recently on this very subject. But even with that in mind, I have no doubt this will continue to be a fascinating area of growth..

End User Data Analytics

This took off at a real pace last year. Modern IT has to focus on delivering an effective experience to users, but for many of us, we realise how difficult dealing with a call that goes something like “my machine is running a bit slow” is. The problem is  many of our current IT monitoring tools only ever look at our core infrastructure, networks, servers, storage and often we’ll see these things with lots of green lights thinking all is well.

However, last year saw a rise in tools that started to look at IT performance from a user perspective, quickly identifying things like performance dips and configuration changes allowing us to spot poor performing software and badly written apps.

Spotting odd client device behaviour also has another benefit. Odd device behaviour is often the sign of a compromised machine, performance dips, machines connecting to sites they shouldn’t, or attempting to hit services they shouldn’t are all valuable warnings of a potential wider threat.

Our friend behavioural analytics again plays an important part, only technology that understands and learns the difference between normal and abnormal behaviour will be effective.

Make it Easier

Something I hope to see more of, is a drive toward simplification of our end user experience. Technology users today want to be able to focus on their work and not be lost and delayed by overly complex application delivery.

As those who deliver technology into our organisations we should understand IT cannot be seen as an impediment to doing business, we need to be able to react quickly to change, understand our business needs and how technology can help us meet them and not be the department that always says no, because if we are then our business will go around us, or maybe replace us with people who can be more agile and reactive.

DevOps isn’t just a buzzword but a way of working that we need to embrace and simplification of how we deliver our services, with better process and increased automation is a key part of this.

So in 2017, what am I expecting to see? A need for more understanding of our environments, of our data’s value, investment in data security and of course grasping the nettle of simplification.

It will continue to be a  fast moving and challenging world for technology pro’s but it’s an exciting one and a great opportunity to grasp.

So go grasp it and have a great 2017.

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did, why not try out my tech interviews podcast at or you can find the back catalogue and notes on the Techstringy Interviews section of this site.

Check out the Arrow Bandwidth Podcast right here;

Data Sprawling All Around Me – Rich Wallace – Catalogic Software – Ep 11

Data sprawling all around us, certainly does not mean those managing IT are having fun!

If you think about the kind of organisations many of us are a part of, then we understand what a critical asset our data is and how getting the best from it can give us real edge in our organisations field.

However this data focus comes with a whole set of challenges.

Where do we store it? how do we manage it? how do we ensure that people have copies of it where needed?.

It is this challenge that I discuss on this week’s episode with my guest Rich Wallace of Catalogic Software.

Catalogic Software specialise in data management and we chat about why they do this, how they do this and the problems they help us to solve.

I hope you enjoyed the episode, if you have any further questions on what Rich covered then you can contact myself, Rich or Catalogic Software in the usual ways.

You can get Rich on twitter @richwall123

Catalogic Software @CatalogicSW

And of course on their website at and if you want a 90 second intro to the work they do, then check out this great little video

90 Second Intro to Catalogic

If you enjoyed this episode then please subscribe in the places below and if you have any ideas for episodes you’d like to hear, do let me know @techstringy.

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Next week I get an outsiders view of the IT industry as I chat with Hannah Breeze, a journalist who reports on the IT channel, as we discuss some of the messages she has heard over the last year and how she thinks the industry is shaping up to tackle modern businesses challenges.

Thanks for listening.

Develop your IT superhero – Amy Lewis – Ep10

About 3 years ago I discovered the Geek Whisperers podcast, a show which talks with people across the IT industry and discusses career development. They explore with their guests areas such as how they have ended up where they are today, what they’ve done, what they’ve learned and even what they may have done differently.

That podcast has had a real positive influence on my career and the kind of work that I do, the fact that you are reading this post or have listened to the attached Tech Interview podcast (and thank you for taking the time in your busy week to do that) is directly related to that podcast. Not because they discussed blogging, tweeting or podcasting, but because what it did do was encourage me to engage much more in the IT community. A community I was already a part of, but maybe not one I was engaging with as much as I could.

But why bother? It’s a fair question, I know I was already pretty busy in my job, is there a benefit? Does it really help? Does it allow me to be better and improve the development of my IT career? They are all good questions and questions we discuss on this episode with my guest, Amy Lewis.

amy-lewisAmy is Director of Influence Marketing at NetApp and I caught up with her at the NetApp Insight event towards the end of last year. The reason I wanted to chat with Amy was not about her day job, but more about the work she does in the wider tech community, her tech community superhero persona if you like! Amy is maybe best known as one of the co-presenters of the Geek Whisperers podcast and to many on twitter as @CommsNinja.

So if you are someone who wonders whether wider involvement with your tech peers, be it online, via forums, attending user groups or events is for you, or can help develop your IT career and unleash your inner tech superhero, then I think you’ll find this episode interesting.

If you want to catch up with Amy on line then you can get her on twitter @CommsNinja

And you can find her podcast The Geek Whisperers here

If you’ve enjoyed this episode then please subscribe to the Tech Interviews via any of the below methods. Next week, it’s all about data management as I chat with Rich Wallace of Catalogic Software, I hope you can join us.

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