Best Take Care Of Those Crown Jewels – Sheila Fitzpatrick – Ep 17

Data, it’s the new oil, new gold, your Crown Jewels. We’ve all heard these phrases, but it is hard to deny that data is a fantastic asset, companies who know how to mine true value from it have a distinct advantage over their competitors and we are continually creating more of it.

However, it’s fair to say that data also comes with its challenges, we must store it all, make sure we protect it all and of course we need to make sure it’s secure.

The challenge of data security and privacy is right at the top of the list of priorities for most IT executives, and, if it isn’t already, it should be high on the list of priorities for business owners and boards as well.
Maintaining the security and privacy of our data is going to continue to be a complex problem, from the multi-faceted security threat, to the introduction of more stringent data privacy laws.

To try to help to address this, this week’s podcast is the first of a short series focussing on the twin challenges of data security and privacy. First is a two-part episode exploring the issue of Data Privacy, with my guest Global Data Privacy Attorney Sheila Fitzpatrick.

Sheila is NetApp’s Chief Privacy officer and World Wide Data Governance and Privacy Council, and has nearly 35 years of experience in the field of data privacy, so is well placed to comment on the current data privacy landscape, the challenges of managing data and the issues presented by changing regulation.

In this first part, we look at what data privacy is, what defines personal data, why it’s important to understand the full lifecycle of your data management procedure, the difference between data security and privacy, as well as an introduction to the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Sheila couples her huge experience of data privacy with a tremendous enthusiasm for her topic, which makes her a fantastic person to learn from. Enjoy the episode.

If you want to catch up more with Sheila, you can find her on twitter @sheilafitzp and on Linkedin.

Next week we’ll be focussing on the biggest change to data privacy in the last 20 years, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), its impact, what it means to us and how to start to build a data privacy strategy.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss that episode, then please subscribe on iTunes, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Podcasts for the weekend 24th Feb

I’m a big fan of podcasts, from entertainment to education. My car is a constant home to them, as I drive around, I always have something on, looking to learn about a new topic, or just catch up on my favourites.

Over the last few weeks, on a Friday, I’ve been tweeting out my fave episodes from the week, as little recommendations for some weekend listening.

This week, rather than have people having to follow multiple tweets, I thought i’d put them all into a single BLOG post, and will make it a weekly place for 2 or 3 podcasts recommendations for your weekend that you can hopefully enjoy.

So here we go, some podcasts i’ve enjoyed this week (20th Feb)..

vSpeaking Podcast

Pete Flecha runs a very informative podcast over at VMware, it’s where I keep up to date with all the latest from the Software behemoth! – this week after a bit of a break Pete is joined by Duncan Epping as the explore vSAN use cases- lots to pick up on, as well as some great insights into where VMware are seeing success with their storage play…

Check it out here vSpeaking Ep 36

Speaking In Tech

Always a fan of the Speaking In Tech podcast, and some weeks they out do themselves, this is one of those weeks as Greg and Eddie are joined by Josh Atwell… worth a listen for the fascinating debate over Robotics triggered by Bill Gates recent statement regarding taxing the use of robots in industry.

Find it here Speaking In Tech Ep 249

Geek Whisperers

My favourite podcast, so always gets a shout with a new episode, Amy, John and Matt discuss “Moonlighting”, as they are joined by Mike Colson to talk about “side gigs” why you do them, why you shouldn’t and how to manage the problem. Great show.

Geek Whisperers Ep 130

Tech Interviews

No point writing this if I can’t pimp my own podcast – This week I pick up on part two of my chat with Microsoft’s Matt McSpirit, as we discuss what happens when you want the capabilities of cloud, but public cloud can’t be for you, so you decide to build your own. But How?

Matt introduces us to Microsoft’s private cloud platform, Azure Stack.


When Public Cloud Isn’t The Answer – Matt McSpirit – Ep 16

If you enjoy the podcast round up idea, let me know and I’ll keep them coming.

Have a great weekend.


When Public Cloud Isn’t The Answer – Matt McSpirit – Ep 16

The power, flexibility, scale and simplicity that comes with “cloud” services is something that many of us have embraced.

The ability to deliver quickly and easily, complicated application and platform infrastructures is very appealing, especially for those of us who are continually challenged to deliver solutions to business problems ever more efficiently.

Public cloud providers like Microsoft, Amazon, Google and IBM are a great answer to many of the modern technology challenges we are faced with, but, what happens when public cloud can’t be the answer to our challenge?

There are many reasons that a public cloud solution isn’t right,technical, commercial or of course, security driven, privacy and data sovereignty are concerns of many a business as they consider cloud.

What do we do? we can see the benefit, but also understand why we can’t take advantage of the solution.

The answer?

Build your own, deliver your own on-premises cloud solution. But How? how do I build my own Microsoft Azure, where on earth do I start?

Well you’ve come to the right place, in part two of my conversation with Microsoft Technical Evangelist Matt McSpirit, we discuss Azure Stack, Microsoft’s forthcoming private cloud converged solution, currently available in Technical Preview, ahead of it’s launch later this year, Azure Stack gives you all of the flexibility and deployment efficiency of Azure, with all the control, security and privacy of delivering it from your own data centre.021317_1151_EmbracingDe1.jpg

In this episode we discuss  what Azure Stack is, who it is (and is not) for, as well as how you to get your hands on it.

It’s a fascinating technology solution and Matt provides great insight into why it may be for you and how you get started finding out.

Enjoy the show.

Matt mentioned a range of resources that you can get your hands on to find out more about Azure Stack;

The Main Azure Stack page for more background and detail on the solution

Click here to access the Azure Stack Tech Preview

Check out the very informative sessions from Microsoft Ignite.

You can find Matt on Twitter @mattmcspirit

And if  you missed part one of our chat, don’t worry, it’s here .

If you enjoyed the show and want to make sure you don’t miss the next one, then why not subscribe on iTunes or Soundcloud or wherever else you get your podcasts.

Thanks for listening.

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Embracing DevOps with Microsoft – Matt McSpirit – Ep15

This week we explore a bit more DevOps as I chat with Microsoft Tech Evangelist Matt McSpirit.

Matt is based at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond and produces lots of great and helpful content in his role as a tech evangelist. He can also be found sharing insights on Channel 9 as well as one of the hosts of the Microsoft “The Ops Team” podcast.

In the first of a two-part chat, we explore Matt’s two current areas of focus, AzureStack which we will cover next week and, in this first part, we get a Microsoft take on the DevOps movement, how they see it, and how it is affecting how Microsoft deliver their own technology to their customers.

We also look at some of the principles you should follow as you look to build a DevOps approach to your business, as well as discussing whether DevOps is something that stretches beyond the world of just software development.

Enjoy the episode;

You can find Matt on Twitter @mattmcspirit

Catch up on the excellent DevOps fundamentals videos on Microsoft Channel 9

Check out the DevOps dimensions videos on channel 9

Want Some DevOps education? – try Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Parts Unlimited Workshops

Hope you enjoyed the episode and next week in Part 2 of my chat with Matt, we look at Microsoft’s on-premises cloud solution AzureStack.

If you want to make sure you grab the next episode, then why not subscribe on iTunes or Soundcloud or wherever else you get your podcasts.

Thanks for listening.

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DevOps Hipster

IT loves a trend and right now there is nothing more hipster than DevOps, it’s a constant topic of conversation, there’s even a DevOps novel (check out the excellent Phoenix Project), but why, what is it all about, can I buy myself a DevOp?

It’s a topic that I’ve just started to learn about and thought that I’d share what I’ve found so far by way of a DevOps intro BLOG.

Let’s start with what DevOps isn’t;

You can’t buy a DevOps

It certainly is not a product, you won’t find a DevOps as a SKU from your favourite IT supplier, nope you certainly can’t go buy a DevOps.

It’s not a framework

I don’t think DevOps is a framework or a methodology either, it’s not an ITIL or Agile, it’s not a set of processes laid down that you qualify in and follow. This isn’t a criticism of those approaches, but if that’s what you want, then you won’t get that with DevOps. It can certainly be a part of a methodology, a DevOps culture in a more formal framework I would suggest is fine, but it isn’t a framework in itself.

What is it then?

If you can’t buy it and it isn’t a framework, then what it?

I referenced earlier The Phoenix Project, which is, genuinely, an IT novel that looks at the trials and tribulations of our hero Bill Palmer at Parts Unlimited, a fictional account of project delivery in business (it is much more engaging than it sounds!), A friend of mine said;

“if you’ve not read The Phoenix Project you probably don’t understand the challenges of your customers”

Now while that may be a little strong, certainly reading it has given me a whole different view of how modern businesses technology departments are challenged. In a world that changes increasingly quickly, we cannot allow our competition to be more agile than we are, delivering services faster and better and taking our customers with them.

In my opinion, it’s an attitude, a cultural shift, a different way of working, of attacking the problems we are presented with. It’s the idea of bringing together disparate groups inside an organisation to ensure the delivery of better and more timely solutions to solve the challenges that modern organisations face.

Why is DevOps even a thing?

For many of us working in IT it’s fair to say we’ve seen real changes over the last few years in how we deliver technology, be it virtualisation as a more flexible way of deploying servers and desktops. Smartphones, which have changed the way we interact with technology and consume applications or, of course, the cloud.

The way we consume cloud applications and infrastructure is possibly the final nail in the coffin of “traditional” IT deployment, we need a new server, bit of software or service, what do we do? wait 6 months for traditional IT to deliver? or do we jump over to AWS or Azure, credit card In hand and order it, having it delivered in minutes and ready to go.

These changes have moved us from a world where we were OK with an IT project taking months to deliver, to one where, if we do that today, we’d probably be looking for a new job.

It is this that has driven the need for, not only an organisations IT team, but for the entire organisation to look at new ways to react more quickly to changing business needs and challenges.

How do we make sure Internal IT doesn’t become redundant?

How do we then make sure that as an IT team, or even as an organisation, we don’t become redundant?

Let’s face it, we love the convenience of the app store or a cloud deployment, so why wouldn’t we want that in our business? Why not be able to deliver a new service with a couple of clicks, a system that is automated, built on templates, accessed by a catalogue and deployed the same way every time, it has lots of benefits, from efficiency to security, so we are all doing it aren’t we?

Well maybe not, because, it can be hard, our developers aren’t talking to test, who aren’t talking to infrastructure teams and often IT isn’t talking to the business and the business isn’t talking to IT. The more responsive our organisations need to be to challenges, the less acceptable this becomes and the more pressure IT comes under to deliver, often leading to short cuts which can lead to problems and failures.

It is this that has made IT and business sit up and look at new ways of delivering solutions and of course DevOps is one such way. An approach that allows us to speed up and de-risk project delivery, encourage better communication between what the business needs and how those deploying technology can help them to achieve it, as we all know modern IT cannot be the department that says “no” to everything.

To do that we need to embrace new practices, technologies and ways of working, but importantly, not just IT, the entire business needs to embrace this way of thinking or else it will fail.

But we don’t do development, is there a point to DevOps?

Maybe the most fascinating part of DevOps for me, Is I think it goes beyond just ways to get software delivered faster, it can definitely stretch more into the daily lives of IT departments in more “traditional businesses”.

If we look at DevOps practices, like deployment templates and desired state configurations, we can adopt them right into daily operations, the idea that my deployments are delivered against my company standard, every single time is very attractive. Think about securing data, having the ability to have a desired and secure state quickly re-applied to a machine is very powerful, both from a management and audit perspective.

Is DevOps for me?

Of course, I couldn’t say and I’m certainly no DevOps expert, but from what I’ve seen so far, the DevOps mentality certainly has significant benefit as we look to modernise how we manage and deliver technology to our businesses and in my opinion moves beyond the scope of just software development, I can see possibilities in how we run our IT in organisations of all types.

And whether it’s DevOps or something else, there is no doubt, to ensure we remain relevant to our organisations, we need to modernise our approach to IT, how we talk to our businesses, how we understand their needs and how we ensure we get solutions into our organisations quickly.

I hope these initial DevOps thoughts have answered some of your basic questions and if you want to find out more, I can certainly recommend The Phoenix Project and below I’ve pointed out a couple of other useful resources giving a range of insights into starting a DevOps practice.

Thanks for reading.. now go buy yourself a DevOp!

Microsoft Channel 9 DevOps Channel

Tech Interviews Intro to DevOps with Richard Fennel of Blackmarble

A great 20 minute video discussing DevOps from NetApp Insight (Where you may hear the quote I mentioned earlier!)

Gene Kim’s The Phoenix Project