Tech me for the weekend 30th June 2017

Another busy week in the tech world, so it’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy a weekend. But of course us techies never stop, always a chance to grab a tech article or maybe listen to a tech podcast, so here’s some stuff I’ve seen or heard this week that I thought I’d share, give them a go, see what you think.

Podcasts

Try these for your tech listening pleasure;

Arrow Bandwidth

The Arrow team have produced some great episodes recently, and here’s another one, a fascinating chat with IBM’s The Weather Company. We all talk a lot about how data is the new gold, and how our use of data is changing the way we do so many things. This episode outlines a great use case as The Weather company are using data on a massive scale to provide not only more accurate, but also a range of brand new weather services.

Arrow Bandwidth Podcast

IT Pro Podcast

This is a new podcast from one of my favourite podcast presenters Richard Hay, who presents the Windows Observer podcast talking about all things Microsoft, but mainly with a “consumer” focus, the IT Pro podcast has a more business slant and this week focusses on migration to the cloud, some of the things to consider and tips on how to deliver a great migration project.

Well worth a listen and making an addition to your podcast catcher of choice;

IT Pro Podcast

NetApp Tech ONTAP

My friends at NetApp have a great and very informative podcast for NetApp customers and partners, occasionally the team go off topic, this week was an excellent example of that with a fascinating chat looking at Women In Tech, NetApp have a great programme in place, but they also talk about the wider work that needs doing to ensure the tech industry is a place for us all to thrive.

Tech ONTAP Podcast

Tech Interviews

This weeks tech interviews was the 2nd of a 3 part series looking at moving to the cloud, as we tackled the interesting challenge of picking the right cloud service provider.

Often an area that doesn’t get considered to the degree that maybe it should, I’m joined by Jon Green of Navisite as we discuss the importance of picking the right partner, understanding cloud infrastructure, cloud economics and the “gotchas” of cloud.

Gotcha – the challenge of moving to the cloud – Jon Green – Ep33

Articles

Want to kick back and relax with a tech article, no fear, try these out;

Loudaboutcloud

A new website from Kirk Ryan, a cloud architect (and star of Tech Interviews Podcast Ep32) who has put together a list of great resources for helping those building cloud solutions.

This excellent post is one such example, as Kirk provides some excellent examples of how to control costs in the AWS cloud (There is also an equally good Azure version of the article on the site).

A great read and very insightful;

http://loudaboutcloud.com/wordpress/2017/06/26/cost-analysis-storage-costs-in-azure/

Microsoft – How artificial intelligence in changing our world

I’m a big fan of this topic and looking at how the way we use data is changing so many aspects of our life, this article is actually the route into an eBook on the subject.

Give the article a read and if it sounds interesting go download the eBook that goes with it;

https://enterprise.microsoft.com/en-us/articles/roles/it-leader/empowering-people-how-artificial-intelligence-is-changing-our-world/

NetApp – Is your SaaS Covered?

An article from another previous Tech Interviews guest, Robert Cox (Check him out talking object storage) If you ignore that this is a “NetApp sales pitch” Robert asks a very important question about “who is responsible for protecting your SaaS data?”, if you’re not sure, or don’t know, this is a good read.

https://newsroom.netapp.com/blogs/is-your-software-as-a-service-covered/

Hopefully all of that will keep you technically entertained… enjoy and have a great weekend.

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Gotcha – the challenge of moving to the cloud – Jon Green – Ep33

This week’s podcast, is the second of three looking at the challenges associated with moving to the cloud, last weeks show (which can be found here) focussed on integrating our data with the cloud.

This week we look at the equally challenging area of picking the right cloud service provider partners to help deliver your services, be that running your entire infrastructure or discreet applications, the choice of the right partner is key.

I think it’s often easy for us to not pay attention to partnerships when it comes to cloud, we assume the move is easy, that once we go to cloud everything will be “just fine”, however in my experience there are a whole range of “gotchas”, the kind of issues that can be the difference between success and failure of a cloud migration project.

This week I’m joined by Jon Green, Technical Solutions Director at Navisite Europe Ltd, to address some of these potential “gotchas”.

Jon is an experienced IT professional, with many cloud migrations under his belt and is well placed to point out some of the challenges we need to consider as we plan our cloud migration and develop those all important partnerships that are going to help us successfully deliver cloud services into our organisation.

We look at a range of issues that can impact our attempts at taking advantage of the flexibility, scale and commercial attractiveness that cloud can bring.

We discuss the risk of assuming that cloud migration is simple, especially when your applications are not “cloud ready”. The importance of understanding the underlying cloud infrastructure, as well as what comes with the common misconception that our cloud provider is just going to deal with “everything” for us.

Jon also explains how resilience is a key part of any modern IT strategy and that those based in the cloud are no different.

Finally we explore where an experienced cloud partner can bring real benefits to your cloud adoption.

Jon provides some excellent insight and lots of useful tips that you can hopefully use as you plan your own moves to the cloud.

You can find out more about Navisite at Navisite.com as well as follow them on twitter @Navisite.

You can also follow Jon on Twitter

@JohnathanMiGreen

Or email him

jgreen@navisite.com

You can hear more about building cloud provider partnerships as Jon’s colleagues from Navisite will be joining me at www.northwestdataforum.co.uk on July 5th in Liverpool, why not come and join us.

Next week we wrap up our cloud migration series with Lee Clark from GivepennyUK as he shares how cloud services have allowed him to deliver real innovation into the charity fundraising market.

To make sure you catch that show, you can subscribe in all the usual ways.

Thanks for listening.

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Tech me for the weekend – June 23rd

No idea where this week has gone! – shot by like nobodies business! So here I am again with some tech content to keep you company over the weekend… check out the articles and podcasts that caught my attention this week.

Articles

Business Continuity Institute – Cultural issues the number one obstacle to digital transformation

First up, this from the Business Continuity Institute looking at the impact of organisational culture and its ability to inhibit progression and how if you are looking to make change and make that change successful then don’t underestimate the importance of buy in, from top to bottom.

http://www.thebci.org/index.php/about/news-room#/news/cultural-issues-are-the-number-one-obstacle-to-digital-transformation-245939

 

Technative – Beginners Guide to Big Data

A constant conversation at the minute is how taking advantage of our data is going to be crucial in our future success as organisations and businesses of all types.

This article looks at one of the areas that will be behind the successful adoption of data analytics and that is the increasing availability of big data tools, mainly powered by the big public cloud vendors, who are making it easier than ever for us to take advantage of our data.

https://www.technative.io/a-beginners-guide-to-big-data/

Matt Watts – Data Visionaries Wanted

To continue the focus on data and cultural change I came across this gem from Matt Watts as he discussed the importance of Data Visionaries in your organisation, those people who can see the value of data and can help you extract key information from it.

http://www.watts-innovating.com/data-visionaries-wanted/

All Aboard the Data Train

A new article from me this week, as myself and Mrs. Techstringy found out for ourselves the importance of data analytics in informing good business decisions.

That’s caught you attention hasn’t it!

All Aboard the Data Train

Podcasts

In Tech We Trust

This show has had a real revamp over the last few episodes and now has more of a focus on tech industry topics, rather than its old weekly news roundup format.

This week is a particularly interesting topic as the team discuss communication in the modern world, from Human to Human through to Human to machine a fascinating debate with a number of interesting guests, well worth a listen.

http://intechwetrustpodcast.com/e/124-technology-and-human-communication/

The ON-Premise IT podcast

Becoming a real favourite this show, this week the round table panel, take a bit of a diversion from the normal tech debate as they discuss careers, the kind of career moves to consider through to the importance of certifications. Good tips.

http://gestaltit.com/podcast/rich/managing-career-premise-roundtable/

Influence marketing podcast

A new show to the list, as John and Cathy Troyer host chats with IT folk who are involved in Tech Community programs.

Now on Episode three, but I though I’d mention the first one, with Veeam’s Rick Vanover as he discussed the extremely successful Veeam Vanguard Program an interesting insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes.
https://medium.com/influence-marketing-council/the-rickatron-is-always-on-9f626bce7211

Tech Interviews

This week was all about moving to the cloud, as I was joined by NetApp Cloud Architect Kirk Ryan, as we discussed the important things to consider as you look to see how you can take advantage of cloud services in your business.

We cover the importance of cloud economics, the options for integrating the cloud with your data and how to ensure you don’t take your on-prem bad habits with you.

A top guest, with lots of great insight.

New fangled magic cloud buckets – Kirk Ryan – Ep32

Hope you enjoy that content.. love to hear your feedback.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

All Aboard the Data Train

The other night myself and Mrs Techstringy were discussing a work challenge. She works for a well-known charity and one of her roles is to book locations for fundraising activities, on this occasion the team were looking at booking places at railway stations and considering a number of locations, however all they really had to go on was a “gut feeling”.

As we discussed it we did a bit of searching and came across this website http://www.orr.gov.uk/statistics/published-stats/station-usage-estimates which contained information of footfall in every UK railway station over the last 20 years, this information was not only train geek heaven, it also allowed us to start to use the data available to make a more informed choice and to introduce possibilities that otherwise would not have been considered.

This little family exercise was an interesting reminder of the power of data and how with the right analysis we can make better decisions.

Using data to make better decisions is hardly news, with the ever-increasing amounts of data we are collecting and the greater access to powerful analytics, machine learning and AI engines, all of us are already riding the data train taking us to a world of revolutionary ideas, aren’t we?

The reality is, that most of us are not, but why?

For many, especially with data sets gathered over many years, it’s hard, hard to package our data in such a way that we can easily present it to analytics engines and get something useful from it.

But don’t let it stop you, there is potentially huge advantage to be had from using our data effectively, all we need is a little help to get there.

So what kind of steps can we take so we too can grab our ticket and board the data train?

Understand our data

The first thing may seem obvious, understand our data, we need to know, where is it? what is it? is it still relevant?

Without knowing these basics, it is going to be almost impossible to identify and package up the “useful” data.

The reality of data analytics is we just can’t throw everything at it, remember the old adage garbage in, garbage out, it’s not changed, if we feed our data analytics elephant a lot of rubbish, we aren’t going to like what comes out the other end!

Triage that data

Once we’ve identified it, we need to make sure we don’t feed our analytics engine a load of nonsense, it’s important to triage, throw out the stuff that no one ever looks at, the endless replication, the stuff of no business value, we all store rubbish in our data sets, things that shouldn’t be there in the first place, so weed it out, otherwise at best we are going to process irrelevant information, at worst we are going to skew the answers and make them worthless.

Make it usable

This is perhaps the biggest challenge of all, how do we make our massive onsite datasets useful to an analytics engine.

Well we could deploy an on-prem analytics suite, but for most of us this is unfeasible and the reality is, why bother? Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM to name but a few have fantastic analytics services ready and waiting for your data, however the trick is how to get it there.

man-lifting-heavy-boxThe problem with data is it has weight, gravity, it’s the thing in a cloud led world that is still difficult to move around, it’s not only its size that makes it tricky, but there is our need to maintain control, meet security requirements, maintain compliance, these things can make moving our data into cloud analytics engines difficult.

This is where building an appropriate data strategy is important, we need to have a way to ensure our data is in the right place, at the right time, while maintaining control, security and compliance.

When looking to build a strategy that allows us to take advantage of cloud analytics tools, we have two basic options;

Take our data to the cloud

Taking our data to the cloud is more than just moving it there, it can’t just be a one off copy, ideally in this kind of setup, we need to move our data in, keep it synchronised with changing on-prem data stores and then move our analysed data back when we are finished, all of this with the minimum of intervention.

Bring the cloud to our data

Using cloud data services doesn’t have to mean moving our data to the cloud, we can bring the cloud to our data, services like Express Route into Azure or Direct Connect into AWS means that we can get all the bandwidth we need between our data and cloud analytics services, while our data stays exactly where we want it, in our datacentre, under our control and without the heavy lifting required for moving it into a public cloud data store.

Maybe it’s even a mix of the two, dependent on requirement, size and type of dataset, what’s important is that we have a strategy, a strategy that gives us the flexibility to do either.

All aboard

Once we have our strategy in place and have the technology to enable it, we are good to go, well almost, finding the right analytics tools and of course what to do with the results when we have them, are all part of the solution, but having our data ready is a good start.

That journey does have to start somewhere, so first get to know your data, understand what’s important and get a way to ensure you can present it to the right tools for the job.

Once you have that, step aboard and take your journey on the data train.

If you want to know more on this subject and are in or around Liverpool on July 5th, why not join me and a team of industry experts as we discuss getting the very best from your data assets at our North West Data Forum.

And for more information on getting your data ready to move to the cloud, check out a recent podcast episode I did with Cloud Architect Kirk Ryan of NetApp as we discuss the why’s and how’s of ensuring our data is cloud ready.

New fangled magic cloud buckets – Kirk Ryan – Ep32

New fangled magic cloud buckets – Kirk Ryan – Ep32

We’re all heading to the cloud, data is the new gold, all of our competition is putting its data in the cloud and getting massive competitive advantage, if we don’t know how to use our data and take advantage of the cloud we’ll be obsolete.

All phrases that you may well have heard, or variations on them at least and to some degree they are all true, there’s no escaping that cloud services are here to stay and certainly there is a huge shift in organisations of all types becoming more data centric.

But, if that is all true, why isn’t everyone charging headlong into cloud services and finding more and more valuable information from their data and making the rest of us a thing of the past?

It’s because it’s not that straightforward, cloud services can be complex, moving our data to them is difficult and even when we get it there, what new and ingenious things can we do?

Over the next few Tech Interviews episodes we are going to explore that subject and look at how we can take advantage of cloud, how we can get our data there and indeed, what innovative things can we do once we have, over these episodes we’ll look at how to choose the right cloud partners and speak with a company who have used cloud and data to come up with an ingenious way for charities to raise money.

But first, we take on the data challenge, how do we make it accessible to the cloud? how do we move it there? do we move it there? and if we do how do we keep it under control?

To help me explore that topic, I’m joined by Kirk Ryan, a Cloud Solutions Architect for storage vendor NetApp.

First we discuss why a “traditional” on-prem storage vendor like NetApp would need a cloud architect and how the “new” NetApp really have allowed themselves to be a “cloud first” company.

We also discuss the changing role of digital services in our organisations and how the IT purse strings are not always pulled by IT.

We look at the challenges that companies keen to embrace new technologies have to overcome. The importance of building bridges for our data between on-prem, cloud and hybrid platforms as well as the criticality of understanding our data’s lifecycle from creation through to its deletion.

Finally we look at the importance of not taking our on-premises bad habits with us to the cloud, as well as ensuring that we fully understand the economics of our move.

Because, after all, it isn’t a new fangled magic cloud bucket!

To find out more from Kirk you can contact him on LinkedIn.

To learn more about NetApp and their cloud data management tools then visit cloud.netapp.com or netapp.io.

Finally if you want to hear more from Kirk, you’ll find him, alongside me and some other industry colleagues discussing how to move to the cloud at the www.northwestdataforum.co.uk in Liverpool on July 5th.

If you enjoyed the show and want to make sure you catch next weeks episode as we discuss choosing the right cloud partners, then why not subscribe in all of the usual places.

Until next time, thanks for listening.

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