Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day Three

One of the main components of any tech conference is the keynote sessions, these are the sessions that share the vision, set the context for the show and a good keynote is a vital part of creating the right atmosphere for those attending.

What I wanted to do with these special shows was to try and grab some of the immediate reaction from those attending the events and the keynote presentations that come with them.

Our first set of keynote reviews come from NetApp Insight 2017 in Berlin, getting the very latest in the data management field.

As we come toward the end of the conference, day three provided us with the final general sessions including a fascinating insight into rocket science as Adam Steltzner, part of the Mars Rover landing team, shared the part data played in their work.

082917_1433_ITAvengersP2.jpgJoining me in this final review from Insight is Jon Woan (@jonwoan)jon woan and Mick Kehoe (@mickehoe) providing their views on this session and as it was the final day, they also share their thoughts on what they’d heard throughout the conference, how it met their expectations and where NetApp covering the kind of things that they felt relevant.

Enjoy this last review from NetApp Insight and look out for upcoming reviews from other tech conferences in the future, as well as new episodes of Tech Interviews.

Don’t miss the round ups from day’s one and two, you’ll find them here.

Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day One

Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day Two



Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day Two

One of the main components of any tech conference is the keynote sessions, these are the sessions that share the vision, set the context for the show and a good keynote is a vital part of creating the right atmosphere for those attending.

What I wanted to do with these special shows was to try and grab some of the immediate reaction from those attending the events and the keynote presentations that come with them.

Our first set of keynote reviews come from NetApp Insight 2017 in Berlin, getting the very latest in the data management field.

We heard views about Monday’s keynote yesterday (you can find that here Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day One) What did Day two have for us?

scott gelbThis time I’m joined by Scott Gelb (@scottygelb) and Adam BerghAdam Bergh (@ajbergh) to get their views as we discuss the announcements of new platforms such as HCI and the fascinating move to cloud services including a unique arrangement with Microsoft Azure.

Don’t miss the round-ups from days one and three, you can find them here;

Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day One

Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day Three


Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day One

One of the main components of any tech conference is the keynote sessions, these are the sessions that share the vision, set the context for the show and a good keynote is a vital part of creating the right atmosphere for those attending.

What I wanted to do with these special shows was to try and grab some of the immediate reaction from those attending the events and the keynote presentations that come with them.

For these first shows, I’m at NetApp’s Insight conference in Berlin, where we expect four days full of the latest in what the data management industry are doing and hearing how data continues to be a focus for transformation for many of us.

With that in mind, what did Monday’s keynote session deliver?



To find out, straight from the keynote I caught up with Jason Benedicic (@jabenedicic), Atanas Prezhdarov Atanas(@prezblahblah) and Mark Carlton (@mcarlton1983) to get their views on the key messages from the keynote and what they expected from the rest of the event.

mark carlton new twitterDon’t miss the round-ups from day two and three you can find them here;

Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day Two

Tech Interviews the Keynote Round Up – NetApp Insight 2017 Day Three


Webcache, webcache, what on earth’s a webcache? – Francesco Giarletta – Ep47

As part of my role as a Technical Director, one of my tasks is to attend events and hear from the community about the challenges they have and to hear from tech vendors about how they are fixing them.

However, every now and again one of the things that happens is someone presents something that introduces me to a whole new challenge that I’d never considered.

That happened at a recent User group event, run by the excellent folk over at TechUG. On this occasion, they were joined by Francesco Giarletta of Avanite to discuss the mysterious world of the webcache and the vast array of web data that lives within it!

He shared how this cache, alongside the amount of web tracking data that is dropped down onto your systems via web browsing (regardless of browser), can have significant and unexpected consequences.

avanite logo wideSo it seemed only fair to ask Francesco to come onto the show and introduce you all to this often unconsidered world.

In this episode, we look at the problem of webdata, the kind of information that websites collect about us, the unknown amount of data that they drop onto our machines, from cookies to the tracking information that Windows keeps about our web whereabouts.

We look at the impact of this tracking on both system performance and maybe more importantly security.

Francesco shares some of the security impacts and how they can potentially expose us to the risk of breach, from the storing of unencrypted user credentials, to how this data that we don’t fully understand can expose us to regulatory infringement.

Finally, we share some ideas on how you can start to deal with the problem and how Avanite maybe able to help.

To find out more about the work Avanite do and the risks of storing unmanaged and uncontrolled web data on your machine you can visit their website and follow them on twitter @Avanite_Ltd .

Next week I head off to NetApp Insight in Berlin, so no new show, but look out for a series of shows focussed on data and data management as I catch up with a host of industry leaders at the Insight conference.

To make sure you catch future episodes, why not subscribe and if you have any questions, contact me on twitter @techstringy.

If you are going to NetApp Insight why not come and find me, I’m hosting some sessions as well in charge of the Pop-up Tech Talks mic, come say Hi and have a chat.


Keeping your data incognito – Harry Keen – Ep 45

Sharing our data is an important part of our day to day activities, be that for analysis, collaboration or system development, we need to be able to share data sets.

However, this need to share has to be balanced with our needs to maintain the security of our data assets.

I saw a great example of this recently with a company who were convinced they were suffering a data breach and having data leak to their competitors. They investigated all the areas you’d expect, data going out via email, been uploaded to sites that it shouldn’t, or been copied to external devices and leaving the company. None of this investigation seemed to identify any areas of leak.

They then discovered that they had a team of developers who, in order to carry out their dev and test work, where given copies of the full production database, so not only given all of the organisations sensitive data, but they had full and unencumbered administrative access to it.

Now, I’m not saying the developers where at the centre of the leak, however you can see the dilemma, for the business to function and develop, the software teams needed access to real data that represented actual working sets, but too provide that, the business was exposing itself to a real data security threat.

How do we address that problem and allow our data to be useful for analysis, collaboration and development, while keeping it secure and the information contained safe and private?

One answer is data anonymization and that is the subject of this week’s show, as I’m joined by Harry Keen, CEO and founder of an innovative new company looking to address many of the challenges that come with data anonymization.

In our wide-ranging discussion, we explore the part anonymization plays in compliance and protection and why the difficulty of current techniques means that we often poorly anonymize data, or we are not even bothering.

We explore why anonymization is so difficult and how solutions that can automate and simplify the process will make this important addition to our data security toolkit, more accessible to us all.

Anonymization plays an important part in allowing us to maintain the value of our data as a usable and flexible asset while maintaining its privacy and our compliance with ever-tightening regulation.

Harry provides some great insights into the challenge and some of the ways to address it.

To find out more on this topic, check out the following resources;

The UK Anonymization Network (UKAN)

The UK Information Commissioner (ICO)

And of course you can find out more about here

You can follow Harry on twitter @harry_keen18 and @anon_dot_ai

You can contact via

Hopefully, that’s given you some background into the challenges of data anonymization and how you can start to address them, allowing you to continue to extract value from your data while maintaining its privacy.

Next week I’m joined by Ian Moore as we take a Blockchain 101, to ensure you catch that episode why not subscribe to the show? you can find us in all the usual podcast homes.

Until next time, thanks for listening.

Securing all of the things – Valory Batchellor – Ep44

It’s not news to anyone listening to this show that the challenge around the security of our data and systems is a substantial one. Our technology seems to be under constant threat, from external hackers, to insiders, from targeted attacks to malware finding its way randomly onto our systems and causing havoc and all of this before we look at increased regulation and compliance demands.

The ever-increasing threat has led to us looking to technology to help protect our systems, however this has now led to its own problems, with many of us investing in numerous platforms and tools which has created a huge sprawl of solutions, that do not interact, all have their own consoles and all are presenting us with alerts and notifications that we then expect our already stretched IT function to understand and act upon.

This range of individual tools of course, also means that problems can “slip through the net” as the disjointed use of technology does not necessarily allow us to see the correlation between alerts that in themselves are insignificant, but when put together point to an attack or breach in progress.

It is this problem that has inspired this series of Tech Interviews episodes looking at the security challenge, we have episodes looking at some new approaches with anonymization and blockchain, but we start by looking at the bigger picture, of building a modern security strategy.

I’m joined by Valory Batchellor of IBM. IBM has done some interesting work in building what they call their Immune System, this looks to help people step back from the problem and take a wider strategic approach to tackling the security threat.

In this chat we look at the current and evolving threat, the challenges presented by multiple, disjointed security tools and we also discuss the future and how machine learning and artificial intelligence could give us an infinite amount of security analysts, working on an infinite amount of security problems, with unlimited resources!

Valory provides some fantastic insight with a real enthusiasm and obvious expertise for her subject, so enjoy the show as we look to “secure all of the things”.

You can find Valory on twitter @ValBatchellor

You can find out more from IBM security at and as well as look at some of the research from IBM x-force.

And do look at the work the national cybersecurity centre here in the UK is doing via their website

Next week I’m joined by Harry Keen from as we look at data anonymization and the part it plays in data security.

To catch that show, why not subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.

Thanks for listening

Taking VMware to the cloud – Ben Meadowcroft – Ep43

Over the last couple of episodes, we’ve had some interesting round-ups from the recent VMWorld conference, reviewing the announcements from the show, as well as how VMware are evolving to maintain relevance to their many customers in an ever more software defined, data-centric and of course cloud and as-a-service based world.

Part of the VMware response to these changes ( I hasten to add, not the only technological evolutions they are making) is a smart one, rather than fight the tide King Canute style, VMware is not only embracing that change, but looking to empower it and make businesses ability to embrace a cloud-based world a more straightforward transition.

Embracing this change comes in the form of VMware Cloud on AWS, providing the ability to run your own VMware vSphere environment on top of a dedicated set of AWS resources, providing the flexibility and economics of cloud, while maintaining an infrastructure and management platform that you already know.

This sounds like a really smart move, helping customers to make that tricky transition, keeping it seamless by providing flexibility and integration with your existing on-prem environments, without your IT teams needing to embark on a whole new learning path to understand your cloud platforms.

However, as smart as this sounds, the response has not been totally supportive, with some people asking is there really a need for this type of technology and why, if you are making the investment in AWS, why not just do that, why add these additional VMware costs and infrastructure components?

That is the topic we explore on this week’s show as I’m joined by Ben Meadowcroft, a Product Line Manager at VMware with a focus on VMware Cloud on AWS.

I catch up with Ben to understand more about the solution, why the solution exists at all, the challenges that business faces when building a hybrid solution and how VMware Cloud on AWS is helping to ease that transition, simplify the integration and allow us to start taking advantage of the capabilities of the AWS platform, while removing some of the challenges many of us face when making that transition.

Ben gives some great insight into the platform as well as some helpful use case examples to help you decide whether this kind of technology is a good fit for you.

To find out more details on the solution you can find great resources in the following places;

For an overview of the solution check out

You can get some hands-on experience with VMWare’s hands-on lab environment at

To keep up with the latest news you can also follow @vmwarecloudaws on twitter.

Finally, if you want to catch up with Ben you can also find him on twitter @benmeadowcroft

Personally, I think VMWare cloud on AWS is a really interesting solution and I can see it meeting needs in a number of enterprises, check out the show and provide your feedback, either on here or message me @techstringy on twitter.

Next time we start a series of shows looking at the ever-evolving data security challenge.

To make sure you catch those, why not subscribe and if you have the chance leave a review.

Thanks for listening.

As an Interesting bit of information, friend of the show @MichaelCade1 of Veeam produced this really handy blog post on how you can protect your VMware Cloud on AWS environment, using the Veeam tools you already know and love, worth a read, as protecting your data in AWS is your responsibility.

You can read his post here.

Ben in this episode did cover some VMware Cloud on AWS roadmap items, with this in mind, he’s asked me to include the following disclaimer.


This presentation may contain product features that are currently under development.

This overview of new technology represents no commitment from VMware to deliver these features in any generally available product.

Features are subject to change, and must not be included in contracts, purchase orders, or sales agreements of any kind.

Technical feasibility and market demand will affect final delivery.

Pricing and packaging for any new technologies or features discussed or presented have not been determined.


VMworld – It’s a Wrap – Ep42

VMware, along with Microsoft, is perhaps the most influential enterprise software company in the industry. VMware and their virtualisation technology has revolutionised the way we deliver IT infrastructure into businesses of all types.

It is not just traditional virtualisation they have made commonplace, the way they have driven the industry to accept our IT infrastructure can be software-defined, has made it more straightforward for us to adopt many of the modern technology platforms, such as cloud.

Today, however, the infrastructure revolution they helped create presents challenges to them, as the broad adoption of cloud and new ways of managing and deploying our infrastructure has led to the question “how do VMware remain relevant in a post virtualisation world?”

The answer is, of course, found by understanding how VMware see those challenges and what their strategic plans are for their own future development. There is no better way of doing that than spending time at their annual technical conference VMworld.

In last week’s show (Was it good for you? – vmworld 2017 – Ep41) we discussed with 4 attendees their views on what they learnt, what VMware shared and what they thought of the strategic messages the heard during the keynotes.

This week, we wrap up our VMworld coverage and a look at the modern VMware with two more insightful discussions.

Firstly, I’m joined by Joel Kaufman ( @TheJoelk on twitter) of NetApp. Joel has had a long relationship with VMware in his time at NetApp and has seen how they have evolved to meet the needs of their business customers and their ever-changing challenges.

We discuss that evolution as well as how NetApp has had to deal with the same challenges, looking at how a “traditional” storage vendor must evolve to continue to remain relevant in a cloud-driven, software-defined world.


To wrap up, I wanted a VMware view of their event and I’m joined by a returning guest to the show and voice of the VMware Virtually Speaking Podcast, Pete Flecha.

We discuss the key messages from the event, VMware’s place in the world, what VMWare on AWS brings and how VMware are getting their “mojo back” by embracing new ways of working with tools such as Kubernetes, delivering deeper security, tying together multiple platforms with their NSX technology and how VMware is giving us the ability to “Software Define All Of The Things”.

Pete gives an enthusiastic insight on how VMware view their own show and how they are going to continue to be extremely relevant in enterprise IT for a long time to come.

If you want to hear more from Pete you can find him on twitter @vPedroArrow and you can keep up with all the latest VMware news with Pete’s excellent podcast here at

That completes our wrap-up of VMworld 2017.

If you enjoyed the show why not leave us a review and if you want to ensure you catch our future shows then why not subscribe, Tech Interviews can be found in all of the usual homes of podcasts.

Thanks for listening.

Was it good for you? – vmworld 2017 – Ep41

This time of the year is a busy one for the technology industry as we move into conference season. But are these events worth your while, or are they just an excuse for a few days off and a good time?

I suppose the answer lies in how you spend your time, there is no doubt you can attend these events and just have them as time out of the office and a chance to catch up with friends over a few drinks. But, if you treat these events as that, I think you are missing out.

For me, I always see them as huge opportunities. I can hear a vendors mid and long-term strategy, understand their direction and critically, whether that direction continues to remain relevant to my business and the challenges that I’m facing.

It’s also a great opportunity to educate myself, to learn more about a technology, from an introduction to deep dive and over 3 or 4 days, a chance to learn about a wide range of technologies in a way that a more traditional training course just cannot offer.

While I don’t suggest you spend all of your time in a bar, the chance to network, spend a few days with friends and peers in the industry, to understand the latest challenges they are facing, how they are overcoming them and what’s next, is a priceless part of the event investment.

In this week’s podcast, we explore the value of one of the industries largest conferences VMware’s annual VMworld event. Run over two weeks, one in Las Vegas and the European event in Barcelona, VMworld is one of the largest gatherings of customers, partners and technology vendors in the industry.

Over the next two shows, I get a cross-section of views from those who attended Vegas and Barcelona to hear what they thought of the event, what VMware covered and how well that fits in with their needs and those of the wider enterprise IT market.

In this first show, I talk to 4 attendees about their experience and what they learned.

Becky Elliot – Becky is a Senior Systems Administrator for a US government contractor,  this was Becky’s first VMworld, we discussed how she took the practical approach, taking time to attend sessions with a day to day relevance to her job, as well as having a great time testing her skills at the Hackathon session.

You can follow Becky on twitter @beckylelliott

Mark Carlton040317_0726_Availabilit1.jpgI also catch up with two regular guests, Michael Cade (@MichaelCade1) from Veeam and Mark Carlton (@mcarlton1983) of Concorde IT, both also attending their first VMworld’s, we discuss the strategic messages from the keynotes, look at how VMware is evolving, as the world they have built their success on continues to change and whether the changes they are making are the right ones.

And finally, I chat with Barry Coombes – Barry is the Operations Director at Computerworld Group and unlike my other guests caught up with the Vegas show online, before heading off to Barcelona. We discuss the major announcements from the keynotes as well as the technology he is looking to find out more about in Barcelona. We also talk about Barry’s unique approach to note taking!

You can find Barry on twitter @VirtualisedReal check out his show note doodles here and finally look out for Barry’s own excellent podcast by finding Define Tomorrow in your favourite podcatcher.

Next week I get more views from VMworld, including chatting with VMware’s Pete Flecha for the VMware view of VMworld 2017.

To find out more about VMworld, you can check out their website

To catch the next show then please subscribe, you’ll find Tech Interviews in all good homes of podcasts.

IT Avengers Part Three – Reassembled– Ep40

This week is the third and last of our panel discussions looking at the major challenges facing business IT.  We pick up again with our panel from last week (You can find last weeks show here IT Avengers Part Two – Assemble Again – Ep39).

They continue their debate with a look at how a business vision, without assessment and understanding of the current environment, may well mean you never achieve your end goal.

We also look at skill sets and how our increasingly digital native workforce, may lead us to problems in understanding how to architect our future solutions.

The changing role of the IT consultant also comes under scrutiny, however as that role evolves, the overall aim of ensuring that those wishing to use technology to improve their businesses make the right choices, does not.

We wrap up looking at the future challenges the panel see and how for one of them, decoupling data from infrastructure is living the tech dream!

As a reminder, the panel is;

Ed Morgan a Sales Engineer for Rubrik Inc.

Ed has an extensive IT background having worked for over 10 years as a datacentre technologist across multiple technology platforms. Today Ed has made the leap to a vendor, now working for Rubrik, providing him with a wide view of the industry.

You can find more from Ed on twitter @mo6020 or his blog

Mick Kehoe is Chief Technologist at Logicalis in Ireland. He is heavily data focused in his role helping his businesses customers to find answers too the many challenges that come with data management, from storing it, to analysing it.

Mick sees a wide range of challenges and working with some of the country’s biggest organisations has a great handle on what is happening to businesses of all types.

Mick is on the twitters @mickehoe

Ruairi McBride is a Technical Account Manager at Arrow ECS. Working with Arrow’s large partner channel, Ruairi gets a fantastic overview of the requirements of a vast spectrum of businesses in the UK and out to a wider global market. With a speciality in storage infrastructures, Ruairi offers great insights into the challenges seen by many of us.

You can find him on twitter @mcbride_ruairi

Jason Benedicic is Principal Consultant for ANS Group, working closely with their large customer portfolio.

Jason has a great experience of working with businesses at all levels, from boardroom to techie, providing him with valuable knowledge from the boardroom business challenge to the nuts and bolts of delivery, allowing him to bring some really valuable knowledge and experience to our discussion.

Jason can be found on twitter @jabenedicic and his soon to be launched blog

You can find the first episode of the IT Avengers panel right here IT Avengers Assemble – Part One – Ep38

If you enjoyed the show, then please subscribe in all of the usual places and leave us a review.

Thanks for listening.