Storage Ferraris in the cloud for $20 an hour – Lee Jiles – Ep80


A couple of months ago I wrote an article about the importance of enterprise data services inside of the public cloud (Building a modern data platform – exploiting the cloud) and why they are crucial to IT strategies of organisations as they look to transition to the public cloud.

The idea of natively been able to access data services that are commonplace In our datacentres such as the ability to apply service levels to performance, storage efficiencies and other enterprise-level capabilities to our cloud apps is very attractive.

In this week’s episode we take a look at one such solution, in the first in a series of shows recorded at some of the recent Tech Conferences I’ve visited, I’m joined by Lee Giles a Senior Manager from NetApp’s Cloud Business Division at their Insight Conference, to discuss Azure NetApp Files, an enterprise data services solution available natively inside Microsoft’s Azure datacentres.

Azure NetApp files is a very interesting technology and another example of the fascinating work NetApp’s cloud business unit is doing in extending enterprise data services to the locations we need them, on-prem, near to and inside the public cloud.

I discuss with Lee what Azure NetApp Files is, and why it was developed. We explore some of the challenges of public cloud storage and how it often leads to all of those good storage management practices you are used to on-prem having to be abandoned as we move into the cloud.

We look at why the ability to deliver a “familiar” experience has great advantages when it comes to speed and agility and Lee explains to us why stripping away the complexity of cloud storage is like getting yourself a Ferrari for $20 an hour!

I ask Lee about the technical deployment of Azure NetApp files and why it is different to solutions that are “near the cloud”. We also look at Microsoft’s view of the technology and the benefits they see in working with NetApp to deliver this service.

Lee also shares some of the planned developments as well as some of the initial use cases for the service. Finally, he explains how you can get access to the preview service and test out Azure NetApp files for yourself and see if it can help meet some of your public cloud storage challenges.

For more details on the service, as well as where to sign up to access the preview you can visit the Azure Storage Site here

If you have other questions then you can contact Lee, via email at

Azure NetApp files is a really interesting option for public cloud storage and well worth investigating.

I hope you enjoyed the show and as always, thanks for listening.


Fear of the delete button – Microsoft and compliance – Stefanie Jacobs – Ep69

Compliance of data continues to trouble many business execs, whether IT focused or not, it is high on the agenda for most organisations. Anyone who has listened to this show in the past will know, while technology only plays a small part in a building an organisations compliance programme, it can play a significant part in their ability to execute it.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article as part of the “Building a modern data platform” series, this article Building a modern data platform “prevention” focussed on how Microsoft Office365 could aide an organisation in preventing the loss of data, either accidental or malicious. This article explains how Microsoft have some excellent, if not well known tools, inside Office365 including a number of predefined templates which when enabled allow us to deploy a range of governance and control capabilities quickly and easily, immediately improving an organisations ability to execute its compliance plans and reduce the risk of data leaks.

This got me to thinking, what else do Microsoft have in their portfolio that people don’t know about? What is their approach to business compliance and can that help organisations to more effectively deliver their compliance plans?

This episode of the podcast explores that exact topic, this is a show I’ve wanted to do for a while and finally have found the right person to help explore Microsoft’s approach and what tools are quickly and easily available to help us deliver robust compliance.

This week’s guest is Stefanie Jacobs, a Technology Solutions Professional at Microsoft, with 18 years’ experience in compliance. Stefanie, who has the fantastic twitter handle of @GDPRQueen, shares with fantastic enthusiasm the importance of compliance, Microsoft’s approach and how their technology is enabling organisations to make compliance a key part of their business strategy.

In this episode we explore all the compliance areas you’d ever want, including the dreaded “fear of the delete button”. Stefanie shares Microsoft’s view of compliance and how it took them a while to realise that security and compliance are different things.

We talk about people, the importance of education and shared responsibility. We also look at the triangle of compliance, people, process and technology. Stefanie explains the importance of terminology and understanding exactly what we mean when we discuss compliance.

We also discuss Microsoft’s 4 steps to developing a compliance strategy, before we delve into some of the technology they have available to help underpin your compliance strategy, especially the security and compliance section of Office365.

We wrap up with a chat on what a regulator looks for when you have had a data breach and also what Joan Collins has to do with compliance!

Finally, Stefanie provides some guidance on the first steps you can take as you develop your compliance strategy.

Stefanie is a great guest, with a real enthusiasm for compliance and how Microsoft can help you deliver your strategy.

To find out more about how Microsoft can help with compliance you can visit both their Service Trust and GDPR Assessment portals.

You can contact Stefanie via email as well as follow her on twitter @GDPRQueen.

Thanks for listening

If you enjoyed the show, why not subscribe, you’ll find Techstringy Tech Interviews in all good homes of podcasts.

While you are here, why not check out a challenge I’m undertaking with Mrs Techstringy to raise money for the Marie Curie charity here in the UK, you can find the details here.

Microsoft the digital transformation cool kids? – Andy Kent – Ep68

I recently attended a fascinating event with the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) and Microsoft. BIMA exist to drive innovation and excellence across the digital industry. One of the ways they do this is via community events and forum to help give industry leaders an opportunity to share ideas with their peers.

I personally believe forum like these should play a central part in an IT strategists role, the opportunity to share ideas with and learn from peers in your industry is essential in helping to gain the understanding needed to develop modern business strategies. The benefit of involving yourself in communities regardless of your sector should not be underestimated, that ability to build relationships with others who face the same challenges and opportunities is incredibly valuable.

One of the other things communities like BIMA do well is engage with influential organisations who are shaping the way industries develop and BIMA have done that recently for thier members with a series of roadshows with Microsoft. So, when I was invited to the recent event in Liverpool, I was fascinated to understand what Microsoft were doing in the digital agency space and how their technology was shaping the way digitally focussed organisations are innovating and bringing new solutions to market.

What I found however was the technology Microsoft discussed was the same as that they were sharing with all other types of businesses, their cloud vision of how Azure and Office 365 allows quick and easy deployment of technology and services that only a few years ago were out of the reach of most organisations.

Why was this message the same? While we may assume “digital” companies are ones focussed on marketing and media creation, the reality is most organisations are rapidly becoming digital businesses and starting to transform our organisations with technologies that only a few years ago were unavailable to most, cognitive services, AI, machine learning, deep analytics capabilities, bots and business intelligence just a few examples of the kind of technology that can transform the way we operate.

The event covered some fascinating topics and on this weeks podcast I share some of that with you, with my guest and one of the organisers of the BIMA event, Andy Kent CEO of Angel Solutions and the chair of BIMA Liverpool. Andy joins me to discuss the event, the technology Microsoft shared and how the new Microsoft is helping companies transform the way they do business.

We begin with a look at BIMA and the part they play and value they bring to the digital community.

We discuss the new Microsoft and ask if they are now the technology “cool kids” and how their change in attitude is encouraging people to engage with them and explore how technology can help them and their organisation.

We chat about some of the technology highlights Andy had from the show, how he sees AI as having a huge transformational effect and how Cloud is commoditising access to this kind of technology so that all organisations can benefit, big or small.

We look at some of the smart technologies Microsoft are now embedding into their more familiar tools and allowing that intelligence to do much of the “heavy lifting” for the end user, but how that does not replace a skilled and experienced professional, but does help keep them focussed on the high value work they do.

Finally, we look at how advances in technology has also advanced customer expectations and how theses advances are allowing organisations to do new things with and ask new questions of their data.

Andy shares with enthusiasm both the technological direction of this “new” Microsoft as well as the value that community has played in his business life.

If you want to find out more about Andy and the work that Angel Solutions do you can find them on twitter @angel_solutions.

You can find also find Andy on twitter @AndyCKent

If you want to know more about BIMA check out thier website

Thanks for listening.

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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Release your inner dev child with DevOps – Richard Fennell – Ep 14

This is the second of our series of episodes looking at emerging technology trends and this week we jump in with one of the most high profile, DevOps.

I attended an event recently ran by Microsoft partner Blackmarble discussing building a DevOps practice using Microsoft tools. There was some great stuff covered so after the event I grabbed a little bit of time with Blackmarbles’ Engineering Director Richard Fennell.

I have a fuller BLOG post talking about DevOps coming soon, but it’s fair to say that as a trend and way of working, DevOps, in my opinion, is something well worth understanding. Although DevOps was certainly born from a need to change software development and delivery practices, I personally wouldn’t ignore the topic just because you are not a developer or in IT operations, I think there is an awful lot that we can take from DevOps across all parts of our business as we look to be more efficient and effective in the way we meet challenges.

During our chat we discussed definitions of DevOps, what it is and what It isn’t and why we should look at it, what problems are we solving and we also consider some principles that we need to look at to start building a DevOps practice in our business.

Do enjoy the episode, I think Richard gives a great introduction for those looking to develop an initial understanding of DevOps and also some great practical steps you can take to get started, as I said, don’t think of DevOps as just something for software developers, the development of a DevOps culture across a business can have much more wide ranging benefit than that;

If you want to find out more about Richard, Blackmarble and developing a DevOps practice then check out the following resources;

To find out more about Blackmarble and DevOps try here

For some practical tips, try the Blackmarble BLOGS

And lastly if you want to stalk Richard on Twitter you can find him @richardfennell

If you have any other questions or comments on the show, then please leave a comment on the site or find me @techstringy

Next week is the first of two episodes speaking with Microsoft Technical Evangelist Matt McSpirit (@mattmcspirit) first up we share more DevOps love as we discuss the Microsoft view and how it’s changing their approach to the world and the following week we look in detail at AzureStack.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, or you’ve enjoyed this week then please subscribe to the show;

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