Upcoming articles for Computer Weekly: storage

For Computer Weekly I am writing two further articles on storage technology. One on and one on Flash storage and RAID, the other on hyper-converged use cases.

Flash storage and RAID

For this article, we will look at how RAID technology works with Flash storage. Why does RAID still matter with Flash, and how will it operate with new storage technologies that could eventually replace Flash?

We will include:

  • Which RAID level is best for flash performance?
  • What benefits and drawbacks are there with parity based RAID in flash?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of mirrored RAID levels with flash storage?
  • What proprietary or branded RAID levels do the main vendors of flash storage offer? How do these translate into the commonly understood RAID levels?
  • What will supersede RAID as a means of drive/array data protection? For example erasure coding?

The deadline for submission of material is 1700, Wednesday 18th November. I can quote analysts and consultants; although I can’t quote vendors I welcome white papers or technical papers and case studies, as well as relevant product information.

Hyper-converged storage use cases

This article will look at five current use cases for hyper-converged storage.

The article will look at how hyper converged infrastructure works and where storage sits within that.

I am open to suggestions for the key use cases but the feature is likely to include:

  • Virtual machines and virtual desktops
  • Backup and recovery using HCI
  • High-performance, data rich applications such as AI and advanced analytics
  • Containers
  • Possible use of HCI by smaller businesses.

The deadline for submission of material is 1700, Monday 23rd November. The same quotation rules apply.

Upcoming article: OSINT (open source intelligence)

I am currently researching an in-depth article looking at the role of OSINT in information security.

The piece will look at how OSINT fits into other forms of intelligence security teams can use to monitor, track, and counter threats.

We’ll look at the various types of open source data, and how they are used. The piece will then drill down into common OSINT tools, from vendors and individual researchers.

And it will examine how they fit in with the other tools and techniques pen testers, white hats and security response teams have to counter threats.

I am keen to hear from pen testers and CISOs, but also other experts who know the space, especially if they have direct, hands-on experience of recon and intel tools in the enterprise or public sector. I can, however, include vendor comment.

Suggestions for leads, by email in the first instance, no later than 1700hrs Friday 6th November (the piece will be written the following week).

Upcoming article: Backup testing: what you need to know

For Computer Weekly my next article will look at backup testing.

A backup strategy is only effective, if backups are tested. A business can invest in the latest backup tools, but unless they test that backups work — and that they can recover data from them — that investment could well be wasted.

The article will cover:

  • What is the key aim of backup testing?
  • What needs to be tested, and how often?
  • What does effective testing involve?
  • Who needs to run recovery testing?
  • Which products or services can help?

Please send any ideas or contributions for the article by 1200hrs Monday 2 Nov, by email in the first instance.

Upcoming commission: Computer Weekly: Is there still life in spinning disks?

Conventional magnetic hard drives are being edged out by solid state storage across the enterprise. But there are still use cases where the spinning disk is best.

This article will look at the benefits of NVMe versus that of spinning disks, but also evaluate both technologies on cost, capacity and performance. It will then list the key applications and use cases where SAS or SATA drives are still the best options.

For this feature I am looking for analyst or consultants’ input, though case studies or white papers from vendors are welcome for background. Pitches by email by close of play, Tuesday 20 October – thank you.

Upcoming article: Unified File and Object Storage

For Computer Weekly, I’m looking at the emerging idea of unified file and object storage.

The piece will explain what this is, and more importantly why vendors are proposing it, and ask whether businesses should adopt it.

Are there use cases that could benefit unified file and object, and is this likely to become a significant segment of the market?

The deadline for suggested spokespeople is 1700 BST, Monday 5th October. I will then reply if further material is needed or to set up an interview. For this article, we are able to speak to vendors along with analysts and consultants/systems integrators.

As ever, contact me by email.

Upcoming articles: ransomware backup and erasure encoding

For Computer Weekly, I am writing 2 feature articles for September 2020.

The first looks at backup techniques to counter ransomware. We are looking for best practice around securing original data, creating the optimal backup routines, configuring backup software, testing, and data restoration. The piece will also touch on the importance of offsite storage. The article will be technology neutral, and highlight best practice across all media (including cloud, disk, tape and optical.

The second article covers erasure encoding. The piece will consider why it is growing in importance, how it is used, and its pros and cons. Are there specific workloads, and storage types, best suited to erasure encoding?

Please send background information, including white papers, research or case studies, by Wednesday September 9th for backup techniques for ransomware and by Friday 11th September for erasure encoding.

As ever, contact me by email.

Filming during COVID-19

Camera solo operator

The global pandemic has restricted live events and filming. But Interviews and pieces to camera are still the cornerstone of programmes and corporate video.

Online video calling services are good, but can’t fully replace a professional interview.

So that we can provide face to face filming in the current conditions, we have put together two new video packages.

These are designed to minimise the risks from COVID-19, but still allow interviewees or presenters to appear on camera, in person.

To do this we have:

  • picked a venue that is large enough for social distancing and flexible enough to allow different set-ups
  • designed a single-person production workflow, reducing the numbers on set
  • provided links for communications teams and others to view the production remotely
  • undertaken industry-recognised training in COVID compliance measures
  • put in place strict procedures for cleaning equipment and the venue
  • limited bookings to two a week, so there is 72 hours between each client’s shoot

Our set up includes

  • Two 4K video cameras
  • Sound recording, via a boomed mic (no lavalier or handheld mics)
  • Lighting
  • Backdrops as required

The costs for these filming packages are:

  • Half day: £625
  • Full day: £875

The above prices include the location hire and parking, we are located in SW London.

Footage can be supplied as .mov files uploaded to the client’s servers, or edited. Editing starts at £400 a day. 

If you would like to find out more about the service please email stephen.pritchard@ensmedia.co.uk or call 0207 099 4862 and we will call you back.

Note all costs exclude VAT at the current UK rate.

Upcoming article: why use tape storage today?

For Computer Weekly I am writing a feature on tape.

As a data storage medium, tape has been on the verge of obsolescence for decades. But the format endures. Why are IT and data managers continuing to choose tape?

The piece will look at:

  • The limitations and benefits of tape in today’s data centric environments
  • New and emerging tape formats and technology enhancements, such as software defined tape
  • How tape works with other storage media, including the cloud
  • Key use cases for the various tape technologies currently on the market.

The deadline to suggest interviewees or to share research is Wednesday, 5th August at 1700 BST. Initial submissions by email please.

Upcoming article: where next for the EU and cybersecurity?

This month, Germany took over the EU’s rotating presidency.

For the Daily Swig, this piece will investigate the German Presidency’s plans to improve the EU’s cybersecurity posture.

One of the Presidency’s six priorities is strengthening security and common values. For security, this is focused on better cross-border collaboration, inn crime and counter-terrorism.

For cyber specifically, the Presidency wants closer cooperation on network and information security, especially for critical national infrastructure and “other enterprises in the public interest”. And devices sold in the EU will need a minimum level of IT security.

How will the EU achieve these goals? And are these the right priorities right now? The feature will ask whether the EU’s objectives will mean greater security for citizens, and also assess its impact on the cyber security community, including business, security vendors, the workforce and academia and research.

I’m keen to speak to experts from across the cybersecurity space, especially those who have worked on EU initiatives. Please email

your suggestions for interviewees, or background information, by 1700 BST, Thursday 9th July.

Video interviews online: how to make the most of them

With travel restrictions and social distancing still in force, more media interviews are taking place online, via a webcam.

This short video looks at some simple techniques to make those interviews look – and sound – as good as possible. They will work equally well with Skype, conferencing tools such as Zoom, WebEx or Microsoft Teams, and dedicated webinar platforms.

The video covers:

  • Internet connections
  • Audio: headsets and mics
  • Setting up the web cam
  • Lighting
  • Decluttering and arranging the “set”

If you have any questions about either the technical set up for online video, or media training and interview techniques, do drop me an email.