Upcoming article: Real Time Analytics

I am currently researching a feature on real time analytics for Computer Weekly. This will form the introduction to an eBook, to appear in a few weeks’ time.

The piece will cover current trends in real time analytics. What is driving their use, which technologies are involved, how are they deployed, and above all, what are the business benefits?

The piece will establish what real time means, in terms of analytics, and how organisations structure their data collection, analysis and management processes, around the idea of a constant stream of data. And it will also examine the barriers that need to be overcome, to make all this work.

I am keen to hear from potential contributors — analysts, integrators and consultants, and potentially vendors (at the chief data scientist/CIO/CTO level – no sales people please) and from organisations using real time data.

If you have a suggested interviewee, please drop me an email with a few bullet points setting out their points of view, and availability for interviews from June 1st.

Upcoming data storage articles for Computer Weekly

I am looking for input for two upcoming articles for the data storage section of Computer Weekly.Article 1: How has backup changed, post the pandemic?

In this article we will look at how the changes in working patterns during the pandemic, including home working, have changed backup requirements, practices, and technology.

Areas we will look at include:

  • Backing up remote and employee-owned devices
  • Backing up SaaS applications and cloud instances
  • The impact on maintenance of IT, especially data centres
  • How remote / home working impacts restore and recovery processes

This is not an exhaustive list, and I am open to other suggestions, as well as examples.

The deadline for leads or information is 1700hrs, Friday 14th May.

Article 2: Storage metrics explained

What are the main storage metrics used in the industry? What do they mean, and how do we use them? This explainer piece will set out the most important terminology. We are also interested in new and emerging metrics, maybe those driven by new types of storage technology.

The deadline for leads or information is 1700hrs, Tuesday 18th May.

To submit information or interview leads for each article please use these links to send an email:

Pandemic and backup tech

Storage metrics

Many thanks.

Upcoming article: Computational storage: One year on

For Computer Weekly, I will be taking another look at computational storage.

Just over a year ago, I wrote this piece setting out some of the basics of the technology.

For this follow up article, we will revisit the advantages of computational storage, the technologies it draws on, and the reasons organisations might use it.

We are particularly interested in any trends around the technology. Is take up or acceptance increasing? Have the drivers and use cases changed? And how has the market matured – have new vendors emerged, or existing vendors, expanded their offerings?

In addition to information about vendor offerings, and commentary from consultants or analysts, I’m keen to see any real-world case studies of computational storage deployments that have gone live within the last year. Ideally, these should be UK based, or internationally known organisations.

The deadline for submitting leads is 1700 London time on Thursday 15 April. As ever, the best format submissions is by email

Upcoming article: the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure

For Computer Weekly, I’m looking at how hyper-converged systems benefit their users.

The piece will break down the main reasons organisations invest in HCI. These could include ease of deployment, resource utilisation, lower demand on skills than conventional architectures, scalability, and their usefulness to SMEs or remote offices.

I am interested in examples of successful HCI deployments, and commentary from industry analysts. Note we cannot quote vendors, although vendor-backed research can be used.

As ever, the best way to contact me is by email, no later than Thursday 12th March,

with a brief introduction to yourself or your client.

Filming and training update: COVID-19

Camera solo operator

With the Government mapping out the route out of lockdown, I have republished this post.

Once permitted, I will also be resuming face to face training services, including media training. There will be slightly different control measures for each, but one on one training, or training with small groups from the same workplace, should be possible from April 2021.

The global pandemic has restricted live events and filming.

But interviews and pieces to camera are still a cornerstone of programmes and corporate video.

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

To work with 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, including green screen
  • designed a single-person production workflow, reducing the people on set
  • provided links for communications teams and others to view the production remotely
  • put in place strict procedures for cleaning equipment and the set
  • 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 filming interview content or a presentation 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 commission: robotic process automation

For Computer Weekly, I am looking into this developing area of enterprise applications and workflows.

A brief outline is below.

In the first instance, I am keen to hear from experts in the field. Please email with your credentials and background in RPA, and links to relevant research or case studies. I will then follow up with a questions or an interview request.

Click here to email, no later than Friday 12th March.

Robotic process automation promises to seamlessly handle arduous workflows, linking disparate business processes, which normally require human intervention. Simpler process flows can be automated this way but there are few manual processes that only require someone rekeying information into systems that should really have been more tightly integrated. There is a level of intelligence, which cannot easily be shifted to a machine. While RPA is deterministic, an AI is probabilistic. We look at how RPA and bots that follow predetermined scripts are being made more intelligent.

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.

Upcoming feature: Storage for AI, ML and analytics

For Computer Weekly my next feature will look at the specific demands placed on storage architecture by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics.

The piece will ask:

What different approaches to providing storage are there for these technologies? 

What limits, performance considerations and bottlenecks exist with the different approaches?

What ways of providing storage for analytics are we likely to see in future?

The article will cover both on-premises and cloud-based storage, where relevant. I’m keen to include some real-world use cases if possible.

I am open to comment from industry professionals, consultants, analysts and CIOs working with AI. ML and analytics.

Deadline for leads: 1700hrs BST, Tuesday 23 June. As ever, please email in the first instance.