Computer Weekly: how to create the best hybrid cloud storage strategy

This feature will set out the key points IT directors need to consider when developing a hybrid cloud data storage strategy.

Key points we will consider are:

  • Key strengths of cloud storage
  • Key strengths of on-site data storage
  • How to decides which data goes where?
  • What does an optimal cloud storage strategy look like?
  • Some examples, including those that are primarily cloud based and primarily on-premises
  • Use cases that drive the decisions

I am keen to have real world examples and commentary from analysts or other experts.

Please note, the focus is on storage deployments, not compute.

The deadline for submissions is 1700hrs Thursday 23 May (due to the UK bank holiday weekend).

To contribute to either piece, please contact me by email in the first instance.

Note: if possible please don’t change the email subject line (or by all means append the source’s name to it, eg CW May 2024 – Our Client). It just helps ensure I can find all submissions.

Upcoming articles: Computer Weekly, April 2024

I am working on two storage-related features for Computer Weekly, with April deadlines.

When is cloud data storage the answer?

Has there been a cooling off in enterprise enthusiasm for cloud storage?

In this piece we will look at some reasons firms should move their data storage to cloud infrastructure.

The piece will follow up on this from earlier in the year: Cloud is not always the answer: Five reasons why

We aim to cover

  • When does on site storage fall short and how cloud can be better?
  • Performance / availability / operations:
  • IT management:
  • Costs
  • Agility and responsiveness
  • Data protection and compliance

The deadline for leads is 1700, Thursday 28 March.

How does AI affect data storage

The second looks at the impact of AI workloads on storage. This includes how data are used in training models, how AI analytics are used, where data are sourced and where they are stored. The piece will also cover compliance, which is a growing concern for anyone using AI.

The piece will not be limited to LLMs or generative AI, but all the different forms of AI being used by enterprises.

On the technology side, we’ll cover IO, the types of storage being used, where the data processing bottlenecks sit, how to feed GPUs and where to store the outputs from AI systems. But that’s not the whole picture.

I’m looking for analysts and consultants with direct experience of AI projects.

Deadline for leads: Wednesday 10th April, 1700hrs.

To contribute to either piece, please contact me by email in the first instance.

Computer Weekly: restoring data from backups

In this piece, we will look at a key step in the business continuity, DR and backup and recovery process: can you restore data from your backups?

Too often, enterprises invest heavily in backup and recovery, but fail to test that their systems actually work.

The piece will cover:

  • The key elements of reliable restores from backup
  • Auditing backup processes
  • The 3-2-1 backup rule
  • How do you test the integrity of a backup?
  • The importance of testing backups and restoration
  • What are the objectives of backup testing?
  • How often should you test restores from backups?

I am looking for analyst comments and best practice guidance. Best practice can come from anywhere in the industry, but I am unable to quote vendors directly.

To contribute to the piece, please contact me by email no later than 1700hrs GMT on Friday March 1st.

Computer Weekly: data analytics and enterprise applications coverage, and a piece on cloud ERP

I am writing some additional pieces for Computer Weekly, in the areas of data analytics and BI, and in enterprise applications.

A couple are already in the editorial pipeline, so do keep an eye open for them.

Meanwhile I am looking for input for a piece on what organisations should consider, when moving core ERP to the cloud. This is less a pros and cons piece than a breakdown of the process. Some points we will cover are:

  • Why move ERP to the cloud?
  • How to do it (lift and shift, vendor-managed cloud, cloud native ERP perhaps?)
  • What functionality or other improvements will they see?
  • What’s the value to the business?
  • What are the risks?

I’m interested in the process firms go through when making this decision, and understanding best practice for a migration. I am keen to speak to analysts, consultants and CIOs who have made the journey.

I would prefer not to receive pre-written comment in the first instance, but a brief paragraph on who you are putting forward, and why. I’m also happy to receive white papers and other research.

The deadline for leads is Monday 5th February, with a view of completing all interviews that week or early the week after.

Please email your submissions in the first instance.

Computer Weekly features: January 2024 publication

I am writing two features for publication in January 2024. Note that due to early filing dates, the research needs to be completed by December 23rd, 2023.

Feature 1: Cloud to Cloud backup

This piece will look at the shortcomings of native cloud data protection, and their impact on both operations and compliance. It will look at cloud to cloud backup as an alternative, examining:

  • how it works
  • the workloads it is suited to (and any performance impacts)
  • who provides cloud to cloud backup services

Feature 2: Reasons not to use the cloud

Covering data storage, primarily, the piece will explore reasons why an organisation might choose not to use the cloud. This cloud include, but is not limited to:

  • operational needs and performance
  • IT management difficulties
  • costs
  • data protection and compliance
  • issues making cloud fit the business needs

For both pieces, happy to look at white papers and analyst research as well as consultants’ and CIOs’ views. As ever, it’s best to email pitches or input in the first instance.

Computer Weekly: December 2023 features

I am working on the following pieces for early December and looking for expert input.

Please note the deadline for pitches is 1700hrs, Weds 22 November with any interviews needing to be completed by 27th November for both articles.

Data analytics: Data in defence

This is a UK focused feature looking at how defence is making use of data and advanced analytics. How are the services, the MOD, and the defence industry making use of the vast amounts of data they hold? How is data being used to support operations, but also in the supply chain, the “business of defence”, and in evolving areas such as synthetic training?

Militaries are regarded highly effective when it comes to intelligence and operational data, but can data and analytics be used not just tactically and operationally, but to improve readiness, bolster training and recruitment, and to make the defence budget stretch further?

Storage: On premises vs cloud storage

What are the key considerations when it comes to locating data on premises? Are enterprises opting for pure play or hybrid solutions?

This piece will look at the questions CIOs should ask before deciding where data should live, including:

  • data lifecycles
  • security and resilience
  • cost
  • application and workload performance requirements
  • how to optimise the mix across on-premises, cloud and hybrid architectures

Please email your submissions in the first instance. I will be looking to complete interviews within a week of the submission deadlines.

Computer Weekly: storage features, November 2023

I am currently researching the following features. Deadlines for suggested interviews or contributions inline.

The all-flash datacentre: Has its time come?

Deadline: Thursday, 26 October, 1200hrs.

This piece will look at the idea of an all-flaws datacentre, and examine why it might, or might not, happen. It will:

  • Set out to define the all-flash datacentre
  • Map out a timescale for its arrival
  • Set out counter arguments – in which cases are non-flash storage media still more appropriate?
  • What types of organisations can benefit from the all-flash datacentre and which workloads can benefit from continued use of hard drive storage
  • Will it be cost that eventually signals a move to all-flash? Or are there other factors at play?

Storage for ERP systems

Deadline: Monday 30 October, 1700hrs

What are the data storage requirements for modern ERP systems?

ERP systems have developed significantly over the last decade, especially with the widespread move to the cloud. But what does an IT department need to do, to make sure the business has the right infrastructure to support its ERP systems over the next 5-10 years?

This will include:

  • What does ERP do? 
  • What are ERP’s storage I/O requirements? 
  • How do on-site and cloud ERP deployments fit together?
  • What is needed to support ERP’s databases?
  • What storage technologies does that translate to, on premises or or in the cloud?
  • Are there other developments in the field of ERP that will affect data storage requirements?

Please email your submissions in the first instance. I will be looking to complete interviews within a week of the submission deadlines.

Upcoming articles: Computer Weekly, October 2023

Please see outlines below for features I am currently researching.

Disaster Recovery in the cloud:

This piece will look at at the rapidly-developing market for cloud-based disaster recovery services. The piece aims to cover:

  • What is DRaaS?
  • What variants exist?
  • Who can use it and what are the use cases?
  • What does it cost compared to in house DR?
  • Who offers DRaaS services?

Deadline for leads/case studies etc: Tuesday 26th Sept

When to move to cloud, and when not?

What are the use cases for cloud storage, and when is it better to keep storage on premises (or in your own datacentre)?

It will cover:

  • The benefits of cloud storage
  • Why on-site storage often significantly cheaper than cloud
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of use of cloud storage for different workloads?
  • What are the different ways an organisation can leverage cloud storage?
  • Where is use of cloud storage heading, possibly including cloud native apps, bursting to cloud, containerisation)

Deadline for leads/case studies etc: Tuesday 17th Oct.

Please email your submissions in the first instance.

Upcoming articles: Computer Weekly, September 2023

I am currently researching the following articles, deadlines in line:

SME disaster recovery

Deadline for submissions: Tuesday 22 August

This article is an overview of SME disaster recovery, with a particular emphasis on cloud DR due to its suitability for SMEs.

We will cover:

  • What DR requirements do SMEs have?
  • What is the key infrastructure needed for SME DR? (including policy, planning, training, testing)
  • What can you do in-house in terms of SME DR? 
  • Benefits and drawbacks /limitations of in-house SME DR
  • Benefits does the cloud offer for SME DR
  • Key providers and the type of services offered

Cloud NAS – what is it good for 

Deadline for submissions/completing interviews: Monday 04 September

This piece will cover:

  • What is NAS? How has NAS been delivered in the past (pre-cloud)
  • What are the use cases and benefits of NAS?
  • What is cloud NAS?
  • What kind of cloud NAS services are offered?
  • What is cloud NAS good for? Pros and cons

Ransomware: Where storage and backup fit in brief 

Deadline: Monday 04 September

This piece will show where storage and backup fit into the battle against ransomware, and in particular via the functionality vendors include in products.

  • How does storage and backup fit in when it comes to ransomware
  • What functionality are vendors including in products that can help?
  • Vendor warranty offers
  • Air gapping and cloud repositories

This will likely be organised by headings related to anti ransomware functionality.

Please email your submissions in the first instance.

Although deadlines are above, early submissions would be very much appreciated. As ever, case studies or end user perspectives always welcome.

Upcoming articles: ransomware, and integrating SaaS

I am currently researching two features for Computer Weekly, details below:

Integrating SaaS

The popularity of some enterprise SaaS products means that the world of enterprise software is now more complex than ever, with data not only residing across different enterprise systems – but, increasingly, data is held in different cloud-based systems.

In this piece we will speak to organisations that use more than one SaaS product or suite, and look at why and how they chose different systems, how they connect them, how they manage date across suites and how their businesses benefit.

Deadline for leads: 1700hrs, 21 July. Deadline for interviews: 1700hrs, 27th July.

Anti-ransomware functionality in storage products

In this piece we will look at what storage vendors are doing to build ransomware protection into their offerings.

This includes tools such as immutable backups or snapshots, as well as ransomware prevention through techniques such as anomaly detection.

Note that this article is focused on the capabilities for the leading 7 vendors in the market, (see this list), though independent analyst comment is welcome.

Deadline for all input, for leads: 1700hrs, 26 July.

Please email with your suggestions/leads, keeping in mind the different deadlines. Also, it will be a great help to keep pitches for the two pieces separate.