Computer Weekly articles for November 2022

I am working on a couple of storage-related articles to appear in the last quarter of the year.

These are:

Indefinite storage

How long do we need data? And which technologies are available now, or being developed, that can extend data storage life? In some industries the projected retention period for critical data is now over 100 years, so can storage keep up?

The piece will cover:

  • What is indefinite storage?
  • How does it contrast with less lengthy periods of data retention?
  • Where might indefinite storage be required?
  • What regulations / laws might dictate it?
  • What industries, or particular data within companies, might it affect?
  • What are the technical requirements for indefinite storage?

Deadline for leads: Monday, 14th November

IT ( storage) hardware shortages and how to ameliorate them

Some critical IT components are becoming harder to source, and that is having an knock-on effect on computer hardware, including storage; potentially shortages could also ipacrt the cloud. In this piece we will look at:

  • The big picture in terms of the shortages and how long are hardware supply issues likely to last?
  • What storage hardware is affected?
  • Some evidence of the effects?
  • What are the underlying causes?
  • What are the key effects on storage hardware procurement?
  • What can IT departments do to ameliorate the effects?

Deadline for leads: Monday, 21st November

<p>For either of these articles, please contact me by <a href=”mailto:journalism@stephenpritchard.com?Subject=CW: November 2022 features”>email</a> in the first instance.</p>

Upcoming articles: Computer Weekly, October 2022

I am currently researching the following articles for Computer Weekly.

How enterprise backup products will change in the next decade 

What are the key areas of functionality in enterprise backup that we are likely to see in the coming decade?

This piece will look at developments in automation, cloud, containers, the edge and how backup technologies are adapting — or will need to adapt — to encompass them. But I am open to other suggestions around emerging backup technologies, beyond those listed above.

Deadline for leads: Monday 17th October

Ransomware, storage and backup: Techniques and limits

This article will explain the technologies and techniques in storage and backup, that are available to defend against and recover from ransomware. 

But it will also spell out the limits of the abilities of storage and backup against a threat that is possibly best countered elsewhere.

This is a slightly longer article, so I also aim to cover:

  • What is the mechanism of a ransomware attack? 
  • What are the areas of storage and backup that a ransomware attack may impact?
  • What are the key techniques and technologies in storage and backup that can help to defend against or recover from a ransomware attack?
  • What are the limits of storage and backup technologies and techniques when it comes to dealing with ransomware? 

Deadline for leads: Monday 24th October

For either of these articles, please contact me by email in the first instance.

Additional features for August: Computer Weekly

I am working up two further features for Computer Weekly.

AI, ML and the cloud

The first is looking at artificial intelligence, machine learning and RPA (robotic process automation), with a focus on what the cloud providers can offer enterprises to help them build AI and ML applications.

We want to examine:

  • practices that work, and those that might not
  • limitations (such as data ingress and egress costs, data protection regulations)?
  • performance drawbacks in the cloud vs capacity advantages
  • whether hybrid approaches to AI and ML, combining on-premises technology and the cloud, are effective and mature
  • how do CIOs determine which workloads are effective in the cloud, and which are better on premises?

The deadline for leads for this article is Tuesday 16th August, with a view to completing any interviews by Friday 19th.

To contribute, please contact me by email. Many thanks.

Designing a data architecture

For this piece, we want to set out how an organisation should design a data architecture: what works, what doesn’t, what the benefits are, and what resources (tools, people and skills) that are needed.

This cuts into data management, but it’s less focused on tools, and more on the business processes. It might suit consultants and analysts most of all, but we are also keen to speak to a data analyst working in a business it possible.

At this stage the deadline is flexible, and I am open to discussions with experts about the direction the article could take (see here for some previous TechTarget coverage https://www.techtarget.com/searchdatamanagement/definition/What-is-data-architecture-A-data-management-blueprint).

To contribute, please email, in the first instance, with your views and background. I’d like to have contacts for interviews lined up by 26 August.

Computer Weekly features: August 2022

I am working on the features below for Computer Weekly (for late August/early September publication). Deadlines for contributions noted against each article.

Data classification policy

How do you write a data classification policy, and more importantly, what should it cover?

In this feature we will look at:

  • What do we understand by data classification?
  • What is it used for? (eg for, backups, compliance, storage management and budgeting)
  • What does such a policy take into account?
  • What are the benefits of data classification?
  • What are the key elements of a data classification policy, and how would you start drafting one?

Deadline for contributions: Friday 5th August

How do we measure cloud storage TCO?

What are the key things to take into account when working out cloud storage costs as a total cost of ownership?

This piece will drill down into the main cost areas for cloud storage services. These could include capacity, storage tiers, AZs and egress costs, though that is not an exhaustive list. The piece will also compare these costs with the costs of on-premises storage technology.

In addition, we will look at which workloads are the most (cost) effective in the cloud, both for long term and “boost” usage and which, for now, are not.

Deadline for contributions: Friday 12th August.

Cloud bursting 

This piece is an “explainer setting out when, why and how firms will “burst” their workloads to the cloud. The piece will cover:

  • What is cloud bursting?
  • What are the benefits of cloud bursting?
  • What type of workloads can benefit from cloud bursting?
  • What are the limits / obstacles to cloud bursting?
  • What workloads are never (or almost never) likely to use cloud bursting?
  • How difficult is cloud bursting?

Deadline for contributions: Friday 19th August.

For all these articles please contact me by email in the first instance, if you are contributing to a specific article please note that in the subject line. If you are responding on behalf of more than one client, please use separate emails. Many thanks.

Computer Weekly: storage features, July 2022

I am looking for input for the following two features:

Backups and recovering from ransomware attacks

What are the benefits of having a good data protection strategy when facing ransomware. And what are the shortcomings of data protection and backup that cannot overcome the likely effects of a ransomware attack?

The piece will cover:

RPOs and RTOs. What could be the effect of ransomware attacks on how much data you can recover and from how long before the attack?

How useful as media to recover from are: backups, snapshots, cloud storage and backup and tape?

To what extent is it possible to air-gap stored data?

In what order should data be restored when recovering?

Deadline for submissions: Wednesday, 6 July

Unstructured data storage – on-prem vs cloud vs hybrid

What are the pros and cons of storing unstructured data on-prem vs in the cloud, and what is the role of technologies that allow for hybrids between the two?

The piece will cover:

What are unstructured data and why are they important?

How big an issue is storing unstructured data?

What are the pros and cons of:

On-prem: The ‘classic’ use of large-scale scale-out file storage, and the more recent use of object storage, and attempts to converge the two

Use of cloud storage

Hybrid approaches, including Snowflake, where unstructured data is given structure and on-prem can be a source.

Deadline for submissions: Wednesday 20th July

For all these articles please contact me by email in the first instance, if you are contributing to a specific article please note that in the subject line. Many thanks.

Computer Weekly features: June 2022

I am researching the following features for Computer Weekly, with deadlines in June:

Data gravity

What is data gravity, what implications does it have for data storage, and to what extent can it be mitigated

The piece will over these points:

  • What is data gravity? (for a definition see this TechTarget article)
  • What causes it? 
  • Give examples, large and smaller-scale perhaps, on-prem and cloud, any trends (eg, to edge?)
  • What impact does it have on data storage?
  • What impact does it have on cost, management etc.
  • What can be done, from a storage perspective, to mitigate data gravity?

Deadline for contributions: Monday 6 June.

Global file systems 

What are ‘global file systems’, who are the main vendors and what are the key differences between their products?

What are the common features of the ‘global file system’ products offered by vendors

What customer challenges do they solve?

How do they differ from file-and-sync services or just using the cloud?

Note, this piece will build on an earlier article (here) but will focus on the specific vendors in the space and their offerings. Please contact me directly for information on the vendors.

Deadline for contributions: Monday 13 June.

Backup maintenance

What do you need to do to ensure backups are maintained and reliable?

This is an advisory article setting out what should be done to ensure backups are maintained, and work. This will include cloud, virtualised and container environments.

Points we hope to cover include:

  • Ensuring all sources that need to be backed up are backed up
  • Ensuring backup targets are maintained and accessible
  • Potential areas of risk or failure, including hardware and human factors
  • Testing
  • Potential human, infrastructure etc failures
  • The need to keep backup software up to date.

Deadline for contributions: Friday 17 June.

For all these articles please contact me by email in the first instance, if you are contributing to a specific article please note that in the subject line. Many thanks.

Upcoming storage features: May 2022

I am writing a set of storage features for Computer Weekly. These will be published in May.

How data protection can help against ransomware, and where it can’t

Which backup and recovery technologies can safeguard against ransomware? And what are the limitations of backup and disaster recovery tools, and techniques, to protect against this type of incident?

In the past we have covered immutable snapshots and offsite backups including tape, as well as recovery strategies tailored to ransomware. This feature will draw together lessons learned by organisations that have faced ransomware attacks, and cover the backup and recovery industry’s tools and advice.

Deadline for leads: Wednesday 20 April

Products for backing up containers

This feature is an overview of leading Kubernetes backup technologies.

How do they work, how are they best used, and how do organisations acquire them (eg are they standalone or part of a larger product suite).

We are open to vendor submissions but do please look at our previous coverage on this.

Deadline for leads: Wednesday 27 April

Obstacles to hybrid cloud storage – and how resolve them

This piece will look at situations that can make it hard for organisations to move to object storage, and how they can overcome them. We are looking to identify the most important hybrid storage barriers, as well as ways around the problems.

Inevitably, the piece will look at hybrid cloud in the context of both pure-play cloud and on-premises storage. But there is a working assumption that CIOs will be looking at hybrid cloud, if they’re not already using it, that it has advantages, and that businesses want to do more of it.

Deadline for leads: Wednesday 27 April

Please contact me by email if you can supply information or propose a spokesperson.

Upcoming feature: Storage requirements for AI, ML, and analytics

For Computer Weekly, I am writing a feature looking at the storage requirements for AI, machine learning and analytics technologies.

This will include:

the demands these technologies make on storage infrastructure

The types of storage are best for the varying workloads in these areas (file, block, object, cloud

What storage vendors recommend for AI/ML/analytics use cases, and by workload

The deadline for leads is Wednesday, 16 March, with interviews the week after.

Please get in touch via the usual email address.

Upcoming feature: navigating cloud computing costs

For Computer Weekly, I am writing this feature:

Cloud computing is often held to be the way to save on IT infrastructure costs. But do the cost savings actually stack up? And do IT departments have the skills and resources to fully cost up the different options available from cloud providers?

The article will ask:

  • What are the key challenges in cloud cost management? And what underlies them? (in terms of the structure of the market, key cloud providers etc)
  • What are the key planks of an optimised cloud purchasing strategy?
  • What vendors or services can help manage cloud costs, and how do they do this?

More detailed questions will be supplied to experts offering comment. We want to include storage costs in the article.o

Please respond with any leads by Tuesday 8th Feb, 1700hrs; all interviews will need to be completed by Friday 11 February.

Please get in touch via the usual email address.

Computer Weekly storage features: October 2021

I am currently working on the following features, and would appreciate technical and other background material (generally, CW does not quote vendors:)

Five things you need to know about hybrid cloud in 2021 (deadline for input: 7th October)

How is hybrid cloud is seen by customers and vendors currently?

  • How is hybrid cloud used?
  • What are the top use cases for hybrid cloud deployments?
  • What are the limitations of hybrid cloud? What does it actually mean in practice?
  • What are the pitfalls of a hybrid cloud architecture?
  • What use cases are least suited to hybrid cloud?
  • Where next for hybrid cloud? (possibly more widespread use of containers allowing for bursting to the cloud as an easier option than currently?)

5 ways HCI has changed in 2021 (deadline: 20 October)

Hyper-converged infrastructure seems to be here to stay as an on-prem solution. But how is it changing in 2021 to meet new IT trends?

Areas could include:

  • HCI being used with containers
  • Being able to scale storage and compute independently (they’re calling it ‘disaggregation’)
  • Vendors dropping products (eg, NetApp)
  • HCI as a service (may be available from many vendors with a consumption model)
  • HCI at the edge

Five reason customers repatriate data from the cloud (deadline: 3 November)

Why do businesses repatriate data from the cloud?

Restoring backups/business recovery is the obvious one, but analytics and possibly regulatory investigations / compliance are others.

The piece will set out the main reasons, and look at the mechanics and costs of data repatriation too.

As ever, please email any leads or submissions.