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 commissions: October 2021

I am working on the following articles, which will appear in Computer Weekly in October:

Cloud DR: DIY or Disaster Recovery as a Service

The cloud is now the main backup destination for a growing number of businesses. And the range of businesses offering disaster recovery as a service is growing too.

But is disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) always the best option? Or is it better to develop a solution in house, using off the shelf (cloud) technologies?

The piece will look at the benefits of DIY approaches, and the drawbacks, and compare these to the benefits (and drawbacks) of DRaaS. The piece will also summarise the range of DRaaS services on the market, and set out the best use cases for each.

I’d welcome analyst comment and/or industry case studies for this piece. Deadline for leads: Thursday 16th September.

Where next for the data warehouse, and what might replace it?

Has the conventional data warehouse had its day? And what could replace it? Conventional, on-premises data warehouse technology now competes with a range of emerging technologies, including data virtualisation, “data lakehouses”, and cloud data warehouses.

What role will these newer technologies play? Are they likely to supplant the conventional, on-premises, datacentre approach, and if so why?

I am keen to speak to analysts and consultants in order to form a market overview, but also CIOs whose preferences are either for the new, or indeed the conventional, technology. The deadline is Wednesday 22nd September.

For either article please get in touch in the first instance by email.

New storage articles for Computer Weekly

I am working on two new feature articles for Computer Weekly. There is some overlap between the two topics, so I am posting them both here.

The topics are:

Key questions to ask suppliers about storage-as-a-service consumption models

5 things you need to know about cloud file services

For the first piece, this is a brief for CIOs and their teams sourcing cloud storage. We will come up with a ranked list of questions IT teams should ask vendors. These could include:

  • payment models
  • how usage is calculated
  • how does pricing change as demand goes up or down
  • how can I upgrade systems
  • minimum contract commitments
  • what is the maximum (or minimum) storage capacity the vendor can offer?

There might be other points that could be added to the list. I cannot use vendor quotes directly but can look at research, and take analyst comments.

For the second piece, we are aiming to distinguish between fully featured cloud file services, including those from the “big three” and file and sync type services such as Box or Dropbox.

The piece will set out the benefits and limitations of cloud-based file services and explain how they are used. And the article will identify the main vendors, both pure play and those that are part of a wider cloud (storage) offering.

The deadline for leads and content is 1700hrs, Tuesday 17th August. These articles will be published in September. If you can help, please submit any ideas or content by email .

Upcoming article: the top 5 storage deployment pitfalls

For Computer Weekly I am investigating the greatest pitfalls for deploying on-premises storage hardware.

The piece can cover flash storage, storage arrays, hyper-converged, or software-defined storage but it needs to be in house, not cloud based.

I am looking for examples from CIOs and IT directors and experienced analysts and consultants – but not vendors.

If you would like to comment for the article please email me with a brief description of your (or your client’s) credentials in this area, and I will reply with some questions.

The deadline for initial approaches is September 9th.

Upcoming commission: virtual server storage

My next article for Computer Weekly will look at the best storage options for virtual servers, including SAN, NAS and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

Specifically, the piece will ask:

  • What kind of storage requirements virtual servers and their data have?
  • What are the characteristics of a) SAN b) NAS and c) hyper-converged storage? 
  • What are the pros and cons of SAN vs NAS for virtual machine storage? What are the management and performance issues?
  • What about scale? Is a SAN, NAS or HCI better suited to large or smaller deployments?
  • What impact do workloads have on storage choices? Are all virtual machine workloads created equal in I/O terms?
  • What other factors affect storage choices, such as the applications being used, scale of the deployment and even skills on the IT team?

First and foremost I am looking for background information, analyst research/ technical papers and case studies which will help to answer the points above. If you or your client has expertise in this area, please contact me by email in the first instance. The deadline for input is Monday, 13 May.


Upcoming commission: Scale-out NAS storage

My next article for Computer Weekly will be on “Scale-out NAS in the age of cloud”. The outline for the piece is below.

Scale out NAS is a very important storage technology for those that want to store large amounts of file and unstructured data. 

But in recent years it has had to fight off other methods of storing large amounts of unstructured data, namely on-premises object storage and the rise of the cloud providers and their (often object storage-based) storage offerings.

So, who are the key scale-out NAS providers now? What do they offer in terms of products? And how are they meeting the challenge of the cloud?

If you or your client has expertise in this area, please contact me by email in the first instance. The deadline for pitches and initial input is Monday, 25 March.