Archive for the ‘Analyst Interview’ Category


Exclusive interviews with Tech Trailblazers Awards judges @techtrailblaze #TTAwards

August 10, 2012

With the early-bird deadline for the Tech Trailblazers Awards for tech startups swiftly approaching on August 17th, the Countdown team has compiled a collection of links to interviews we have conducted with some of the judges of the awards. Enjoy, and feel free to share these links with your friends and colleagues.

Available at Countdown2StorageExpo:

Chris Evans, Consultant and Blogger,

Martin Glassborow, Blogger, Storagebod

Chris Mellor, Storage Editor, The Register

Simon Robinson, Research Vice President, 451 Research

Enrico Signoretti, Senior Consultant, Juku Consulting SRL

Matthew Yeager,Chief Technologist, Colt Technology Services

Available at Countdown2Infosecurity: Read the rest of this entry ?


Interview with Howard Marks, Founder and Chief Scientist @DeepStorageNet

May 11, 2012

By @Rose_at_O & @Olivia_at_O

Howard Marks can be found online at, on Twitter @DeepStorageNet or follow his blog at Based on the US East Coast, Howard will be in London next month to keynote a virtualization seminar at the Hilton Metropole on June 28th. He recently delivered the seminar in Montreal and will also keynote the seminar in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 7th.

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself: 

My first job out of college, where I studied chemistry, was at Lifeboat Associates which was then the world’s largest software distributor. Of course it was 1980 so we were still a small business best known as being able to put CP/M software on any of a hundred disk formats.  From there I started the first Novell reseller in New York and ended up as a consultant for 25 years working across servers, storage and networking.

To promote myself as a consultant I started writing at PC Magazine in 1987 and have written hundreds of articles and product reviews.

 Q. Tell us a little bit about and its interest in data storage. 

As the publishers all closed their test labs I realized that users and vendors both still needed the independent hands-on validation reviews provided. So I took the test lab I built for magazine reviews and turned it to validating products with the vendors, rather than publishers, paying the bill.  Since I spent the last 7 years or so as the resident storage guy at Network Computing we’re mostly concentrating on storage and related technologies.

Basically we take equipment into the lab and tell the world how it really performed. I also spend a lot of my time explaining storage technologies and how to use them in papers, seminars and webinars.

Q. What’s hot in storage this year? 

I’m excited about the continuing impact flash is having on storage design. I’m paying particularly close attention to the next generation storage arrays from vendors like Read the rest of this entry ?


Analyst Q&A with Clive Longbottom, Founder of Quocirca

March 28, 2012

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I’m on a quest to debunk technology, putting it back where it belongs as a pure facilitator to business process.  I’m also on a quest to try and make briefings with industry analysts a bit more fun. Let’s have a bit of a laugh and enjoy things, rather than getting too serious and spoiling each other’s day.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your analyst firm and its interest in information technology (including storage, security, mobile, cloud and virtualization).

Quocirca was set up to be a firm with analysts who are big enough to have their own views.  Talking with a Quocirca analyst should not have any “company views”, but should be from the analyst’s own heart – their feelings, their experiences, their take on the markets based on research amongst large and small companies worldwide, face-to-face discussions with end users and vendors and a hard-headed dose of reality thrown in.  All our public output is available completely free of charge without any need to subscribe or register – just go to the web site and take whatever you want!  All the above technologies are inherent to the problems that organisations are dealing with – therefore, Quocirca covers them all, but in a contextually aware manner that fits each part in to an organisation’s needs, rather than looking at them as pure technology plays.

Q. What’s hot in IT this year? 

Mainly confusion.  Vendors are trying to stake their claims to various different parts of the market, as are different parts of the channel – as well as industry bodies, analysts and the media.  2012 will be the year of cloud and big data, followed in 2013 by the year of sorting out the mess caused by wrong implementations of technology to underpin these strategies, poor business models from providers and confusion from end-users.  I’d keep away from what’s hot, and concentrate on what’s right Read the rest of this entry ?


Analyst Q and A: Up close and personal with the Storage Iron Man, AKA the451’s Simon Robinson

December 31, 2011

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

A little treat for New Year’s Eve. We were lucky enough to catch up with hot-footed storage analyst, Simon Robinson, Reseach Director at the451. Happy New Year to our readers and a big thank you to Simon, pictured here with his lovely son.

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself: 

I’m an industry analyst working for 451 Research, where I run the storage research practice. I’ve been with the company since pretty much day one; I joined when the company formed at the height of the dot com madness in 2000. Before that I was a tech journalist; I joined VNU back in 1997 as part of a graduate trainee program, and from there worked on various online and print titles. I didn’t have a technology background — my degree was in Economics and I’d spent a couple of years working on the City Desk at the Press Association. So although I knew a bit about business and finance, learning how to be a reporter, craft a story, understand and then articulate often complex technologies and issues in a straight-forward way was an incredible challenge, but was an experience that has served me well.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your analyst firm and its interest in data storage. 

451 Research specialises in emerging technologies for enterprise IT; we follow the innovation lifecycle from the conception of an idea all the way to mainstream market adoption, and how this impacts a variety of stakeholders;  IT professionals, startups, large established vendors, investors, venture capitalists and the M&A industry. Of course, not all technologies make it, but that is what I love about this industry and my job. Storage is a big part of our focus – and has been for many years. It may not sound particularly exciting on the surface, but practically every major IT innovation of the last decade wouldn’t have been possible without storage, and lots of it! The level of innovation that this part of the industry churns out is a constant source of fascination for me, and each time you think the industry is done, along comes another wave of new and exciting stuff.

We are a fast growing company ourselves as well, and have a breadth and depth research services that sometimes surprises people; company reports, market reports, M&A reports, market sizing, and through a couple of recent acquisitions (The InfoPro and ChangeWave Research), end-user research. We currently have about 170 staff worldwide, with 20 or so in Europe and most of the rest spread across the US (though company HQ is in New York).

Q. What’s hot in storage this year? 

Without a doubt, solid state storage technology is the hottest issue right now. Solid state will become a mainstream technology at all levels of the enterprise over the next 5 years, and though it won’t replace traditional hard disk drives completely, it has the potential to significantly disruptive the storage market. We are tracking close to $1bn in funding in solid state startups, and we don’t think we have really got going yet.  Elsewhere, there are plenty of other hot topics and emerging technologies that we are following; the impact of virtualization on storage and data protection, the role of storage in the cloud, object storage, next-generation storage networking, and others.


Q. How many storage events do you attend each year? 

Probably 10-15 major events, but lots of smaller ones as well.

Q. Which one are you most looking forward to? 

Though they are becoming rarer, I always look forward to the bigger storage-centric events where you can immerse yourself in the latest storage goodness, such as EMC World and SNW Europe, while NetApp always puts on a very good analyst event. I visited IP Expo for the first time this year, and was impressed by the scale and energy, as well as the number of storage companies that were there.

Q. What types of companies are likely to attract your attention this year? 

Companies that have something interesting to say, and know how to say it. But of course we are always available to help those companies that need help with messaging and positioning!

Q. How many interviews do you do per week? 

That varies hugely, but it probably averages at about 3, though that number increases once you begin factoring in client calls.

Q. What’s the best way to pitch a company to you? Email? Phone? Twitter? By mail?

Good old email is still the best way for me — though I am always reachable by those other means as well. Just don’t leave me a voice mail on my office phone as I might not pick it up for a month or two!

Q. Who is worth listening to (about storage)? 

Apart from us? There are so many incredibly intelligent and articulate people in this industry that I wouldn’t want to single out any one individual. But i usually have at least one conversation a week that reminds me of why i enjoy coming to work.

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite blog, though there are many storage blogs that i at least attempt to keep up to date with. I think there are some real questions about the value and role of blogging in general, especially within the technology industry. There are some very well written blogs out there, and they do have a role, but many purport to be ‘independent’ when they are nothing of the sort. Some corporate blogs are useful up to a point, so long as you recognise they are a marketing tool. I generally lose interest in blogs that seem only to engage in FUD with competitors.
Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

Well this isn’t IT, but i bought a nice road bike a couple of years ago. When I have a decent level of fitness and am humming along a quiet country lane at 30mph the bike does feel like an extension of my own body; it’s a fantastic machine, with incredible technology. I have also bought into the Apple hype recently, and as a result am getting more out of my computing — personal and professional – because it is just a better experience.
Q. What do you think is the most important development in storage to date? 

Well where would we be without the humble spinning disk drive? It has taken us through over 50 years of computing with the same basic idea, though of course the technology is now totally different; and it’s not going away, as real densities still continue to increase. I maintain that the future of storage is solid state (though whether Flash or something else is a different question), but we need to acknowledge the role of the HDD.

Q. What is the best piece of advice for companies pitching stories?

I think understanding the context and articulating the bigger picture is critical. I’m still a journalist at heart, so understanding the broader narrative of why this technology or issue is relevant is huge.

Q. What was the best business trip you’ve ever been on? Worst? Why?

I joined the tech industry as a journalist just as the dot com hype was going into overdrive, and the amount of money sloshing around to spend on journalists was, frankly, insane (especially since i was earning barely enough to cover my rent, bills and food). So I was lucky and managed to get on a few ‘jollies’; husky-dog sledding in Finnish Lapland and spending 4th July in New York (on my first ever business trip) stand out as highlights. My worst is a lot easier; it was a trip to Boston in January; it’s a long story, but as you can imagine a winter storm came in, my flight got diverted to Atlantic City, and I ended up hiring a car and driving through the night to get to the meeting just as it was due to start; only to find out it was canceled due to bad weather!

Q. What’s your favourite restaurant?

Another easy one; I lived in San Francisco for a couple of years, and my wife and I really got into eating sushi. There was this little, no frills place in our neighbourhood that came up with the most fantastic creations. I make a point of heading there every time I visit.
Q. Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

I am connected to most forms of social media, though I confess I’m not prolific on any of them; though I do think it’s increasingly necessary to have some sort of social media presence, even if the real value is sometimes hard to quantify. I do try to keep business and personal stuff separate though, so I tweet about work stuff and use Facebook for personal stuff.
Q. Tell us something no one knows about you. Do you have any unusual or unexpected hobbies/interests? Do you have a claim to fame?

No real claims to fame — I’m just an ordinary bloke from the North of England. I have participated in a few triathlons in recent years; though I hesitate to call myself a triathlete, it is a great sport if you are interested in setting yourself individual goals. I took a year off this year as we had our first baby, and finding time to sleep has been hard enough, never mind train. But I hope to be back in the saddle in 2012!

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Analyst Q and A: Chatting with Deni Connor – the straight talking Queen of Storage Strategies NOW

September 15, 2011

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

We were granted an audience with one of the veritable queens of Storage. Deni Connor, Founding Analyst of Storage Strategies NOW.

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself:

I started out in medical editing for the National Institutes of Health and then converted to technology in the early 80s. I’ve worked in marketing for a number of companies. Among them a mobile computing company, IBM, Novell and Thomas-Conrad, a company acquired by Compaq.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your analyst firm and its interest in data storage.

Storage Strategies NOW provides research to vendors, end-users, venture capitalists on storage technologies and products.

Q. What’s hot in storage this year?

Solid state drives and of course, more and more virtualization, including the virtual desktop infrastructure. Also cloud companies.

Q. How many storage events do you attend each year?

About 6, not including analyst days.

Q. Which one are you most looking forward to?

Storage Networking World, where we will release the results of two reports: one on Data Reduction and the other on Data Protection and Recovery in the SMB.

Q. What types of companies are likely to attract your attention this year?

Companies that are doing something innovative with the cloud and SSD companies.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Q&A with Tony Lock, Programme Director, Freeform Dynamics

April 28, 2011

Tony Lock shares his views with the Countdown team in this Q&A. Our sister blog Countdown2MobileWorldCongress has published a Q&A with Dale Vile, Managing Director of Freeform Dynamics, available here.

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself: 

I am a horse-riding, book reading, fountain pen loving, Cockney born, Chelsea fanatic who happens to be an IT industry analyst.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your analyst firm and its interest in data storage.

Freeform Dynamics is an analyst house that undertakes research studies of real world main stream organisations to find out not just what they are doing but attempts to discover why companies do what they do. We also try to work out what is inhibiting mainstream organisations from starting other projects.

Q. What’s hot in storage this year?

Outside of vendor marketing I am not sure that anything is exceptionally hot, but this applies to all areas of IT not just storage. All facets of “storage management” are growing in importance and organisations are slowly recognising this.

Q. How many storage events do you attend each year? Which one are you most looking forward to?

I get along to a very large number of events each year. I also take a great many briefings. Most events and meetings have something of value. It is the events where real customers stand up to give their real experiences that stand out the most.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Q&A with Greg Schulz, Founder of StorageIO

April 1, 2011

Greg took some time out of his busy schedule as an author, blogger, independent IT advisor and consultant at the Server and StorageIO Group (StorageIO) to chat with Countdown2StorageExpo’s Olivia Shannon about life, food, travel, fishing, fun and — of course — storage!

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m an information junkie and a non-elitist foodie. I’m on a see-food diet: I see food and I eat it! I love food and hanging out with foodies, but I’m not hung up on being an elitist foodie. I enjoy a PB&J and a hotdog as much as I enjoy Singapore pepper crab. I like wine, but I also like beer.

Aside from cooking, I like fishing and enjoy catching and releasing. I’m a member of the Arcola hookers group.

I went to college (in the UK you call it “university”) for business administration, and I wanted to be an architect before that. I had a challenge with math, but when I discovered computers, I realised math was a breeze. I could program my way through business classes and math classes. I could program my way right through college! When I stumbled into computer science, that led to a lot of different situations that ultimately led to my IT career.

I was born in California, grew up in North Dakota, and now I’ve been living in Minnesota for a couple decades. I’ve been an IT customer, an IT vendor and I’ve worked for analyst firms. We’ve recently had our fifth anniversary at StorageIO, so we are now in our sixth year. I’ve been on both the customer and vendor side, and StorageIO is all about leveraging those experiences. I’m involved with servers, storage, networking hardware/software; I’ve done BC/DR, backup, performance capacity planning and more.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Storage Networking & Social Media Maven: Q&A with @Stu Miniman, Principal Research Contributor at Wikibon

March 3, 2011

By Olivia Shannon, @Olivia_at_O

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been in high-tech my entire career. As an undergraduate I studied engineering; then I went into technical sales, where I focused on networking and telecoms. After several years doing that, I went on to work at EMC for 10 years on the technical side. I spent my last three years at EMC as a Technologist in the CTO Office working on strategic planning. Last June, I joined Wikibon as an analyst, researcher and blogger. I enjoy being part of that tech community. Although I interact with a lot of storage at Wikibon, my focus is more on virtualization and networking than pure storage. So I don’t get into arguments about RAID types, and although I am up on trends with disk drives and interfaces, I tend to spend more time outside the box rather than inside.

I’m also married with two kids. As a parent I make sure I fulfill parental obligations such as teaching the kids about Star Wars.


Q. Tell us a little bit about your analyst firm and its interest in data storage.

The Wikibon Project has been around for about four years now. It looks to reinvent the analyst business. Read the rest of this entry ?


Q and A: George Crump, Storage Switzerland

October 24, 2010

Last time, we met George was in Boston for the BDevent. Now based in Texas, we are delighted that’ll be in Frankfurt this week for SNW Europe. Here’s a little more on George:

Q. Tell us a bit about your firm?

GC: Storage Switzerland is an analyst firm focused on the storage, server virtualization and cloud marketplaces. We work with technology suppliers to help educate the market on the various topics that concern those marketplaces through the use of content like articles, blogs, briefing reports, case studies and product test drives. All of that content is published on our web site In addition to this material we have blogging responsibilities on Information Week, Network Computing and SearchStorage.

Q. What is hot in storage this year?

GC: 2010 and more than likely 2011 will be maturing years for more than they will be a breakout year for any particular technology. The technologies that we expect to see major maturation are solid state disk, cloud storage and network convergence. We also expect to see server virtualization be the key driver in advancements in storage including driving down the entry price of shared storage in the first time adopter market as well as continued pressure on improving performance in the high end market.

Q. How many storage events do you attend each year?

GC: We usually cover both storage networking worlds and now SNW Europe. We also cover VMworld USA every year. We occasionally will attend Storage Decisions. Finally we have attend every The BD Event and will continue to do so. I am most looking forward to SNW Europe as I have not attended that before and I am giving a talk on “Addressing the Storage Challenges Caused By Desktop Virtualization”

Q. What types of stories or companies are likely to attract your attention this year?

GC: I am always interested in solid state disk as well as the general deduplication market. My colleague Eric Slack is become quite the specialist in object storage based systems and storage resource monitoring tools.

Q. How many briefings do you do per week?

GC: We typically have an open spot for non-client briefings once per day at either 10AM Central time or 3PM central time depending on the country of origin of the supplier. The rest of the day is devoted to client and end-user briefings as well as of course to creating the actual content. As time allows and if our interest is there we will write up a briefing note that is posted to our web site and distributed to the supplier, that summarizes our thoughts on the briefing.

Q. What is the best way to pitch a story to you?

GC: We really don’t receive story pitches per se. We like to be briefed on a technology or product and then write up our own finding on the product. We will then write stand alone articles that provide thought leadership and education on the storage, server virtualization and cloud market places. As for reaching us, without question it is email.

Q. What is your favorite blog?

GC: Other than my own? I’d say my favorite is Mike Workman’s CEO of Pillar, followed closely by Howard Marks.

Q. What is your favorite piece of technology?

GC: Anything Apple. Right now the iPad is my primary travel device and it has become quite a replacement for my laptop.

Q. What is the best advice for companies that provide briefings?

GC: Remind me what you do on every briefing. I talk to a lot of companies and sometimes I forget who does what. Second get right to the point. I’ve been doing this a while. I know that storage is growing and customers are having challenges meeting the demands of users. Third use pictures, I’ve heard they are worth a 1,000 words.

Q. What is your favorite restaurant?

GC: Eduardo Mexican Restaurant in Stafford Texas outside of Houston. A little hole in the wall restaurant that makes a special salsa by request and it is spicy as I have every tested. The rest of the food is good too.

Q. Are you a social media lover?

GC: Don’t tell anyone but I tolerate social media, I’m pretty sure it’s just a bunch of industry insiders that are chatting with each other. I’m not convinced that a lot of IT readers actually use it for information. We are there and we use it I’m just not in love with it.

Q. Tell us something no one knows about you?

GC: I am an avid triathlete (swim, bike run). I do three or four long distance events (half Ironmans) per year and as many short distance events as I can squeeze into my schedule. A couple of years ago I did 47 in one year.

A big thank to George for sharing some of the Storage Switzerland goodness. When we catch up with him for #storagebeers in Frankfurt we’ll also add in the Why is it called Storage Switzerland? – Prost!