Archive for the ‘Storage Networking’ Category


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&A with Christine Horton, Editor of Channel Pro

February 4, 2011

By Rose Ross (@Rose_at_O) and Olivia Shannon (@Olivia_at_O)

Christine Horton shares her views on storage and the channel in this Q&A with the Countdown2StorageExpo team.

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself and your magazine.

Channel Pro serves the needs of the IT resellers, VARS, systems integrators and distributor partners though up-to-the-minute news, in-depth reviews, industry opinion and analysis. The tone is business rather than techie. I am not a techie.

Q – Tell us a little bit about the titles you write for and their interest in data storage and the channel.

We cover all technologies, and have dedicated storage and security sections. We look at how they can help resellers can sell them – and ultimately make money from them.

Q. What’s hot in the channel this year?

Virtualisation and of course, cloud computing.

Q. What’s hot in IT storage this year?

Automated tiered storage (such as Compellent, the new EMC VNX platforms).

Read the rest of this entry ?


Meet Adrian Bridgwater – a Q&A with the Countdown team

December 10, 2010

By Rose Ross (@Rose_at_O) and Olivia Shannon (@Olivia_at_O)

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management. His work has been published in various international publications including the Wall Street Journal,, The Register,, BBC World Service magazines, eWeek Europe, Web Designer Magazine,, the British Computer Society and Microscope, among others. He is also a finalist in the “the journalist who makes you feel warm and furry on the inside” category of the UK’s CRAPPS Awards for PR & journalist relations. You can vote for him until December 15th.

Q.  Tell us a bit about you:

I’m a technology writer by trade and a committed journalist who has always been striving to show my careers advisor that he was wrong!

Q – Tell us a little bit about the blogs you write and their interest in data storage:

I predominantly cover software application development – and this, by default, features plenty of data, databases, database administration and therefore storage.

Q – Are you a full-time journalist? If not give us an insight into the other parts of your working life.

When I’m not working as a writer I help out at the coast guard facility where I live here in Bournemouth – I also work as a firefighter and a stunt model for a local film company.

Q – What’s hot in IT storage this year?

Put simply, manageability and in-memory database analytics and providing the data backbone for these services to run on.

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

As many as I can!

Q – Which one are you most looking forward to?

Storage Expo
Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

Not many, only around two or three a month.

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

Email always, Twitter never – I love Twitter, but don’t email me with it – use that email thing instead.

Q. – Who is worth listening to?

Audioslave and Chris Cornell.

Q. – What’s your favourite blog?


Q – What is your favourite piece of technology?

My MacBook Pro.

Q -What do you think is the most important development in IT storage to date?

RAID backplane enclosures that work with intelligent manageability control suites.

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

Send cider and red wine first.

Q – What was the best press trip you’ve ever been on? Why was it so great? Any tips for PRs planning trips/events for bloggers?

IBM’s events are good, but Adobe’s are superb.

Q-  What’s your favourite restaurant?


Q – Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

Love them all – find me on them all.

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?

Nobody knows that I am pals with Tom Cruise due to my connections in the USA, I was upset when he left Penelope — but you know, Katie is just lovely and I know he’s happy so that’s good.


Q&A with Phil Alsop, Editor of SNS Europe & SNS UK

October 1, 2010

Q.  Tell us a bit about you:

A little bit beyond the “life begins” age, I live in Wiltshire (not far from the UK’s own M3/M4 Silicon Valley) with a wife and a quantity of children and animals. Cricket and hockey for all three sons tends to dominate my spare time. Have worked as a journalist and editor in trade publishing for 20+ years,  starting in the engineering and warehousing sectors, and eventually arriving at water tech and storage networking and data centres – working on and launching a range of magazines over the past seven or so years.

Q – Tell us a bit about the titles you write for and their interest in data storage:

SNS Europe and SNS UK came out of the magazine I launched with a couple of colleagues, Fibre Channel Focus, which worked closely with the FCIA in Europe and the US. As IP Storage came on the horizon and SNIA came to Europe, it became fairly obvious that a title change – to Storage Networking Solutions – was required. The SNS magazines are still the only titles in Europe that focus entirely on storage networking technology, and we enjoy a good relationship with SNIA Europe. We are also  part of the organisation  that organises SNW Europe each year (Angel Business Communications).

Data Centre Solutions was launched about four years ago. From working with storage, it was clear that the data centre was becoming a focal point for a range of IT solutions – and then, of course, there are the buildings, the “facilities” and the whole colo and managed services side of it.

The temptation to launch a Cloud publication is strong, but ‘cloud’ means so many different things to different folks, that it might be difficult to bring it all together, or know where to focus!

Q – What’s hot in IT storage this year?

In one word: Cloud. That said, virtualisation has gained seemingly unstoppable momentum (a necessary precursor of The Cloud), which cannot be said of convergence just  yet – but it seems like it will happen over time.

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

Not as many as I should, owing to workload. Probably somewhere between 12 and 15 a year in the UK and Europe.

Q – Which one are you most looking forward to?

I’m off to VMWorld Europe mid-October, and, call me biased, but I do enjoy SNW Europe – it’s a great chance to listen and learn from both vendors and end users.

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

Mergers and acquisitions seem to be firmly back on the agenda, and then it’s back to the largely familiar – cloud, virtualisation, consolidation and convergence. Of particular interest are what I call the Tier 2 companies (below the major players), who have great technology, but not the market presence of the big guys. It’s always interesting to see if technology or marketing wins out.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

Thursdays and Fridays are spent on the phone most weeks, and I do some face-to-face meetings – although travelling into London for one meeting isn’t great use of time.  So, anywhere between four and 12 per week.

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

Email is king in my book – gets straight through to people, but gives them time and space to work out a response.

Q. – Who is worth listening to?

I enjoy talking to any and all vendors about their solutions and how they see the market going – they’re the folks who have to make money from technology at the end of the day, so they have most to lose if they talk nonsense!

Q. – What’s your favourite blog?

I have to confess that, despite the best efforts of my children, getting me on Facebook, and the fact that I do Twitter (not as much as I should) for SNS and DCS, blogging is something that I have not really got into just yet. Time is hectic enough working across the magazines, newsletters and websites, without trawling and reading endless blogs – however good the content !

Q – What is your favourite piece of technology?

Apple technology wins every time! The iPod is great, the Apple Mac is great in the publishing world, and my IT-illiterate wife can work her iPhone and there’s every chance, therefore, that she’ll get to grips with an iPAD – not sure if that’s good or bad!

Q -What do you think is the most important development in IT storage to date?

I could be mischieveous and suggest that the decision to abandon InfiniBand first time around as a genuine contender for the one, unified connectivity fabric was fairly significant – the more so as convergence is now going to be based around Ethernet.  But in terms of what has probably had the most positive impact on the most end users, it would have to be simple backup software.

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

Look at the story objectively before pitching. Of course it’s of great interest to you/your company, but is it really of significance to the wider world? And, if so, is it a major story, or a fairly low-key announcement that doesn’t require a “bells and whistles” approach? Also, if I had a euro for every time I’ve been told a company wants to speak to me, and when the call takes place the company spokesperson says “What would you like to know?” – I would have retired a few years back! Interviews are great, just so long as both parties know what is the objective!!

Q – What was the best press trip you’ve ever been on?

Most memorable was a week long coach trip around Germany – taking in the Hanover Fair – shortly after I started in journalism. Two coach loads of customers and a few journalists visiting pubs and breweries all over Belgium and Germany, plus a factory opening (the reason for the trip). However, a press event at the Museo de Bellas Artes (not the more famous Guggenheim) in Bilbao was the best, simply because we had the art gallery all to ourselves, so I could stand for hours looking at the El Greco paintings – sorry if that sounds pretentious, but as far as I’m concerned art doesn’t get any better.

Q-  What’s your favourite restaurant?

The Sloop Inn. Every year we go on holiday to West Wales for the surf and the empty beaches, and we always visit the inn during our stay – the food is excellent and plentiful and sitting outside in the evening overlooking the harbour beats anything that city life has to offer.

Q – Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

Tolerator rather than lover. I’m on Facebook courtesy of my sons, and I get involved sporadically (it’s good to find out what the boys are up to – not sure if they’ve realised this…) The downside is that many of these social media sites seem to be little more than extensions of today’s celebrity culture. We can all be celebrities, apparently – even if we have no talent, but just swear a lot and tell people how drunk we got at the weekend. On the plus-side – for keeping in touch with friends is there a better solution? My eldest changed schools last year and he keeps in touch with so many old school friends.

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?

Listening to choral music from all eras isn’t exactly out of left field, but sitting in a cathedral that’s been there for hundreds of years enjoying the sounds of Tallis or Howells is about as rewarding as it gets when I’m not taxiing boys to cricket, hockey, rugby and golf all over the west country and further afield. As for a claim to fame, I have played cricket with and against a few famous names, but my wife played netball and trampolined for Wales, and I can’t compete with that!


Man on a data mountain – Chris Mellor, Storage Editor of interview: View from the top (literally)

September 24, 2010

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

It has been a while since we spoke to the wonderful Chris Mellor, Storage Editor of So it’s great to get further insights from him. For the original interview back in 2007 click here.

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself:

CM: I am a fisherman, casting my hooks into the storage waters and hoping to catch interesting fish,  bottom feeders, predators and weeds.

Q – Tell us a little bit about the site and the blog you write and their interest in data storage:

CM: The Register aims to cover the most important and interesting storage news stories as fast and as comprehensively as possible, adding in relevant context and throwing in opinions, well-informed ones hopefully, about claims and assertions. Speed is essential for news, less so for comment and blog pieces where it’s interest that’s key and not timeliness. We’re looking here for significance or something that points up a contrast with how things are usually done.

Q – What’s hot in IT storage this year?

CM: The convergence of storage into integrated IT stacks; the re-emergence of direct-attach storage, even if it is really a locally networked SAN to a set of blade servers; the development of primary data deduplication; the expansion of SSD storage tiers and form factors; cloud storage; and federation ideas.

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

CM: As many as I can since they are a target-rich environment in terms of vendors. Many of the most interesting ones are in mainland Europe or the USA and travel is a constant concern. The old Storage Expo in the UK has been pretty much devalued by becoming 360 Degree IT (Ed, we feel a blog post is required on this. “Storage Expo is dead, Long live Storage Expo!”). Niche storage events like ones focused on flash memory are becoming more important. Vendor events are also becoming vital and are often extremely interesting for the depth of insight you get.

Q – Which one are you most looking forward to?

CM: SNW Frankfurt, and HP and IBM events.

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

CM: Firstly, ones dealing with mainstream storage vendors. Secondly, ones dealing with emerging  technology such as FCoE, primary data deduplication, enterprise MLC flash, HDD recording technology and areal density moves, and things like IT stack convergence. Thirdly, ones dealing with new ways of viewing existing technology.

Stories that have a hard time passing the door are me-too cloud storage, enterprise storage arrays at SME prices from relatively unknown vendors, and anything presented as coming from a ‘thought leader’ 🙂

Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

CM: Up to five, sometimes one. Two or three are comfortable. Not all result in stories which is unfortunate for the vendor and PR agency concerned as it looks as if they have wasted their time. However I value such meetings highly because of the background information and the relationship-building inherent in them.

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

CM: For PR people who know me then phone is okay but it is difficult for others because getting to what I think is the key aspect of their message is time-consuming. Of course it is more personal for them that way but I prefer to receive e-mailed pitches. That’s impersonal and I may be late replying so that is unsatisfactory from a PR sense. Phone me if you can put up with often aggressive (very sorry about this) and interruptive questioning. I really am sorry about this and can only plead pressure of time.

In the working hours I am writing or researching and a phone call interrupts that and I don’t often deal with the interruption gracefully. It’s not a good trait.

A preference I have is not to talk to vendors until I think I have enough background information, collectedly web search or email. Talking is preferably face to face rather than telephone although that’s not always possible of course.

Q. – Who is worth listening to?

CM: Vendor CEOs and CTOs and some marketing people, certain analysts both financial and IT, people who can marry detail, mid-and big-picture levels of an issue. Steve Duplessie and his analyst team, Jon Toigo, Steve Foskett, certain vendor twitterers, StorageMojo, certain vendor bloggers from EMC and NetApp, Pillar Data and Xiotech.

Certain vendor PRs such as Michael Hall from Seagate, Danny M from Western Digital, Liem from Compellent, several from EMC, Ken Saunders at IBM, Chris Drago at Pillar, Rob Peglar at Xiotech, and more. There are lots of great people in the storage world. Although it is largely about spinning media, there isn’t that much empty spin in it.

Q. – What’s your favourite blog?

CM: StorageMojo is great. So too is Mike Workman of Pillar. Chuck and Barry and Storagezilla at EMC are good value; Barry White at IBM too. Dave Hitz of NetApp has stopped blogging which is a pity.

It’s not a blog but Jean-Jacques Maleval’s Storage Newsletter is a heroic production and both mandatory and interesting reading. In general, I’m beginning to rely more on Tweet monitoring to get a sense of what is current and interesting in the storage world than tracking blogs.

Q – What is your favourite piece of technology?

CM: My iPad without question. It has transformed note-taking at interviews and is great for pictures, videos and music and remote Internet access. The thing is both fabulous and indispensable.

Q -What do you think is the most important development in IT storage to date?

CM: Virtualisation in its widest sense of RAID, storage pools, thin-provisioning, deduplication and unified file and block and, soon, federation. It’s a continuing development more than a point invention.

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

CM: To me? First of all pitch and be damned. If you don’t pitch, you don’t get anywhere. Secondly, if you have time, research The Reg’ and review a few of my stories to catch their subject matter and approach and type – news, comment or blog, and then pitch accordingly

Thirdly, if you don’t know what you are talking about then say so and be willing to tell me how I can get access to the real goods but, for an unknown technology or vendor that is not with a telephone call to the CEO or head marketeer. It’s printed information I want or a slide deck.

Lastly, don’t please offer an interview with a ‘thought leader’ or a reseller boss who can present his or her view of the storage world and the trends in it that, funny this, the reseller is poised to take advantage of.

Q – What was the best press trip you’ve ever been on? Why was it so great? Any tips for PRs planning trips/events for bloggers?

CM: The HDS trip to Japan was fabulous in terms of access to vendor technology-aware executive staff, great vendor staff, insight into HDS’ strategy and products and general insight into Tokyo. HP, Pillar Data, EMC and Compellent trips have also been excellent with great people, terrific access and enjoyable facilities.

A Unisys trip involved driving from London to the south of France and back; the lovely people paid the fuel bills. HP did the same for a trip to Bonn. Wowee; there and back in a sports car with the roof down and three figures on the speedo as often as not. Vroom vroom.

I like roaming untethered at tradeshow and vendor events. Having W-iFi access is absolutely essential.

Q- What’s your favourite restaurant?

CM: Andrew Edmunds and Ransome’s Dock in London, Pret a Manger for a quick lunch.

Q – Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

CM: I follow storage people on Twitter a lot and post there too. LinkedIn I use for research and accept link requests from people I know but don’t use for my own professional networking at all. Facebook is something I don’t use as it sucks up too much time and is difficult to set up filters to exclude the vast amount of excessive information on it.

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?

CM: Fame? No. Quirks? Yes. I walked down into and back up the Grand Canyon in a day while on a DEC trip to Denver. I have published over sixty sports car buying guides, several climbing guides plus a guide to Hawksmoor Churches in London.

Q – Anything else you’d like to share – something about The real Chris Mellor..

CM: I go rock climbing and my email address contains the name of a coastal headland – Pentire Head – in Cornwall where I had a really memorable climb. Secondly, I have driven at 160mph plus on a German Autobahn and it was utterly fabulous. The only thing better could be driving at 170mph … 180mph … Vroom Vroom.

From the Countdown2storageexpo team, a big thank you for his insights into what makes him tick and how to best pitch him stories. Chris is on twitter at or his stories here.

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Q&A with Antony Adshead, UK Bureau Chief, SearchStorageUK

September 20, 2010

Antony Adshead made a career switch from engineering to journalism in 1995 and since then has written news and features for a wide variety of business and technology magazines. He was senior reporter and deputy technical editor at leading business IT magazine Computer Weekly from 2000 to 2004, after which he developed a successful career as a freelance writer covering IT networks and storage for a number of technology titles. Antony is originally from Birmingham and now works from West Yorkshire. He has a master’s degree from the University of London.

Q. What kind of storage companies are you most interested in?

I’m most interested in what customers do with storage, how they choose the products they do and the benefits and challenges they get from implementing them. I’m interested in storage companies in so far as I’m interested in customers getting the best deal they can and not being jerked about by vendors.

Q. How should people pitch to SearchStorageUK?

By email or phone, and with the point of the call to the forefront. And preferably that should include the potential for a customer interview.

Q. What pitching mistake do you see the most?

I don’t see many these days as most PRs know what I need. Occasionally you get an odd one out of leftfield though – recently I was emailed with the opportunity to interview the remains of 60s pop group The Searchers. I thought of asking them their views on 8 Gig Fibre Channel but decided against it.

Q. Tell me the best/most memorable intro to a press release you’ve read in recent memory.

They’re never that memorable. If they become so I shall contact Exit 😉

Q. What can tech PR consultants do to get on your good/bad side?

Get me lots of customer case studies with people who love talking to the press about how they chose and implemented their products. Oh, and fly me places and take me on yachts and the like.

Q. About you:  Tell me about yourself!

I grew up in Birmingham, left school to become an engineer (toolmaker) and eventually gave that up to go to university at the age of 28. I wandered into journalism after doing a master’s.

I like to be quite active – walking and sailing are my fave outdoor pastimes these days. I like to read history, politics, and also physics – I like to know what makes people/things tick. I like music too, playing a bit of guitar, and occasionally DJ-ing – old reggae/ska is my thing.

Q. Tell me about

SearchStorageUK is a UK operation owned by Massachusetts-based Techtarget, which runs dozens of niche technology sites. We aim to provide our 30,000 UK subscribers with technical and practical help in doing their jobs. I was recruited for the role from a very small pool of storage-knowledgeable UK freelancers and I’m very pleased to work with the knowledgeable and good people in the storage group at TechTarget.

Q.  Twitter – love it or hate it? Why?

I’m indifferent to it mostly. Oh, I did block a couple of friends’ Facebook updates after it became apparent they’d been ordered to tweet by their employers, which resulted in numerous irrelevant annoying status updates every day.

Q.  Tell us something nobody else knows about you (yet!)

Myself and Alastair Campbell (former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Director for Communications and Strategy) have a similar type of job in the early part of our CVs. [Ed: luckily that’s where the comparisons end!]

Q. If you could interview one visionary information technology pro, who would that be? Why?

Someone who can convince me what forthcoming technology shares will rocket in value in five years time!

Q. Who is worth listening to?

W Curtis Preston – aka Mr Backup

Q. What is your favourite blog?

Jon William Toigo’s Drunken Data – I’ve never known anyone to tell it like it is as he does.  [Ed: Great, I think it’s time to line up Jon for an interview too!]

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

The sail. Oh, you mean in IT? The HDD, of course.

Q. What’s hot in IT storage this year?

Most people I speak to (i.e., storage users) spend most of their time managing their capacity, and often buying more of it, so the true but boring answer to the question is “the hard disk drive”. Hot air-wise, it’s cloud storage, solid state storage or tiered storage, depending on which vendors you’re listening to. The thing we’ve seen most increase in use in recent years (in our SearchStorageUK surveys) is the use of shared storage on the back of server virtualisation projects and also data deduplication, which has really set down roots in the past couple of years.

Q. What do you think is the most important development in IT storage to date?

Non-volatile memory. And the microprocessor. Boring but true, but we’re still dependent on them and will be for the foreseeable future.

Q. Where do you see the industry heading?

I predict there will be many companies selling different boxes with the same disk drives inside them.

OK, that’s the slightly cynical answer. The real answer is there’ll be more integration between storage and increasingly virtualised processing, with combined bundles of servers/networks/storage being marketed. That’s by the big boys, of course. The smaller outfits will continue to develop innovative ways of storing data and making its footprint smaller, and these in turn will be acquired by the aforementioned big boys.