Archive for the ‘VMworld’ Category

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Interview with Desiré Athow (@desireathow), Editor of TechRadar Pro (@TechRadarPro)

March 19, 2014

By Rosalind Carr (@Rosalind_at_O) and Rose Ross (@Rose_at_O)

desire-athow

Following our article on Desiré’s key event advice and tips (“5 golden PR rules for events”), we chat top tech events, PR pitches and hot topics in tech for 2014…

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself.

Originally from Mauritius, been in this country for the last 10 years or so. English is my third language and my degree is in sociology. So to land in this country and to work as an editor on one of the biggest B2B websites in the UK is an absolute treat. Prior to working on TechRadar Pro, I was the editor of ITProPortal for 8 years and have been covering and writing tech for my entire adult life.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the title you write for and its interest in data storage/mobile/cloud/infosec/virtualization.

TechRadar Pro is a fairly new title, we’ve been around for less than two years. However, because it has been carved out of TechRadar, UK’s biggest technology website, we already have a significant amount of uniques, far more than more established websites. I seldom write unless I attend an event, have an exclusive or snatch an important interview. As for our areas of interest, our roots lie in computing but my team and I have been working hard on diversifying the content production to include business technology at large. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Rose Ross talks to Hans De Leenheer, independent Blogger and vEXPERT

August 29, 2013

Hans de Leenheer, Independent blogger

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O, and Rosalind Carr, @Rosalind_at_O

This summer Rose caught up with Belgium based independent Blogger Hans De Leenheer @hansdeleenheer, chatting storage, virtualization, American Football and Storage Beers… Check out his latest insights at  http://hansdeleenheer.blogspot.co.uk/

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself:

As I was previously a systems engineer, I suppose initially I fell into blogging by putting solutions to problems encountered into a blog to help tackle these problems. In the last three years, I have put my focus more towards storage, compiling the how to’s and offering my insights into different areas of storage and virtualization.

As I started blogging more about new products and industry moves I gained interest from the vendor community. I got invites from DELL, HP and others to come to their events as an influencer. The best thing I do is being passionate about technology and sharing that passion with others, whether that is through writing, presenting or just speaking to people in person. And that is what I do today; I represent vendors when they need someone passionate to explain their technology. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Top tips for data storage startups: Check out the @Searchstorage top data storage startup list and aspire

September 5, 2011

By @Mike_at_LPDE

Dave Raffo at SearchStorage.com has compiled a list of his top emerging data storage startups.

http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/feature/Data-storage-startups-10-emerging-vendors-worth-watching

Think SSD, VDI and cloud and you’re on the money with his selections.

Many of them hopefully will be enjoying a well earned Labor Day break today as most, if not all, are HQ’d stateside. But keep an eye out over here in Europe for them, as many are exhibiting at top European shows such as IP EXPO, SNW Europe and VMworld Europe this Autumn (AKA Fall).

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Blogger Q & A: Devang Panchigar AKA @StorageNerve on hot technology and even hotter Curries

July 7, 2011

By @Rose_at_O

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself: 

Social Media was a scary word for me a few years ago, well it all changed when I wrote the first blog post. Then came along Twitter, Facebook and now Google Plus, the list keeps on expanding. Today Blogging, Twittering and having presence on social media channels is something that I feel is very important as we build communities around us for knowledge and information sharing. Social Media has been one of those defining factors of this decade and I am glad to be a small part of it.

I work at Computer Data Source, Inc as their Chief Technology Officer, we are a managed services organization working with channel partners and direct customers offering storage, systems and virtualization support and services in many parts of the world. Life is quite challenging working around the clock with our customers worldwide, but that is something I love and appreciate a lot.  Some of my responsibility include managing IT and R&D within the company, pre-sales support responsibilities, working with some of our large storage customers and some limited responsibilities around marketing. I am totally a hands on person when it comes to technology.

While the .com era was shaping, I was doing my Masters in Chemical Engineering, and decided it would be better to jump to Computer Science with the booming computer industry, I am glad I did.

……the last few years of 1990’s and the early few of 2000’s changed the IT industry.

 

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

I blog at StorageNerve.com and my twitter handle is @storagenerve. I have been working in the storage industry for the past 8 years and have enjoyed every moment in it. Storage is rapidly changing with introduction of virtualization technologies and other data center focused technologies, lets call Storage Sexy….and it really is.

Q. What’s hot in storage this year? 

Convergence of technologies into a stacked solution, call it the datacenter of the future, automation and orchestration of resources. SSD, Scale Out NAS, Replication and Federation. VMware is changing storage, Intel already changed storage in the last 4 to 5 years.

I will refrain from saying Cloud J. At the end of the day its all about managing the data growth and keeping your applications happy. Storage is no more about speeds and feeds.

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

Typically between vendor shows and events, I try to keep a balance, though easily that number exceeds double digits in a year. With the busy work schedule, it has been quite hard to stay away from office. On top of that all the business travel, and then you still need to keep a balanced family life and spend some quality time with the kids.

Though these events are very important as you can network with industry experts, vendor engineers and customers.

Q. Which one are you most looking forward to? 

VMworld is up next  …really looking forward to that. There might be some down the road, but they are not on the calendar yet.

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

Acquisitions are the big stories of 2010 and 2011, there are a few more, that may shape the future of the storage industry. Startups are really the incubators of the next generation storage technologies.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week? 

Typically 1 to 2 interviews a week with different vendors. I love to hear the pitch from new players in the storage and virtualization industry.  

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

Typically through a conference call, a technology deepdive without the marketing slides on how the technology works under the hood and how it solves business problems

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

Customers, Users

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

There are quite a few I read. But to start with, I hear the Infosmack Podcast and then Veeam Community Podcast. These podcasts are very informative and give a great deal of depth into a certain technology. Nigel Poulton’s Technical Deepdive – Infosmack Deepdive podcast is something I am looking forward to as well.

Then there is Twitter….and it’s a great medium for communication and learning, I read my own StorageNerve Daily (paper.li newspaper) that gives the top stories by the folks I follow on twitter. Twitter is a great distribution medium of content.

I am pretty regular on reading blogs – content from thestoragearchitect, Storagebod, Chuck Hollis, Barry Burke, Hu Yoshida, Michael Hay, David Merrill, StorageZilla, Steve Todd, Robin Harris, Nigel Poulton, Marc Farley, Stephen Foskett, Claus Mikkelsen and Barry Whyte.

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

Well today it is….

The integration between my Mac, iPad, iPhone and the 5 other idevices in the house, seemless / wireless syncing of music, calendars, movies, photos anywhere, anytime, its just awesome. iCloud may change it soon.

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

Virtualization. I like Storage Virtualization as well. Then there is SSD and some other emerging technologies. But by far, the biggest impact has been from Virtualization.

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

Keep it short, on the point, no marketing. Technology talk.

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

So far, out of all the them, the HDS Japan trip.

Lots of HDS executives, full access to Hitachi Engineers, Hitachi uValue convention – more than 50000 people come to this convention every year.

Being a vegetarian, initially I had a hard time with the food in Japan. But once the Japanese knew about it, they took great care of me. Walking around in the streets of Tokyo, riding the Bullet train, its just a different cultural experience. Since then, I have been to Japan twice and its always been a great experience there.

Though I have to say if I rank my top 5 trips, most of them would be those international trips.

Q. What’s your favourite restaurant?

Really love ‘THE BRICK LANE CURRY HOUSE’ in NYC. The taste of the curry they serve is something very comparable to what you find in London and Birhimgham. They also serve the Phaal curry (considered as the hottest curry). Outstanding food.

I also love Pizza.

I do recommend if you are into eating hot food and like curry, try The Brick Lane Curry House, you wont be disappointed.

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

For personal and some professional networking, Facebook is a great platform. What are the high school friends up to, any friends in your neck of the woods, keeping in touch with family members, it’s a great medium of connection today.

For business contacts LinkedIn has been the best to organize contacts and keep in touch with. I started a group on LinkedIn about 3 or 4 years ago called the Storage Professionals, this group is now the largest Storage group on LinkedIn.

As for Twitter, it is one of the best information consumption platforms for me.

Then there is Youtube, Flickr, Vimeo and many other apps for content distribution and consumption.  

I am all for social media…

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?  

I collect stamps, love the English Curry and I have a great deal of passion for German cars 🙂

 

 

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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 ?

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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, CNET.com, The Register, ComputerWeekly.com, BBC World Service magazines, eWeek Europe, Web Designer Magazine, Silicon.com, 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?

Mine.

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?

Wetherspoons.

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.

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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 storage-switzerland.com. 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. gcrump@storage-switzerland.com

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!

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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!

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Man on a data mountain – Chris Mellor, Storage Editor of www.theregister.co.uk 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 www.theregister.co.uk. 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 www.twitter.com/chris_mellor or his stories here.

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