Posts Tagged ‘The Storage Architect’

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Q&A with Storagebod

December 13, 2010

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

Q.  Tell us a bit about you:

Being a rather shy individual, which is why there are very few pictures of me floating about the web, I’m not especially great talking about myself. But as many people know, I work for one of the largest broadcasters in the UK. What most people don’t know is that I wear two hats there.

Broadcast Storage Manager – this is obviously no big surprise considering what I write about and where my background is.

Integration and Test Manager – this probably a big surprise (and it constantly amazes me too). I look after a team of engineers who carry out QA work for broadcast applications but also work on making some the bits of broadcast infrastructure talk to each other.

Now, when I started my formal IT career some twenty odd years ago; I declared that there were two areas of IT I would not work in: test and storage! Both incredibly boring and test especially I was really rubbish at. I believe if code compiles cleanly, that should be enough for anyone.

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

I write Storagebod and it covers the whole spectrum of Data Storage and a bit of Cloud and Virtualisation. I guess it’s a mix of punditry, apoplexy and general observations from the user side. At present the voice of the user isn’t well represented in the storage blogosphere, so I do my best to represent users and kick the vendors when necessary.

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

A full-time blogger??? Gods no! At the Compellent Analysts, Journalists, Bloggers and Users dinner, the bloggers were asked to put their hands up and there were just the two of us. I believe we were told to look round at the journalists who get paid for what we do for free. Firstly, we don’t do what journalists do in general; and secondly, I couldn’t live on what most IT journalists get paid.

Anyway, my working life? Well as I say, I run two teams; I pretend to be hands on technical with regards to storage, which seems to be most of the time loading tape libraries with inordinate amounts of tapes and generally being a pest. If you keep an eye on a certain 24 hour news channel, you might at times see me in the background as I walk into their computer room.

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

The same as any other year: how we manage the data explosion. What I would like to see being hot is how do we actually contain the data explosion and stop creating/storing crap which has no value to anyone. More and more stuff is being stored which in the past would have been shredded and recycled as something useful; by the time it’s made it to the storage device, it’s too late!

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

Only one or two, mostly because I generally end up doing them in my own time.

Q – Which one are you most looking forward to?

I went to SNW Europe this year for the first time and had a great time. I’m hoping to go again providing that they ask me again (BIG HINT).

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

Clustered storage and NAS, but that’s because it’s what I’m interested in professionally.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

Why? Do I need to be doing interviews? Has my boss told you something?

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

Over beer and curry. Still if I have too much beer, I’ll probably forget what you’ve told me.

Q. – Who is worth listening to?

People who work for end users and not vendors.

Q. – What’s your favourite blog?

thestoragearchitect.com; gods know when Chris finds the time to write but he does and it’s generally excellent and on the mark.

Q – What is your favourite piece of technology?

Oh, I have so many favourite pieces of technology; I’m a complete techno-addict. I guess  my favourite thing is Spotify.

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

/dev/null; or at least it should be!

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

Don’t bother pitching them to me. I’ll find the stuff I’m interested in and the people I’m interested in.

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?

I’ve only really been on one, so I don’t have a lot to compare it with. Actually I do have a tip though; I have a day job, so generally attending trips/events means me taking leave…I’m not going to do too many in that case, so make sure it’s going to be really interesting and not just some lousy product launch.

Q –  What’s your favourite restaurant?

I don’t have a favourite restaurant but I think Gordon Ramsay is an over-rated tosser, so I avoid his restaurants like the plague.

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

I spend far too much time on Twitter. I do have FB and LinkedIn accounts as well…but Twitter is my main one.

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 was dressed in a pink basque and stockings when I met my wife; she thought I looked very pretty but decided that I needed some make-up, so she did my face. It was a Rocky Horror party BTW!

As for unusual hobbies? Certainly not, well I don’t think that they are unusual!

Copyright ©Launchpad Europe 2010. All rights reserved. You may copy and distribute this material as long as  you credit the author where possible; the copies are distributed only for non-commercial purposes and at no charge; and you include this copyright notice and link to Countdown2StorageExpo.com, the original source of the work.

If you have any questions, please contact Launchpad Europe, info@launchpad-europe.com.

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Q and A with #storage blogger Chris Evans – Mr Storage Architect

October 21, 2010

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

We’re delighted to now have our first interview with leading storage blogger. Chris will be at SNW Europe next week so be sure to send him a tweet or say Hi to him at #storagebeers or should I say #storagebiers in Frankfurt!

Q. Tell us a bit about you: 

CE: I live in Bedfordshire with my wife and two children and for the last 23 something years I’ve worked in IT, mainly in independent roles.  These days I spend my time consulting to large clients, which has tended to have a focus on the financial sector.  This is mainly in the storage area but isn’t exclusively storage-based.  Outside of work I try to spend as much time as possible with my family, which usually finds me on the sidelines of football pitches for most of the weekend, watching my sons play.  I’m keen on photography, cycling and of course as anyone who knows me will tell you, food too!

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

CE:My main blogging site is The Storage Architect (www.thestoragearchitect.com) although I have a new site at www.thevirtualisationarchitect.com that concentrates more on virtualisation and cloud issues.  I like to write with the perspective of an IT architect, so you’ll find me discussing the issues involved in delivering IT and storage as a service.  I also do reviews from time to time and also post occasionally on more specific technical subjects.

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

CE: Unfortunately blogging is just a labour of love and something I do when time permits!  I have a real day job consulting with my colleagues at Langton Blue (www.langtonblue.com).  We try and look at IT issues from a business perspective and help clients solve their problems.  This can be anything from optimising their storage environment to assisting in tenders for new products.  I like dealing with many customers as it gives a wide range of perspectives on the industry; no one company does everything right.

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

CE:We’ve seen a large number of acquisitions as the larger vendors look to strengthen their storage portfolios.  These have centered around delivering storage for utility computing, data reduction (e.g. De-dupe technologies) and of course meeting the needs of virtualisation.  I expect in the next 12 months we’ll see more around primary de-duplication and integrating cloud and on-premise storage solutions.

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

CE: In previous years not many, other than the UK’s Storage Expo, which seems to have lost its way.  However I have travelled extensively this year as part of vendor tech briefing days, including a trip to Japan, which was a great experience.

Q – Which one are you most looking forward to?  

CE: n the coming year I’m looking to try some new events such as Microsoft’s TechEd in order to get a different view of the market.  I’m hoping to get to HP’s Forum next year and possibly VMworld and of course I will be attending SNW Europe next week.

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

CE: I’m interested to see how infrastructure is converging and how that will have an effect on the way we view technology delivery.  We’re moving away from a silo’ed approach where the Network/Storage/Server teams had little interaction into a scenario where IT professionals need to have a wide range of knowledge.  I’m also keen to see what solutions will be developed to implement IT on a large scale as required to deliver Cloud Computing.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

CE: Perhaps 2-3 a week, depending on how announcements come out.  These are almost exclusively ‘phone calls as most IT companies are based in the US.  It can mean some are at slightly unsociable hours!

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

CE: Email and Twitter are probably best as I can’t always guarantee to answer ‘phone calls if I’m on customer sites.  Mail is way to slow to bother with!  You can always mail me (chris@brookend.com) or contact me on Twitter – @chrismevans.

Q – What is your favourite piece of technology?

CE: I think it would have to be my iPhone.  I’ve been a big fan of electronic organisers for many years, including the great Psion devices.  The iPhone provides everything in a single place, so I don’t need multiple devices to listen to music, browse the web and take notes.  I can also ensure anything I need to access is synchonised automatically because of the “always on” nature of the phone.  The App Store was a piece of genius thinking from Apple as it essentially extends what was otherwise a static device into something that can offer more and more every day.  I’d like a longer battery life on my iPhone as a full charge sometimes doesn’t last the day!


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

CE: hat’s a tricky question as it would be easy to pick a few recent developments as examples.  However, I started on the mainframe platform so many of the things we see today aren’t new.  Without a doubt we wouldn’t be here today without the disk drive and more specifically the packaging of the 3.5” drive that has become ubiquitous today.  I do admire the scentists who can manage to squeeze more and more capacity into the same form factor by inventing new recording techniques. RAID also played a massive part in improving reliability and availability of data.  There are many more amazing developments that are too numerous to mention here.


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

CE: I expect to see something real and quantifiable in a story.  I’m not interested in seling successes, but much more in seeing how companies have innovated and produced unique and real ideas that are game changers.  I’m always interesting in reading about those.

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?

CE: Without doubt it has to be this year’s trip to Japan with Hitachi/HDS.  It was amazing to experience such a different culture to that in the west.  The local team were so organised in ensuring we got from one event to another in typically efficient Japanese fashion, but at the same time we had a chance to experience some great restaurants and engage with senior execs at Hitachi.  I think PRs should be making an effort to get a good balance between the formal and informal parts of the event and get execs accessible to the bloggers.  The best discussions occur in the restaurants and bars after the formal presentations.

Q- What’s your favourite restaurant?

CE:  don’t really have a particular favourite as I love to try new places all the time, however as a family we find ourselves regularly at Pizza Express and Loch Fyne to get our pizza and seafood fixes!  Fortunately, living just outside London gives is plenty of choice and on a recent trip to Barcelona I was able to indulge in some great paella.

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

CE: Absolutely I’m a fan (and I guess I’d have to say that anyway) but it is true.  Social media has done many things; it’s opened up the world for people to communicate and share with friends and family in a way they never could before.  It has changed the way IT vendors approach customers and made them be more responsive and open, which provides great value to the end user.

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?

CE: Unfortunately I don’t have any peculiar talents, however in the internet boom I co-founded a company selling music online before Apple released their iTunes store.  In fact we sold customised CDs first, as the way to get just the tracks you wanted then moved into digital downloads but we were too far ahead of the market and couldn’t get access to decent music content.

Copyright ©Launchpad Europe 2010. All rights reserved. You may copy and distribute this material as long as  you credit the author where possible; the copies are distributed only for non-commercial purposes and at no charge; and you include this copyright notice and link to Countdown2StorageExpo.com, the original source of the work.

If you have any questions, please contact Launchpad Europe, info@launchpad-europe.com.