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#storagebeers – Greg’s Buying!

Greg Knierieman, one of the ‘Gang of Three’ who host Speaking In Tech will be in London in mid-April; so it seems only right to celebrate with beer, probably followed by a curry.

This is your chance to meet Greg and ask him all the questions that you have, like

1) Is Eddie really that obnoxious and unemployable? Or is there some other reason why he can’t stay at a company longer than a few months?

2) Is Sarah really carrying a Neanderthal baby?

3) Has Greg been working out in case the Dell deal goes south?

If you fancy talking crap about storage and enterprise tech or just general crap!

So the date is April 17th and the venue is The Dispensary nr Aldgate, East London. Followed by curry afterwards at The Halal Restaurant.

#Storagebeers, SNIA Stuff

I posted a whilst ago giving early warning about a #storagebeers event in London.

This event will be Wednesday 23rd  May whilst most of the EMC storage world is partying in Vegas and having a great time (who knows, maybe one day I’ll work out how to get there). But we’ll hopefully also be having a good time as well in London.

1) It is Data Centre  Technology Academy time during the day;  come and heckle Alex McDonald or give him generous support as he works his way through a vendor-neutral presentation trying not to abuse his competitors. Always marvellous fun.

2) And then it will be London #storagebeers; Princess of Prussia is my proposed venue as it’s just a little walk from the DCTA venue. Hopefully then we’ll go and find somewhere to have a curry. I’m hoping we can get into Cafe Spice Namaste but failing that, we should be able to wander up the road and go to the Halal.

I’ve also been doing a little bit of work with SNIA Europe around how we get a bit more community involvement with SNIA and get more than the vendors involved. Please go here for the first SNIA Europe Blogger page/question…





Don’t SNIA at #storagebeers

I have just noticed that SNIA Data Centre Technology Academy London is this year at the The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, this is the same road as my favourite posh curry restaurant; also as is traditional for SNIA, it clashes with EMC-World and is on May 23rd.

Assuming that no-one decides to treat me and send me to EMC-World; I am probably going to organise #storagebeers followed by #storagecurry at Cafe Spice Namaste; I will post more nearer the date. But I know many attendees love a good curry and this is really good curry.

So this is an early warning and a good place to be if you can’t make it to EMC-World; you can console yourself in much better beer and a damn fine curry!!!

#storagebeers – 17th March

All, please note due to Cloud Camp also being on the 17th March; I have decided to move the venue of #storagebeers to somewhere closer to the Cloud Camp venue. Also note, it means that I will get to #storagebeers fashionably late!

Pretty much the closest pub to Cloud Camp is The Crown Tavern on Clerkenwell Green. This historic pub has played host to such luminaries as Lenin and Stalin.

There will also be an Infosmack event on 24th March where such eminent members of the Storagati as Marc Farley and Greg Knieriemen will be gracing themselves with their presence. Venue has yet to be announced as Greg appears to require a PA system which has many of us concerned…perhaps him and Farley are going to sing!

#storagebeers – London March 17th

I've been a bit remiss in organsing #storagebeers recently; so this is early warning of the next #storagebeers in London (although there might be another one between now and then). There is an EMC event in London on March 17th and that being St Patrick's Day when everyone who has heard a U2 record claims some kind of Oirish roots; it seems to be too good a chance to ignore. 

However this being #storagebeers; it must be entirely vendor neutral, all are welcome and indeed encouraged to attend. So after the EMC event, I suggest that all interested make their way to the Two Brewers  and anyone else who wants to attend to turn up whenever; probably sometime after six! 

Well that is the current plan anyway….but I'd love to see as many of you as possible there. And hopefully some non-EMCers for some bare-knuckle brawling later ;-) 

Cutting Edge

A couple of weeks ago; I was listening to Radio 4's Food Programme, a regular audio accompaniment to our Sunday lunch; they were contrasting the use of knives in the Western kitchen as opposed to the Chinese kitchen. 

In the average Chinese kitchen; there are very few knives with the most important of these being the Cleaver. To Western eyes the cleaver is probably a crude and brutish knife used mainly for cutting through bones and other tasks which require a hefty blade but in the hands of the skilled Chinese cook; it is pretty much the only knife needed. It can indeed be used in the way that a Western cook would use it but it can also be used for more refined tasks; indeed every part of the knife is used, from chopping, to sculpting to crushing. It is the only knife a Chinese cook really needs.

Compare that the Western kitchen, a knife for every purpose; you will find a Cleaver but you will find vegetable knives, carving knives, bread knives, cheese knives, filleting knives; a whole array of knives. To the Chinese cook's eyes this probably seems extremely profligate but Western cuisine has evolved in a very different way to that of Chinese due to different environmental requirements.

Neither way is right and neither way is wrong; arguably, you require more skill to wield a Cleaver to cover all the jobs in the Chinese kitchen but there is a counter-argument that you need greater knowledge to make the right choice in a Western kitchen. At the end of the day, the aims are the same and at least the interface is common. 

A pity we can't say the same for the storage industry really.

SNWE #storagebeers

There will be #storagebeers at SNW Europe this coming week and for once, I'll be in attendance for beers outside of the UK. 

These will at the Champions Bar at the Marriott opposite the Congress Centre where SNW Europe is taking place in Frankfurt starting from about 7:30 on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th October. I'm looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible either at #storagebeers or at the actual event. 

I should thank the team at SNW Europe for making my attendance at the event possible as they are picking up my flights and my hotel bill. 

We are also talking about arranging UK #storagebeers to celebrate the festive season later in the year; keep a look-out here and on twitter for news on these. 

And next year, we hope to do rather more with #storagebeers and perhaps do some more 'formal events'.

#storagebeers schedule – Autumn 2010

Although due to work commitments, I am not attending 360IT; I am intending to journey up to Earls Court after work to hopefully meet up with the inestimable Chris Evans and the indomitable Alex MacDonald tomorrow (Wednesday 22nd September 2010). If you are attending the show or are about generally, you are welcome to join us.

At present there is no agreed venue, so keep an eye on Twitter for venue.

As for more #storagebeers.

I am attending SNW Europe, so I very much suspect that there will be a meet-up there.

I will also be at IP Expo, so expect an announcement of #storagebeers there.

There are a couple of other events/announcements which hopefully I'll be attending, so watch Twitter for announcements!!

Beer, beer….we want more #storagebeer!

Yet another #storagebeers to be held on Tuesday after the SNIA Academy. This is an important one as we hopefully have not one but two special guests from the blogosphere. There will be other bloggers there and I'm not saying that you aren't special, you all are but these two are travelling some way to be with us!

Firstly, we have Alex MacDonald of NetApp; hopefully Alex will be joining us from the frozen North; okay Scotland but it's been so cold recently, I think it counts as the frozen North. 

And secondly, we have another NetApp blogger in the form of Val Bercovici who will be joining from warmer climes! 

So if you want an informal and hopefully wide-ranging discussion from these two members of the Storage Blogosphere; please come along! 

We shall be meeting in the Chesire Cheese which is close to the SNIA venue and also to Tower Hill tube. Please note, not the more famous Ye Olde Chesire Cheese on Fleet Street! 

p.s to make #storagebeers entries easier to find, I have added a #storagebeers category!


So the IT industry is starting to look like IHOP with stacks everywhere from Hitachi to Oracle, everyone is at it. It seems that infrastructure stacks are the new thing and everyone has to have one. And if you don't have one, you'd better announce one just in case.

So what is going on? Is this an admission that the heterogeneous infrastructure has failed? Is it an admission that the vendors are incapable of agreeing and implementing standards in a standard way? And what blame if any can be laid at the door of the humble infrastructure techie?

I think that firstly, heterogeneous infrastructure has been altogether too successful at emphasising the differences between infrastructures. Standards are implemented in differing ways and extended to give competitive advantage. Just take Fibre Channel, for what is basically a simple protocol; it's a joke! You put a fibre-channel switch into Interop mode and loose half the features which you paid for. Heck, half the time, they'll try to charge you extra just to put the switch into Interop mode. Yet half the features that you 'loose', you'll probably never miss anyway! I mean who is going to miss 'read-only' zones or LUN zoning on the MDS? I suspect pretty much no-one. So we've ended up in the situation where we've only got two SAN switch vendors with one pretty damaged, it's not a healthy situation really.

And of course the various implementations of standards have lead to compatibility matrices which are now longer than the manuals which come with the kit that they ship with. We've built an infrastructure with such complex dependencies that it is becoming impossible to manage. So now the very vendors who have caused this problem are coming to the rescue with certified solutions, guaranteed interoperability and reduced complexity (and a greater share of your infrastructure budget).

Well, don't expect me to cheer this heroism and I'd want a good look at the small print before I bought into any of these stacks. I want to know how long a stack was going to be supported for, how long it was going to be maintained, guaranteed non-disruptive migrations when I decide to upgrade, guaranteed interoperability between version 1 of a stack and version x of a stack.

I think ultimately the move to vertically integrated stacks is an admission of failure on the infrastructure vendor's part but as infrastructure techies we can take some of the blame; see the shiney tech! Pretty isn't it?