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Dave Cartwright

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Dave Cartwright has worked in most aspects of IT in his 20-year-or-so career, though the things he claims to be quite good at are strategy, architecture, integration and making broken stuff become unbroken. His main pastime is shouting at people who try to install technology without considering whether it actually fits the business or the requirement. Dave is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered IT Professional and Fellow of the BCS, and lives with his family on a small rock in the English Channel.
Ireland map, photo via Shutterstock

Over Ireland? Bothered by Brexit? Find that new home for your cloud

As we all know, the cloud isn't an amorphous, non-geographical blob of computing. Which is a good thing, because there are plenty of legal implications around where your data lives and where it moves both to and from. The point is, of course, that as the cloud isn't just a cloud, your choice of provider is largely dependent on …
Dave Cartwright, 13 Jun 2016
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Life after Safe Harbour: Avoiding Uncle Sam's data rules gotchas

Back in the day I used to work for a multi-national company with a big presence in the US. I learned a lot there, from the usefulness of a BA silver card to how to run the tendering process for a big global WAN. I also learned what a big deal our US cousins make of their data export regulations. This doesn't mean, of course, …
Dave Cartwright, 01 Jun 2016
This Damn War image via Shutterstock

Label your cables: A cautionary tale from the server room

This damn war Friends of friends can be a pain in the nuts when you're in IT: you find yourself invited to someone's house “for a beer” and then somehow end up kneeling in a dark, dusty under-stair cupboard trying to coax a six-year-old router back into life. The only thing potentially more daunting is former employees of suppliers of …
Dave Cartwright, 11 May 2016
microsoft_clippy_648

There's more to life than Windows

When you run a corporate IT infrastructure, the chances are you run Active Directory underpinning a predominantly Windows-based array of servers, desktops and laptops. And that's fine: it probably serves 90 per cent of the kit you have and is a secure, easy-to-use way of authenticating user logins. But it's very unusual to …
Dave Cartwright, 28 Apr 2016
Man with head in the cloud

All that is white and fluffy isn't always cloud: Hybrid infrastructure

The hybrid infrastructure. People have been banging on about them for a few years now – not least the vendors who want to sell you kit that will let you spread your infrastructure between on-premises, private data centres and the cloud. Now that much of hype about the cloud has started to die down (that doesn't mean it's gone …
Dave Cartwright, 20 Apr 2016
Hair inside an ASUS S6F

Managing infrastructure, a newbie's guide: Simple stuff you need to know

We all have IT and telco infrastructure equipment that's getting older. Time marches on and few of us have the funds or resources to renew everything when it reaches its official point of being written off by the bean-counters. We all, then, have some kind of legacy kit clinging onto its existence – even if it doesn't quite …
Dave Cartwright, 07 Apr 2016
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We bet your firm doesn't stick to half of these 10 top IT admin tips

IT is perceived in mixed ways by users. Some look on the amazing stuff it does and think there must be witchcraft going on in there somewhere. Others think that because they configured their Wi-Fi printer and Sky box at home, they're a genius of computing. If you're to preserve order, security and governance in the use of your …
Dave Cartwright, 06 Apr 2016
Poster for the movie Cable Guy. Copyright:  Columbia Pictures Corporation,

Call the Cable Guy: Wireless just won't cut it

Wireless networking is regarded by many as the way to go for corporate networking. No need for expensive structured cabling, no need to re-patch stuff when someone moves desk, and sufficiently secure to make it suitable for corporate use. I am inclined to agree with that last point: rank up the encryption to WPA2-AES and use …
Dave Cartwright, 01 Apr 2016

When should you bin that old mainframe? Infrastructure 101

It's very easy to forget that buying kit for your infrastructure is just the first step on a long, long road. It's also easy to forget that everyone keeps their infrastructure kit going for years longer than their accountants depreciate it: we've all got something in the comms room that's still clinging to life. And this is …
Dave Cartwright, 31 Mar 2016

OK, so the users want corporate apps on the move. Don't Panic

People want to be able to do their job from wherever they happen to be. It's understandable – if you don't need to be in an office chained to your desk then why not work somewhere more convenient? Let's look at five ways to make this achievable. Remote access to local apps At the most basic level you have the traditional …
Dave Cartwright, 30 Mar 2016

Confused by crypto? Here's what that password hashing stuff means in English

Cryptography is dead hard. But being conversant in the key aspects of cryptography – to the extent that you could even explain some of it to colleagues and management – puts you one step ahead of most. Here are five things that'll make you sound like you know what you're talking about. 1. Digital certificates The most common …
Dave Cartwright, 25 Mar 2016
Doctors run to save patient. Photo by Shutterstock

Wait... who broke that? Things you need to do to make your world diagnosable

You only ever discover the inadequacy of your system management, monitoring and diagnosis tools when something goes wrong and there's a gulf between what you want to do and what you need to do. Here are 10 things you can do to maximise your chances of diagnosing the problem when the brown stuff hits the ventilator. Ladies and …
Dave Cartwright, 24 Mar 2016

Okay IT pros, change happens. But here's your Reg guide to staying in control

When I started my IT career, the organisations I worked with didn't really do formal change management. And that wasn't really a problem: either they were small enough for it not to matter (we just told the handful of users: “We're about to upgrade X”), or the departments I worked in were sufficiently small and autonomous that …
Dave Cartwright, 23 Mar 2016

Who watches over your data – and how do you know it won't go AWOL?

There are a couple of alternative interpretations of the concept of data ownership. The first relates to the legal ownership of data – the intellectual property aspects such as copyrights, designs and trademarks. Now, while that's a world I did work in for a few years it's the other interpretation I'm concerned with here: the …
Dave Cartwright, 15 Mar 2016

Polite, helpful? Stop it at once in the name of security

In this article I'm going to talk about the second most important aspect of being an IT manager or engineer. “The second?” I hear you cry. Yes, the second, because the most important aspect is terribly dull and doesn't take 800 words to describe: safety. (And if you think I'm mad, ask yourself whether you'd break down the door …
Dave Cartwright, 14 Mar 2016
This Damn War image via Shutterstock

Computer says: Stop using MacWrite II, human!

This Damn War My first proper job was at the university at which I'd been studying; when I graduated in Computing Science there were a couple of tech support jobs going and I managed to bag one of them. I started as the Unix guy (these were the days when SunOS was still SunOS – the Solaris name was yet to come) but later on I gravitated into …
Dave Cartwright, 14 Mar 2016
Dyson DC58 Animal

SMBs? Are you big enough to have a serious backup strategy?

One of the TLAs* we come across all the time in IT is CIA. It's not, in this context, a shady American intelligence force: as far as we're concerned it stands for Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability – the three strands you need to consider as part of your security and data management policies and processes. Most …
Dave Cartwright, 02 Mar 2016
David Caruso as famously sunglasses-lowering cheeseball crime scene investigator Horatio Crane in CSI: Miami. Photo copyright CBS

CSI: Let's get out of the lab, interview the suspect, then do a warrantless search

Is CSI a real thing? No, I don't mean the American TV series about investigating crime scenes: that's clearly a very broad-strokes* take on a real job. I'm talking about Continual Service Improvement – that thing that you see on business cards and on LinkedIn profiles from time to time, and think to yourself: “Is that actually a …
Dave Cartwright, 10 Feb 2016
Afraid of the dark, image via Shutterstock

Lights out! Newbie IT manager's dark basement trip

This Damn War Hello and welcome to a brand-new Register series taken from the front line of high tech and business, encompassing war stories from our readers and writers about clumsy contractors, slippery suppliers, and the machinations of management. It's tales of fail, "I told you so" moments, and of getting away with it. Kicking off is …
Dave Cartwright, 11 Jan 2016
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Black Friday Blues: How to dodge a thankless day's online sales crush

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, the day when – having celebrated the Pilgrim Fathers' survival of their first winter – the public celebrate by going shopping. Indeed, so enthusiastic was their celebration, retailers would see their balances slide into the black. Increasingly, Black Friday has moved into the …
Dave Cartwright, 09 Nov 2015
Roundabout. Pic: Roundabout Fun, Flickr

How to get the fun stuff back in your data centre

The cloud is a fabulous concept. If you want to try something out, or prototype your latest idea, or give yourself a relatively inexpensive disaster recovery setup, get in there and run up a cloud-based installation. There's something that the cloud lacks, though: it's just not fun or cool. Lists of virtual machines in the …
Dave Cartwright, 29 Oct 2015
Woman drawing  boxes and arrows

When hyperconvergence meets the cloud (but who will need it?)

Hyperconvergence is a term that's being bandied about all over the place. Whatis.com tells us that it's “a type of infrastructure system with a software-centric architecture that tightly integrates compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources and other technologies from scratch in a commodity hardware box supported …
Dave Cartwright, 26 Oct 2015

The enterprise IT landscape: Five key ways it will change

Blog The more IT managers (of which I'm one in my day job) I talk to, the more I head people wondering where IT will be going over the next five years. The times are, as a Mr. Zimmerman sang in 1964, a-changin': but what will be different? I reckon things will evolve in five key ways. Cloud storage Storage in the cloud is already …
Dave Cartwright, 20 Oct 2015

External vs internal: Why hybrid cloud is the way to go

A never-ending stream of cloud providers tells us that they can do a better job than our internal IT departments. And occasionally we come across surveys claiming the same thing. Is it all marketing puff or is there some substance in claims that external is better than internal? They look after the servers for you … but ... …
Dave Cartwright, 12 Oct 2015
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic Shutterstock.com

Don't panic, biz bods: A guide to data in the post-Safe Harbor world

The Safe Harbor agreement this week suddenly became of interest to a lot more IT managers than had previously given a stuff about it. But what is Safe Harbor, exactly? The Safe Harbor agreement between the US and the EEA - which comprises the member states of the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein – dating from 2000, …
Dave Cartwright, 09 Oct 2015