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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.
IMFT 25nm Flash die

Will multi-tier flash arrays come to a data centre near you?

Multi-tier storage is a familiar concept in data centres and large server installations. In the old days, this was often a simple case of having a single-access bus type with different-speed disks, for example SCSI-based disk arrays with 15,000rpm disks in the “fast” set and 7,200rpm or 5,400rpm in the “slow” set. Commonly, …
Dave Cartwright, 17 Sep 2014

Convergence as a new new thing

Nearly 20 years ago I was technical editor of a weekly networking and telecoms newspaper. In those days the big word was “convergence” – at that time in the context of telephony and data coming together into a single network infrastructure and protocol set. Here we are in 2014, and that word is once again being bandied about – …
Dave Cartwright, 15 May 2014
Various devices including phone, laptop and tablet

Danger, Will Robinson! Beware the hidden perils of BYOD

When I first became involved with networked PCs, the company I was working with was upgrading its NetWare 2.0a installation to 2.15. We were pushing the boundaries of networking with our three-way gateway connecting Ethernet, Token Ring and PCnet. The only local storage on all but the most high-end PCs was a floppy drive, and …
Dave Cartwright, 06 May 2014
NHS Files on a desk

Aah, that warm sharing feeling. Just don't let the cloud rain on your firm

Data is the lifeblood of every business. Without it we would know nothing of our products, our customers, our processes, our policies, our staff or our financial state. Data is everything. Well, almost everything. Storing it is one thing, but it is irrelevant if the right people can't access it in the right way at the right time …
Dave Cartwright, 02 May 2014
Source: Simply Smile Photography by Georgia Stephenson

No, it's not a boy band, it's a biz backup suite: A dig into Druva inSync

Druva seems to be on a quest right now to get its name seen by as many people as possible; lately I have been bombarded by more inSync banner ads than I can shake a stick at. So it came as no surprise when the Reg asked me to have a look at what the backup and management biz does – and whether it is any good at it. The inSync …
Dave Cartwright, 30 Apr 2014

VMware 5.5: Plenty that's new and exciting... but what about the obvious stuff?

For a number of years I sat on the periphery of server virtualisation. After all, I ran my company's network and telecoms team, and if I had a server issue I'd wander five yards to the servers and storage team and ask them nicely to fix their world. Bung in the CD and click Next, Next, Next (click to enlarge) With the …
Dave Cartwright, 15 Apr 2014

The cloud awaits... but is your enterprise ready for the jump?

I have worked with a number of companies that explored the cloud as an option for their infrastructure, and recently I worked for two that are cloud service providers themselves. So I have often had conversations in the past few years along the lines of: “Is the cloud suitable for my business?” A good way to find out if you are …
Dave Cartwright, 04 Apr 2014
Merlin Data Center Backup Generators

Put your feet up and make the virtual data centre work for you

Many of the companies I have worked and consulted for over the years have rented server space from service providers. You are only really likely to do that, though, if you are a relatively small company. Larger organisations are able to buy multi-tiered services so they control not just the configuration of the apps on the …
Dave Cartwright, 25 Mar 2014
Nathan Corum, David de Rothschild and Jo Royle

Prepare your data centre to face the future

When you are trying to persuade your company to spend a pile of cash on a new installation, you can be certain it will want to be sure the installation can support the business for the coming years. Given that the average technology crystal ball is cloudy at best, how do you evolve your data centre while protecting against a …
Dave Cartwright, 18 Mar 2014
Windsurfer mid-flight (3CX logo in sail)

3CX PBX for Windows: Everything you ever wanted from a phone system

Back in the 1990s when I started to work with telephone and voicemail systems it was all pretty straightforward: install some analogue or ISDN lines and write a vast cheque for a PBX. This meant, in my case, an Alcatel 4400 and an Octel Serenade voicemail server. The handsets were digital, though proprietary, and connected by …
Dave Cartwright, 19 Nov 2013
Apple Maiden data center storage

Services fuel the next generation data centre

In its basic form, a data centre is just a big room full of cages and cabinets, with highly reliable power, efficient security, fire and flood protection and a variety of internal and external network connectivity. In recent years providers have tried to differentiate their offerings but there is not really that much you can do …
Dave Cartwright, 17 Nov 2013
Some network cables

What's wrong with network monitoring tools? Where do I start...

For as long as I can remember I've worked in an environment where there's a screen on the wall showing the status of the company's systems. Or actually, in one case, showing the status of the company's systems unless there was a test match on. From time to time that information's been useful. Unfortunately, most of the time we' …
Dave Cartwright, 13 Nov 2013
Facebook data center - interior, lit up

Want a unified data centre? Don't forget to defrag the admins

An effective data centre is more than just some racks of servers with a bit of networking and storage attached. It needs to be versatile, easy and quick to flex and reconfigure, both manually and automatically, and it needs to keep up with the demands of the applications that run there. Historically, though, many of the …
Dave Cartwright, 03 Nov 2013

Hyperscaling gives you power when you need it

Hyperscale computing, or simply hyperscaling, is a concept that has begun to be talked about relatively recently. Let's kick off with Webopedia's definition: Hyperscale computing refers to the infrastructure and provisioning needed in distributed computing environments for effectively scaling from several servers to thousands of …
Dave Cartwright, 30 Sep 2013

OpenDaylight: meet networking's bright newcomer

Few of us have come across the word OpenDaylight in polite conversation lately, however many years we have spent using and managing networks. It is, however, one of a number of related words that we are all going to be using a great deal over the next 12 to 18 months. Let us look at what it is and, more importantly, the wider …
Dave Cartwright, 27 Sep 2013

Give them a cold trouser blast and data centre bosses WILL dial up the juice

If you've ever looked at putting your servers and other infrastructure in a data centre, you'll have come across the power limitation they place upon you: they'll only allow your kit to suck up a certain amount before they cut you off. Generally, they'll tell you that you can have three or four kilowatts per cabinet, and even if …
Dave Cartwright, 23 Jul 2013

Virtualisation extremist? Put down that cable and step away slowly

Virtualisation is everywhere, particularly the data centre, and that's a good thing - if used wisely. Virtualisation can help you milk the greatest possible performance (and hence maximum value) from the physical gear. Running multiple virtual servers on top of a physical server platform allows you to minimise wasted CPU and RAM …
Dave Cartwright, 17 Jul 2013

Data centre networks are getting flatter and fitter

We have all come across the traditional corporate network with three distinct layers: the core layer dealing with heavy-duty switching and routing, which runs on socking big switches and routers; the distribution layer dealing with lighter (but still intelligent) tasks such as packet filtering and some routing; and the access …
Dave Cartwright, 23 Apr 2013
management big_data4

Time to put 'Big Data' on a forced diet

Data is big business. These days they've even started calling it “Big Data”, just in case its potential for unbridled magnitude had escaped anyone. Of course, if you have Big Data you need somewhere to put it. Hence storage is also big business. On the one hand this is a good thing, but that's just because several of my …
Dave Cartwright, 21 Mar 2013

Don't believe the IT hype: Ye cannae change the laws of physics

It's fun to be on the receiving end of IT advertising. The vendor's ads start by promising to solve your business problems better than the competition can, and then the superlatives begin to snowball until an answer to global warming and a solution for war in Iraq are both in there among the plug-ins you can buy to make your …
Dave Cartwright, 05 Mar 2013

Don't get 2e2'd: How to survive when your IT supplier goes titsup

I used to know a finance director who had a favourite mantra: “Minimise fixed costs.” The concept's a simple one: by all means use permanent staff to deal with the aspects of your business that don't change much, but where your revenue streams go up and down, think of ways of allowing the cost of servicing those revenue streams …
Dave Cartwright, 11 Feb 2013

SLAs keep demands for business applications under control

It is not uncommon for the IT department to find itself some way down the food chain. You know how it is: the business guys decide to implement their shiny new applications and the IT department somehow has to find the platforms to run it on. The first step is to define the requirements for the application – both those that aren …
Dave Cartwright, 27 Jun 2011
The Register breaking news

Help - my desktop in the cloud has evaporated!

If everything is in the cloud, desktop and apps, then what does support do for a living and what are the new set of challenges this presents? On the face of it, cloud computing solves a lot of problems. Centralised computing, ease of management and update, a managed service approach that reduces the need for in-house expertise …
Dave Cartwright, 24 Mar 2011
server room

Measuring the datacentre as a service

The precise nature of a company's datacentre varies from place to place. In some cases it will simply be a server room in the company's own premises; in others it may be multiple dedicated buildings many miles apart with robust, resilient interlinks. Whichever it is, the metrics or service measurement are the same. The first …
Dave Cartwright, 14 Mar 2011
cable

Growing your web server farm to cope with fluctuating demand

Thanks to support for multi-core processors and terabytes of memory, servers have never been more scaleable. When it comes to hosting web sites and applications, however, server farms based on relatively modest hardware still dominate because they make dealing with fluctuations in demand easier. Host a web site on a single …
Dave Cartwright, 10 Mar 2011
Broken CD with wrench

How do you quantify service performance

Service availability and performance are key to running businesses efficiently, given today’s massive reliance on computing systems. How do you determine how a system should perform, and how do you measure that performance? The measurement aspect is relatively simple. All modern operating systems come with basic in-built …
Dave Cartwright, 09 Mar 2011