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Robin Birtstone

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Binary data/big data conceptual illustration. Illustration via Shutterstock

Business hunches are so 1977. Proper data's a lot more grown-up

Sponsored In business, should you trust your gut, or go by the numbers? Business mythology and Hollywood favour the gut. Both cite stories about maverick geniuses that ignored everyone’s advice and won big. Sure, it happens, but maybe not as much as you’d think. We’re affected by survivorship bias, concentrating on those that got it …
Robin Birtstone, 28 Sep 2017

The cloud is great for HPC: Discuss

Sponsored article High-performance computing (HPC) environments are expensive. Government research facilities and commercial laboratories spend hundreds of thousands building out large, monolithic supercomputers and then jealously guard their compute cycles. This approach to HPC is restrictive. It creates a rarified environment in which only the …
Robin Birtstone, 16 Jun 2017

Are you ready to transform?

Sponsored Digital transformation has been a boardroom buzzphrase for the last couple of years. If your CEO hasn’t asked you to explain it, then the invitation’s in the mail. Are you ready to tell them what it is, and what you’re doing to help make it happen? Let’s start with what it is. In March, IDC published an HPE-sponsored document …
Robin Birtstone, 28 Apr 2017
Businessman makes A-OK sign. Photo by Shutterstock

Transforming your infrastructure with cloud services

Sponsored article Infrastructure as a Service can make your computing operations more scalable and agile. It may also be the first step to something larger. If you’re considering a move to cloud computing, then you’re not alone. An increasing number of organizations are taking advantage of its scalability and agility. The first step for many is …
Robin Birtstone, 10 Mar 2017
DDoS

DDoS in 2017: Strap yourself in for a bumpy ride

DDoS attacks have been around since at least 2000, and they’re not going away. In fact, as the number of devices online grows, the volume and velocity of these attacks is also increasing. Whole industries have developed around launching and preventing DDoS campaigns as black hats and white hats battle for dominance, and 2017 …
Robin Birtstone, 16 Dec 2016
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Can ISPs step up and solve the DDoS problem?

Solve the DDoS problem? No problem. We’ll just get ISPs to rewrite the internet. In this interview Ian Levy, technical director of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, says it’s up to ISPs to rewrite internet standards and stamp out DDoS attacks coming from the UK. In particular, they should change the Border Gateway Protocol …

​The hybrid cloud wants your data

Promo A coding competition is coming soon, brought to you by The Register in partnership with IBM. For now all we can tell you is that IBM's Cloudant platform will play a part in the proceedings. So let's get the ball rolling with this call to developers, data science professionals and IT analytic architects to sign up now for a …
Robin Birtstone, 26 May 2016

What are you doing to spot a breach?

Technology moves quickly, not just in legitimate business, but in the cybercriminal world too. Advanced attack tools are now available on the black market, lowering the barrier to entry for the average online lowlife. They are happy to target large and small organizations alike, and they only have to be lucky once. Security …

Going on a thin client diet

We may not be in the post-PC age, but we’re definitely in the ‘plus everything else’ era. A gaggle of new mobile devices has gathered to join the PC, and it’s making things more complex for IT administrators. Smart phones were already heavily in the enterprise, and now, tablets are gaining traction too. How can they cut through …

Of course you can text and call while driving – it's perfectly safe

We are often lectured not to talk or text while driving, yet increasingly, our cars are doing it all the time. The connected car is finally here, and it is the ultimate distracted driver. While getting you from A to B, it is also monitoring its own tyre pressure and adjusting its suspension accordingly. It is ready to call the …
Robin Birtstone, 21 Oct 2015
Tangle of cables attached to a telegraph pole

Of OpenStack and Cloud Orchestrator

Tomorrow’s computing systems will extend from legacy hardware and applications inside the company, through to virtualized, API-friendly applications still on-premise in the data centre, and further out to cloud-based systems off-premise. These in turn will divide down still further into dedicated, single-tenant cloud-based …
Robin Birtstone, 19 Oct 2015
Plate spinning routine by Henrik Bothe

Managing DevOps in the hybrid cloud

Here’s the big challenge for companies wanting to excel at software delivery: how can you foster fast development and rollouts of software tools, while supporting new deployment platforms, such as hybrid cloud environments? There’s a lot to juggle, and it won’t be easy. DevOps can help. DevWhat? DevOps isn’t so much a product …
Robin Birtstone, 28 Sep 2015
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Are you a digital leader or a high-maintenance digital dunce?

When it comes to implementing IT effectively, not all companies are equal. Some place a heavy emphasis on business outcomes, and tie deployment strongly to business outcomes. Some merely keep the engines running without really thinking about what they’re doing, or why. Some use IT to innovate and disrupt their businesses, and …
Robin Birtstone, 17 Aug 2015
Ideal for a summer blast

How to keep track of your flexible workers

It has been two years since Yahoo! chief Marissa Meyer hauled her remote working employees back into the office, intent on eliminating flexible working. The concept is becoming more popular, though, whether people like Ms Meyer like it or not. In June 2014, an amendment to the UK’s Children and Families Act came into effect. …
Robin Birtstone, 23 Jul 2015
head of 50s-style robot

In search of an easier life: Do IT converged systems fit the bill?

Could converged systems change the way that IT admins spend their time? Figures suggest that mundane tasks such as backups and restores and system patches take between two and ten hours a week for around a third of those responsible for administering systems. Even more time is spent monitoring systems to ensure that they’re …
Robin Birtstone, 25 Jun 2015

A brief introduction to converged infrastructure

Sometimes, it’s better to think inside the box. Bundling different IT components together into a single unit may just solve some of your computing problems, if you plan it right. Welcome to the world of IT convergence. Depending on which vendor or analyst you talk to, it’s known as an integrated system, a unified computing …
Robin Birtstone, 23 Jun 2015

Automation eases the pain of software patching

The three biggest challenges for IT managers are security, reliability and performance. Ideally, an organisation’s software will excel at all three but in practice we know that isn’t true. Even the best-laid software development plans let bugs through which can cause problems in all these areas. So patching the organisation’s …
Robin Birtstone, 11 May 2015
Shot of a girl with a mask biking through Beijing

Web protection: A flu mask for the internet

The internet is no longer optional for organisations. It is where business lives. Unfortunately, it is also probably the worst neighbourhood on the planet, filled with cybercriminals, hacktivists, and corporate and state spies. And the internet is both the largest and the smallest neighbourhood. All of these people live just …
Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy book cover

Don't count on antivirus software alone to keep your data safe

TJX hacking mastermind Albert Gonzalez scoffed at antivirus tools. He and his cohorts wrote malware specifically designed to evade their detection. One can imagine him laughing as his team of hackers broke into corporate networks using SQL injection attacks and gained administrative access. Then he probably guffawed, Bond …
Smartphones

Are dangers lurking on your workers' operating systems?

We have had enough wake-up calls now, right? Enough squeaky-bum moments. Events over the past year have made it clear that hackers, whether sponsored by the NSA, GCHQ or a crooked millionaire, can and will breach the defences of mobile operating systems of any type. For IT, it has become apparent that guaranteeing the …
Robin Birtstone, 14 Nov 2014
A wrong way road sign in Boston, Massachusetts

Finding the formula for the travelling salesman problem

A wrong way road sign in Boston, Massachusetts What do heuristics, graph theory and doughnuts have in common? Each of them, in its own way, underpins one of the most challenging parts of the logistics process: planning delivery routes. Every day, millions of products find their way from manufacturers to distributors, …
Robin Birtstone, 18 Jun 2014
Container Vessel at Sea

You've made the product, now get it to the customers

Logistics may not seem as sexy as, say, R&D or social-media marketing – but messing it up could easily ruin your business. There are several things SMEs should think about when planning the part of their business that gets products out to customers. Far too many companies miss out this key part of the business equation, warns …
Robonaut 2 with stuff. Credit: NASA

Automating repetitive tasks: If it moves, script it

Workshop DBAs can often fall into the trap of carrying out repetitive tasks and processes. The good news is that you can automate a lot of these tasks to save time, money, and above all, sanity. The bad news is that few database administrators (DBAs) are doing it. In its 2013 database manageability survey, the Independent Oracle User …
Robin Birtstone, 30 May 2014
nuts

From production to development databases (and back again)

Workshop In many organisations, it isn't just the production database that database administrators (DBAs) have to look after. There are several non-production versions, as well. Project teams may need one to develop on, so that they can work in isolation without affecting production. A QA team may need its own version for testing …
Robin Birtstone, 28 May 2014
yellow measuring tape - black writing

Capacity planning: How to plan ahead and keep your Oracle database healthy

Workshop Crystal balls aren't really good for IT administration. Database administrators (DBAs) like certainty and clarity, and that extends to how much strain their databases will be under in the future. Capacity planning is a way to figure that out. The concept behind capacity planning is simple, but the mechanics are harder. …
Robin Birtstone, 26 May 2014

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