Apps Business Cloud End User storage backup & dr

office 365 unlimited storage

Microsoft announce office 365 unlimited storage

I’m not a big fan of Microsoft but in fairness to the company they are working hard on making their cloud products competitive. The latest  is their announcement of  free office 365 unlimited storage. Course it isn’t free. It costs. £5.99 a month for a single user or £7.99 a month for a household of up to 5 persons. This sounds like a very good deal to me considering a single copy of Microsoft Office can cost over a hundred quid (or it was when I last bought one).

Apart from being an aggressive move in a market that they absolutely have to succeed at, and which indications suggest they are not doing badly, the great thing for me is what this is likely to do for the competition. A Google account is free for personal users and it gives you most of the functionality of Microsoft Office, although I accept that the equivalent Google features may not be as mature and functional.

With Google though you only get 15GB free storage. I worked out earlier this year that the free Google account with a Terabyte of storage is around £70 a year. Whilst a Terabyte isn’t unlimited it’s not far off at the moment, to all intents and purposes.

Maybe £70 is the base market price for this kind of cloud service. Most people won’t need a Terabyte, or an unlimited amount of storage, at the moment. I use around 400MB on my NAS box and that is mostly photos. If I had unlimited storage I might start to push the boundaries on what I choose to store.

I’ve no idea what that is at the moment. It might, for example, mean I get a CCTV app that keeps all the video footage 1 ever recorded by the camera/s. A bit of a waste but why not. It’s free.  Add to that the fact that unlimited usage broadband packages have become the norm and hey presto, all barriers removed.

In one sense Microsoft might be making a rod for their own backs here but I think it is great. It can only be of benefit to us all.  Where does this all go? What happens when everyone’s product looks the same and costs the same? I suspect that we will start to see differentiated cloud services, speed of access, mining tools maybe. But that is all in the future. For the moment it’s well done Microsoft. Competition is good.

They still have a lot of work to do on their mobile strategy though…

1 use of the word footage seems somewhat anachronistic

Business business applications chromebook Cloud google mobile apps obsolescence storage backup & dr

Office365 – How Low Can You Go ?

It seems to me that a tipping point has arrived for businesses large and small, many of which after having drastically cut back on their IT spend over the last few years now find themselves coasting into 2014 on the fumes and vapours of Windows XP and Office 2003/7.

Andrew Beardsmore is a new contributor to and this is his first post. He’s been obsessed by tech for two decades and has spent most of that time fixing everything from networks to netbooks. Now he’s sharing the knowledge, and the obsession.

I recently had a bit of a tweetup with @EvanKirstel regarding Microsoft’s amazing deal with Office365 (check it out at:

It seems to me that a tipping point has arrived for businesses large and small, many of which after having drastically cut back on their IT spend over the last few years now find themselves coasting into 2014 on the fumes and vapours of Windows XP and Office 2003/7.


Home users who extravagantly trotted off to Currys/PCWorld during their “hey, we’re going bust” sales and splurged on full versions of more recent MS Office software (though intending to only blow a few hundred quid on a chunky Windows 8 laptop) probably won’t have heard yet of Office365. They also may not have noticed those early ChromeBooks, or if they did they weren’t entirely convinced by the PCWorld sales folk when faced with what looked like Ubuntu. That is, Ubuntu without a hard drive…or apps.* Their new high capacity laptop hard drives, overflowing with growing photo libraries from flashy megamegapixel point-&-shoots, are already laughing at their puny free two gigabyte Dropbox accounts, and buying yet another discounted external USB hard drive ‘My Brick’ to backup and fill with all their pics and videos of school plays and homework projects, as well as every family member’s iPad/iPod/iPhone backup…well, it just seems so ‘2011’, doesn’t it?

Now these home users are included in this mini-cloud revolution also. (Not every household bought a NAS — though perhaps they should have — as they ARE expensive. Expensive, anyway, when compared to the wares peddled by Microsoft.)

In my opinion, the principles are broadly similar whether you are purchasing enterprise licensing or you are a home user “with a lot of stuff”.

  • Both need humongous space and/or backup and want a whizzy new version of Office.
  • Both want to be able to access it all whilst mobile (even if your mobile data provider hasn’t heard of your holiday home’s postcode, and thus offline editing is also needed).
  • Both want to share and collaborate.

With monthly offers that include an Office365 subscription (spanning multiple devices and user accounts) AND one terabyte of online storage now available for less than the cost of three lattes, just how cheap does it all need to be? And would you trust it if it got any cheaper ?

How does $7 a month sound? (In dollars because — Yup — stateside rollout first.) For this amount you can put Office365 on your PC and get a terabyte of storage thrown in. Make it $10 and you can install on five PCs and have as many as five user accounts (each with its own terabyte of online storage). A terabyte? That’s one thousand gigabytes for those of us with suntans and more interest in Wimbledon than “The IT Crowd” reruns.

Interestingly, Microsoft commissioned a recent survey and decided that about three quarters of us only have about thirteen gigabytes of ‘stuff’, so one thousand gigabytes should pretty much cover it. To be honest, though, this number sounds like it’s been picked more to justify their updated freemium offering of a fifteen gigabyte deal.

Many will forget about their Dropbox accounts, mothball their GoogleDrive accounts, lose the power supply plugs and mini USB cables for their ‘My Bricks’ (and never again dream of owning a NAS). They’ll take the plunge into subscriptions-based software purchasing** just for the great one terabyte ‘giveaway’ alone. Got a smartphone that you take pics on? How about letting it backup all those precious shots automatically to OneDrive (smile!).

Think about it. Never again will you need to go through a ‘fork-lift’ upgrade process between versions of Office — remember the advent of the blasted ribbon in Office 2007? — as your device will instead accept the more frequent but gradual improvements and changes in the same way your smartphone updates its apps whilst you sleep. It will backup and sync continuously, silently, all the time. If you’re a small to medium business, what this means is that the guy who takes the backup tapes home every night and puts a new one in every morning won’t have to continue to lie each time he forgets. Or you can rethink your price plan with MozyPro, or whoever. The AD-like control you get over the data it handles will sufficiently please both your sysadmin and your CIO/CISO.

Many will consider Microsoft’s new 1TB + Office365 $7 per month subscription a no-brainer. And, if you’re bulk buying for business, the deal gets even better, as according to the third link I offer below it is just $2.50 (yearly commitment). Such a huge saving is certain to ensure your continuing position with the company, that is if you can persuade your CFO. And if against all odds it turns out to be a rubbish idea and they fire you, well, they can just cancel your user subscription!

N.B. I wonder how many smaller partnerships and LLPs will be tempted to take the home licensing route on their mixed-usage mobile devices…pay the $10 five-user rate, out of guilt, and call it BYOD when it’s in the office?!

*Company-wide Chromebook deployment: Great way to to upgrade to a modern OS, get a new office productivity suite, AND equip your workforce with mobile devices for less than the price of a desktop refresh. I want to know more about the experiences of companies who have ‘gone Google’ in this manner. I like what I have seen so far with Google Appcare. However, having recently dropped their cloud offering’s pricing, I wonder how they feel about Microsoft’s new deal? To quote mine host, it’s “certainly warming up in the cloud wars”).

**Just quietly say ouch and forget it’s happening.

Chase the following links for specific details and price plans for Office365 and OneDrive:

Thanks for reading. You can find more on the subject of Office365 and similar tech at

End User fun stuff H/W storage backup & dr

Turn, Turn, Turn, A Time to Every Purpose

19.11 GB of 471.48 GB – About 6 hours

Roughly 8 minutes ago I fired up my brand-spanking-new 3.5” hard drive enclosure (complete with newly-installed and formatted 4TB 3.5” hard drive), navigated via Finder to my bursting-at-the-seams 500GB 3.5” hard drive (also happily enclosed, and for over 5 years now), nimbly hit Ctrl+A to highlight everything, and dragged the highlighted contents over to begin the process of copying the data therein to its new home.

31.41 GB of 471.48 GB – About 6 hours

Speaking only for myself (though I suspect my words will ring true for a great many, if not the majority), I am not at all surprised to find the act of upgrading my external storage to be akin to cleaning out a household “junk drawer”. Generally speaking, I know what I have collected on Compote – the original 500GB drive – over the years, and yet many surprises abound.

55.10 GB of 471.48 GB – About 6 hours

Before I go any further, I should come (somewhat) clean by saying that not all of the flotsam-and-whatnot that resides in my digital universe has come into my possession in a pure and unassailable manner. Without admitting anything that could be used against me in a court of law (somewhat mad I am for “Law & Order” in its various flavors, and it is especially good when viewed in pristine .mkv on such-and-such device at my leisure), I will just say that I am, have been, and always will be a music/film/TV junkie and leave it at that.

Windfall Status

So I am seeing that all kinds of curious things are moving over to the new neighborhood (Windfall be its name, and in case you aren’t paying close enough attention, yes, I do use a certain fruit as the basis for the network drive naming convention at Chez Kessel). To offer just a hint of flavor, these were the last three items I saw go by:

  1. BBC.Pink.Floyd.1of3.The.Story.of.Wish.You.Were.Here.x264.AAC.mkv
  2. Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble – Texas Flood (1983) [FLAC] (2-CD) {2013 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition}
  3. Marvel chronology disk 11 v2.0

A part of a television documentary, lossless Stevie Ray Vaughan music files, part 11 of a Galactus-sized collection of Marvel comics in .cbr format…any moment now I expect to see a box of old staples, a airline-issued personal sewing kit, and a too-well-thumbed and dog-eared deck of cards!

125.45 GB of 471.48 GB – About 5 hours

Just to fill in some of the backstory here, Compote is actually only one of three long-maintained “junk drives” whose contents will be making their way over to the oh-so-shiny-and-sparkly Windfall today (and from the looks of it, into tomorrow). Decorum restrains me from naming the other two, but suffice it to say they don’t fall very far from the tree, and each one is chock full of the same kind of gotta-have-it-and-someday-I-will-get-around-to-doing-something-with-it digital entertainment media detritus.

161.02 GB of 471.48 GB – About 4 hours

To be clear, I am not what used to be called a “packrat” or what today is more readily referred to by the darker and far less cute-sounding “hoarder”. No, I actually have real purpose in maintaining the nearly 2 TB of this-that-and-the-other that is currently undergoing consolidation onto the honker of a hard drive that is Windfall! You see, the center of my aforementioned digital universe, AppleKory (feel free to take a short break here to point fingers, cover your mouth, and enjoy a giggle at my expense), is sacrosanct, and new content must be scrubbed and polished before being allowed to cross the barrier into the vast media libraries I am forever building there. Thus the external drives? Holding pens of a spinning platter order.

206.26 GB of 471.48 GB – About 3 hours

Insight and useful lessons are no doubt popping off of these pixels, different depending on the individual reader (none of whom, I hope and pray, has the legal standing needed to commit me for observation or my own safety). I do want to share one last piece of information, though, to anyone out there who is finding inspiration in my personal data migration exercise and is now considering moving down their own amalgamation road: make sure the enclosure you have or will buy is capable of handling the new hard drive. SATA is SATA is SATA, right? Well, no. The SATA enclosures I bought years ago for my soon-to-be-pensioned 500GB drives were only able to handle the new 4TB drive up to a maximum of 1.8TB, a key fact I learned only after the shoes and socks were off, the screwdrivers were pulled out, the hard drive was relieved of its antistatic bag and installed into the enclosure, and the whole schmear was connected up and awaiting formatting.

258.14 GB of 471.48 GB – About 3 hours


Related posts:

End User gadgets phones storage backup & dr

Ooo my what a big SD card you’ve got sir – is that 128GB bulging out of your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

list of micro sd card sizesJust been to PC World to buy a new 32Gig SD card. As you know my old one was jiggered by my camera/phone/SGS4/intergalactic-slow-software-communicator (if not catch up with the story here and here)

Permit me to be flabbergasted but these things now come with up to 128GB of storage! FGHJOweroijhlkjhlklnnnggg1. Now I don’t think I need 128GB. I’ve only got about 50GB on my Drive athough that doesn’t include music and photos.

This is the point when someone usually chips in and says “that’s more storage than ever existed on the whole planet before 1983” or “that’s more storage than they had on board all the space shuttles and all the Apollo missions ever including Apollo 13!”

I think at this stage that storage tech would appear to be outpacing the media tech destined for storage and also the battery technology destined to power the mobile media players (ie c/p/S/i above). Mind you it is a fair bet, knowing the people I know that someone will come back and tell me that he has to carry several 128GB SD cards around in case some of his main storage runs out (Tom Bird? 🙂 ).

I bought a 32GB job for about £19. It’ll do me for now.

PS when will they be quoting how many UHD videos a card will store. I spoke to a guy in PC World who told me they weren’t selling many 4K TVs.

PPS I know some smart person will also tell me I could have bought the 32GB card for 25 pence online but I didn’t want to wait ok? 🙂

1 Sound of me being flabbergasted
2 Applicants for membership of the extreme abbreviators club should leave a comment. We meet evry mnth in gd pb cld rhdtfpt in htbrftp.

broken gear End User mobile apps storage backup & dr

Credit where credit is due – Windows 7 networking

Trefor Davies photo storage requirements ytd 2012Yesterday my SD  card blew up on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Not literally of course otherwise the nature of this post would be different. It would probably be ringed with a thick black border mourning the passing of one of the brightest prospects ever to have graced the Morning Star. Either that or it would be quite short as I might well have been typing one handed having been removed from the operating theatre via intensive care to a big ward where I would have felt quite out of place being young and full of life.

Last night I spent some time on the Netgear ReadyNAS retrieving files. Except

Engineer storage backup & dr

Got any holiday snaps, wink wink #ReadyNAS

trefor_250Shortly after I’d arrived back from Lisbon and hooked up to WiFi not only had a hundred and seventy photos and vids already been uploaded to Google+ but also to my own ReadyNAS box at home. V reassuring.

Everyone should have one. My sisters, with who (m?) I went away for the weekend, don’t. One has been carrying photos around on her camera since last summer, meaning to “download” them. She has a huge SD Card which can store seemingly an infinite number of pics but that is bye the bye.

The other sister has no strategy whatsoever. The pics remain on her iPhone and she occasionally sticks one on Facebook. There must be millions of people out there in this situation. The second sister has a Virgin email address and her own domain wot I got her. The notion of using a third account, eg Gmail/Google+ that would provide her with at least the basic backup she needs just hurt her brain, and she is a highly intelligent (natch) individual.

I suspect her kids have it sorted. Half the problem is that she, as a busy mother/taxi/etc doesn’t have the time to look at the issue.

Anyway, as I said, my pics are now backed up. Good oh.

Read more – photo backups to NAS box sorted

Galaxy S4 to NAS Backup.

End User mobile apps storage backup & dr

Photo backup to #NAS box solved #SweetHome Android

Photo backup to ReadyNas problem solved.

You may have been following my attempts to back up my photos from my Samsung Galaxy S4 Android to my NAS box. This has become an issue since starting to play with the Samsung Chromebook which doesn’t recognise the phone when it’s plugged in via USB.

I tried a few methods including downloading from the Dropbox folder to the Chromebook and then dragging the folder into the relevant share on the NAS. This is very inelegant and you end up with a zipped file.

The answer was an app. I tried a number of them including Netgear’s own ReadyNAS Remote which doesn’t generally get good reviews. I got ReadyNAS Remote one to work but found that I could only upload single files manually which wasn’t going to be good enough. No response from the ReadyNAS forum on that one either. I also tried Airdroid with no success.

I got excited with “Upload 2 NAS Lite” last night when it appeared to be successfully uploading the files. However it was very slow and I left it running overnight. This morning the app told me it had finished but there were no files to be found on the NAS box. Looking at the forum for this app I can see others having the same problem with no apparent resolution. Using Upload 2 NAS Lite looked as if it was going to be a complicated job so I looked elsewhere.

Lying in bed this morning I then came across “Sweet Home“. This one worked like a dream and did the job far more quickly than Upload 2 NAS Lite. The User Interface was also by far the easiest to use. I am a happy chap. I am actually going to buy the pro version it is that good. Very easy to use.

The only thing left to nail is the fact that I usually backup to both the ReadyNAS and a separate 2TB palm drive that I keep in my desk. I’ll have to see if the Chromebook can see that drive and then look at backing up from the NAS box. The alternative is to have two separate NAS boxes which is somewhat industrial strength and over the top for my personal needs or to run with only using Google+ and the NAS.

Ve shall see…

Apps Business Cloud mobile apps storage backup & dr

When automatic backups work

bread_smallI’ve been having some problems with the “Gallery” app on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Actually I wasn’t sure whether it was the app or the hardware that was giving me the problem. Sometimes a photo would come out as a 1GB file (ish) and sometimes when copying files from the phone to the PC the process would stall and I’d get “file format not recognised” or some simlar message.

The problem happened to me again last week and it prompted me to change the SD card to rule out that as the cause. In the process of doing so I lost a few photos I had taken that morning. Not a big deal really though this problem did result in the loss of some photos and videos I took of the kids on the first day of the Ashes series at Trent Bridge so it was something worth sorting out.

Yesterday we had a family day out at Skegness and last night I noted that the pics I had taken had been automatically uploaded to Google+. Cool. I went on Google+ to share the photos with the wider family. To my very pleasant surprise the photos I’d taken the other morning but had lost were on Google+.

That’s what I call a result.  The loaf of bread, if you’re wondering, is one of the lost photos. It was baked by my very talented wife Anne and didn’t last very long at all:).

Note that the instant upload function on Google+ works far better since I got my fast FTTC connection. The upload is the difference. I don’t know whether that photo would have uploaded quickly enough with my old ADSL connection.

Cloud Engineer storage backup & dr

Data storage strategy #cloud

I’m back from my hols. The news is my hard drive has 4.5GB more data on it than it did before I went on holiday. All videos and photos. In June I added 17.5GB worth of media. That’s 54GB ytd and if I extrapolate that to the year end that means I will have added 108GB to my laptop in 2013.

I’m sure I’ve recently had this conversation on the blog but I now have less than 20GB of space left on my laptop, after cleaning it up. I can’t realistically expect to get a new laptop. Mine is relatively new and I can’t expect the business to provide more storage for my personal photos. They will have to go.

So I have to come up with a strategy here. I still want easy access to the photos but it isn’t worth forking out the small fortune that the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive will charge for that level of storage.

The charts below show my own usage growth. By the end of this year at the current rate of growth my photos will take up around 330GB of space. The annual growth rate since 2004 has been around 50% a year – roughly in line with Moores law and also in line with an EMC study of storage capacity trends from 2011. Extrapolating the number forward to 2020 I can expect to be consuming almost 2TB a year of storage with a total accumulated requirement of 5.5TB.


accumulated storage

Remember data beyond mid 2013 is extrapolated/forecast.

Does this make sense I ask myself? Well the video formats in use by 2020 are quite likely to be approaching 8k which at 350Mbps streaming data rates will produce a storage need of 44MBps or 2.6GB a minute. That’s only 13 hours of video storage. All these are approximate calculations and do assume that I am onto 8k by 2020 but the 5.5TB by 2020 sounds very plausible to me.

It’s interesting to note that whilst I am discussing my own personal data usage here the rate of growth very much reflects what we are seeing as a business. We have all heard the term Big Data bandied around. Businesses are gathering far more data than they used to. Information is power. The decisions I am facing are therefore similar decisions to those seen by businesses of all sizes. What do I do with my data?

Let’s look at my personal choices first. Currently I back up my laptop to two separate external drives. Frankly this isn’t going to be good enough for our family going forward. If I’m taking media off my laptop I want it to always be available at a click of a button. It has to be Networked Attached Storage or NAS. Because I am going to be using it more and more for lots of different family storage needs the NAS also has to be resilient so it either needs to have two mirrored hard drives or be a multiple RAIDED box such as the Drobo box shown in the pictures inset. (Box shown has 3 out of 5 slots populated with 1TB drives giving 2TB usable capacity).

Drobo box with front cover on

We use Drobo boxes (1st pic with front cover – 2nd without) to send to some of our cloud customers to seed their online storage. A small business will not have a fast enough internet connection to upload a couple of Terabytes say in a timely manner. If they were lucky enough to get 10Mbps upload then it would take them well over 400 hours to upload the data. Even though Timico provides that customer with free bandwidth to perform the upload that isn’t a practical proposition.

The Drobo box is going to cost me knocking on a grand even if I just put in three drives and though by my current calculations as an infrastructure it would do me for the rest of this decade, taking into account the fact that I could easily upgrade the hard drive capacities, Mrs Davies wouldn’t want me to spend that kind of money. We need a new freezer and the dishwasher is about to pack up.

Drobo box with front cover removed

So I’m going to go for a cheaper option such as a dual ReadyNAS which with a couple of mirrored 2TB hard drives will probably cost around £300. I will still want to have a separate backup for this but will in the short term stick with the 2TB SSD I currently use. With that setup I reckon I will be good until mid 2018 and could probably also upgrade the hard drives at that time. Rather than have the hard drives switched on all the time I will also probably go for a power switch that I can control over the LAN. In effect it will still be instant access.

It still makes sense to have a cloud option and I should be able to go for a cheaper solution such as Amazon Glacier which costs 1cent a month per GB. This would cost me $3 a month for 300GB, just over two quid say or about £25 a year (mixing formats :)). Amazon Glacier is much cheaper than the $20 a month that Google Drive would charge me but isn’t a comparable service. Being a “deep storage” service the recovery time from Amazon is very slow versus “immediate” from Google depending on your internet download capacity. $240 a year isn’t a practical proposition for home use. I don’t need the recovery to be fast. I just need it to work as it will be the line of last defence.

The observation that springs to mind here is that the costs discussed here are insurance policies that I have not hitherto had to pay. Our use of technology is driving the change. According to my calculations by 2020 I would be paying Amazon $55 a month for the storage based on current prices. It is reasonable to expect prices to plummet but this is obviously a nice growth market to be in.

The needs of a business are similar but different. Firstly a business will typically have a lot more people generating the data. The amount of data being generated per person however is not wildly adrift of the numbers I’ve been discussing for my own usage. There’s a good chart over at NetworkWorld that tells us the average storage need per employee ranges from 160GB for small businesses up to 190GB for mid-sized companies. You can do your own calculations for forecast storage needs based on the size of your own particular business and assuming 50% a year growth.

The other issues affecting businesses relate to skillsets (overhead), security (life and death of the business) and recovery time (revenue and opportunity cost). It all revolves around money.

The numbers I have looked at for my own home use therefore don’t copy across to business. Businesses are willing to spend more for additional security, ease of use and speed of recovery. A business may also think it important to know where their data is stored – for UK regulatory requirements for example – and want to have someone to call if something goes wrong. Personal support is not something that the big cloud providers are known for.

Check out example services here and corporate services here.

Cloud Engineer storage backup & dr

Human Face of Big Data launch today #hfobd

screenshot from android version of #hfobd#hfobd "trust"Attended the EMC sponsored launch of The Human Face of Big Data this morning and picked up some data:

Any kid born in 2012 will generate more data than all the information that mankind has ever generated. In his or her first year he will have generated more info than is currently held in Smithsonian Institute and 10% of all photos ever taken were taken in 2011.

At that point I stopped writing. People spout so many facts about data these days that it starts to lose its impact. Some numbers are so big they almost become pointless.

There are plenty of good and bad uses of big data and we as a society need to think how we go about minimising the risk of the latter.

Coincidentally a taxi driver yesterday told me that he had had four laptops left in his cab in seven years. There are apparently over 19,000 registered black cabs in London. If he was representative that suggests that on average 10,857.141  laptops are left in taxis every year.

I wonder how much sensitive data was on those laptops and how many of them were unsecured?

I’ve not really told you anything about the project – check it out here The Human Face of Big Data. I downloaded the app and entered my data. You can look at and filter the (anonymized) global data set and compare results for different demographics.

Apparently the Apple app isn’t ready yet but don’t worry – Apple usually manages to catch up eventually.

As a footnote, I am interested in exploring Big Data over the next few millennia (think big). If anyone wants to discuss projects drop me a line.

1 No arguing, I have total editorial control:)

Business storage backup & dr

Storage needs on the up

I did some backing up last night. As well as using Google+ for photos I store them on two hard drives kept at separate locations – one at home and one in the office.

The drive at home is 500GBytes and only has a few tens of gigs of space left. The one at work is a TeraByte palm drive and has plenty of room on it.

You may have noticed a bit of a theme to posts in recent weeks/months relating to the growth in storage requirements based on people taking more and more photos. As my home drive was starting to fill up I thought I’d revisit my usage pattern (if that’s the right way of putting it).

The chart below shows the amount of storage needed for photos and videos on a year by year basis. The early years are just noise. 2007 looks like a bit of an aberration – a rush of blood/new camera/special occasion maybe.

From there on there is a definite trend appearing. Remember that we are only half way through 2012 and I haven’t had my summer holiday yet. I am using the same camera technology thisyear as last with the exception that the Galaxy S3 has the burst mode which is naturally going to generate more Bytes.

Trefor Davies' growth in storage requirements for photos and videos

Apps Cloud Engineer storage backup & dr

@tref on Twitter…Tweetnest Archive, For Future Archaeologists

Picturing the scene in centuries to come, when Internet archaeologists are able to sift through the zillions of trivial minutiae — including @tref on Twitter — to try and piece together evidence of the early life on the internet.

"Victorious" was made by William Foster & Co of Lincoln

For the very few of you interested – the uberest of geeks – you can now view my twitter archive, created using tweetnest and stored on the growing more useful every day resource

I am somewhat gutted that the first 2k or so tweets are not listed – presumably a “feature” of twitter.  That’s a part of my online life lost forever (I can hear a few uhuh!s already).

I can picture the scene in centuries to come. There will be internet archaeologists expert in sifting through the zillions of trivial minutiae to try and piece together evidence of the early life on the internet. Where are the lost tweets? they will say.

Someone will no doubt come across some DVDs (or floppy disks) and have to take them to the science museum to have them read. Who was @tref? Presumably the guy that started the pangalactic blogging revolution that is Bearded professors will hold conference sessions discussing the subject and one day one of them will rush into the room crying “I have just found out who discovered the Third Law“.

I dream. It is dark on a Thursday afternoon and nearly time to go home 🙂

PS the header photo is just something I dug out that seemed to be remotely technologically archaeological. It is a steam traction engine that I saw at the British Ploughing Championships held in Lincoln last month. The “Victorious” was made by William Foster & Co of Lincoln sometime after ww1. Quality.

Business storage backup & dr

Fusion-io cool technology but embarassing “refridgeration” gaffe

fusion-io graphics technologyGraphics technology vendor Fusion-io had an impressive display on their booth yesterday at IP Expo, marred somewhat by what is presumably a  gaffe by their marketing department.

I didn’t spot it until reviewing my photos when I came to write this post. The banner atop the booth has a glaring spelling mistake.  I didn’t notice it on the day so it may be that nobody else did.  Unfortunately here it is now for all to see.

PS any speling mistake on this blog is either deliberate or a typo – please let me know if you spot one and I will corect  it imediately.

Unfortunately it is too late for Fusion-io who otherwise look like an impressive company 🙂

PPS maybe it’s the American spelling?

Apps Business storage backup & dr

Bandwidth Bandit – Offsite Backup Case Study

One of the big drivers for bandwidth usage is offsite back up and storage.

The amount of backup and storage capacity required by a business is to a large extent dependant on the nature of that business. An organisation which regularly processes a large amount of financial transaction or billing data is going to need a lot more than somewhere whose main concern is the safekeeping of CRM data and perhaps the security of information on individual PCs. Moreover as a rule of thumb the larger the amount of data that needs backing up on a daily basis the more critical that data is likely to be for a business.

One of Timico’s customers performs a 50GB daily backup to tape. The tape is removed from the premises every night to an offsite storage location. This is far from ideal. The company until recently operated over a bonded ADSL connection which gave them approximately 2Mbps uplink.

Backing up 50GB over the 2Mb connection was going to take 555 hours. This was not a practical proposition. The company has just put in a 100Mb leased line. The time taken to perform the backup would now be 11 hours which makes an overnight run a real proposition.

Not everyone has a 50GB requirement but as faster broadband technologies come along at cost effective prices more and more people will use an offsite on-net backup facility which will in turn drive bandwidth usage.


The chart is self explanatory. I’ve made some assumptions regarding packet overhead on the pipes


Business Cloud storage backup & dr

Cloud Computing Summit – Martin Bellamy to Speak

The Cloud Computing Summit got my attention, and it should have yours, too.

I don’t typically go around endorsing conferences and trade shows, but this one looks quite interesting. What caught my eye initially was the fact that Martin Bellamy — the Government’s “Cloud Computing boss” — is speaking.  It was certainly news to me that the Government had such a person, though looking at his bio he is actually Director, Office of the Government Chief Information Officer Cabinet Office.

I have a feeling that I will be writing a lot on the subject of cloud computing during the coming months. It is starting to come of age and certainly arousing interest amongst our customers. The conference is being organised by BusinessCloud9.

In a similar vein worth a read is this arcticle published by The Register last week. It’s all based on the same general principle, call it what you like, cloud computing or virtualisation.

Business Cloud storage backup & dr

Storage trends

I thought it would be interesting to look at storage requirement trends. This isn’t based on anything scientific other than a look at my own personal photo storage needs over the last few years.
The first 2009 datapoint is August 2nd and the second is an extrapolation to year end. I don’t know what happened to the file sizes in 2007.  There is otherwise a trend to be seen.
It would be interesting to see whether anyone else has similar, not necessarily scientific, data to share. If you email me at tref at or leave a comment I’ll try and compile the results, assuming there are any.
Apps Business storage backup & dr

Voodoo Engineering and Knowledge Base Software

No “black magic” shaman under employ can beat the benefits of information sharing via knowledge base software.

One of our sys admins when asked what he did to fix a technical problem would always say “voodoo”, giving the impression that it was all black magic. This might have raised a laugh, but in actual fact it wasn’t very helpful as he kept the fixes to himself and engineers around him did not learn from him. That engineer is no longer with us, and in the meantime we have adopted Microsoft Sharepoint.

Basically a wiki or information source, Sharepoint is very easy to upload data to and serves as an intranet for small and medium sized businesses. We use it as a knowledge base. Whenever someone comes across a technical problem that is likely to reoccur, the person involved in its resolution creates a page on the wiki. Others can easily navigate to this page and also search for specific subjects. Documents can be uploaded using Windows Explorer or any other file manager, so that the support site has grown very quickly to become a rich store of information tat includes vendor manuals and guides as well as self-generated material.

The same principle can, of course, be extended to any department in the company requiring document storage. The beauty of it is that the storage can be located anywhere and not just at the company’s premises so that it can form part of a company DR plan with very little effort.