Cloud End User gadgets hosting

Bluetooth speakers for your mobile & consumer personal clouds Western Digital

Bose bluetooth speaker

bose_bluetoothIt was chucking it down on Saturday so no golf and there was no rugby on so I wandered down to Currys on Tritton Road in Lincoln for a bit of a browse. I wasn’t after anything in particular but found myself in front of a portable Bose speaker system that allowed you to hook your phone up using bluetooth. So I did.

The sound quality was mind blowing and it was really easy to get set up. I got chatting with a sales assistant and mentioned the fact that at £249 the price was a bit rich. “You’re paying for the label” he said so I asked him whether there were some equally good but cheaper systems where I would be just paying for the quality. He pointed me vaguely at a Sonos system so I went along to look at that one.

Standing in front of the Sonos I did a bluetooth scan and took a guess as to which was the right kit to hook up with. Playing Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust nothing seemed to be happening. Then I realised the sound was coming through a different Sony product a few feet away. Someone was standing in front of it talking to the sales guy so I whipped up the volume:)

samsung bluetoothThe Sonos didn’t work using bluetooth – it’s WiFi apparently. What struck me, apart from the fact that it was so easy to set up and the quality of the sound was the number of devices in the shop with bluetooth connections. The screen shot shows loads of Samsung TVs. I’m a bit of a luddite when it comes to TVs & simlar but was astonished to see how thin they are these days.

Wandering round the shop I also noticed they were pushing your own “Personal Cloud” from Western Digital. This looks like a solid state hard drive with a WiFi connection – no resiliency. It doesn’t matter. It recognises the fact that people need to store data away from their pc or mobile device. I’m still more comfortable with having lots of resiliency in a backup though I guess two WD devices would do the job. The Smart Home app is working brilliantly btw. I made a donation.

The fact that Currys was using the term cloud is pretty significant. It supports the whole move of operations into the cloud. It wouldn’t surprise me to see sales of Chromebooks shooting up this Christmas. It’s the way ahead.

PS might ask Santa for the Bose speaker for Christmas.


Business Cloud datacentre social networking

First #bloggade a big success

We held the first #bloggade at the Timico datacentre in Newark yesterday. A bloggade is as you may know the collective noun for a group of bloggers.

This first event was highly successful covering a range of blog related subjects:

1 The type of infrastructure used to host blogs (led by Timico hosting tech guru Michael Green) followrd by a guided tour of the Tiico NOC and datacenre.
2 A lengthy discussion on Search Engine Optimisation for your blog conducted by @phil_kelsey of Spiral Media and @mattdrussell of WebbHostingBuzz.
3 A general discussion about plug ins and which ones worked for people.

There was a great level of audience participation and a definite interest in holding another event, sometime in the run up to Christmas perhaps.

For a bit of fun we decided to have a go and see if we could get #bloggade to trend on twitter. Despite our intensive efforts it didn’t seem to be working. Then one of the bloggers suggested that if we tweeted that members of the currently in the news boy band “One Direction” had turned uo for #bloggade it might go viral. We did this and at the latest count have had a grand total of two retweets from (pre-pubescent?) OD fans. 🙂

Gotta say I’d never heard of em before this week!!!

Big thanks to all who came especially @mattdrussell whose original idea this was together with @phil_kelsey @jangles and @AndrewGrill for their major contributions.

All in all considering we organised this from scratch to execution in 4 weeks I have to say it was a great success.

Catch ya later.

PS this post was typed by thumb on my Galaxy s4 en route to a customer meeting in London.  I’d be amazed if the formatting is spot on – I’ll make any necessary adjustments when I get back to laptop land.

Business Cloud hosting

Meet Tom Moores – expert in cloud and hosting

tom mooresTom Moores is a new starter at Timico. He is a market specialist in cloud hosting and part of a wave of investment we are making in this space. It’s a pleasure to meet people who are driven to succeed and I look forward to working with Tom.

You will notice that Tom is holding the Network Operations guitar. Every now and again when I have a visitor to my office I take a picture of them with the guitar. Usually they can’t play it.

Tom can play the guitar. Looks like he is putting some soul into that song:)

People buy from people.

Welcome aboard Tom 🙂

Business Cloud internet online safety piracy scams

Should we regulate the cloud?

Today I am at a CIO event in London discussing the topic “Too important to be regulated and too important to be left alone” (Forbes) – Should we regulate the cloud?

You could extend this question to encompass the whole internet. Really there is no difference between the internet and the cloud.

When you think about it, as the whole world drags its living and breathing self into the cloud, it is natural that we should expect laws that exist on terra firma to apply to the cloud. There is no reason why they should not. What is illegal on earth should also be illegal in the heavens. The notion of being robbed or assaulted is just as unattractive in cyberspace as it is in the high street.

It is reasonable therefore that regulations should apply.

Business Cloud datacentre

Timico launches Virtual Datacentre #DCrevolution

icetankGreat Launch event for Timico’s Virtual Datacentre last night at the Ice Tank in Covent Garden. There is a lot to say about this but I’m somewhat strapped for time today so I thought in the meantime I’d just share this video of the barmen setting up their cocktails before the guests arrived. You know it makes sense.

There is quite a lot going on generally at the moment including tension building up with the Snooper’s Charter (I refuse to call it by it’s real name, partly because I can never remember it and also partly because people are more likely to know what I’m talking about when I call it the snooper’s charter) in the run up to the Queen’s Speech.

I leave you with an invitation to click on the header photo. It’s the modern day equivalent of the whole school photo where one kid runs around the back and appears in the shot twice. On this occasion we have used the panaorama feature on the Samsung Galaxy S3 to create a very artistic effect:)

Thanks to all who came along to make the evening a great success and to Suzie Hodges for the camera shot:)


Business Cloud xaas

Which cloud services do you use for work?

April is normally associated with rain so I’m having a bit of a cloudy1 month. Other than the services we host ourselves in our own private cloud Timico uses three main external cloud based services: ServiceNow, and OneSource. I guess we also access tools on remote portals for BT Wholesale and Openreach which could at a push be categorised as “cloud” based services. I also personally use Eventbrite when I organise industry bashes such as the Xmas party and my industry dinner debates. also uses the whole suite of Google services and in order of level of use I also have Microsoft/Skydrive and Dropbox accounts. I also have an Apple ID but it doesn’t get used much.

I tend to mix work and play – I only have one laptop which gets used for both.

What I am interested in though is how you, dear reader, use the cloud for work. Are you on Google Apps or Office365? What other cloud services do you use and what is your experience of using them. Do you have problems with outages? How do you get around these problems?

Have you taken the plunge and gone totally cloud based? What size of business are you? My impressions are that it is easy for small businesses to go into the cloud and for very large companies the business case is compelling but not so easy for those in the middle. Is this right? Does the global nature of the cloud give you a problem in your line of business?

Answers either on a postcard stating point of view or by leaving a comment.



1 Of course it’s not meant to be bloomin’ freezing but I’m sorry I have no control over that – if any of you do then for goodness sake get on and sort it 🙂

datacentre End User

#rebelwithoutacause and other lyrical waxings

There’s a definite change in the air. The short British summer is coming to a close, people are squeezing in their last bits of holiday before school starts again and my kids are getting ready to set off for university, in one case, for the first time (yes I am excited).

It feels as if this is the last week before the rush. Traffic will get heavier and business get serious again. It’s not that it isn’t serious in August but not much gets done as half the world is out of the office – staff, suppliers and customers.

Next week all the shops will have their Christmas decorations out! There’s a lot going on in the world before you need to

Business Cloud datacentre

The Cloud — Now is the Time to Invest

cloud,investment,datacenter,Timico,NewarkI attended a “Cloud Computing – security, market development and prospects for the G Cloud” forum in Whitehall yesterday morning. It’s a big topic and there were lots of messages to take away.

The G Cloud programme is the government’s effort to move away from an expensive and silo’d server centric estate that in 2009 comprised 90,000 components in central government alone. We, the UK, are after cost savings and an agility that will allow us the flexibility to take advantage of market and technological developments whilst creating a secure platform that will facilitate new and productive uses of data held by our masters on our behalf. Bit of a mouthful. My words really but also my interpretation of what I’m sure is an elongated brief.

Transport for London’s API that allows train locations to be published on Google maps is a good example of the use of public data made available through an API.

Cloud End User security

The Pocket Cloud (Innovation #1259) – Security Issues Answered

The Pocket Cloud…business critical data storage in a secure USB-connected non-wireless device.

the pocket cloud

the pocket cloud

The fiendishly clever engineers at my place of work have come up with a new innovation, The Pocket Cloud (pat pending TM applied for etc), a highly innovative means of storing important business critical content in a totally secure manner.

Built in security features include an USB connection – this is a totally wireless free device which completely eliminates drive by data theft.

The Pocket Cloud comes with “uber” portability as it fits neatly into your pocket and can easily be removed from an office location whenever there is a flood/fire/earthquake (delete as appropriate – other forms of disaster are available). It should be incorporated into every Disaster Recovery plan.

At times of Disaster The Pocket Cloud also has a secondary role as a cloud based stress ball thereby satisfying Health and Safety requirements as well as those of IT.

If you have any questions or are desirious of acquiring a Pocket Cloud please get in touch.

Cloud datacentre Engineer

Public Clouds, Private Clouds, and Rainy Day “The Cloud” Solutions

the day I learned an acronym at Monte Carlo

12 years or so ago the company I was working for decided to “get into VoIP” and I was sent to a executive retreat in Cannes in the South of France. Very nice it was. We spent 3 days at ETSI talking about VoIP related issues. I say “talking”. I spent all my time writing down new acronyms for looking up when I got back to the office.

If you don’t understand the lingo it all seems like a black art. Once the learning curve had been climbed the door opened to the wonderfully rich world that is the communications business.

It strikes me that we are going through another phase where people will need to swot up on their acronyms. The Cloud is trendy but what is it? You can’t touch it – or can you? Whatever “it” is every man and his dog seems to feel the need to jump on the bandwagon.

At its most basic the cloud is just a computer accessed remotely via an IP connection. At its most complex it is something that is in a constant state of evolution. The process of understanding this cloud is very much one of pioneering – creating the acronyms rather than learning existing ones.

I am lucky enough to have a platform with this blog that allows experimentation and will be using this opportunity to facilitate a conversation that will take us on a journey through the cloud. The buzzword isn’t going to last for ever. Let’s try and understand it before we have all moved on 🙂

Next week I’ll be looking at the basics. Public cloud versus private cloud and cloud solutions for a rainy day (might not actually talk about the latter – it just sounded good).

PS in case you were worried that we spent all our time working at the Cannes meeting I am happy to confirm that not much sleep was had. The casinos of the Cote d’Azur stay open very late.

Cloud datacentre Engineer

In 2014 the Market for Cloud Equipment Will Double its 2009 Tally

Cloud Equipment Market Will Grow From $110Bn in 2009 to $217Bn in 2014.

2009, according to a Cisco sponsored report by Forrester Research Inc, saw a significant uplift of sales of equipment into the cloud services sector despite the global recession. Figures show significantly greater growth in equipment sales that support next generation managed services as opposed to traditional Customer Premises Equipment.

2009 market growth

Their forecast for this market is that sales will grow from $110Bn in 2009 to $217Bn in 2014, a CAGR of 15%. It is all very exciting, I guess, unless that is you are stuck selling on premises equipment in which case you probably need to start thinking of career alternatives.

This information came from the Cisco Managed services seminar at the Tower of London last week. What struck me was the huge number of elements that make up the big cloud services picture. I counted 62 different technology areas that Cisco claim make up the whole market. These include areas such as Computing as a Service, Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service. The range is mind boggling.

This isn’t something that an ISP can undertake on a broad scale, at least not during the initial development stages of this market. You have to cherry pick your offerings.

Forrester have segmented the market into Unified Comms, Metro Ethernet, Security, Managed VPN (MPLS I assume) and Data Center . This may help. Timico plays in all these market segments to greater or lesser degrees which is somewhat reassuring.

In my mind you have to ignore the buzzwords and get on with satisfying what your customers need. In many cases customers will already have a good idea but there will be many more looking for guidance.

The case for Virtualization, which is a big part of the infrastructure play when it comes to talking about managed services and the cloud, is very strong.

I looked at one specific example of a company that had 217 machines/servers occupying 9 racks. On average each server has 500GB of storage (an assumption on my part but a reasonable one) but a memory utilisation of only 30 – 40%. That’s a usage of only 43TB out of a total available of 108TB (plenty of rounding here).

If this server estate could be distilled onto a robust Storage Area Network that represents a huge potential cost saving, just taking disk space into consideration. More memory is saved because these systems typically recognise which operating systems are being used by the Virtual Machines and do not replicate multiple instances of such software.

What’s more aggregated processing power = better individual VM performance. In other words the processor capacity available to any single machine is far greater than it previously had access to on a single server. This inevitably results in performance efficiencies. The bandwidth story is the same. An individual stand alone server is likely to be served by a maximum of 1Gbps whereas a VM will probably get 10Gbps.

The example I looked at will result in 217 VMs on single 8U blade centre with a capacity 32 servers though we won’t need all 32 for this specific customer.

As Cisco has suggested the market is undergoing a big change right now. One that requires significant investment in infrastructure. I suspect that many familiar names will fail to make it through. It will be interesting to see who emerges into the clear skies beyond the cloud 🙂

Charts are courtesy of Cisco with Data from Forrester Research Inc.

Business Cloud google

Some Clouds are Better than Others

I’ve been thinking about clouds. It’s a very trendy thing to do at the moment. It’s something you notice about trade shows. A trade show will evolve its name in line with what the organisers think will bring in the punters.

For example in the UK “VoIP for Business” became “VoIP for Business incorporating Unified Communications” which then became “Unified Communications”. I fully expect Unified Communications to morph into “Unified Communications with cloudy bits”. It will probably be the same underlying list of exhibitors.

Anyway the popularity of the cloud buzzword is of course because the world is moving into the cloud. The cloud is still for most an ethereal place that is difficult to get the grey matter around. It appears on the advertising copy of so many vendors how do you decide how to take advantage of it. This is the case whether you are an end user, a business or a potential provider of cloud services.

Consumers will use a few branded services such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc. Business however needs something different, even it is just a better service level. So at the moment I think the business world is manoeuvring to understand how the bits of the fluffy jigsaw fit together.

They will end up dealing with specialist cloud integrators. This will provide the differentiation and some clouds will definitely stand out as being better than others.

As it stands you need to be able to keep your feet on the ground and head just above the clouds so that you can look around and see where these better clouds are starting to form 🙂