Rimmer’s Quest for Broadband Continues!

For many years, over 16 in fact, I’ve been waiting for broadband at my property. Not superfast you understand, just bog standard plain ol’ broadband. When we first moved here, the only ‘broadband’ option was Home Highway from BT (aka ISDN). After a couple of years, BT removed the service saying ‘everyone can now access broadband’. As you may recall from my previous ramblings, we’re 11km from the exchange and that broadband signal just can’t get that far down the copper before it fizzles into nowt.

I’ve been very vocal since Superfast Berkshire received £8M from the Government back in 2013 to bring broadband to this county. Unfortunately, they awarded the contract to BT who did not want to service the sparsely populated rural communities. So, Superfast Berkshire then awarded the rural contract to Gigaclear. As a specialist in providing broadband to rural areas, we were highly optimistic. Having signed up on their website about 18 months ago, it was encouraging to see them laying the fibre about ½ mile away from our lane on the main road earlier this year. 

Email correspondence with their delivery team revealed that the service should be live later in 2019 so we all waited with bated breath…….. Only to receive a letter earlier this month informing us that Network Rail were obstructing completion of the circuit as they would not allow Gigaclear to traverse a bridge they owned!

Due to this delay, BBC South got in touch with me again and further interviews with BBC South and BBC Radio Berkshire ensued on 10th and 12th September respectively. The reporter was at my house for over an hour on the 10th and then the interview was broadcast the next day on 11th September. You can view the (poor) recording here of the TV interview. Apologies for the poor quality but I recorded it off the TV with my iPhone as I was away horse riding in the New Forest when it was broadcast! Am sure there was an easier (and better) way to record it, but as it didn’t stay on iPlayer for too long I wanted to save it for posterity!

Despite having moved on from my satellite broadband to a mobile data network, I’m still paying a premium – around £60/month – as are my neighbours. FFS!! Fast speed Internet access is a utility in the 21st century and we are being deprived of it because Network Rail has its knickers in a twist about allowing a third party onto their land.  There are service ducts on their bridges for other utilities, so why obstruct Gigaclear?  The Government pledged to provide superfast broadband (which interestingly they state as being 24 MBPS – huh? that’s not fast IMHO!) to everyone in the UK. Yet one Government department (Network Rail) is obstructing another department (Gigaclear operating on behalf of Superfast Berkshire) from delivering this pledge.

I do appreciate the Government has a certain larger topic on its plate right now – no, I won’t bring myself to utter the “B” word – but really this is just another situation that highlights the current Government is not acting in the best interests of the population – at least not the small population of my rural community.

C’mon you jobsworths over at Network Rail – get ya finger out and complete the circuit so that we in my community can join the majority of you in the digital 21st century!!!

Third London VMUG of 2019

Having missed the last meeting in May, am looking forward to next week’s meeting at Tech UK and meeting up with the London VMUG crew! The agenda looks great and I’m especially interested in Matt’s and Joep’s sessions, will also be good to catch up with him. I think the last time we saw each other was a few VMworld’s ago!

Also, the sponsors’ sessions look good, it’s nice to see some long time supporters returning as well as some newcomers.

AGENDA

There’s still time to register! Hope to see you there.

Application Layering

As a community board member of WhatMatrix, I am delighted that category consultant Rory Monaghan has updated his Application layering comparison. To promote this update, I’ve written a blog post that the WhatMatrix team has kindly linked to my blog at the end. So, this very short post is to promote the update and to reciprocate the link back to the WhatMatrix site.

Let me tell you, the category consultants that produce these independent comparisons, in their own time and it’s a LOT of work, are the epitome of community folk. They do what they do to give back to the community. Yes, there’s an element of self-promotion, but truly you should not underestimate the work involved here. Plus, the value that these comparisons provide to organisations making decisions about technology and not having to do this time extensive work themselves is unquestionable.

Please take at a look at WhatMatrix and either use their comparisons for your own benefit or, if you like what you see, promote the site to your peers as I believe we are offering something truly unique and, more importantly, of value. Oh, and I did I say it’s FREE!

Disclaimer: Liquidware, who is included in the Application Layering Comparison, is a client of my company hiviz-marketing.com

WhatMatrix publishes new SDS/HCI Landscape Report

Am super impressed by the new report that the team at WhatMatrix has produced. Most other analyst houses include a number of different factors when creating their reports over and above just pure technology. They take into account revenue, futures and, usually, create their reports with input from vendors. WhatMatrix approach their analysis with the focus on pure technology that is current.

The new SDS/HCI report, authored by category consultant Herman Rutten, now provides a number of use case scenarios that analyzes vendors’ solutions for overall suitability. This approach enables consumers of the report and comparison matrix to select what elements best fit their business and IT needs. While there are overall leaders, in many cases they are not number one in a particular, or multiple, specific use cases.

As a community board member I’ve been involved in launching this new report. As we are all volunteers at WhatMatrix, it is hugely rewarding to see the final report published. Herman Rutten has spent unimaginable time and effort in researching and creating this report and I know many organizations will reap the reward of his efforts. All you have to do to download the report, free of charge, is to go to https://www.whatmatrix.com/portal/download-landscape-reports/

The summary of this 42-page report, for me, is this Landscape Matrix:

You can read the press release here where we summarize that new entrants to the matrix, Datrium and Pivot3 are challenging the leaders!

Interestingly, we’ve already been asked why a couple of vendors are not included in the report. As mentioned previously, we’re all volunteers and the category consultants have full-time jobs and create these comparisons and reports in their spare time. This is a community-curated initiative and gives back to the wider community. As such, all the vendors mentioned in the report have engaged with Herman to onboard their solutions into the comparison matrix in some shape or form. Some vendors haven’t yet understood the value and benefit to their business of engaging with WhatMatrix, when they do the category consultants will endeavor to include them at the appropriate juncture.

Would be great to hear your feedback on the report as to how you think it will (or can) benefit your company.

SDS/HCI Terminology/Definition Debate

Yesterday was an interesting learning day for me due to a tweet I responded to from one of the WhatMatrix category consultants that sparked a Twitter debate about what really constitutes hyper converged infrastructure (HCI).

Herman Rutten, category consultant for SDS/HCI at WhatMatrix tweeted that he is working on a new Landscape Report on this sector, 18 months after the release of the first one. One of the latest vendors to be included in the comparison on WhatMatrix is Datrium. This inclusion invoked reaction from some vendor representatives that they are not HCI.

This blog is not going to deny or confirm if they are – there are better-informed people than I to have that debate with. But what I do want to state is that WhatMatrix’s comparison is entitled SDS/HCI – thus encompassing all aspects in my opinion.

WhatMatrix has been comparing the HCI vendors since October 2015 and has consistently included solutions that adhere to the following three criteria:

Rule #1: The software is designed to run on commodity server hardware and makes use of the available resources therein.

Rule #2: The solution aggregates physical storage capacity from separate systems into a single shared storage pool.

Rule #3: The solution offers a broad set of storage functionality (services) comparable to traditional hardware defined shared storage systems.

Now, whether you agree with that definition or not is the basis of the Twitter debate but ultimately all solutions are reviewed with this in mind, so at least providing a consistent approach.

I do think marketing (e.g. messaging) has confused and blurred the definition for sure, but as a summary to the whole discussion Herman tweeted the following and, yes, that is what it’s all about – choice for the customer!

The new report is scheduled for publication end of September, keep an eye out for it if you want an independent, vendor agnostic viewpoint of this burgeoning market https://www.whatmatrix.com/portal/announcing-upcoming-sds-hci-landscape-report-sep-2018/.