Bill McCluggage is this year’s BCS Northern Ireland IT Professional of the Year!

Bill McCOur very own Bill McClugagge, Chief Technologist, Public Sector UK & Ireland EMC, has won this year’s BCS Northern Ireland IT Professional of the Year.

Following on from his triumphant win, Bill has said, ‘I’m delighted and honoured to be selected by my peers as this year’s BCS northern Ireland IT Professional of the Year. As Chief Technologist, Public Sector UK & Ireland, I’m also lucky to have a job with EMC that lets me stay current with all the latest developments in IT’.

This is an annual award, given by the Northern Ireland region of the BCS. Nominations are requested from BCS members and the winner is selected by an industry jury made up of previous recipients of the award.

‘The IT industry is a great place to work and all of us need to promote IT as a fantastic career opportunity, be it as a software coder, hardware specialist, IT operations specialist, researcher, media, video or special effects designer.’

The Wonders of the (Digital) Universe


Europe digital universe graph.IDC and EMC ‘s joint  annual Digital Universe study – a global census of the information created, transmitted and stored each year, complete with predictions until 2020 – sheds some interesting light on the importance of data in the modern business environment.


We recently announced a regional breakdown of the data which is particularly interesting; it revealed that Western Europe is one of the most data-dense areas in the world. Between last year and 2020, the amount of data in Western Europe will grow tenfold, not least because some 65% of the population is now online, with half of those accessing the internet from more than one device. It is not, therefore, surprising that European corporations are some of the highest spending when it comes to IT infrastructure and information management. However, the rapid growth of data that organisations create, capture and store means that how that money is spent is also changing very quickly.


Indeed, another body of research from EMC recently revealed that, across the EMEA region, some 63% of organisations intend to make significant changes in their IT functions in just the next 12 months. That figure rises to three quarters of companies in the UK, where many organisations have significant cash piles awaiting investment. These changes in IT priorities are being driven, in the main, by the emergence of cloud infrastructures (which are highly scalable, and can deal with unpredictable growth in storage and processing requirements) and big data analytics (which can generate value from information which enterprises are, quite often, required to store).


Intriguingly, much of the growth in data can be accounted for by the growth of data about other data – analysis of unstructured datasets requires cataloguing and tagging, and this is often an automated process,- which calls for yet more data, in the shape of code and algorithms. Many businesses are beginning to wake up to the possibilities that analysis of large quantities of stored data can offer, but IT professionals within the business have a continuing responsibility to evangelise its importance to the rest of the management  team. There is evidence that, in the UK at least, this is starting to happen, with a third of businesses either considering or having already implemented big data solutions. The truth is that the world has changed, and no business leader or IT professional can afford to be awestruck by the huge numbers involved in dealing with the proliferation of  data in the modern business.


Commenting on the research, Chris Roche, Regional Director, UK and Ireland for EMC Greenplum said  “With the Digital Universe in Western Europe expected to grow tenfold between 2012 and 2020, at 30% a year, the volume and complexity of data barraging businesses from all angles will become both an opportunity and a challenge. Organisations have a choice: they can either succumb to information-overload paralysis, or they can take steps to harness the tremendous potential teeming within all of those data streams. With projections that 45% of Western Europe’s digital universe in 2020 will be useful if tagged and analysed, this study highlights a massive opportunity for businesses that not only identify the potential benefits of this data, but recognise the importance of navigating it with the right balance of technology, data security practices and IT skills.”


RSA Conference 2013: “Lets embrace big data” says Coviello

“We are the champions. We in this audience are the champions of a trusted digital world”. This is how Art Coviello, CEO of RSA, started his key note at this years’ RSA Conference in San Francisco, which saw a record number of attendees. Art is responsible for RSA’s strategy and day to day operations as it delivers EMC’s global vision of information centric security. Although Art started on a positive note, he went on to say that things could get a whole lot worse before they get better as he discusses the various security issues we are facing today, in particular the use of BYOD and Facebook.

For all of the buzz, there’s tremendous confusion about the term, ‘big data’, because it represents more than just a lot of data. Fundamentally, big data is about the ability to extract meaning, to sort through the masses of data elements and find the hidden patterns, the unexpected correlation and any surprising connections. It’s about analyzing vast and complex unstructured data sets at high speeds, to solve innumerable problems across a wide spectrum of industrial, non-commercial and governmental organizations.

Early on in his keynote, Coviello says information security professionals need to embrace big data and the potential it holds, if they are to succeed against new and emerging threats. Security issue is big on the agenda across the globe, including the UK, but Coviello is optimistic about the future. He has faith in the ability of intelligence-driven-security and big data analytics to help put defenders ahead of attackers.

There is an additional challenge we are all collectively facing, a very disturbing escalation from our adversaries that we need to have a thorough understanding of. This is referring to the recent attacks that go beyond intrusion and appear to be coming from a nation that sponsors terror and hacktivist groups.

It is therefore important that we do not over-hype the threat, but to rather ensure a better understanding so that organisations can take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

Art made a point of saying that he dislikes the term ‘cyber Pearl Harbour’, as he believes it to be a poor metaphor to describe the state we are in now. Triggering a physically destructive event solely from the internet might not be impossible, but it is highly unlikely.

Art ended his speech by saying that we are at a critical crossroad – where we are in the next phase in the evolution of the Information Age with this convergence of Big Data, mobility, cloud and our social media-driven society.

As well as Art’s keynote, the event saw a number of other announcements during the week including the RSA NextGen Security Operations Center (SOC) services, designed to help customers build battle ready cyber defense, the expansion of the technology partnership between RSA and Juniper networks and the release of RSA’s Authentication Manager 8.

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UK law firm saves £15,000 a year with EMC unified storage for effective disaster recovery

BIS_76692Last week we announced a new customer – TWM Solicitors. The UK based, mid sized law firm, based in Surrey has completely revamped its server and storage infrastructure, choosing EMC VNX unified storage to better support its commercial and private law services.

The IT transformation took nearly two years to implement and has resulted in increased storage utilisation by 200% as well as cost savings of £15,000 per year.

TWM has 170 staff at six sites in Surrey and needed to better support its customer service and ongoing virtualisation program. Alan Barratt, Head of IT at TWM Solicitors said his team had to manage their servers very closely, whether it was updating drivers, installing new software or the physical maintenance of the machines. If a site went down, it would take the company days to get it back up and running. The legacy Dell storage environment was no longer providing adequate capacity and system performance and the firm’s IT department experienced difficulties meeting the growing needs of its internal users.

After exploring a number of solutions, TWM chose EMC VNX unified storage with VMware vSphere for its performance and tight integration with VMware. This decision was easy according to Alan: “What pushed it towards EMC was the level of engagement we experienced. NetApp made us feel we weren’t important and Dell tried to push a product that just didn’t fit for us.”

TWM’s experience with this transformation is typical of many UK SMEs currently undergoing a transition to virtual server environments. This switch is extremely simple and cost effective for the company and enables an effective disaster recovery position to be put in place.

Previously, every time TWM wanted to run a new application it had to purchase and install another server, which could take 2-3 weeks. “EMC’s technology has had a dramatic impact on business performance. We were able to transform our IT infrastructure and move to a more innovative and agile environment,” says Alan.

“We’ve been able to retire 35 Dell servers since implementing VNX, capturing £15,000 per year in power and cooling cost savings. We expect our VNX investment will pay for itself in less than three years,” said Barrett.

The full press release can be found here.

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