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Computer Weekly European User Awards: Storage




The Computer Weekly European User Awards for Storage aim to recognise innovation in data storage projects that show evidence of improving storage efficiency and effectiveness.

For instance, entries could demonstrate innovation in areas such as backup, disaster recovery strategies, cloud storage and the use of virtual storage.

Applicants could also enter if their business has shown innovation in storage for virtual server environments, storage virtualisation and storage for internal cloud projects.

Other examples of entries include the use of disk systems, improvements to storage management and storage compliance.



Judges will be using the following criteria to assess entries:

  • Innovation in technology or business processes
  • Improving IT management capabilities
  • Improving business efficiency or reducing costs
  • Demonstrating best practice
  • Delivering measurable business benefits


A description of each category can be found here. Please refer to the main awards site for further information about the other awards topics running throughout 2014.


Any questions about the Computer Weekly European User Awards for Storage please contact us at CWUserAwards@techtarget.com

See the 2013 winners here. 


Public Sector Winner 2013

College of North West London (Entered by Dell Compellent)

The College of North West London (CNWL), a further education college offering a range of courses from beginner to degree level, has introduced a new storage solution from Dell to increase automation and ease IT management across its three campuses. The Dell Compellent storage solution was selected because of its ability to provide a cost-effective, scalable storage solution that allows for simplified management of data across its three campuses. By splitting the storage solution across three sites and replicating data across those locations, CNWL can ensure that in the event of a power cut or system failure, it suffers no downtime or disruption to the learning process. The College’s email system, SQL databases, virtual environment and CCTV all run off the new storage solution so, with an estimated 100GB of growth every month, CNWL needed a storage platform that could scale to meet its future needs.



Best Technology Innovation Winner 2013:

Rovio (Entered by Basho Technologies)

The popularity of Angry Birds has seen games maker Rovio grow at an incredible rate. The company had 263 million monthly active users in December 2012 and its games had been downloaded 1.7 billion times by March 2013. With the launch of its new game Angry Birds Toons and a new mobile games set to put further strain on its infrastructure, Rovio needed to ensure its high service levels could be maintained in a cost-effective way. To add further complexity, data transactions across multiple platforms, including smartphones and tablets, meant investment was needed to keep the user experience consistent. So, to deal with the high influx of data and peak load times, Rovio needed a database that could support viral growth without failing and causing downtime. Similarly, if demand was lower than anticipated, flexibility was needed to ensure that infrastructure could be reined back, avoiding unnecessary expenditure.



Supplier of the Year Winner 2013:

Framestore (Entered by Avere Systems)

Using Avere’s FXT 4500 Edge filer, Soho-based VFX studio Framestore improved storage performance in production stages of its upcoming film Gravity, featuring a 3D recreation of the International Space Station. Framestore needed a reliable NAS solution to manage the company’s massive rendering and storage requirements. It was clear from the onset that Gravity’s resource demands would be enormous, eventually scaling up to over 15,000 processor cores at peak rendering. As rendering hits full stride, the render nodes create the classic production bottleneck, consuming all available storage bandwidth and creating slowdowns on the artist and workstation side. To support the projected load, Framestore undertook a project to rebuild its storage and networking infrastructure. Framestore was interested in partitioning the storage so Gravity-related rendering would pull data from storage pools separate to those being used for the rest of the facility. Several competitive SSD-based solutions were considered, including building their own system based on CacheFS software and adding SSDs to the newly installed core filers.



Private Sector Winner 2013:

Cancer Research (Entered by EMC)

The long-term relationship between Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and EMC has dramatically improved the charity’s ability to reduce IT budgets, and increase performance and targets. It has also improved employees' day-to-day IT experiences through faster access to data, reducing the marketing cycle time, improving fundraising ability and supporting mobile working through a more resilient and accessible system. The IT team has taken significant steps to implement innovative technologies, most recently incorporating EMC XtremSW and SF Cache. These have immediately improved storage utilisation, access to data, enabling more efficient fundraising activities. There are also reduced running costs and an expected return on investment within 18 months for the entire implementation.



The Judges

Name Louella Fernandes, Principal Analyst, Quocirca

Fernandes is a respected and globally recognised analyst. Her research and consulting experience includes strategic and competitive analysis of the managed print services (MPS) market and analysis of end-user MPS requirements from small businesses to large enterprises. She has authored a range of white papers on the topics of MPS, document workflow and customer communications management (CCM). Prior to joining Quocirca in 2006, she was European Developer Relations Programme Manager at Canon Europe, focusing on expanding the availability of print and document solutions for Canon's range of digital copiers through ISV partners.


NameSpencer Izard, IDC Research Manager

Over the past 15 years Spencer has worked at several large international organisations. He worked at Marks & Spencer, where he introduced enterprise architecture, IT harmonisation, and cloud strategies. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft providing strategic end-user consultancy  on enterprise architecture, IT operations, mobility, and cloud computing. Before Microsoft, he spent over six years at BP as a global architecture manager among other roles.


Name Henry Baltazar, senior analyst serving infrastructure & operations professionals, Forrester 

Henry has evaluated and tested storage hardware and software offerings for more than 15 years as an industry analyst and as a journalist. Henry advises Forrester clients of data center infrastructure technologies including storage virtualisation, cloud storage, solid-state storage, and primary storage arrays. Henry comes to Forrester from 451 Research, where he was covering NAS and SAN storage arrays, cloud storage, and solid-state storage. At 451 Research, he advised vendors, venture capitalists, service providers, and end user clients on emerging technologies in the data storage market. Prior to joining The 451 Group, Henry spent nearly nine years working as a technical analyst for eWeek Labs, where he covered storage, server hardware, and network operating systems.