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It's our tenth anniversary! And what ten years these have been for our industry.

As I write this it seems incredible that it was ten years ago that I finally set up A3 Communications, after so many people in the industry had been encouraging me to finally turn my passion for data storage PR into a business.

Over the past ten years the team has grown, our geographical presence has expanded, we’ve worked on promoting some very cool storage-related technologies like cloud computing and visualisation, and we have added some amazing names to our client list. And at a time when companies are becoming more and more discerning in their PR agency selection we are going to celebrate this milestone with a number of new clients and several initiatives including a new logo and website, a virtualisation practice, the launch of a series of roundtables under the 'IT Question Time' banner, a new blog, and of course a fantastic party that will take place on 29th October at the http://poweringthecloud.com/home (Powering the Cloud) conferences in Frankfurt (get in touch to request an invite!).

But the past ten years have not only seen growth and changes for our team but for the industry overall. I remember talking to journalists about thin provisioning with 3PAR, data de-duplication with Data Domain, storage security with Decru. Every time we started from a blank slate because most members of the media had not heard of these technologies and it took time, effort and a multifaceted strategy to put these developments on the map. From this point of view things haven’t changed much actually: the content of the discussions might be different but the need to educate target audiences remains. Alongside the buzz of telling the world about a new and exciting technology.

Over the past ten years the editorial landscape has also changed: print magazines are now almost extinct in the IT space and a number of specialist news sites has taken hold. These are now flanked by a growing number of blogs, some of which are more influential than most traditional publications. As if this did not make the sharing of news quick enough, the arrival of Twitter in 2006 gave us the ability to share ideas, comments and of course news, instantly.

This has helped to level the playing field between large, established vendors, and smaller, specialist start ups: a smart social media strategy can be a very cost-effective communications tool although you do need to spend a bit of time on the relevant platforms to make them work for you. Talking of large vs. small, I find today’s vendor landscape to be much more exciting than it was ten years ago: the number of start ups and niche companies that have chosen to focus on specific storage, virtualisation or cloud technologies to become real experts who can develop unique products makes for really interesting industry dynamics and it’s fascinating to watch the reaction of the established players who have a finger in every pie.

The appeal of specialisation extends to another aspect of the IT industry: events. Ten years ago trade shows were vast and covered an ever broader range of technologies: CeBIT and Comdex were unmissable appointments but where are they today? It seems that the industry has voted and it prefers smaller but more focused events where the quality of the meetings and of the information is more relevant to its needs. Enter Cloud Expo Europe, the Managed Services and Hosting Summit, SNW Europe and VMworld to name but a few. I, for one, am a great believer in the power of specialisation and welcome this shift.

The past ten years have seen much change and we have had the privilege of helping many impressive companies shape this evolution. So I would like to thank everyone who has worked with us since we first started and take this opportunity to toast to the next ten year. Cheers!

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