Pulse Conference update with Todd Watson

On unraveling and managing complexity

From the Pulse 2010 Conference: Todd Turbo Watson discusses Tivoli® software's role in managing the increasingly complex computer topologies and covers Al Gore's speech on breathing new life into existing resources, whether they be physical or virtual ones.


Scott Laningham (scottla@us.ibm.com), developerWorks Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.

24 February 2010

developerWorks: This is a developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham with Todd Turbo Watson who is at the IBM® Pulse 2010 Conference in Las Vegas this week. Tivoli software is the chief sponsor of that conference and they're joined by the other IBM brands, as well.

Todd, how are you doing? You're just perpetually on the road right now, aren't you?

Watson: I am. And I just want to say this one thing. What happens in Vegas ... whatever happens in Vegas ...

Listen to this podcast.

Follow Todd Turbo Watson on his blogs [IBM | personal].

developerWorks: Goes in your blog.

Watson: ... I'm not staying here. [LAUGHTER]

developerWorks: I thought you were going to say goes in my blog because it goes in your blog and then you leave.

Watson: Yes, and you're right. It's been an extended road trip. I came to Vegas via Stuttgart, Milan and Madrid and London. So here I am 20,000 miles later and hopefully I'll get credit for that on American Airlines. But, yes, it's good. It's been quite the conference.

developerWorks: So let's talk about it. What about your highlights? You've been there for a couple of days, right, or three?

Watson: Yes. Started out on Monday morning, actually Sunday afternoon. You know, if I could net the conference down to one key theme and this harkens back both to what our general manager from Tivoli software, Al Zollar, said as well as our former Vice President, the other Al, Al Gore, in his keynote speech ... it's about efficiency.

Zollar kicked off on Monday and talked about this notion of efficiency through integrated service management. And service could be basically any kind of service that has got an IT component or a physical asset or other things that you're trying to manage through a life cycle and that's one of the things that Zollar pointed out, was that we have to start to manage through every stage of the service life cycle and we've got to start to support the delivery of new services by industry. That was a really key theme at the event.

Mike Rhodin, who runs our Software Solutions Unit in IBM Software, talked about on stage Monday this notion of having industry frameworks so that we give our customers more guidance about how they can go about building A Smarter Planet in the context of their industry and that really integrated service management has the potential to change the way that people, business, and processes operate.

That was one of the key themes also is there was this tag line of the fact that we're optimizing the world's infrastructure and we're doing that so we can all live and work smarter. But we have this proliferation of instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent devices. I mean, just look at your mobile device explosion.

And that really presents our customers with some big challenges in terms of management, but it also gives us an opportunity to deliver innovative services that we wouldn't even have dreamt of 10 years ago.

And that's what Al Zollar really kind of summarized on stage on Monday is that our customers are dealing with these amazing levels of complexity that's growing due to all these new devices and services, but there's an opportunity there, on the other hand, that gives you the potential to manage it all. And he said you can't do it with an Excel spreadsheet.

developerWorks: Right.

Watson: You know, he went into some case studies. He talked about how the capital region of Denmark is using Tivoli software, for example, to deal with all of their countless backup requirements. They run a network of hospitals and each of them has massive amounts of data duplication that's distributed across three different storage sites and they're dealing in petabytes of information. And they were able to overcome those challenges with an integrated service management approach and Tivoli software, TSM, Tivoli Storage Manager, and only four people.

The US Air Force which has a hundred bases, 700,000 military personnel around the world, they're leveraging ISM in a cloud environment which is another key theme of the event. How do I create a more flexible service orientation? And so there was a lot of talk about cloud computing.

So those are some of the key ones. I think also was this notion of dealing with complexity and risk and our friend Harriet Pearson, who is the Chief Privacy Officer and Vice President, Security Counsel for IBM, had a really great keynote talking about security by design, how we need to start to plan security more upfront in our planning and development, even in things like application development, because that really helps not only mitigate risk but she said also helps drive innovation because now you're not so focused on the defensive measures but rather you can go on offense and really look at security as an innovation opportunity as opposed to a liability.

So, great stuff all the way around and a lot of customer case studies. And from what I could sense, a lot of great interest. And I think the Smarter Cities component was something that really people latched on to.

developerWorks: Todd, we should mention, even though there's really not enough time to go into all this detail, that of course there were a number of key announcements. And instead of having you go through that, I think we should just point people to ibm.com/press for more information.

There's a Pulse press release package there. And of course the conference Web site as well, ibm.com/software/tivoli/pulse. A lot of key product partner and service announcements to check out.

As a closing thing, I wonder if you, you did the neat Turbo Tech podcast about Al Gore and we want to certainly encourage people to go check that out if they haven't. But if you might kind of give a summary about your thoughts here again what you enjoyed the most and took away from former Vice President Al Gore's talk?

Watson: Well, you know, I think going back to where we started, this notion of efficiency I think ... first of all, Al Gore was just hilarious. I mean, I mentioned that in the podcast that I did that you mentioned. He was just disarmingly funny like right off the bat. So that was noteworthy. Very self-deprecating.

But then, he used that to really open the door and get permission to I think become quite serious. And I think that without getting into all the details, there is a ... he said there's a common thread between some of the challenges we face economically with regards to our dependency on foreign oil, our military actions, and other things.

But what he said is that we've got an opportunity to kind of unravel these threads and really start to focus our attention on to some of the things that I think he's been suggesting we should for a long time, this notion of renewable sources and all of the innovation that that can drive. That we can just simply be more efficient about the way we use our resources.

And I think from a business point of view, that just makes a lot of sense, right? Any good business person is going to really try to make the most out of the least investment. That's just good business.

developerWorks: Right.

Watson: And I think that was the core of the story that Al Gore, you know, as he called himself, the former next president of the United States, was really focused on. And he said that "remember this is one of those moments in history where it's difficult to imagine the scale and scope of the changes that lie ahead of us." So that becoming conversant in these technologies is an enabler to help us go down that path. So, very interesting talk and I thought very well received.

developerWorks: Todd, this is great. How much longer are you there? Another day and then you head home?

Watson: No, I'm actually heading out this afternoon because I've got to get back to my real job. Oh, wait a minute, this is my real job. Okay. [LAUGHTER]

developerWorks: And we'll be getting together soon for South By Southwest Interactive with David Salinas again, so certainly looking forward to that. That will be nice.

Watson: Absolutely looking forward to that and to David and our pub talks.

developerWorks: Safe trip home, man. See you soon.

Watson: Thank you.

developerWorks: Todd Turbo Watson at Pulse 2010 in Las Vegas. I'm Scott Laningham with developerWorks. Talk to you soon.



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