I know this isn't strictly related to my normal Industries, but it is applicable for any DW member, so I thought it was valuable enough to share and might even prove useful in dealing with IBMers. For a number of years now, my email signature has included a link for non-IBMers to contact me via Sametime. That link is connects to https://www.ibm.com/collaboration/instantmessaging
This doesn't seem to be well known among IBMers, but I have spoken with a number of partners, exIBMers and my wife via this facility in the past. All they need is a ibm.com account and anyone can sign up for one of those. If you have ever downloaded anything from ibm.com in the past, or signed up to Developerworks then they will already have one (which is the case for most partners and IBMers)The Sametime client that the ibm.com site launches is the (old) Sametime Connect 3.1 Java client. It looks like this:
NB. In the buddylist - alarmour @ au.ibm.com
is my internal Sametime community id (which is the same as my email address) and alarmour @ optusnet.com.au
is my ibm.com id.
Despite it's age and now being superseded by Sametime 6.5, Sametime 7, Sametime 7.5 and Sametime 8, it still works! As an example, check out the short conversation I had with my other personality!
In my normal Sametime client, my external id comes in as alarmour @ optusnet.com.au.ibm.ext
(my ibm.com id prepended to "ibm.ext") - I can add this external id to my buddylist so that I can see when my external self is logged on. In fact, I can add the external community to my standard sametime setup and log in from there as well. If you know the name of the IBMer that you want to add to your buddylist, but don't know their email address, you can get that from the ibm.com web site through this employee search facility
I am not sure what is going on with the status of my ibm.com id not showing up as online (on the screen dump above) - I do see when my wife is logged on and some others that regularly log in too (although they are using a more modern client rather than the old 3.1 java client). After a while, it did correct itself through.
What I did for my wife was to download the free trail version of the Sametime client (from DW!), then use the config information from the jave client so that Samtime started automatically when her PC starts - thaqt way, she can chat with me regardless of the Sametime client I am using to connect to messaging.ibm.com (I often use the mobile client which does not support multiple communities). Such a setup also means that she does not need to go to ibm.com in a browser to chat with me - the client is just sitting minimised in the systray on her PC.
Hopefully, this post will spread the word a bit more....
Update: The version of the Sametime Web Client has been updated and the launch URL has changed - I have corrected it above and added a new screen capture of the new client:
Further to my last post, it now looks like the WAC is completely dead and buried.
One thing that is creating a lot of chatter at the moment though is TelcoML (Telco Markup Language) - there it a lot of discussions about it on the TeleManagement Forum (TMF) community site and while I don't intend to get in a big discussion about TelcoML, I do want to talk about Telco standards in general.
The Telco standards that seem to take hold are the ones with strong engineering background - I am thinking of networking standards like SS7, INAP, CAMEL, SigTRAN etc, but the Telco standards focussed on the IT domain (like Parlay, ParlayX, OneAPI, ParlayREST and perhaps TelcoML) seem to struggle to get real penetration - sure standards are good - they make it easier and cheaper for Telcos to integrate and introduce new software; they make it easier for ISVs to build software that can be deployed at any telco. So, why don't they stick?
Why do we see a progression of standards that are well designed, have collaboration of a core set of telcos around the world (I'm thinking the WAC here) yet nothing comes of it. It we look at Parlay for example, sure CORBA is hard, so I get why it didn't take off, but ParlayX with web services is easy - pretty much every IDE in the world can build a SOAP request from the WSDL for that web Service - why didn't it take off? I've spoken to telcos all around the world about ParlayX, but it's rare to find one that is truly committed to the standard - sure the RFP's say must have ParlayX, but then after they implement the software (Telecom Web Services Server in IBM's case) they either continue to offer their previous in house developed interfaces for those network services and don't use ParlayX or they just don't follow through with their plans to expose the services externally: why did we bother? ParlayX stagnated for many years with little real adoption from Telcos. Along comes GSMA with OneAPI with the mantra 'ParlayX web services are too complicated still, lets simplify them and also provide a REST based interface'. No new services, just the same ones as ParlayX, but simplified. Yes, I responded to a lot of Requests For Proposal (RFP) asking for OneAPI support, but I have not seen one telco that has actually exposed those OneAPI interfaces to 3rd party developers as they originally intended. So, now, OneAPI doesn;t really exist any more and we have ParlayREST as a replacement. Will that get any more take up? I don't think so.
The TMF Frameworx seem to have more adoption, but they are the exception to the rule.
I am not really sure why Telco standards efforts have such a tough time of it, but I suspect that it comes down to:
- Lack of long term thinking within telcos - there are often too many tactical requirements to be fulfilled and the long term strategy never gets going (this is like Governments who have a four year terms not being able to get 20 year projects over the line - they're too worried about getting the day to day things patched up and then getting re-elected)
- Senior executives in Telcos that truly don't appreciate the benefits of standardisation - I am not sure if this is because executives come from a non-technical background or some other reason.
What to do? I guess I will keep preaching about standards - it is fundamental to IBM's strategy and operations after all - and keep up with the new ones as they come along. Lets hope that Telcos start to understand why they should be using standards as much as possible, after all they will make their life easier and their operations cheaper.
I've met with Celcom (a Telco in Malaysia) a few times this year, they have a funny sign in
the lift well of every floor... So much for all the IBM sales staff
that were with me!
Apologies for the quality of the photo - I only had my phone camera with me at the time.
I am working with a number of IBM business partners and I found a need to explain to them how our Software licensing works. I found that many of our sales staff don't fully understand it either, so I figured I would post the explanation I wrote for the business partners to try and explain it so more people "get it". The other thing that struck me in speaking with some partners was that - despite some of them them partnering with Oracle more often than they have with us in the past - they had a simplistic view of Oracle's licensing thinking that it was simply CPU based. Oracle's licensing scheme is similar to our own PVU scheme in weighting different multi-core CPUs differently for licensing purposes. First - IBM's PVU scheme
The majority of the IBM runtime components are priced per PVU. The Processor Value Unit or PVU is an arbitrary notion that IBM came up with to cater for multi-core CPUs and the fact that some platforms offered more processing power per CPU core than other platforms. Different brand processors cores are considered equivalent to PVU counts from 30 PVUs to 120 PVUs per core.
For example, an Intel single-core CPU is 100 PVU. Intel multi core CPUs are considered to be equivalent to 50 PVUs per processor core (or 70 PVUs per core for the newer Intel chips), so a dual core CPU would be 100 or 140 PVU and a quad core CPU would be 200 or 280 PVU. Prior to the latest generation of Intel multi-core CPUs, Intel multi-core architecture was such that a single dual core CPU offers similar processing power to a single core CPU, so to be fair to customers that use Intel multi core CPUs, IBM only rates each core at 50 PVUs. The latest chips have improved their processing power per core over previous generations of chip and they are now rated at 70 PVUs per core as a result.
IBM PowerPC chips are more efficient and therefore the PVU rating per CPU core is 80 PVU per core for Power 6 blades although other PowerPC CPUs are rated at 50, 100 or 120 PVUs per core.
The PVU calculator is available at https://www-112.ibm.com/software/howtobuy/passportadvantage/valueunitcalculator/vucalc.wss
Now - lets look at the Oracle do it
For multi-core CPUs, Oracle have a similar scheme to IBM. This quote is from Oracle's current price list on their web site -
New reference http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/contracts/processor-core-factor-table-070634.pdf
"Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running. Programs licensed on a processor basis may be accessed by your internal users (including agents and contractors) and by your third party users. The number of required licenses shall be determined by multiplying the total number of cores of the processor by a core processor licensing factor specified on the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table which can be accessed at http://oracle.com/contracts. All cores on all multicore chips for each licensed program are to be aggregated before multiplying by the appropriate core processor licensing factor and all fractions of a number are to be rounded up to the next whole number. When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One or Standard Edition in the product name, a processor is counted equivalent to an occupied socket; however, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket.."
This basically means that for Intel quad core CPUs, they are priced at twice the price of an Intel Single core CPU (a multiplier of .50 per core) - exactly the same as IBM pricing for Intel Quad core CPUs.
Likewise, for PowerPC (Po dual core CPUs, they apply an factor of 0.75 since they do not differentiate between the processing power from other manufacturers other than Intel, AMD or Sun and just apply a generic multiplier of 0.75
. Oracle have introduced a more comprehensive factor table to calculate their per CPU licensing price (introduced in March this year I think) where they added multipliers of 0.5 and 1.0 to their table. Oracle's core factor table is available at http://www.oracle.com/corporate/contracts/library/processor-core-factor-table.pdf
To illustrate, if the Oracle product license cost is $100 per CPU and the IBM price is $1 per PVU, then the following table illustrates how Oracle and IBM pricing will change depending on the processor that software is deployed on.
Assuming the base software price is $100/CPU (Oracle) or $1 per PVU (IBM)
|CPU Type||Oracle Cost calculation Price x RoundUp(CPU cores x multiplier)||Oracle Extended software cost||IBM PVU rating (PVUxCPU-cores)||Extended Cost|
|single core CPU (any)||100 x 1||$100.00||100||$100.00|
|Intel/AMD Quad Core(older)||100 x RoundUp(4 x 0.5) |
= 100 x 2
|Intel/AMD Quad Core(new)||100 x RoundUp(4 x 0.5) |
= 100 x 2
|Sun UltraSparc T1 Hexa-core(1.0 or 1.2 Ghz)||100 x RoundUp(6 x 0.25) |
= 100 x 2
|Sun UltraSparc T1 Hexa-core(1.4 Ghz or higher)||100 x RoundUp(6 x 0.5) |
= 100 x 3
|Sun UltraSparc T2 Hexa-core ||100 x RoundUp(6 x 0.75) |
= 100 x 5
|IBM PowerPC Dual Core POWER6 |
(520, JS12, JS22 servers)
|100 x RoundUp(2 x 1.0) |
= 100 x 2
|IBM PowerPC Dual Core POWER6 |
(550,560,570, 575, 595 svrs)
|100 x RoundUp(2 x 1.0) |
= 100 x 2
|IBM Power5 Quad Core||100 x RoundUp(4 x 0.75) |
= 100 x 3
This illustrates that both IBM and Oracle understand that not all multi-core CPUs are created equally - some are more like multiple single core CPUs just placed on a single die. It also shows that Oracle and IBM both understand that CPU architectures such as the SunSparc and Intel/AMD x86 offer less processing power per CPU core that IBM PowerPC architecture.
Lets dispel the myth that Oracle price per CPU only - their multipliers provide a similar pricing strategy to IBM's PVU based pricing - sometimes IBM has the price advantage, sometimes Oracle has the price advantage. Oracle first introduced this type of multi-core licensing back in 2005 although back then the multipliers were set at a generic 0.75 per CPU core for all processor types - regardless of CPU processing power.
Note - as both Oracle and IBM have the right to change their pricing at any time, I can only vouch for the accuracy of this post at the time it was originally posted (Nov09).
The yoyo mobile interface for MyDeveloperWorks is back again! Had I known, it was available I would have been using it all week instead of Skyfire to post blog entries from Impact this week. I just hope it is here to stay this time! :-)
For those of you that don't know about the Lotus Connections Mobile interface, it looks like this on my Nokia e71 and is available from https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/mobile
: (I have it zoomed out to 75%, so those of you getting on in life like me, you might prefer it at 100% or greater... :-) )
<edit> It was nice while it lasted - but the mobile interface is down again! </edit>
Guilty of not posting what I should have over the past few weeks. First a quickie - IBM's nominations in the TeleManagement Forum excellence awards for this year have dropped down to two, that is to say, IBM has made the finalist lists for two categories:
- Business Innovation award
- Industry Leadership award
While it's a shame we didn't make the cut for the Solution Excellence award (I am not sure which solution was nominated) I am still proud that we've made the finalist cut for two categories. If you are a TMF member - please go and vote at http://www.tmforum.org/ExcellenceAwards2010/Finalists/8647/Home.html#1
(you choose who you want to vote for, you can probably guess who I voted for!
I have been working on a post about our newly announced Industry Framework for the Media & Entertainment Industry - you should expect that post to come along soon! (oh and don't forget to vote in the TMF awards!)
There are a number of opportunities as I see them for Telcos over the next few years. There are definite opportunities for social networking which will enable a carrier to move from a traditional communication model with their subscribers to a more collaborative and open 'Shared Social Space' . For mobile operators, this market movement presents both opportunities and risks for the telco making that journey.
- Extension of Social Networking to the mobile where operators continue to enjoy exclusivity
- Extend enterprise offerings to include Social Networking and collaborative services
- Offer users of mobile, online, and possibly IPTV, a unified rich Social network-experience across the “3 screens”
- Virtual mobile social networking operators reducing network owners to bit-pipe
One of the most obvious moves for a mobile carrier is to simply allow mobile access to social networking tools. While this might satisfy the subscribers who want mobile access to Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace etc they are effectively reducing themselves to a bit-pipe (all of those companies already have mobile interfaces for their platform). If Telcos are going to be able to effectively fight off those Internet based rivals, the Telco MUST offer some value beyond just the pipe. That's where the Telcos have to use their closeness and brand to the best advantage to ensure that the carriers do not get relegated to the 'plumbing'.
I spoke about the advantages that Telcos have over the Internet based Social Networking providers
, this is where the Telco must play their hand and use those advantages because failure to do so will result in them being just providers of bandwidth. One way for Telcos to exert more ownership and maintain their value for subscribers is through User Generated Content (UCG). I've spoken to a number of Telcos int he past year about UCG in Australia, Malaysia and Thailand - for some reason those that I spoke to all had the idea that it is a space they 'should' move into, yet not one of them actually had the guts to step up and do it.
This is contrary to the they I think they should be moving and it feels to me like they are stuck in an old telco product thought mode. The whole idea behind long tail applications is that you have very short time to market for your products and try out as many as you can. Kill off the ones that fail and keep and extend/enhance the ones that do well. I speak to Telcos a lot about long tail applications - usually with respect to technology like IBM Mashup Center, WebSphere sMash and Telecom Web Services Server, but also with respect to traditional SOA as well. For example, Globe Telecom in the Philippines are executing a long tail strategy for new products brilliantly - with the help of a SDP and Unified Service Creation environment based on IBM's software, they are able to bring new products to market in as little as 15 days. It used to take them at least eight months! They know that some products will work and some will fail, but by taking advantage of the short time to market, they can launch many products very quickly. This strategy is proving very successful for Globe, their resellers and their subscribers.
Sorry - got on a bit of a tangent there... back to UGC.
A Telco that deploys a User Generate Content framework has a number of opportunities for revenue - some better advised than others. For instance, one carrier I spoke with last year wanted to charge artists/publishers to upload content. To me, that would be a good way to prevent their platform from every taking off. The table below shows the various revenue opportunities from the artists/publishes, the consumers, the advertisers and others.
|Artist / Publisher
- Free apart from Data Charges ($)
- Free apart from Data Charges ($)
Premium Subscriptions: ($)
- Ringtones/RBT’s ($)
- Own Rigntone/RBT ($)
- Ringtones ($)
- Artist Wallpaper ($)
- Video ($)
- MP3 ($)
- Automated alerts e.g. fan club started, x number of downloads made, etc
- Free apart from Data Charges ($)
Consumer Purchases (any channel):
- Ringtones/RBT’s ($)
- Ringtomes ($)
- Artist Wallpaper ($)
- Video ($)
- MP3 ($)
Premium Subscriptions: ($)
- Automated alerts e.g. Photo tagged
Broadcast Ad Revenue
- Ad inserts before video starts ($)
- Ad inserts could vary by site the video is published to e.g. Youth brand, Facebook, YouTube, etc
- Ad Funded Content
- Advertiser decides to do a “Powered by …” sponsorship for a given artist via their Fan Club for a week. ($)
- Different ad pricing by site published to ($)
- Different pricing by artist popularity ($)
- Voted #1 by Telco XYZ Social Community
- Community Testing ($)
- Selling the value of the community to relevant companies that want to test new products/ideas within the community.
- Cross Selling / Up Selling to Artists and Consumers
service revenue from enabling 3rd parties to consume and use the common
web services exposed from the UGC platform.
Currency – encourage the community members to do some rewarding. To do
this they’ll need to purchase synthetic currency from the carrier.
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to establish new revenue streams from UCG - but any telco looking to move into this area need to tread a careful line between getting revenue and encouraging usage.
As I see it, Telcos (particularly in counties that I deal with) are in a perfect position to transform their subscriber's enthusiasm for social networking into real business benefits
Combining traditional Calling Circle Applications (aka Family & Friends, or VPNs as the Telcos would call them) with online (PC or Mobile) communities to share information. These could be short-lived around:
- Religious event
- Public Holiday
- Sporting finals
- Wedding Anniversary
- 21st Birthday Party
Or they could be longer term communities such as :
- Scout Troups
- Football Clubs
- Fan clubs
- Church Groups
- Service Clubs (Lions, Apex, Rotary etc)
These are just some that come to mind off the top of my head. I am picturing discounted call and text rates for community members as well as discounted data rates for mobile access to the web community including blogs, activities, profiles, discussions etc. Think about these sort of integrated scenarios for Telcos:
- Sending SMS messages to blog subscribers every time that blogger posts a new blog
- Emails or SMS message to a community - based on either their profile or their current location.
- Microblogging aggregation - the subscriber sends a SMS to a shortcode, which then updates all the other microblogging services that subscriber uses (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Freindster etc)
- Write blog posts on your mobile phone either via a MMS message (including images, video or audio), the phone web interface, an email interface or (for shorter entries) SMS messages.
- Bloggers could recieve SMS messages whenever someone comments on their posts
- .... the list goes on...
In these days where churn is a significant issue for most Telcos -
especially in countries where mobile number portability (MNP) has been
introduced, anything a telco can do to make themselves more sticky for
their subscribers is a good thing. Also add to that the
potential additional revenue from additional data and messaging usage and we have a proposition that lot of telcos would be interested in. I wouldn't see this as having a major effect on ARPU, but every little bit helps.
I can picture a wide range of services that telcos could combine with their Social networking offerings that would draw out additional revenue from their subscribers. While there are plenty of Internet based companies offering blogging, file sharing, profiles, microblogging etc, none of them have the established relationship that a Telco has with it's subscriber base. Additional, very few of them have a local presence outside of their home country. Telcos are localised in nature - either through government heritage, Government regulation, Language or social reasons - Telcos need to take advantage of that fact. OK, their in country competitors have the same advantage, but in this race, the real competitors are the Internet providers. Obviously, a Telco that can move on this territory before their local competition will have a significant advantage in the marketplace.
My gut tells me that within each country, we are just waiting for the first Telco to offer these sort of converged services before all the others in that marketplace decide that they need to as well - the Domino effect.
Speaking about the Domino effect, I am struck by the irony of the naming of that principle and what is happening in the Vietnam telco market right now. The US Government coined the term the Domino effect to justify entering the Vietnam War in support of South Vietnam (to prevent the fall of the rest of South East Asia to communism), yet in the Telecom industry in Vietnam, we are seeing a Domino effect with respect to Service Delivery Platforms right now - one telco goes down the SDP path, so now they are all going down the SDP path...
Now that I have rambled onto the subject of SDPs,
a telco could offer Social Networking services without having a SDP in place, but in order to offer true integration between the Social Networking offering and the traditional telco services, a SDP will be required unless they want to go down the custom code path and I think we all know where that ends up - Spaghetti Junction!
I had a request on the other week to create a number of topology diagrams that showed how a Telco might start small and grow their environment to add new capabilities and services. This was specifically for a telco in Vietnam, but I figured it would make sense to generalise the presentation and the images to make it usable for other opportunities. We've had a similar request from other telcos recently as well. The presentation step through 11 phases from a pilot/trial environment through to a full blown system. Each slide has speaker notes explaining what is being added at each phase in terms of products and capabilities. This presentation is not meant to make any recommendations on how to evolve form a small system to a more complex and capable one. What it is supposed to illustrate one possible evolution... Note that it focuses only on the IBM components and some other components would also be required for some phases (such as a transcoding engine in the media extension phase).
Below are three of the diagrams - Phase 1, Phase 6 and Phase 11 and the speaker notes that go along with that phase - to give you a feel for the flow...
Phase 1 - Test Environment
At this first stage, an initial deployment might be considered a proof of concept or a trial – which could become the test and or ISV environment, The functions that this could offer are:
- Composite applications that bring together functions provided by the network. For instance an application that consumes SMS messaging and integrates the location of the handset into an app.
- WSRR will get them down the path of SOA Governance – it is important to get this in early to ensure that the governance model is maintained and the Telco will now need to rework services that are created at this stage.
- Complex workflows and business processes can be built which include human tasks (such as prototype processes for the production implementation )
Phase 6 - Developer Ecosystem including Web 2.0
Phase 6 introduces the Developer Ecosystem components such as :
This combined with the web services exposure deployed in phase 4 means that the developer ecosystem can now cater for all levels of developers – those with no skills can use the drag and drop mashup environment, script developers can use sMash and more advanced developers can use the web services interface. In the backup slides there is an illustration of this.
- Idea Factory for Telecom – which will help make a dispersed group of developers into a community. It enable the sharing of ideas and a framework for the Telco to manage the evolution of the ideas that are generated within the community. It also provides a rapid prototyping capability via...
- IBM Mashup Canter which allows users to drag widgets onto a workspace and simply wire them together. It is both the development and the runtime architecture. This means that developers don't need deep development skills in order to build new applications.
- WebSphere sMash which provides a PHP and Groovy scripting environment (both development using the Dojo toolkit and the runtime environment)
For advanced developers the Telco can support developers across a range of IDEs ranging from Rational and Eclipse (where we have Telecom Toolkits available for free) to other IDEs (such as Microsoft Visual Studio or Sun Netbeans) where the IDE has tools to assist developers with consuming web services. In all the IDEs, developers will consume the Web Services Description Language (WSDL) file from a UDDI directory in the DMZ. The UDDI directory (part of WPS) is populated from the WSRR internal services repository.
Phase 11 - IMS integration and extension
When the Telco goes down the IP Mulitmedia Subsystem (IMS) path, the software deployed already has IMS enablement, but at this point we can also add WebSphere Presence Server (PS) and WebSphere XML document Management Server (XDMS – formerly WebSphere Grouplist Manager) which provides IMS services for the IMS services plane. The core infrastructure that was deployed way back in phases 1 and 2 are critical to the IMS Services plane.
It is important to understand that the phases I have split them down into are purely arbitrary and are not necessarily what would happen in a real telco. Which function occurs at what point and in combination with other functions is something that must be driven by the business requirements of the telco. The intent is to illustrate how a telco could start small and add function incrementally building on the previous investments. Still want it? Great - feel free to download it from MyDeveloperworks files
. Please let me know what you think.
This article has some great images of Telstra's NOC - where we have a significant presence with our Netcool offerings.
Here is the URL for this bookmark: http://apcmag.com/telstras-massive-nerve-centre-exposed.htm
Yes, our team is focused on SDP, but this article was interesting because it is in our part of the world (I live about 45kms from it) in AP and Telstra make extensive use of Netcool in their Network Operations Centre.
I wonder if the folks with only two screens suffer from 'screen envy' when so many others have four screens?
The other day, I was at a customer proof of concept, where the customer asked for 99.9999% availability within the Proof of Concept environment. Let me explain briefly the environment for the Proof of Concept - we were allocated ONE HP Proliant server, with twelve cores and needed to run the following:
- IBM BPM Advanced (BPM Adv)
- WebSphere Operational Decision Management (WODM)
- WebSphere Services Registry & Repository(WSRR)
- Oracle DB (not sure what version the customer installed).
Obviously we needed to use VMWare to deploy the software since installing all of the software on the server (and being able to demonstrate any level of redundancy) would be impossible.
Any of you that understand High Availability as I do would say it can't be done in a Proof of Concept - and I agree, yet our competitor claims they have demonstrated six nines (99.9999% availability) in this Proof of Concept environment - it was deployed on the customer's hardware; hardware that did not have any redundancy at all. I call shenanigans on the competitor claims. Unfortunately for us, the customer swallowed the claim hook line and sinker.
I want to explain why their claim of six nines cannot be substantiated and why the customer should be sceptical as soon as a vendor - any vendor makes such claims. First, lets think about what 99.9999% availability really means. To quantify that figure, that means 31.5 seconds of unplanned downtime per year! For a start, how could you possibly measure availability for a year over a two week period. Our POC server VMs didn't crash for the entire time we had them running - does that entitle us to claim 100% availability? No way.
The simple fact is that the Proof of Concept was deployed in a virtualised environment on a single physical machine - without redundant Hard Drives or power supplies - there is no way we or our competition could possibly claim any level of availability given the unknowns of the environment.
In order to achieve high levels of availability, there can be no single point of failure. That means no failure points in the Network, the Hardware or the Software. For example, that means:
- Multiple redundant Network Interface Connectors
- RAID 1+0 drive array,
- Multiple redundant power supplies,
- Multiple redundant network switches,
- Multiple redundant network backbones
- Hardened OS
- Minimise unused OS services
- Use Software clustering capabilities (WebSphere n+x clustering *)
- Active automated management of the software and OS
- Database replication / clustering (eg Oracle RAC or DB2 HADP)
- HA on network software elements (eg DNS servers etc)
We need to go back to the Telco and impress upon them that six nines availability depends on all of the above factors (and probably some others!) and not just about measuring the availability of the software over a short (and non-representative) sample period.
Typically this level of HA is very expensive, indeed every additional '9' increases the cost exponentially - that is: six nines (99.9999% availability) is exponentially more expensive than five nines(99.999% availability). I found this great diagram that illustrates the cost versus HA level.
This diagram is actually from a IBM Redbook (See http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redbooks/pdfs/sg247700.pdf
) which has a terrific section on high Availability - it illustrates how there is a compromise point between the level of high availability (aiming for continuous availability) and the cost of the infrastructure to provide that level of availability.
- n is number of servers needed to handle load requirements
- x is the number of redundant nodes in the cluster – to achieve six 9's, this should be in excess of 2)
OK, I know over the past six months or so, my blog has sat idle. For that I apologise. I could blame workload, personal issues, the amount of travel etc etc, but I am just going to cop it on the chin and say that I am sorry to anybody out there that can be bothered to read my posts. In light of the fresh start, I am going to change the name of the blog from Telco Talk to ...
Well, that's the thing, I haven't decided yet what i should change it to. The content isn't going to change - it will continue to be Telco focused, so I don't want to start a new blog from scratch. I will just rename this one. I just need some inspiration for the new name. Within IBM, our global market folks have decreed that we should no longer use the term "Telco" and that instead we should use "Communications Service Provider" or CSP for short. As a result I was thinking about changing the blog name to "CSP Comms" or "CSP Communiqué". Before I change it, I would like your opinion (if there is anyone out there) or suggestion of a new name.
I'll be watching my blog comments with bated breath, so please comment and suggest names.
I had hoped to write an inciteful post this week about the National Broadband Network projects and contrasting the way that the three I have been involved in are dealing with them. In Australia (where I live) there has been a LOT of bad media coverage for the NBN project - the first attempt at which wasted AU$30 million of taxpayers money. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are all tackling what is essentially the same problem in vastly different ways. Of course there are really good reasons for those differences, and I wanted to explain those as well... but, on my first week back from leave, things have gone nuts - this week, I've had four separate Service Delivery Platform RFI/RFPs plus some ongoing work with Globe, and other partners in Japan and New Zealand. The time I had hoped to set aside for the post just hasn't happened.
All I can say is that I am sorry and I hope to get that to you early next week while I am in Singapore and Bangkok. If you would like to see some other Telcom topics discussed, please fell free to comment and I will try and get to them...
Next week, I will be running a Telco training class for our System Integrator business partners in Bangkok - teaching, demonstrating and helping them to come to grips with IBM's software offerings in the Telecom industry - it should be good, I am looking forward to it..
Image credits: Photo from Stock.XCHNG
I stumbled across this report this evening. It states:
For the second year in a row, IBM AIX UNIX running on the Power or “P” series
servers, scored the highest reliability ratings among 15 different server
operating system platforms – including Linux, Mac OS X, UNIX and Windows.
Those are the results of the ITIC 2009 Global Server Hardware and Server OS
Reliability Survey which polled C-level executives and IT managers at 400
corporations from 20 countries worldwide. The results indicate that the IBM AIX
operating system whether running on Big Blue’s Power servers (System p5s) is
the clear winner, offering rock solid reliability. The IBM servers running AIX
consistently score at least 99.99% or just 15 minutes of unplanned per server,
per annum downtime.
It is very satisfying to know that the platform I have been
recommending to our clients (usually AIX on Power Blades (JS12 or JS22)
is the most reliable platform* out there.
*Distributed platforms at least.
Modificado por Andrew_Larmour
Why TMF Frameworx?
The TeleManagement Forum (TMF) have defined a set of four frameworks collectively known as Frameworx. The key frameworks that will deliver business value to the CSP are the Information Framework(SID) and the Process Framework (eTOM). Both of these can deliver increased business agility - which will reduce time to market and lower IT costs. In particular if a CSP is undertaking with the multiple major IT projects in the near term, TMF Frameworx alignment will ease the pain associated with those major projects.
Without a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), such as many CSP's have currently, there is no common integration layer, no common way to perform format transformations with that multiple systems can communicate correctly. A typical illustration of this point to point integration might look like the Illustration to the right:
Each of the orange ovals represents a transformation of information so that the two systems can understand each other - each of which must be developed and maintained independently. These transformations will typically be built with a range of different technologies and method, thus increasing the IT costs of integrating, maintaining such transformations, not to mention maintaining competency within the IT organisation.
A basic SOA environment introduces the concept of an Enterprise Service Bus which provides a common way to integrate systems together and a common way of building transformation of information model used by multiple systems. The Illustration below shows this basic Services Oriented Architecture - note that we still have the same number of transformations to build and maintain, but now they can be built using a common method, tools and skills.
If we now introduce a standard information model such as the SID from the TeleManagement Forum, we can reduce the number of transformation that need to be built and maintained to one per system as shown in the Illustration below. Ensuring that all the traffic across the ESB is SID aligned means that as the CSP changes systems (such as CRM or Billing) the effort required to integrate the new system into the environment is dramatically reduced. That will enable the introduction of new systems faster than could otherwise been achieved. It will also reduce the ongoing IT maintenance costs.
As I'm sure you're aware, most end to end business processes need to orchestrate multiple systems. If we take the next step and insulate those end to end business processes from the functions that are specific to the various end point systems using a standard Process Framework such as eTOM, then business process can be independent of systems such as CRM, Billing, Provisioning etc. That means that if those systems change in the future (as many CSPs are looking to do) the end to end business processes will not need to change - in fact the process will not even be aware that the end system has changed.
When changing (say) the CRM system, you will need to remap the eTOM business services to the specific native services and rebuild a single integration and a single transformation to/from the standard data model (SID). This is a significant reduction in effort required to introduce new systems into the CSP's environment. Additionally, if the CSP decide to take a phased approach to the migration of the CRM systems (as opposed to a big bang) the eTOM aligned business processes can dynamically select which of the two CRM systems should be used for this particular process instance.
What that means for the CSP.
Putting in place a robust integration and process orchestration environment that is aligned to TMF Frameworx should be the CSP's first priority; this will not only allow the subsequent major projects integration and migration efforts to be minimised, it will also reduce the time to market for new processes and product that the CSP might offer into the market.
Telekom Slovenia is a perfect example of this. When the Slovenian government forced Mobitel (Slovenia) and Telekom Slovenia to merge, having the alignment with the SID and eTOM within Mobitel allowed the merged organisation to meet the governments deadlines for the specific target KPIs:
When a CSP is undertaking multiple concurrent major IT replacement projects, there are a number of recommendations that IBM would make based on past observations with other CSPs that have also undertaken significant and multiple system replacement projects:
Use TMF Frameworx to minimise integration work (requires integration and process orchestration environment such as the ESB/SOA project is building) to be in place
Use TMF eTOM to build system independent business processes so that as those major systems change, end to end business processes do not need to change and can dynamically select the legacy or new system during the migration phases of the system replacement projects.
To achieve, 1 and 2, the CSP will need to have the SOA and BPM infrastructure that is capable of integration with ALL of the systems (not just limited to (say) CRM or ERP) within the CSP in place first
If you have the luxury of time, don't try to run the projects simultaneously, rather run them linearly. If this cannot be achieved due to business constraints, limit the concurrent projects to as few systems as possible, and preferably to systems that don't have a lot of interaction with each other.