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Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Specialist for the IBM System Storage product line at the
IBM Executive Briefing Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor
to IBM's developerWorks. In 2011, Tony celebrated his 25th year anniversary with IBM Storage on the same day as the IBM's Centennial. He is
author of the Inside System Storage series of books. This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to storage and storage networking hardware, software and services. You can also follow him on Twitter @az990tony.
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Besides, I have been in airplanes and airports nearly every week since March 1, so driving to Las Vegas was a pleasent alternative.
While driving to Las Vegas was pleasant, driving in Las Vegas was not. I would go crazy as a taxi driver here! I think I will leave my car in the free parking garage all week, and limit myself mostly to the Mandalay Hotel where the conference is being held, and only venture out to other hotels that are walking distance, like the Luxor next door.
In the evening, IBM hosted some of the industry's top analysts and press at an invitation-only reception. Several other IBMers were there, including Barry Whyte, Steve Kenniston, Nicki Rich and Ron Riffe. This event was organized by IBM Analyst Relations, including David Rasmussen and Leanna Holmquist.
Ron mentioned my penchant for taking pictures with other people and posting them on my blog, so I am glad that Leanna volunteered to take a picture with me for my first post of the week!
I would also like to mention that Ron Riffe has joined the ranks of storage bloggers. His blog is called [The Line]. Here is Ron's post on his "Day 0" observations here at Edge: [Rainy Days and Sunshine].
Twenty years ago, I flew to Atlanta for the semi-annual SHARE conference. I was a lead architect for DFSMS, the storage management software for mainframe servers. When I got to the hotel, I realized that I had forgotten to pack my saline solution for my contact lenses. I went to the hotel gift shop, and picked the first one I found. I took my contacts in the solution and went to bed.
The next morning, I put on my contacts, got dressed, and participated in meetings. One of my colleagues noticed my eyes were quite red, and suggested I switch from contact lenses to glasses. I went back to my hotel room, saw to my horror that what I thought was saline solution was actually hydrogen peroxide intended for hard lenses. When I removed the lenses, all I could see was white light.
I managed to find my way to the elevator, and feel for the button with the star that indicated the lobby on the ground floor. I asked a hotel staffer to call me an ambulance, but instead, they put me in a cab, and sent me to Emory Hospital. On arrival, all I could do was hand over my wallet to my cabbie, and let him take out what he felt was fair, since I could not see him, the meter, or his license number.
After bumping my knees into dozens of cars in the parking lot, I finally made it to the ER, only to have receptionist give me a form to fill out and a pen. At this point, I lost it. I gave her my wallet and said that any information she may need should be in there.
Thankfully, a doctor noticed this exchange, and took care of me right away. I had chemically burned off both corneas. He injected some green fluid into both eyeballs, and sent me off in a cab to the Pharmacy. At least I had both eyes were bandaged in gauze, so people were kind enough to take me to get to the counter to get my pain killers, Percocet.
The pharmacist provided me the pills, and warned me NOT to operate any heavy machinery under the influece of this medication. Seriously? I can't see, both eyes covered, and he tells me that?
I got back to the hotel, got ready for bed, took the pills and brushed my teeth. I woke up the next morning on the bathroom floor, still clutching the toothbrush, and vertical and horizontal lines across my right cheek which were made by the one-inch tiles of the bathroom floor. These pills really knocked me out.
That day, I had to present a full hour in front of hundreds of people. I had a colleague flip my transparencies for me, while I spoke to each one, my eyes still covered in gauze. That evening, I was one of the experts on the panel for a "Birds of a Feather", or BOF session, answering a variety of questions. People could see that I was blind, but I could still hear the questions, and I could still answer them as well.
If you are going to Edge 2013 in Las Vegas, please consider attending my BOF session on Security for PureSystems, System x and Storage products, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, June 13. I will be moderating a distinguished panel of experts to answer your questions! I have listed them here alphabetically:
Jack Arnold, US Federal. Jack has worked decades in the storage industry, and will provide insight into security issues related to the government.
Tom Benjamin, Development Manager for Key Lifecycle Management and Java Cryptography. Tom will bring his expertise in both TKLM and ISKLM for managing encryption keys, and how to communicate these between security and storage administrators.
Paul Bradshaw, Chief Storage Architect for Clouds. A research scientist from IBM's Almaden Research Lab, Paul will provide insight in how to deal with security issues related to private, hybrid and public cloud deployments.
Ajay Dholakia, Solution Center of Excellent. Ajay will cover server-side considerations for security deployments, including System x and PureSystems.
Jim Fisher, Advanced Technical Skills. Jim brings expertise related to deploying data-at-rest encryption.
Not sure what kind of questions to ask? Here is a series of Questions and Answers we had at a Storage event in 2011 that might give you a good idea: [2011 Storage Free-for-All].
Are you going to Edge 2013 in Las Vegas, June 10-14?
In my talks with clients about storage, I find similar hesitation on turning on various storage efficiency features that IBM (and other vendors) have to offer. Let's examine a few of them.
Less than half of businesses have activated "thin provisioning" on storage devices that support this feature. Why? IBM introduced thin provisioning on its RAMAC Virtual Array back in 1997! The technology is well proven in the field. Don't know how to report this for charge-back activity? Charge your end-users for the maximum capacity upper limit. Simple enough!
What about Data Deduplication? IBM has had this feature on its N series since 2007, but it wasn't until IBM came out with the IBM ProtecTIER gateway and appliance models that people started to take notice of this technology. Yes, I agree Hash Collisions can be quite scary on competitive gear, but on IBM ProtecTIER we do not use hash codes, and all data is compared byte-for-byte. For those considering hash-based deduplication, hash collisions in general are quite rare. Jeff Preshing does the math for you in his blog post: [Hash Collision Probabilities]. Of course, if you want to leave no doubt in the minds of a jury of your peers, stick with byte-for-byte comparison methods in the IBM ProtecTIER.
Lastly, I have heard concerns of using real-time compression? Really? Real-time compression has been used in wide-area network (WAN) transmissions ever since IBM developed the Houston Aerospace Spooling Protocol (HASP) for NASA back in 1973. IBM has offered real-time compression on tape cartridges since 1986, the year I started with IBM, some 27 years ago. And now, real-time compression is available for file-based and block-based disk systems. All of these solutions are based on the Lempel-Ziv lossless compression algorithms introduced in 1977. One customer I spoke with was unwilling to try compression, because it requires thin provisioning as a pre-requisite. How is that for having one fear based on another one!
IBM places a high value on data integrity. For each data footprint reduction method, IBM has designed a solution that returns back the exact ones and zeros, in the correct quantity and order, as was originally stored.
For more on this topic, come see me present "Data Footprint Reduction -- Understanding IBM Storage Efficiency Options" at [IBM Edge 2013 conference] in Las Vegas, June 10-14.
It seems I have been on the road non-stop for the past nine weeks! On my flights, I often find myself sitting next to a young adult who is flying for the first time. Many of these young adults formed their fear of flying a decade ago, in their teenage years, during the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Some are just now trying to face those fears.
(What does any of this have to do with storage? Actually, there are similar fears for enabling various storage efficiency functions like data deduplication, thin provisioning and compression, so work with me here!)
Flying from Seattle down to Los Angeles, I sat next to Michele (shown in the picture on the left). She was facing her fear of flying overseas by taking seven months off to visit Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Ireland, England and various countries in continental Europe. Wow! She was joining up with her friend Brittney in Los Angeles, and the two will be travelling together. Since I had been to nearly every country she was planning to visit, I gave her a list of survival phrases and cultural guidance.
Flying from Los Angeles to Tucson, I sat next to Alex on his first day of flying adventures. He flew from Jacksonville, to Dallas, to Los Angeles, to finally Tucson to pick up his fiancée. He met her in Florida, but her father was re-assigned to Fort Huachuca Army Base near Tucson, Arizona. He kept in touch with his bride-to-be, and now faced his fear of flying to go pick her up and bring her back for the wedding. This was the first time he had been west of the Mississippi river.
On a short 18-minute flight from Tucson to Phoenix, I sat next to Rachel, a college student at the University of Arizona, on her way to visit her folks in Santa Ana, California. She immediately apologized to me for not wearing pants. What I mistook for bikini bottoms were actually stretchy exercise shorts she wears to play [Lacrosse]. She had sprained her ankle, then went [AMA] to wear high-heeled shoes on a girl's weekend to Las Vegas, only to trip and break her ankle completely. Her foot was in a cast, thus preventing her from driving her car, or, as it turned out, wear any pants.
Returning from a briefing in Poughkeepsie, on the short flight from Stewart Airport to Philadelphia, I sat next to Krista (shown in the picture on the right), who formerly was a [Bacardi Girl], but now decided she wants to do something more meaningful in her life than handing out prizes and free samples of spiced rum. She decided to go visit her friend in Charlotte, North Carolina, but did not want to drive 15 hours to get there. She faced her fears of flying to avoid driving by herself all that distance. She didn't know what she wanted to do with her life, so I suggested she get a Myers-Briggs profile analysis, and perhaps determine her strengths using Gallup's [Strengths Finder 2.0]. This might help her find a career choice that best fits her interests.
As is often the case, many fears are unfounded. Statistically, flying is safer than being on the road in car. As a result of facing their fears, they all got to meet me, and be one step closer to accomplishing their life goals.
What do all of these have in common? They all faced their fear of flying, either because their situation forced them to, something more important drove them to, or they felt it was just time to do it. Good for them!
If you have recently faced your fears and came out ahead, let me know in the comments below!
I am back safely from my travels to New Zealand and Australia, and would like to wish everyone today a Happy [Earth Day]!
The Tucson area has been continuously-inhabited by people for the past 3,500 years. One of the great challenges for this arid desert region is water. Recently, Tucson was selected for a [2013 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge] grant. Here is an excerpt from a blog post by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild titled [Ensuring Tucson's Water Future]:
"One critical area for cost-effective investment is technology. We are converting all of our customer water meters to digital in order to reduce the amount of labor required to manually read all the 225,000 customer meters each month. And we are replacing our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system in order to improve our ability to control and manage our water distribution system.
I was pleased that Tucson was selected for a 2013 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant. As a result, a team of senior IBM executives came to Tucson for three weeks to listen to our story, learn about our water system and lend their expertise. They came from North Carolina, Texas, New York, California and Virginia to learn about how one of the most arid American cities is setting the standard for wise water use. The IBM team lived in our community and worked with the Tucson Water Department. They learned a great deal and helped us even more.
The Smarter Cities team's final report delivered exactly what we were looking for. It contained a roadmap with both shorter and longer term recommendations. The report did not recommend additional investments beyond our means, but it did make an effective case for the timing and scheduling of our planned investments – recommendations which will help us achieve better near-term results while we develop sustainable practices for this ongoing project. The four areas of improvement detailed in the roadmap were:
Improve customer service with automated metering
Modernize our meter management systems
Implement advanced operations management systems
Build additional capacities for our existing information technology systems
It's clear that IBM has made a strategic decision to focus on the opportunities and challenges facing cities around the world through its Smarter Cities program. They understand that a city is a 'system of systems,' and that comprehensive analyses of the ways these systems interact with one another and with the populations they serve are critical to improving the quality of life of citizens everywhere. IBM's selection of Tucson as a global smarter city has given us the chance to demonstrate that we have some of the highest standards for resource management, conservation, financial planning and community engagement for municipal water departments anywhere in the United States."
While this is certainly good for the environment, IBM's focus on helping the Earth become a smarter planet has been good for its bottom line as well. According to the latest 1Q 2013 financial results, IBM revenues related to Smarter Planet initiatives, including the Smarter Cities campaign, have increased 25 percent year-to-year.
Wrapping up my week teaching Top Gun class in Sydney, Australia, I could not resist taking a photo of the cityscape.
Sydney is a beautiful city, and the view from the 13th floor of the IBM Centre at St. Leonards in North Sydney is always worth a picture!
Vic, Scott and I all have engineering backgrounds, so it is easy for us to drop down into the technical weeds in discussing each product and solution. However, the student feedback from both Auckland and Sydney was that some of our material was just too technical.
Do they plan to store and process their data in house? IBM's [focus on Cloud is paying off], and IBM SmartCloud offerings might make a lot of sense for many clients.
Do they plan to centralize their IT? Some companies centralize all of their IT, and others distribute the decision-making to departments, remote office and branch office locations. For the latter, use the ROBO approach to selling.
Do they prefer one-stop shopping? In my now infamous post [Supermarkets and Specialty Shops], I mentioned research that found our clients fall into two camps. Those that favor one-stop shopping from IBM, HP, Cisco, Dell or Oracle, versus those that prefer to buy from the many IT equivalent of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers like EMC, HDS, or NetApp. For those clients that fall in the latter camp, focus on IBM's best-of-breed products.
IT Supermarket competition? The final group are clients that prefer one-stop shopping, but have not yet made up their mind between IBM versus the [IBM wannabees]. Focus on IBM's synergy between storage, servers, software, switches and services.
Last week, we celebrated Joe's birthday in Auckland. This week, it was Vic's turn, so we went to the Garfish restaurant at Manly beach. Here we are with bacon-enhanced oysters.
The four-day class finished Thursday afternoon, and I went out with some of the students to celebrate their graduation. I started with beers at the Cabana, then wine at [the Ivy Room], and finally dinner at Uccello on the rooftop [Pool Club]. Dinner was awesome: pork sausage-stuffed olives to start, roasted chicken with polenta, and finally a capuccino to finish the meal.
I would have never found these places on my own, and the students provided me some interesting feedback about the class and how to improve it.
This week, I was in Sydney, Australia teaching IBM Storage Portfolio Top Gun class.
Our hotel is near [Circular Quay], and our class is at the IBM Centre at St. Leonards, just six metro stops away. There are also ferry boats from Circular Quay to other parts of the city.
Here are other members of the teach team. Scott McPeek covers the IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center, SAN Volume Controller and Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. Vic Peltz covers high-end disk, disk replication, and competitive issues. Here we are in front of the [Sydney Opera House].
We arrived at 4:15pm to discover they weren't open for dinner until 5:30pm. We managed to find some beverages at the bar next door. Corona beer?!?! I just travelled thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean to be offered Mexican beer I can get locally in Tucson? I don't think so! Instead, we got some local Tasmanian brew.
Once seated, our table at Doyles was outdoors on the patio, with stunning views of the sunset. The weather was just right, cool and crisp sea air, but not windy.
I tried their Sydney Sangria which combines red wine, fruit juices and ginger beer. This had an interesting kick. If you have never tried Ginger beer, I highly recommend it! For dinner, I had the Flathead fish and chips. All of the fish at Doyles is locally sourced.
We got done with dinner just in time to catch the last ferry boat at 6:55pm! We literally were the last three to get on the boat before they pulled up the gangplank!
On Monday night, after the first day of class, our friends at [Brocade] invited us to a Pizza-and-Beer reception at the [Cabana Bar and Lounge], similar to the Brocade reception at Sale Street Bar last week in Auckland. Here I am with Katie, one of the Brocade employees hosting the event.
While at the reception, we had a terrible rain storm. I am so glad we were not on the street at that time. Some of our colleagues were not so lucky, and arrived soaking wet!
Special thanks to Tim Lees, the Brocade partner manager to IBM in ANZ, for hosting these receptions in both Auckland and Sydney!
On Tuesday, I once again presented the [Storwize family, DS3500 and DCS3700 disk systems]. Based on student feedback from last week's Auckland class, we took out some of the more technical details of each product, and added more information on the business value of each feature.
Continuing my week in Auckland, New Zealand, I presented my last three topics for the week.
Selling IBM System Storage against competition - Part 1. You would think that since IBM's storage products are, in general, easier to use, faster, at a lower cost of ownership than the offerings from our competitors, there would not need to be a presentation like this. Since there are so many reasons why IBM is better, I split the session into two parts.
Selling IBM System Storage against competition - Part 2. With so much material, I needed to provide some structure. In the past, some Top Gun instructors organized by category, Enterprise Class, Midrange, and Entry level. I chose, instead, to organize by the different competitors themselves.
Selling IBM PureSystems. IBM PureSystems feature the Storwize V7000 and Flex System V7000 disk systems inside, and support all of IBM's disk and tape offerings outside the frame. I covered Flex Systems, PureFlex, PureApplication and PureData, including the newly announced PureData System for Hadoop.
We often joke that I.B.M. stands for "Information Between Meals"! Here we are at a restaurant in the [Britomart] area. I am on [the Paleo diet], which is low-carb, high-protein, dairy-free and gluten-free, and am trying to stick with it even when on the road traveling. Sometimes it can be challenging. Tonight, I opted for a light dinner, just roasted vegetables and grape-flavored beverage.
The folks in New Zealand love sheep. There are nine sheep for every person in this country. Here are some metal sculpture lawn ornaments.
Hyein and I needed new "desktop wallpaper" photos for our laptops. For those who want to dress up their laptops, here's one for each of us. (Click on each photo to see full size). Hyein kept getting her hair in the way. I didn't have that problem, but was worried my cap would fly off my head. This cap was a gift from my clients at [James Cook University in Brisbane, Australia].
In Top Gun classes, the top students are given "Top Gun" caps and their picture is published on the official website for all to see their success. Overall, the entire class did very well, and these three outstanding students had the top scores.
I am now in Sydney, Australia -- to teach Top Gun class again!
I returned safely from my trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
(A special shout-out to Shannon at [In The Raw] sushi restaurant, and my new friends I met at the rooftop of [the Mayo]!)
Last week I was in Auckland, New Zealand teaching Top Gun class. Top Gun teaches IBM Business Partners and sales reps how to sell our products, services, and solutions. I have been teaching Top Gun classes around the world since 1998.
(Why didn't I post sooner? Because IBM's developerWorks was getting an exciting upgrade to IBM Connections 4.0, and bloggers like me have to wait for the conversion to complete!)
While many of my trips in the USA involve traveling alone, that is not the case for Top Gun classes. Our class manager, Joe Ebidia, brought his wife Karen. Our class administrator is Hyein (Hyein is a Korean name that rhymes with rain). In addition to some local instructors, I am joined by my IBM USA colleagues Scott McPeek (Tivoli Storage) and Vic Peltz (Disk/Replication/Competitive Sales).
The rest of the teach team arrived a day or two early to adjust to jet lag. I, on the other hand, got off the plane Monday at 6am, and had a business meeting that same morning with GTS architects from Wellington.
Clockwise from left: Karen is vegetarian, and had some pasta with tomato sauce. Hyein had a lamb burger. Joe had flounder. I had salmon risotto. Yum!
(To those asking why I have only the bellies of Karen and Joe in the picture, I was focused on taking picture of the food.)
After setting up the classroom, we took a ferry over to [Devonport], a charming seaside village just minutes across the bay from Auckland. The ferry boats were close the the Central Business District our [Stamford Plaza hotel] was in, and they run every 30 minutes.
The four of us walked up to the top of Mt. Victoria to see the views of the city. I highly recommend this! Once you get to Devonport, you can walk along the streets to see all the cute shops, or enjoy the parks and natural beauty. I had [done this before], but it is always worth doing again!
The class is four days long. I had six presentations. Here were the first three:
Selling IBM Storwize V7000 and V7000 Unified. Scott McPeek had already covered SAN Volume Controller (SVC), so it was easy to explain the Storwize V7000. For the V7000 Unified, I went into more detail of the file-based protocols and features, paving the way for Vic's "Selling SONAS" later in the week.
Selling IBM Storwize V3700. Having covered the SVC and Storwize V7000, my presentation on the Storwize V3700 focuses more on the positioning of when to sell which product for particular workloads.
Understanding IBM's Big Four Initiatives. This was an interesting request. I was asked to cover Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (what we internally call SMAC) from a storage perspective. Social included Social Media, Social Networking and Social Business. Mobile focused on IBM's Mobile First campaign. Analytics included big data, Hadoop, and our various solutions for performing analytics. Cloud included IBM's Cloud Computing Reference Architecture (CCRA), IBM SmartCloud Enterprise storage, our Backup and Archive clouds, and the new SmartCloud Storage portfolio.
I will save the rest of the week for the next post!
Last Tuesday, we had our official "Grand Opening" for the new Tucson Executive Briefing Center!
We sent out fancy invitations to all the IBM executives who supported this center, local dignitaries from the Tucson and State of Arizona level, and all of the IBM employees on the Tucson campus.
Since our new center is significantly cozier (5700 square feet versus our previous 15,000 square feet), we split the day into two separate events. The first for the IBM executives and local VIPs, and the second for the rest of the IBM employees on campus.
Of course, there is no free lunch. The day started out with a series of speeches. My manager, Doug Davies, was the master of ceremonies to introduce each speaker.
Alistair Symon, IBM Vice President of Enterprise Storage, explained how important storage affects everyone's lives. If you use an ATM machine to withdraw money, for example, you are most probably using IBM System Storage behind the scenes. Nearly all of the IBM disk and tape storage products are designed here in Tucson.
Bruce Wright (shown here) directs the University of Arizona's Office of University Research Parks, serves as CEO of the UA Tech Park, and the founder and president of the Arizona Center for Innovation. Bruce said a few words on how please he was that IBM decided to reverse its July 2011 decision to leave Tucson. The UofA owns all the property, renting back four of the eleven buildings back to IBM, so is effectively our landlord. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of IBM's sale of the technology park to the University.
Tucson Councilwoman Shirley Scott talked about the improtance of high-paying jobs to the local economy. While IBMers in Tucson are paid less than our counterparts in San Jose, Austin, Raleigh or Poughkeepsie, we are certainly [paid more than the average Tucsonan], thus helping to raise the standard of living here.
Dr. Michael Varney, president and CEO of the local Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, praised IBM for its strong reputation in ethics and diversity.
My new second-line manager, Karl Duvalsaint, and my new third-line manager, Doug Dreyer, emphasized the importance of co-locating Briefing Centers in sites that have Research and Development activity. It is important for clients to interact directly with developers, and it is also good for developers to understand directly from clients their needs, preferences and requirements. Worldwide, the IBM Systems and Technology Group has only twelve Executive Briefing Centers, and the Tucson EBC is one of them.
This is not to say that IBM does not have centers in other locations. Our newest client center in Singapore is a shining example. Of course, if they want experts to speak to clients there, they need to be flown in. Doug Dreyer mentioned that IBM plans to launch six such centers in Africa as well.
Next was the ribbon cutting. From left to right, Lee Olguin (our Gunny Sargeant), Tucson Councilwoman Shirley Scott, UofA's Bruce Wright, IBM VP of Program Management Calline Sanchez, My second-line manager Karl Duvalsaint, IBM VP Allistair Simon, my first-line manager Doug Davies, Tucson Chamber of Commerce President Dr. Michael Varney, and my third-line manager Doug Dreyer. We had a member of the local high school band do the drum roll.
Once the ribbon was cut, the IBM Executves and local VIPs were brought in to see the new facility, which has two large rooms, one common dining area, an 800-square foot green data center to showcase our products, our own set of restrooms, a galley to stage up the food and beverage service, and two smaller rooms for private conversations or conference calls. A local high school band provided live music throughout the day.