Safe Harbor Statement: The information on IBM products is intended to outline IBM's general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information on the new products is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract. The information on IBM products is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for IBM products remains at IBM's sole discretion.
Tony Pearson is a an active participant in local, regional, and industry-specific interests, and does not receive any special payments to mention them on this blog.
Tony Pearson receives part of the revenue proceeds from sales of books he has authored listed in the side panel.
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.
(Short URL for this blog: ibm.co/Pearson
Over the past year and a half, I have been focused on explaining WHAT IBM System Storage was, and WHY IBM should be considered when making a storage purchase decision. Let's recapsome of IBM's accomplishments during this time:
Today, October 1, I switch over to HOW to get it done. In my new job role, I will be leading a seriesof projects and workshops on how to make your data center more green, how to get more value from the information you have, how to better protect your information from unauthorized access or unethical tampering, how to develop and deploya site-wide business continuity plan, and how to centralize your management using open industry standards.
I will still be in Tucson, but am moving from building 9032 over to 9070 to be closer to the rest of my team.
IBM and the Austin Chamber of Commerce is inviting registered SXSW Interactive attendees to the networking reception being hosted by the IBM Innovation Center and the IBM Venture Capital Group. Power Systems and Watson will have a significant feature at this SXSW event to be held on March 14, 2011.
While I won't be there personally at the SXSW conference, I strongly recommend you to attend this event.
Innovators and Entrepreneurs Networking Reception
Four Seasons Hotel
March 14, 2011
Hosted by IBM Venture Capital Group, Austin Chamber of Commerce, and the IBM Innovation Center.
This reception will provide a rare opportunity to network and collaborate with your professional community of industry leaders, entrepreneurs, developers, academics, venture capitalists, members of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
(Note: While Lenovo has officially taken over the System x on October 1st back in the United States, China, and several other countries in Asia and the Americas, it has not yet happened in Europe. This is expected to happen this December. This results in some awkwardness during this period of transition.)
Day 1 started off with some keynote sessions. Amy Purdy, IBM Director of Training Services, was the emcee.
Gareth Tucker, Director of EMEA for Intel
Gareth focused on the strong partnership between IBM, Lenovo and Intel. For example, a client query that took 4 hours with traditional DB2 database on Intel Xeon, but only 90 seconds on DB2 BLU with the new Xeon V2 chip.
10 years ago, some storage vendors warned clients not to use any Intel-based storage devices. Today, over 85 percent of storage is Intel-based, including most of the IBM System Storage portfolio. IBM SoftLayer also uses Intel to offer both bare metal and virtual x86 servers, and was the first cloud provider to use Intel's "Trusted Execution" mode.
Next year, Microsoft will drop support for Windows 2003 server on July 15, 2015. This represents an excellent selling opportunity to get clients to upgrade their x86 server hardware. Intel estimates there are 24 million instances of Windows 2003 worldwide. On average, it takes 150 days to migrate to Windows 2012, so get clients to start now!
Jeff Howard, Vice President of Lenovo Flex and BladeCenter
Jeff was a last-minute stand-in for Adalio Sanchez who is busy getting thousands of employees and hundreds of trailer trucks full of IT equipment from IBM's Raleigh location to Lenovo's new building in Morrisville.
Lenovo's goal is simple: to be the #1 vendor of x86 enterprise servers. Lenovo sees a $44 Billion USD opportunity in x86 servers, with an additional $14B opportunity selling IBM System Storage attached to these servers. Lenovo is already #1 for Personal Computers in the consumer space, and is #1 for customer satisfaction. IBM System x #1 in reliability and up-time for x86 servers. In a client survey of how many clients had an outage lasting four hours or more, less than 1 percent from IBM System x compared to 13 percent for HP servers. That's a big difference!
There is a 40 percent growth in "Converged Systems" such as the Flex System and PureFlex systems. Lenovo will take over the x86-only versions of these, while IBM will retain the POWER-based and Power-and-x86 hybrid models. IBM will also retain the PureApplication and PureData models of the PureSystems line.
Lenovo is also focused on security. Their "Trusted Platform" includes Self-encrypting Drives (SED) managed by IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager software, and Crypto-assist co-processors.
Jeff also mentioned new reference architectures for VMware's VSAN, Microsoft's Fast-track Data warehouse for SQL Server, SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure VDI with Atlantis ILIO, and Flex Systems for Hyper-V.
Greg Lotko, VP of IBM Storage Systems Development
Greg is the new VP of Storage Systems Development, about 11 months on the job, but I am glad to hear that he recognizes that IBM System Storage has a huge portfolio of products.
He focused on those areas where IBM is ranked #1:
IBM is #1 for All-Flash arrays.
IBM is #1 for Software Defined Storage (SDS).
IBM is #1 for Tape, including tape drives, tape libraries and virtual tape systems
The weather here in Dublin is great, although I have had not had much time to enjoy the outdoors with all the awesome and interesting sessions inside!
Before dinner, I was able to catch up with my colleagues from across the pond. Here I am pictured with Ola Surowiec, a Power Systems sales specialist from Scotland.
The dinner was set up as self-service buffet style, with choices of European, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisine. This is largely the heritage of the Ottoman empire to provide a fusion of flavors from its neighbors.
The city of Istanbul is considered the border between Europe and Asia, with one side of the city on the "European" side, and the other side of the Bosphorus strait being the "Asian" side.
With a population of over 14 million, Istanbul forms one of the largest urban agglomerations in Europe, second largest in the Middle East and the third-largest city in the world by population within its city limits.
The entertainment started with two [belly dancers], one male and one female. (IBM is an equal opportunity employer!) For those not familiar with this particular form of performance art, it is improvised folk dances based on torso articulation and abdominal movements.
I have seen dancers before in Egypt, the country that most people associate with the origin of belly dancing, but the Turkish version is considered more energetic and athletic. Certainly both of our dancers were quite flexible.
This was followed by a live cover band that played the latest English-language hits. Several Americans at the table asked "Wait? We come all the way to Turkey and the local band sings the songs in English?"
In the corner, attendees were invited to dress up as their favorite sultan to take photograph. Here for example, are some of the members of the STU event team. Mo McCullough, Don Meyer, Marlin Maddy, Glenn Anderson and Alex Abderrazag pose with two lovely local ladies in full costume.
The word "sultan" derives from the Arabic word meaning "strength", "authority" or "power". Sultans ruled the Turkish empire from 1299 to 1922.
The [Topkapi palace], where I visited earlier in the week, contains clothing on display of the sultans and princes from the second half of the 15th century to the early 20th century.
The first official day of the [Systems Technical University 2014] conference had keynote sessions in the morning. The conference features experts from IBM Power Systems, IBM System x, IBM PureSystems, and IBM System Storage.
The keynote sessions were started with Amy Purdy, IBM Director of Technical Training Services, the group that is running this conference.
This conference is not focused on System z solutions, as many of the System z clients were in New York City for this birthday event, but it came up several times during the keynote sessions.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM, and this blog post may be considered a paid, celebrity endorsement of IBM products and services. IBM has business relationship with both Intel and Amazon mentioned during the course of the keynote sessions, but I have no financial stake in either company. I was the chief architect for DFSMS, the storage management component of the z/OS mainframe operating system, and was part of the team that ported Linux to the System z mainframe.)
Nicolas Sekkaki, IBM Vice President of Systems and Technology Group in Europe, discussed IBM's commitment to client's privacy, the x86 and POWER server platforms, and a variety of mind-bogging announcements. He is focused on three trends: Big Data, Cloud, and Mobile.
IBM is focusing its hardware efforts on high-value, high-margin solutions such as System Storage, POWER Systems and System zEnterprise mainframe environments. Did you know that 65 percent of the world's business transactions are processed by either POWER systems or System zEnterprise mainframe?
IBM is also extending its continued focus on Linux and Open Source initiatives. For the System zEnterprise mainframes, 78 percent of our clients run Linux on System z. Over 290 clients have added the "zBX" option that allows them to run Windows and AIX on the mainframe as well. It is now less expensive to run workloads on System zEnterprise -- about 1 dollar per day per server -- than public cloud offerings from Amazon Web Services. Linux on POWER also has lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than Linux-x86.
Nicolas also mentioned major changes for the POWER Systems, starting with the [OpenPOWER Consortium], formed by IBM, Google, Mellanox, NVIDIA and Tyan.
The move makes POWER hardware and software available to open development for the first time as well as making POWER Intellectual Property licensable to others, greatly expanding the ecosystem of innovators on the platform. The consortium will offer open-source POWER firmware, the software that controls basic chip functions. By doing this, IBM and the consortium can offer unprecedented customization in creating new styles of server hardware for a variety of computing workloads.
IBM POWER has switched from being "Big Endian" to being "Bi-Endian", allowing operating systems to choose between "Big Endian" or "Little Endian" modes. The Big Endian mode allows for Linux compatibility with the System zEnterprise mainframe, and the Little Endian mode for compatibility with Linux-x86.
Thorston Kahrmann, Intel Account Director for EMEA, presented Intel's rich history of collaboration with IBM, from technologies like BlueTooth and PCiE Generation 3, to platforms like BladeCenter and NeXtScale, to Industry Standards.
IBM had a lot of "firsts" in the x86 server area, including the first 16-processor server, the first to offer hot-swap memory, and over 100 leading performance benchmarks.
The latest Intel Xeon chip is the E7 version 2. For example, changing from DB2 v10.1 on the old E7, to running DB2 BLU columnar acceleration on the new E7 version 2, resulted in a 148 times increase in performance. A query on a 10TB database that previously took four hours was completed in under 90 seconds.
Thorston also wanted to remind the audience that nearly every System Storage product from IBM, from the high-end XIV, SAN Volume Controller, SONAS and FlashSystem V840, to midrange and entry level Storwize products, are all based on Intel's x86 processors.
Louise covered the findings from the latest 2012 CEO study, gathering insight from 1709 CEO interviews. The major focus areas for CEOs are:
Empowering employees through company-wide values
Engaging customers as individuals, rather than via demographics
Amplifying innovation with strategic and tactical partnerships
With smartphones, tablets and ubiquitous Internet access, everyone is now a technologist, so that IT is now becoming a competitive differentiator. IT projects and Business projects are no longer separate. If your IT department is seen as an expense, it will continue to get its budget cut. If, however, your IT department is part of your revenue stream, then it can be viewed as an asset.
Sadly, over 75 percent of IT projects fail, either are way over budget, delivered late, or some combination of the two. Business leaders are pushing for IT improvements, but often CIOs are too afraid to take the risks to move the business forward. Louise cited three reasons for this, which she called the three C's:
The IT and Business leaders did not full understand the context of the project.
The content of the project was not properly defined between IT and Business architects.
The collaboration between IT and Business personnel was not properly established.
Louise wrapped up her session with asking a simple question: How much is the cost of a light bulb. Some might focus on the cost of the bulb itself, while others might add the cost of maintenance, having ladders and personnel to replace them as needed, and others might include the electricity consumed. Both Business and IT leaders need to focus on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in their planning.
I presented IBM's Smarter Storage Strategy. This is focused on three key areas:
Data-intensive Solutions. Storage is needed for Big Data analytics. IBM is focused on efficiency in all dimensions: capacity efficiency with data footprint reduction techniques, energy efficiency, administrator efficiency with ease-of-use interfaces, and reduced complexity.
Business-critical workloads. Storage needs to allow business to prioritize which applications and workloads are most critical, and automate Quality of Service (QoS) for each application based on its business importance. The result is a balance between performance and cost across the spectrum of applications.
Start quickly and add value. IBM is committed to support private, hybrid and public cloud deployments. Storage needs to support not just VMware, but also Hyper-V, KVM, PowerVM and z/VM. That is why IBM is a platinum sponsor for the OpenStack foundation.
Eric Aquaronne presented an excellent session on OpenStack foundation, an open source collaboration of various companies to bring a consistent Cloud-management standard across compute, storage and network resources.
Replication for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
I have been involved with Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery my entire 28-year career at IBM System Storage, so when I was asked to cover BC/DR in 75 minutes, I focused just on aspects related to disk-to-disk replication.
I divided the presentation into three sections:
Business priorities. You need to prioritize which business processes are most important, and prioritize your recovery accordingly.
Technical implementation. Once priorities are set, there are seven "Business Continuity Tiers" to choose from. BC Tier 1 is the least expensive, recovering from physical tapes stored in an off-site vault. The fastest recovery is BC Tier 7, which automates the storage, server and network fail-over to a secondary site in as little as 30 minutes.
Ongoing management. Just setting up a BC/DR implementation is not enough. It needs to be monitored to ensure that it continues to provide the protection you expect. BC/DR exercises should be performed one or more times per year to ensure that everyone has the skills and procedures documented to succeed in the event of a real disaster.
Of these seven BC tiers, BC Tier 6 is focused on storage replication, such as Metro or Global mirror available on our DS8000, XIV Storage System, SONAS and SAN Volume Controller. BC Tier 7 involves system automation, such as Tivoli Distributed Disaster Recovery Manager and GDPS.
What is Big Data? Architectures and Practical Use Cases
This session was an expanded version of the one I gave in Belgium last year. Big Data is a big topic, and there are a variety of "big data" related sessions at this conference. I focused on three key areas:
The change in the role of Storage Administrator. In the past, most of the data was structured and stored in databases, managed by database administrators. However, in today's environment, over 80 percent of the data is unstructured, outside of traditional relational databases, so either the database administrators need to learn new skills, or storage administrators will need to step up and help manage this unstructured data content.
The change in the role of Business Analyst. We are no longer just looking at the financial consequences of patterns and trends. The new role of Data Scientist needs to apply statistical models, show some business acumen, and be able to "tell a story" that is supported by the data when communicating findings to Business and IT leaders.
The change in the role of Decision Maker. In the past, Decision Support Systems were available only to the top-level business executives. Now, empowered employees have access to real-time analytics that can help them make decisions and take immediate actions.
This session packed the house, with standing room only. I would like to offer a special thanks to IBM VP Bob Sutor, Stephen Brodsky, Linton Ward, and Ralph McMullen in helping me finalize my presentation.
Continuing coverage of the [Systems Technical University 2014] conference, we had an early morning awards ceremony to celebrate top sellers that led big wins in Europe for FlashSystems, XIV, Power Systems, and PureSystems.
Afterwards, there were several breakout sessions on day 2.
Storage Technology Futures -- fresh from IBM research labs, tomorrow in your datacenter
Axel Koester presented several projects from IBM Research labs that have contributed to actual products, including the incredible scalability of [PERCS] that was incorporated into IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS).
Cloud Storage and Active Cloud Engine
My presentation started off explaining the taxonomy of cloud storage. There are basically four kinds of cloud storage: persistent storage, ephemeral storage, hosted storage, and reference storage. Each of these has unique access patterns and service level requirements.
IBM has three distinct cloud storage offerings, so I covered IBM XIV Storage Systems, SONAS and Storwize V7000 Unified with Active Cloud Engine, and Linear Tape File System (LTFS) Enterprise Edition (LTFS-EE).
FlashSystem competitive overview
Henrik Wilken provided an excellent presentation comparing IBM FlashSystems to the dozen or more competitors that offer all-flash or hybrid flash-and-disk combinations.
IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center
From 2001 to 2003, I was the chief architect for what is now called Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. It continues to be the top most requested topic for briefings at the IBM Tucson Executive Briefing Center.
I presented an overview of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, with a brief update on what's new in TPC 5.2.1 and the SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center v5.2.1 releases.
IBM Archive Storage Solutions - Data Retention for Government Compliance and Industry Regulations
I can't believe it has been nine years since I was on the Product Development Team for the IBM DR550 Data Retention storage solution!
In this session, I explained the lessons we learned from the DR550, its successor the Information Archive, and how we now position System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM) software as their replacement. SSAM was recently certified by KPMG to meet a variety of US, European and International laws.
Step Right Up! Take your presentation skills to the next level
Glenn Anderson presented this session under the guise of "Professional Development". Whether you are new to public speaking and looking for some guidance, or are an experienced A-list celebrity looking to gain a few pointers, this session covered it all.
Some of my favorites:
Presentations are not Documentation! If a presentation had all the information to stand on its own, nobody would even bother to listen to the speaker. Many new presenters have 3-4 lines for titles, and too many words in small font to ensure they cover all the details to speak on. Don't do it. My rule of thumb is that 50 percent of the information is conveyed verbally, and the other 50 percent visually from the presentation.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. I couldn't agree more. I try to focus on my core message in my presetations. I am a big fan of the [KISS principle] which stands for "Keep it simple, stupid!"
VOICE - Victory over inconsistent conscious energy! There is nothing more painful than hearing a public speaker who talks to softly, too loudly, or in a monotone manner. Mix it up! If you want to capture someone's attention, whisper! Vary your volume for effect.
Presenting is like Pouring Wine. At cocktail parties, the hosts will walk around with the bottle, and refill the glasses of those who are actively drinking the wine, but leave alone those who haven't sipped a drop. Public speakers need to focus on the needs of those in the audience paying close attention, and ignore people who are asleep, paying attention to their laptops and smartphones, or otherwise distracted.
Don't memorize - Extemporize. Too often, new speakers try to memorize their entire presentation. This doesn't go well, and can end up looking like an actor on live stage forgetting his next line. Instead, focus on getting the general idea across in a more natural conversational tone.
Building Open Clouds on POWER Systems
Mandie Quartly presented the excitement of building a cloud using IBM's new Linux-only line of PowerLinux™ servers, KVM, virsh, virtio and OpenStack interfaces. Jeff Scheel was on hand to interject bits of wisdom throughout her session.
IBM is investing heavily into the Linux side of all of its servers, and the latest investments have been focused on the POWER systems.
Storage Clouds in the Big Blue Sky
Dick Vogelsang presented this session focused mostly on the "Self-service" aspect of Cloud Storage. While this sounded like it would be similar to my session from yesterday, it was actually quite different.
Vogelsang explained SmartCloud Storage Access, and compared this to how competitors are providing (or not providing) self-service provisioning of file spaces and LUNs. He gave examples based on VMware, Hyper-V, and OpenStack Foundation.
It is interesting the angle or spin that each speaker gave to each topic!
Johann Weiss, Jim Blue and I joined several other local experts to answer questions and respond to comments and suggestions attendees had about IBM System Storage products and solutions. Here is a sample:
I would like to add 1TB of Flash to our FlashSystem 810 and have the system automatically re-stripe across this new capacity non-disruptively?
How can I have XIV systems at two datacenters in an active/active configuration that would allow me to vMotion from one location to the other non-disruptively?
Put them behind the SAN Volume Controller in Stretched Cluster mode.
What about a similar active/active but for NAS?
IBM N series.
I would like HyperSwap on the SVC/Storwize family like the DS8000 offers for AIX?
When will IBM offer a multi-frame XIV?
The "Hyper-Scale" set of features lets you logically connect 144 XIV frames together and treat as a single system. There is no need to physically bolt them together, since the communication is done over standard network switches.
When will IBM devices have native FCoE support?
All IBM System Storage products work within an FCoE framework today, either with native FCoE support, or through Top-of-Rack switches splitting out the traffic between IP and FCP traditional networks. IBM Storwize and N series products support FCoE natively, and any disk behind virtualized by SAN Volume Controller or Storwize can be access via FCoE hosts because of this support.
What is FLAPE?
FLAPE is the combination of Flash and Tape. Both of these technologies are improving over 40 percent year-to-year, but disk is slowing down to 20 percent improvement. It is possible to combine Flash and tape systems, such as IBM LTFS-EE or IBM ProtecTIER TS7600 series.
Only the Storwize V7000 Unified supports file modules to add NAS capabilities, what can IBM offer us that is smaller for NAS deployments, perhaps a Storwize V5000 Unified or Storwize V3700 Unified?
Consider the IBM N3000 series.
Other storage vendors indicate that RAID-5 and RAID-6 are running out of steam, are no longer practical to protect ever growing capacities of disk. What is IBM planning in this area?
IBM XIV Storage System was one of the first to offer a distributed RAID that addresses many of the RAID-5/RAID-6 drive rebuild concerns. IBM DCS3700 and DCS3860 also have Dynamic Disk Pooling to reduce drive rebuild impact. Lastly, IBM GPFS now offers Native RAID support, used in the IBM GPFS Storage Server.
Is it true that GPFS is NFS only?
Do not confuse GPFS the file system with the various storage offerings that are based on GPFS. IBM SONAS and Storwize V7000 Unified, both based on GPFS, support CIFS, NFS, HTTPS, SCP and FTP. IBM GPFS Storage Server can be configured to access GPFS natively, or you can run NFS v3/v4 server to make those protocols available. With Microsoft [Windows Storage Server], you can provide CIFS access to any GPFS-based storage solution.
LTFS-EE sounds like an exciting alternative to IBM Tivoli Storage Manager HSM space management for moving data from disk to tape. Do you agree?
Yes, we agree. However, TSM HSM space management supports a broader set of file systems. LTFS-EE only provides disk-to-tape movement for IBM GPFS.
Why does the DS8000 implementation of Easy Tier sub-LUN automated tiering support three tiers, but SVC/Storwize only support two tiers?
The same software engineering team works on both, but develop new features for the DS8000 first, get it working, then port it over to the Storwize family. At times, there might be gaps between what is supported on the latest DS8000 version and what is available on Storwize family products.
In an SVC Stretched Cluster, I would like to have the third quorum disk connected over the IP network, rather than FCP.
Personally, I enjoy these interchanges. They are sometimes called "Birds-of-a-Feather" or BOF at some conferences, "Free-for-All" at others. At IBM conferences, they are often titled "Meet the Experts". Whatever you call it, the questions and feedback on what clients are thinking are quite useful for product planning and prioritization of future planned features.
New Generation Storage Tiering: Less Management, Lower Investment and Increased Performance
This was not just an update to my session last year in Brussels, Belgium. Rather, I decided to start over and focus I/O density as the metric to focus my efforts, armed with real data from Intelligent Storage Tiering Analysis (ISTA) studies done at various clients. From that, I was able to talk about storage tiering on three fronts:
Storage tiering between Flash and disk. IBM FlashSystem and IBM Easy Tier on DS8000 and Storwize family for hybrid Flash-and-disk configurations.
Storage tiering between disk and tape. HSM and Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) on SONAS, Storwize V7000 Unified and LTFS-EE.
Storage tiering automation across your entire environment. ISTA studies can help identify a target mix of Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 storage. SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center can recommend or perform the movement of LUNs to more appropriate tiers, based on age and I/O density measurements.
Next Generation FlashSystem 840 and V840, Architecture Deep Dive
Detlef Helmbrecht, from the IBM Advanced Technical Skills team in Germany, presented this deep dive in our latest IBM FlashSystem offerings. He started with an analogy. Latency is like a single car driving down an empty highway. IOPS, on the other hand, is like a lot of cars stuck in slow traffic, with all lanes filled on the autobahn. While there are more cars transported on a full highway, the individual cars are not driving very fast. Flash versus disk has similar comparisons.
Detlef explained the differences between the previous FlashSystem 810/820 with the new 840, as well as talk about the FlashAdapter 90 now available as a PCIe card.
Finally, we talked about SAN Volume Controller combined with Flash, and the new FlashSystem V840 which combines SVC and FlashSystem 840 to have an incredibly function-rich, robust solution.
Data Footprint Reduction - Understanding IBM Storage Efficiency Options
My last session of the week! This session covered all of the various technologies for data footprint reduction, including Thin Provisioning, Space-efficient FlashCopy and snapshots, Real-time compression and data deduplication. Frankly, I wasn't expecting many people to attend the last session of the last day, but nearly 50% of the seats were filled, so I was quite pleased on the turn-out.
Fun Fact: Istanbul is considered by TripAdvisor in 2014 as the #1 most popular city to visit in Europe!
Sometimes, it's difficult to explain the products I manage to people outside the IT storage industry. How do you explain FCP vs. FICON, Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) heads, the SMI-S interface, etc. enough to then explain how your job relates to those technologies. At least my friends and family read this blog, so they can somewhat understand some of the things I am working on. When I visit my folks on Sundays, we sometimes discuss items they read in my blog that week.
In addition to a "take your children to work day", we have discussed within IBM a "take your parents to work day", especially for the young new hires who have a hard time explaining what their new job is to the rest of their family.
The problem is not just your parents, but any of your co-workers old enough to be parents who haven't bothered to keep up with the latest advancements in Web 2.0 technology. Here are some examples:
A project leader working with a technology partner asked if me if there was a difference between a "blog" and a "wiki" and which should his team use. This was not a simple yes/no answer, and involved some explanation, conversation and understanding of what he was trying to accomplish.
For one of my meetings, someone instant-messaged me asking where it was, was it "face-to-face" (F2F) or Conference call (CC). I replied back, "A2A w/CC" (avatar-to-avatar with voice over conference call). When you are meeting other avatars in-world in Second Life, it gets quite distracting having everyone typing away, with their hands and fingers moving furiously, so we use a conference call to complement our 3D interaction.
That's why I was very excited to seeLinden Lab announces voice beta in Second Life. It won't be fully ready until later this year, but adding voice to Second Life will greatly reduce the hurdles we now have trying to coordinate conference calls with in-world activity.
I realize not everyone can keep up with all the new and different technologies, but the social networking aspects of some of these new developments are worth looking into.
We have successfully arrived to Mumbai, India. Since this is my first time in India, I decidedto check out the town by going to the local McDonald's® restaurant. As a former software engineer of McDonald's, I love the food, and try to visit a McDonald's in every country I visit. Wikipedia calls our transportation an [Auto Rickshaw], but the locals called it a "tuk-tuk". This is not my first time in one, they have them in Thailand and Mexico as well.
We had the hotel identify the address of the closest McDonald's to our hotel. From past experienceI know that tuk-tuk drivers will suggest alternatives, in an effort to earn a larger fare, or to redirectto a preferred location where the driver might get special kick-backs. Our driver was no different.
The traffic was treacherous, the roadswere in roughshod condition, and sad looking stray dogs digging through piles of rubbish were everywhere. The local "Daily News and Analysis" newspaper this week estimates that there are over 70,000 stray dogs in Mumbai alone.What to do with all of these strays is a matter of controversy. In preparation for the Olympic games, China hasasked its restaurants to [take"dog" off their menus].Having lived in one of the poorest countries, and one of the richest, nothing surprises me anymore.
My IBM colleague, Curtis Neal, decided to join me for this adventure. Finally, after about 20 minutes, our driver parks the tuk-tuk. He told us the restaurant is only aboutthree blocks away by foot, he would allow us to treat him to lunch, and then he will take us back to the hotel.While we appreciated his fantastic imagination, we told him we just wanted to be taken one-way to the restaurant, to drop us off at the front door, and we would find another tuk-tuk for the return.
After a bit of argument, we settled on being left only one block away, and we would walk the rest.While we could not see exactly where the restaurant was when we got out, he at least pointed us in the right direction.
The problem was that we approached the restaurant from behind, and came up to its equivalent of a "drive thru" window,ordered our food, and then went to the second window to pick up our order. We were eating on the street. It was not until I decided to take this photo of the restaurant, that we discovered there was an entire seating area upstairs, and around the cornerthe main entrance!
There were plenty of tuk-tuks picking up and dropping people off, so we have no idea why ourprevious driver was unwilling to take us the entire distance.
Cows are sacred here in India, so thereare no beef-based hamburgers to choose from. My choices for sandwiches were:
Since my nutritionist asked me to avoid carbs and fried foods, I chose the McChicken with cheese combo meal with fries and a Coke.
Getting back was also a challenge. While we had no problem haling a tuk-tuk, we had no idea the address of ourhotel, and our driver had no idea where it was. We ended up driving around the city until we found a differenthotel, asked them if they knew where it was, and then eventually getting to our hotel. This is something I shouldhave planned for in advance, getting a card with the hotel details on it before leaving.
While it might seem like a simple trip, Curtis and I probably learned more about India this way than spending a week inside the comforts of our hotel.
Well, this has been an interesting two weeks. On week 1, I focused on IBM's strategy and four keysolutions areas: Information Availability, Information Security, Information Retention, and InformationCompliance. On week 2, I focused on individual products, their attributes, features and functions.Which week drew more blog traffic? You guessed it--week 1. Apparently, people want to know more aboutsolutions to their challenges and problems, and not just see what piece part components are available.
While IBM had switched over to solution-selling a while ago, some of our competitors are still inproduct-selling mode, and try to frame all competitive comparisons on a product-by-product basis.In my post[Supermarkets and Specialty Shops], I drew the analogy that the IT supermarkets (IBM, HP, Sun and Dell) are focusedon selling solutions, but the IT specialty shops (HDS, EMC, and others) are still focused on products.
Certainly, the transition from product-focused to solution-focused is not an easy one. As the IT industry matures, more and more clients are looking to buy solutions from theirvendors. What does it take to change behaviour of newly acquired employees, recently hired sales reps, and business partners, many of whom come from product-centric cultures, to match this dramatic shift in the marketplace? Let's take a look at change in other areas of the world.
On the[Freakonomics blog], Stephen Dubner discusses how clever people in Israel have figured out a way to get people to clean up after their pets in public places. This is a problem in many countries. Here we see an old idea, the [carrot-and-stick] approach, combined with newinformation technology. Here's an excerpt:
"In order to keep a city’s streets clean of dog poop, require dog owners to submit DNA samples from their pets when they get licenses; then use that DNA database to trace any left-behind poop and send the dogs’ owners stiff fines.
Well, it took three years but the Israeli city of Petah Tikva has actually put this plan to work:
The city will use the DNA database it is building to match feces to a registered dog and identify its owner.
Owners who scoop up their dogs’ droppings and place them in specially marked bins on Petah Tikva’s streets will be eligible for rewards of pet food coupons and dog toys.
But droppings found underfoot in the street and matched through the DNA database to a registered pet could earn its owner a municipal fine."
Sometimes, if enough people change, then changing behaviours of the few remaining becomes much easier. DanLockton on his Architectures of Control blog posts about the[London Design Festival - Greengaged]. This year, the festival focused on behavior changes for a greener environment, ecodesign and sustainable issues in design.Here's an excerpt and corresponding 5-minute YouTube video:
Lea argued three important points relevant to behaviour change:
Behaviour change requires behaviour (i.e. the behaviour of others: social effects are critical, as we respond to others’ behaviour which in turn affects our own; targeting the ‘right’ people allows behaviour to spread)
Behaviour and motivation are two different things: To change behaviour, you need to understand and work with people’s motivations - which may be very different for different people.
Desire is not enough: lots of people desire to behave differently, but it needs to be very easy for them to do it before it actually happens."
Of course, tax and government regulations can heavily influence behaviour and decisions. Since today is[International Talk Like a Pirate Day], I thought I would finish this post off with this interesting piece on Google barges. Some companies, like IBM and Google, seem more adaptable to changing behaviour and trying out fresh new ideas.Will Runyon over on the Raised Floor blog, has a post about Google's patent for[Data center barges on the sea]:"The idea is to use waves to power the data centers, ocean water to cool them, and a moored distance of seven miles or more to avoid paying taxes."
Arrr! Now that's what I call a new way of looking at things!