Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Architect for the IBM Storage product line at the
IBM Executive Briefing Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor
to IBM's developerWorks. In 2016, Tony celebrates his 30th year anniversary with IBM Storage. 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.
(Short URL for this blog: ibm.co/Pearson )
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Continuing my coverage of the [IBM Edge2014 conference], IBM's premiere conference for System Storage and related products, I attended EdgeTalks: Innovation That Impacts Our World that offered a series of inspiring talks styled after the famous [TED] conferences.
Surjit Chana, IBM Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and VP of Strategy for IBM Systems and Technology Group, served as emcee to introduce the speakers.
Ron Finley, Renegade Gardener
Back in 2003, "South Central" was [renamed to South Los Angeles]. But as everyone in IT knows, merely renaming something doesn't fix any of its problems. Ron was tired of seeing empty lots filled with old mattresses, used condoms and discarded tires, and wanted to beautify his immediate surroundings by planting vegetables in his front yard.
Ron's army of volunteers, the [L.A. Green Grounds], filed a petition. As of October 2013, it is now legal to grow food on your parkway in Los Angeles.
Ron explained that South Los Angeles is a [food desert], where it is nearly impossible to get healthy, organic food. He is concerned the "drive-thrus" of fast food restaurants kill more of his neighbors than [drive-by] shootings.
Ron has discovered this problem is not limited to Los Angeles. The American food system is designed to fill you with processed food and chemicals, made worse by a health care system happy to cut you open or prescribe you more chemicals and drugs. Everywhere processed food goes, chronic disease follows. The USA exports obesity to the rest of the world.
"To change a community, and you must first change the composition of the soil." -- Ron Finley
The rise in cancer, diabetes, and childhood cardiac arrests inspired Ron to start the [Ron Finley Project] consisting of community farms, a marketplace that accepts EBT, SNAP and other government food programs, and portable "container cafes" based on standard shipping containers that could be placed near a garden to help sell the food grown locally.
John Wilbanks, Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks and Senior Fellow in Entrepreneurship for Faster Cures
We live in the age of cheap data. John prefers the term "cheap data" rather than "big data". Mapping the first human genome cost $3 Billion USD, now John can get his own genome mapped for about $1200.
John feels this cheap data changes the way we justify our opinions. From baseball scouts to the analytics demonstrated in the movie [Moneyball]. President Barack Obama used social media to help win elections. And cheap data is coming to health and medicine.
John gave an interesting example. A grad student wanted to study alcoholism among undergraduate students. The traditional method would have been to gather privacy permission slips from volunteers. Instead, he "friended" 4,000 undergraduates, and looked on social media containing the [distinctive color of red beer cups] for photos taken on Monday through Wednesday, indicative of a drinking problem. This innovative approach allowed the grad student to complete his research in less than six weeks.
Cheap data doesn't mean we have wisdom. John explained the wrong way of doing things. There are several machine-learning apps for smartphones to check for melanoma. Take a photo of your suspected mole, and the app will determine if it detects skin cancer, and recommend a biopsy. Incentives to sell apps, and to perform biopsies, result in 90 percent false positive rates. There is no financial incentive to improve accuracy.
Sharing is the innovation that converts cheap data into wisdom. Get the world's smartest people to compete to create wisdom. Collaborating with IBM on Dialogue for Reverse Engineering Assessments and Methods [DREAM] platform, a competition for modeling breast cancer was launched. Requiring all participants to share their code in real-time allowed the accuracy of the model to jump three orders of magnitude in just nine days. Over 60 teams participated. The winning team was awarded an article and cover of [Science Translational Medicine] magazine.
John feels that there are very few genius [data scientists] in the world, and they are isolated, hideously overpaid, managing hedge funds or search engines, but would probably rather be looking for cures for cancer.
Progress is not made if every company only has its own people looking at its own data. John wants data to shared amongst the world's scientists to create wisdom. However collaboration flies in the face of the competition that all the reward systems are based on in health care.
As an experiment, John wanted to make his own genome public. However, that requires "informed consent" for others to use his private health information, and it took him six months of legal and ethical rules to develop a system for him to provide this consent for public use.
In much the same way that gardens and fields were the first [commons] shared by farmers, John feels we need to cultivate the public domain, the "digital commons". This can truly transform medicine and health care.
Peter Singer, Technology Expert and Best-selling Author
The first web page appeared in 1991, and now there are over 30 trillion pages. Over 98 percent of military communications occur over civilian internet communications. The [Internet of Things] adds everything from smart cars to medical devices into the equation.
But along with all the benefits the web has brought society, there are also risks. Every second, nine new pieces of malware are discovered. An astounding 97 percent of Fortune 500 have admitted to being hacked. Over 100 governments have established a cybermilitary force.
(Instead of Powerpoint slides, Peter had a slideshow of his personal collection of the world's best and worst cybersecurity art. Studies show that audiences remember 60 percent more if they are looking at pictures when they hear a speaker.)
While IT folks are good at dealing with both hardware and software, they traditionally don't do well with "wetware", the human side of things. Essential cybersecurity terms and concepts are often misunderstood.
Business leaders over-react to some threats, but completely ignore others. Consider that 70 percent of cybersecurity decisions at companies are made by executives who have no training in cybersecurity. No single MBA program offers cybersecurity courses.
There is a shortage of talent to deal with cybersecurity. Hiring managers are only satisfied with 40 percent of the employees they hire in this Cybersecurity space.
Incentives help explain why some industries like financial services do security well, while others like health care do poorly.
In an effort to find which employees do not take cybersecurity seriously enough, Companies have resorted to sending [phishing] emails to their own employees. Those that click are caught, and must attend mandatory training, or are subject to dismissal. Unfortunately, senior executives are twice as likely to click on phishing emails than the general workforce.
Peter recommends companies focus on resilience. You can never build high enough walls to eliminate threats. Instead, focus on bouncing back after attacks, similar to the anti-bodies in the human body deal with illness.
Ben Franklin said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Peter cited a studied that found proper cyberhygiene would have prevented 94 percent of attacks. The most successful foreign military attack on the U.S. military happened when a soldier saw a memory stick in a parking lot, and was curious enough to connect it to the secure military network to see what it contained.
We need to build an ethic. We teach our kids to cover your mouth when you cough. This does not protect your child in any way, but is an ethic to avoid spreading disease. We need to teach the same ethics related to cybersecurity.
All three were excellent talks focused on innovation. Ron Finley used gardening in otherwise empty urban spaces to help grow people as well as food. John Wilbanks used innovation to help bring the smartest minds to determine models for identifying cancer from genomes. Peter Singer marveled at the innovation of the Internet, and how proper cyberhygiene is needed to keep it secure.
These talks were recorded and available on this [98-minute YouTube video]. For those on Twitter, my handle is @az990tony and the hashtag for this session was #ibmedgetalks.
Continuing my coverage of the [IBM Edge2014 conference], IBM's premiere conference for System Storage and related products, here are my notes from the afternoon of Day 1 at the general keynote sessions.
Stephen Leonard, IBM General Manager, STG Sales, served as emcee for the general session.
Tom Rosamilia, IBM Senior Vice President, STG and ISC
Tom (my fifth-line manager, BTW) started off with a joke: "All this talk about Cloud, but it has to run on hardware somewhere!"
Tom insists it is imperative for clients to build an infrastructure that enables business growth. However, less than 10 percent of clients are ready for Cloud, Analytics, Mobile or Social (CAMS) initiatives. Clients need to embrace these new workloads, ensure right-time decision making, and integrate front-office with back-office IT systems.
Tom is also proud that IBM's Software Define Storage solutions manage over 1 [Yottabyte] of information today. That's a billion Petabytes, in case you were wondering. If all of this data was stored on 1TB disk drives, instead of a mix of disk and tape, it would take over one million city blocks to house all the data centers required.
Tom indicated that data is to the 21st century what steam was for the 18th century, electricity was for the 19th century, and hydrocarbons were for the 20th century.
Tom invited Mike Reagan, CIO of Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, to say a few words on why Infrastructure matters to his IT environment. The [Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi] is a 364-bed multi-specialty facility, the first US-hospital replicated outside of North America.
Mike explained their great success partnering with IBM to develop a private cloud solution. Each patient has a bedside tablet that can be used to control the entertainment, lighting, temperature and window shades. It can also be used to Skype with family and friends. The facility is four times the floorspace of the Sands Expo that this event is being helenovo 61 CES awardsld in.
Jamie Thomas, IBM General Manager, Storage and Software Defined Systems
Jamie feels that data is all about security and economics. Storage admins must become the new [data scientists] for IT.
It is important to integrate traditional "Systems of Record" with new "Systems of Engagement" workloads. Her focus areas are Software Defined Storage, Flash technologies, and storage virtualization. Specific examples included:
Mike talked about how important Electronic Health Record [EHR] systems and advanced clinical diagnostics are to help make the right medical decisions.
Greg explained that Citi was operating at global scale in 100 countries. Citi partnered with IBM to deploy commodity compute servers, 10GbE/40GbE Ethernet networking and IBM Software Defined Storage to achieve Cloud economics and Cloud scale. Citi can't afford for server, storage and network admins to work separately.
Rather than contesting [Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman's FUD about this deal], Adalio took the high road, and focused on IBM's success in the x86 server space. New offerings include the X6 architecture, including PureSystems and the NextScale dense computing platform.
Adalio invited Christian Teismann, Lenovo, on stage. Christian re-iterated that IBM and Lenovo are both committed to a smooth transition, continuing IBM's roadmap for the x86 server platform, and full consideration for the x86 servers and related storage, software, service and maintenance.
IBM has had a strong relationship with Lenovo already with the acquisition of IBM's PC division, and now this deal brings together Chinese supply chain efficiency with Western ideals and design principles. Lenovo has about 46,000 employees, nearly 4,000 R&D engineers, and will acquire an additional 7,500 IBMers when the deal completes.
Adalio then invited two clients to join him on stage: Ron Grabyan, Manager of Data Warehousing Services at [Southern California Edison], and Rohit Lal, IT Direction of Coca-Cola.
Ron indicated that actionable insights must be fast for productivity. He mentioned the funny [MetLife television commercial featuring Charlie Brown and Lucy] declaring that term-life insurance should cost only "five cents" per month. In the same manner, end users often request that response times should be short. IBM was able to get response times from 40 seconds down to "5 seconds" by helping Ron deploy SAP HANA. Another process that took 53 minutes was down to 1 minute 20 seconds.
Rohit talked about their exciting new "Coke One North America" (CONA) project. This will provide consolidated IT services for 6 different Coca-Cola bottlers in North America. With $46 Billion USD in revenue serving 1.8 billion servings of beverage per day, the use of Analytics, SAP HANA and private cloud were critical to their business.
The industry recognizes Lenovo as a major x86 player, having had 20 quarters of growth outpacing the market. Lenovo has [won 61 CES 2014 awards], more than the other top five x86 vendors combined. IBM x86 servers are ideal for Enterprise solutions, Cloud, HPC, embedded designs, and IT infrastructure deployments. IBM is #1 in x86 server customer satisfaction, #1 in x86 server up-time, and boasts the #1 fastest x86-based supercomputer. IBM and Lenovo want to take this to the next level: #1 leadership in every x86 category.
For those on Twitter, my handle is @az990tony and the hashtag for this event is #IBMEdge.
Continuing my coverage of the [IBM Edge2014 conference], IBM's premiere conference for System Storage and related products, here are my notes from the morning of Day 1.
IBM Storage Trends and Directions
Clod Barrera, IBM Chief Technical Strategist for IBM System Storage, and Axel Koester, IBM Chief Technologist and Executive IT Specialist for IBM System Storage, co-presented the first session of the conference.
Nearly all storage users are struggling with the combined effects of significant capacity growth, data as both an asset and potential liability, and the lack of staff and expertise to exploit new technology.
In addition to [Systems of Record], representing the traditional workloads of databases and on-line transaction processing (OLTP), we are now seeing [Systems of Engagement], which represent new workloads such a mobile apps, social business, and big data analytics.
We are now at a tipping for Flash. IBM FlashSystem can perform I/O in about 100 microseconds, which is roughly 10x faster than solid state drives (SSD), and 50x faster than spinning disk. For those clients who value performance, this can easily justify its use.
Take for example an IBM Power system running DB2 PureScale application with 43,000 transactions per second, including 13,000 updates per second, that result in 1.3 million IOPS to the back-end storage. This can be accomplished with either (a) all-disk 5,000 spinning disk spindles, (b) hybrid 2,500 spinning disk spindles combined with 128 solid state drives (SSD), or (c) IBM FlashSystem.
The comparisons are astounding. The IBM FlashSystem solution is 11x less expensive then the hybrid system, and 14x less expensive than the all-disk solution. The solution also uses 26x less energy, and 80x less space in the data center.
Clod also feels that Software Defined Storage has come of age. IBM has three offerings in this area. The first, code-named Elastic Storage, represents IBM's General Parallel File System (GPFS) and GPFS-based products like SONAS and Storwize V7000 Unified. The second is the IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center and Storwize family of storage hypervisors. The third is IBM XIV Storage System.
Software Defined Storage can be used in private, hybrid and public clouds. In 2013, only 22 percent of storage was Cloud, but this is expected to grow to 50 percent by 2017.
IBM will support a range of Software Defined Environments, from the highly proprietary VMware, to the open source OpenStack foundation. Where applicable, IBM will provided added value above and beyond the basic OpenStack infrastructure.
Axel Koester presented storage futures. He works closely with IBM Research and described some of the projects they are working on:
120PB file system solution that involved a grid of IBM POWER 775 servers. Instead of traditional RAID, the system used GPFS Native Raid, which offers an 8+3 Reed Solomon protection scheme.
Multi-cloud storage that allows you to access storage from multiple public providers without having the bottleneck of a single master scheduler.
Phase Change RAM (PCRAM) which does not rely on capturing an electrical charge. This will be 12x faster than PCIe Flash, and 275x faster than consumer SSD.
Liquid state storage. Rather than solid state, metal is kept in its liquid state to store binary information.
Finally, he mentioned IBM Research's success at storing a single bit of information in just 12 atoms. To do this, the folks at Almaden Research Center had to manually move the atoms into place using the needle of a scanning tunneling microscope [STM] to nudge each atom into position.
Axel gave a great example of scale. An atom compared to a tennis ball is like a tennis ball compared to the entire planet Earth. If an atom was the size of a tennis ball, the point of the STM needle would be the size of Mount Everest, but upside down.
IBM's Smarter Storage Strategy
In previous years, my session on Storage Strategy was scheduled on Wednesday or Thursday, and attendees would comment "Why wasn't this sooner in the week? Everything makes more sense now!"
This time, I was featured immediately after Clod and Axel's keynote session, resulting in hundreds of attendees in a large standing-room-only ballroom. The session was repeated Thursday morning for those who were turned away.
IBM's storage strategy has three main themes.
First, IBM is focused on data-intensive solutions such as big data analytics. This means storage needs to be efficient to manage the growth in a cost-effective manner. IBM offers real-time compression and data deduplication to be capacity-efficient, Flash, Nearline drives and tape to be energy-efficient, and extremely easy-to-use graphical user interfaces and automation to be labor-efficient.
Second, IBM wants to optimize business critical workloads. IBM wants to eliminate the manual effort needed to balance between performance versus cost. IBM Easy Tier, I/O priority manager, and FlashSystem solutions are just a few examples.
And third, IBM wants to help you start quickly, and add value, by deploying private, public and dynamic hybrid cloud environments. IBM is not limiting its solutions to just VMware, but rather supporting other server hypervisors including KVM, Hyper-V, PowerVM and z/VM. IBM is a platinum sponsor for OpenStack foundation, and IBM storage systems support Cinder interfaces.
For those on Twitter, my handle is @az990tony and the hashtag for this event is #IBMEdge.