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#IBMEdge 2015 Day 4 Sessions and the Pendulum Swings Back
The [IBM Edge2015 conference] is premiere conference covering Infrastructure Innovations for IBM System Storage, as well as sessions about z Systems and POWER Systems from our IBM Enterprise conference.
Here is my quick recap of various sessions on the fourth day, Wednesday, May 14, 2015.
Object Storage and Its Use with OpenStack
Rich Swain, IBM Storage Team Lead Engineer, presented this in three sections. First, he covered the advantages of object storage versus block or file-based storage. This includes the idea that each object comes with rich metadata that can be searched.
Rich then went to explain the specifics of OpenStack Swift, an open standard for object storage. A simple three-tier hierarchy of account, container, and object.
Rich wrapped up his talk with an overview of Spectrum Scale and Elastic Storage Server offerings from IBM.
Driving Timely Business Insights on the IBM Data Engine for Analytics
Linton Ward, IBM Distinguished Engineer, POWER Systems Big Data and Analytics, presented Big Data analytics from a POWER Systems perspective. He gave an overview of Big Data analytics, and how IBM POWER Systems provide advantages to analyze data quickly.
Linton had helped me with my Big Data presentation, so I decided to participate in his presentation during his section on Spectrum Scale, but no questions came up that he couldn't handle on his own.
The Pendulum Swings Back -- Understanding Converged and Hyper-converged Environments
This presentation has an interesting back-story. At a client briefing, I was asked to explain the difference between "Converged" and "Hyper-converged" systems, which I did with the analogy of a pendulum. I used the whiteboard, and then later made it into a single chart.
At the far left, I start with mainframe systems of the early 1950s that had internal storage. As the pendulum swings to the middle, I discuss the added benefits of external storage, from RAID protection to centralized management.
To the far right, the pendulum swings over to networked storage, from NAS to SAN attached devices for flash, disk and tape. This offers excellent advantages, including greater host connectivity, and greater distances supported to help with things like disaster recovery.
Here is where the pendulum swings back. IBM introduced PureSystems that combined servers, storage and switches into a single rack configuration. Other vendors had similar offerings, such as VCE vBlock, Flexpod from NetApp and Cisco, and Oracle Exadata.
Lately, the pendulum has swung fully back to internal storage, with storage-rich servers running specialized software. There are two kinds. First there are pre-built systems like Nutanix, Simplivity or EVO:Rail which are x86 based server systems with built-in flash and disk. Second, there is software that can be deployed on your own choice of hardware, such as IBM Spectrum Scale FPO or VMware VSAN.
So, what I presented on a single slide before, has been fleshed out into a full blown hour-long presentation!
Common Performance Pitfalls and the Value of Latency
Erik Eyberg and Woody Hutsell from IBM FlashSystem team presented the differences between MB/sec, IOPS and latency. IBM FlashSystem is the world's fastest storage with incredibly low latency that is two to five times faster than most major competitors in the all-flash arrays category.
Accelerate with OpenStack: Flexible and Rapid Deployed Orchestration for Your Cloud
Ohad Atia, IBM Systems Development Manager for XIV Cloud Storage Solutions, presented how the OpenStack Cinder interface works, then explained the new IBM Spectrum Accelerate, based on the software from XIV.
Ronen Kat, IBM Research Manager and Cloud Storage Research Scientist, gave a live demo on how easy it is to deploy Spectrum Accelerate in a public cloud. First, you request three or more bare metal servers with specific amounts of RAM and spinning disk. Optionally, Spectrum Accelerate can support a single Solid State Driver (SSD) as read cache in each server. You can either install VMware ESXi 5.5 yourself, or have the Cloud provider do it for you. This step can be done quickly to initiate, but then the Cloud provider might take 24-72 hours depending on how busy they are.
Like cooking shows, where they take out an already prepared item from the oven or refrigerator to save time, Ronen started with four servers that were already configured above from IBM SoftLayer. The second step was to deploy the Spectrum Accelerate code, supplied as an OVF file that VMware can use to start up each virtual machine.
The third step is to connect all of the IP addresses, since Spectrum Accelerate uses TCP/IP for everything from iSCSI host attachment to inter-node communication.
Steps 2 and 3 took less than 5 minutes! I was impressed how simple and easy it was. Even when you factor in the few days it might take IBM SoftLayer to provide you access to the servers, it is still way faster than ordering your own on-premise storage.
A Powerful Virtualization Solutions Delivered by the VMware and IBM Storage Partnership
Impressed with their last presentation, I stayed in the room for this one. Ohad Atia presented IBM Spectrum Control Base edition, and how this provides VMware VVol support through its VASA 2.0 provider code.
IBM Spectrum Control Base edition is entitled to all IBM owners of XIV, Spectrum Accelerate, DS8000 and Storwize family products to provide a consistent VMware interface experience.
Storage Meet the Experts, hosted by Maurice McCullough
For those not familiar with Edge, Maurice "Mo" McCullough is the lead organizer of the storage portion of Technical Edge, as well as various Systems Technical University events held throughout the year.
On the Thursday evening of Edge every year, Mo hosts this popular session for everyone to ask their questions to the experts at the front of the room. There were similar sessions for z Systems and POWER Systems experts in the adjoining rooms.
Joining me on the storage expert panel were Clod Barrera, Shelly Howrigon, Mike Griese, Barry Whyte, Jim Blue, Sven Oehme, and several others. Generally, there isn't a question we don't have an answer to, but if you stump the panel, we will take you out to dinner. The audience was ready to take that challenge!
After Storage Meet the Experts, I had dinner and went to see [Frank: The Man, The Music] musical show at the Venetian hotel. Bob Anderson impersonates Frank Sinatra, singing a popular selection of Frank's many recordings, intermixed with highlights from his television and film career. Bob was accompanied by a 32-piece orchestra that brought the music of the era back to life.