Well, tomorrow is the Winter solstice, at least for those of us in the Northern hemisphere of the planet.As often happens, I have more vacation days left than I can physically take before they evaporateat the end of the year, so next week I will be off, going to see movies like the new["Golden Compass"
]or perhaps read the latest book from [Richard Dawkins
Next week, I suspect some of the kids on my block will be playing with radio-controlled cars orplanes. If you are not familiar with these, here's a [video on BoingBoing]that shows Carl Rankin's flying machines that he made out of household materials.
Which brings me to the thought of scalability. For the most part, the physics involvedwith cars, planes, trains or sailboats apply at the toy-size level as well as the real-world level. One human operator can drive/manage/sail one vehicle. While I have seen a chess master play seven opponents on seven chess boards concurrently, itwould be difficult for a single person to fly seven radio-controlled airplanes at the same time.
How can this concept be extended to IT administrators in the data center? They have to deal withhundreds of applications running on thousands of distributed servers.In a whitepaper titled [Single System Image (SSI)], the threeauthors write:
A single system image (SSI) is the property of a systemthat hides the heterogeneous and distributed nature of theavailable resources and presents them to users and applicationsas a single unified computing resource.
IBM has some offerings that can help towards this goal.
- Server clusters
Even in the case where yourvehicle is being pulled by eight horses--(or eight reindeer?)--a single operator can manage it, holding the reins in both hands. In the same manner,IBM has spent a lot of investment and research into supercomputers, where hundreds of individualservers all work together towards a common task. The operator submits a math problem, for example,and the "system system image" takes care of the rest, dividing the work up into smaller chunksthat are executed on each machine.
When done with IBM mainframes, it is called a Parallel Sysplex. The world's largest business workloadsare processed by mainframes, and connecting several together and working in concert makes this possible.In this case, the tasks are typically just single transactions, no need to divide them up further, justbalance the workload across the various machines, with shared access to a common database and storageinfrastructure so they can all do the work equally.
Last August, in my post [Fundamental Changes for Green Data Centers], I mentioned that IBM consolidated 3900 Intel-based servers onto 33 mainframes. This not only saves lots of electricity, but makes it much easier for the IT administratorsto manage the environment.
- Storage virtualization
Parallel Sysplex configurations often require thousands of disk volumes, which would have been quitea headache dealing with them individually. With DFSMS, IBM was able to create "storage groups" wherea few groups held the data. You might have reasons to separate some data from others, put them inseparate groups. An IT administrator could handle a handful of storage groups much easier than thousandsof disk volumes. As businesses grow, there would be more data in each storage group, but the numberof storage groups remains flat, so an IT administrator could manage the growth easily.
IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) is able to accomplish this for other distributed systems.All of the physical disk space assigned to an SVC cluster is placed into a handful of "managed diskgroups". As the system grows in capacity, more space is added to each managed disk group, but few IT administrators can continue to manage this easily.
The new IBM System Storage Virtual File Manager (VFM) is able to aggregate file systems into one globalname space, again simplifying heterogeneous resources into a single system image. End users have a singledrive letter or mount point to deal with, rather than many to connect to all the disparate systems.
- Centralized Administration
Lastly we get to the actual management aspect of it all. Wouldn't it be nice if your entire data centercould be managed by a hand-held device with two joysticks and a couple of buttons? We're not quite there yet, but last October we announced the [IBM System Storage Productivity Center (SSPC)]. This is a master consolethat has a variety of software pre-installed to manage your IBM and non-IBM storage hardware, includingSAN fabric gear, disk arrays and even tape libraries. It lets the storage admin see the entire data centeras a single system image, displaying the topology in graphical view that can be drilled down using semanticzooming to look at or manage a particular device or component.
Customers are growing their storage capacity on average 60 percent per year. They could do this by havingmore and more things to deal with, and gripe about the complexity, or they can try to grow theirsingle system image bigger, with interfaces and technologies that allow the existing IT staff to manage.
technorati tags: Winter solstice, Golden Compass, Richard Dawkins, radio-controlled, cars, planes, trains, sailboats, automobiles, IBM, mainframe, system z, parallel sysplex, single system image, DFSMS, SAN Volume Controller, SVC, Virtual File Manager, VFM, System Storage, Productivity Center, SSPC, master console, SAN, fabric, gear, disk, tape, libraries, data center, topology, semantic zooming
Web Worker Daily has an article[Bill Gates on Collaboration and Continued Learning
] discussing Bill Gates' essay [The skills you need to succeed
].Bill talks about the importance of software, and how it has turned nearly everyone into information workers.
While Bill Gates is personally benefiting from code he wrote 30 years ago, most software engineers don't getroyalties for their creative efforts. Robin Harris on StorageMojo has a great piece on [Why are the writers striking?]The writers in this case are those who write scripts for television programs. They get 4 cents for every$19.99 DVD sold today, and want this bumped up to 8 cents. More importantly, they want the same deal forcontent shown over the internet. Currently, they get nothing when content they wrote for is shown on the internet, and they would like that fixed also.
Paying royalties to creative writers encourages them to write good stuff. The best stuff will result in moreroyalties, and we want to encourage this. What about software engineers? Don't we want them to write the beststuff also? Shouldn't they get royalties too, not just a flat salary and continued employment?
Something to think about...
technorati tags: Web Worker Daily, Bill Gates, collaboration, continued learning, skills, succeed, software, information workers, Robin Harris, StorageMojo, writers, strike, royalties, software engineers
For those in the US, last friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the official start of the Holiday shopping season. This has been called [Black Friday
] as some stores open as early as 4am in the morning, when it is still dark outside, to offer special discount prices. Some shoppers camp out in sleeping bags and lawn chairs in front of stores overnight to be the first to get in.
Not surprisingly, some folks don't care for this approach to shopping, and prefer instead shopping online. Since 2005, the Monday after Thanksgiving (yesterday) has been called [Cyber Monday].USA Today newspaper reports [Cyber Monday really clicks with customers]. Many of the major online shopping websites indicated a 37 percent increase in sales yesterday over last year's Cyber Monday.
On Deadline dispels the hype on both counts:[Cyber Monday: Don't Believe the Hype?"], indicating that Black Friday is not the peak shopping for bricks-and-mortar shops, andthat Cyber Monday is not the busiest online shopping day of the year, either.
Despite the controversy, all of this increased use of the internet could lead to what is now being termed an "Internet Brown-out" in the next few years.Magaret Rouse of [IT Knowledge Exchange] points to this MacWorld article by Grant Gross titled [Study: Internet could run out of capacity in two years]. Here's an excerpt:
A flood of new video and other Web content could overwhelm the Internet by 2010 unless backbone providers invest up to US$137 billion in new capacity, more than double what service providers plan to invest, according to the study, by Nemertes Research Group, an independent analysis firm. In North America alone, backbone investments of $42 billion to $55 billion will be needed in the next three to five years to keep up with demand, Nemertes said.
Internet users will create 161 exabytes of new data this year, and this exaflood is a positive development for Internet users and businesses, IIA says.
If the "161 Exabytes" figure sounds familiar, it is probably from the IDC Whitepaper [The Expanding Digital Universe] that estimated the 161 Exabytes created, captured or replicated in 2006 will increase six-fold to 988 Exabytes by the year 2010. This is not just video captured for YouTube by internet users, but also corporate data captured by employees, and all of the many replicated copies. The IDC whitepaper was based on an earlier University of California Berkeley's often-cited 2003[How Much Info?] study, which not only looked at magnetic storage (disk and tape), but also optical, film, print, and transmissions over the air like TV and Radio.
A key difference was that while UC Berkeley focused on newly created information, the IDC study focused on digitized versions of this information, and included theadded impact of replication.It is not unusual for a large corporate databases to be replicated many times over. This is done for business continuity, disaster recovery, decision support systems, data mining, application testing, and IT administrator training. Companies often also make two or three copies of backups or archives on tape or optical media, to storethem in separate locations.
Likewise, it should be no surprise that internet companies maintain multiple copies of data to improve performance.How fast a search engine can deliver a list of matches can be a competitive advantage. Content providers may offer the same information translated into several languages.Many people replicate their personal and corporate email onto their local hard drives, to improve access performance, as well as to work offline.
The big question is whether we can assume that an increased amount of information created, captured and replicated will have a direct linear relation to the growth of what is transmitted over the internet. Three fourths of the U.S. internet users watched an average of 158 minutes of online video in May 2007, is this also expected to grow six-fold by 2010? That would be fifteen hours a month, at current video densities, or more likely it would be the same 158 minutes but of much higher quality video.
On the other hand, much of what is transmitted is never stored, or stored for only very short periods of time.Some of these transmissions are live broadcasts, you are either their to watch and listen to them when they happen, or you are not. Online video games are a good example. The internet can be used to allow multiple players to participate in real time, but much of this is never stored long-term. An interesting feature of the Xbox 360 is to allow you to replay "highlight" videos of the game just played, but I do not know if these can be stored away or transferred to longer term storage.
Of course, there will always be people who will save whatever they can get their hands on. Wired Magazine has anarticle [Downloading Is a Packrat's Dream], explaining that many [traditional packrats] are now also "digital packrats", and this might account for some of this growth. If you think you might be a digital packrat,Zen Habits offers a [3-step Cure].
In any case, the trends for both increased storage demand, and increased transmission bandwidth requirements, are definitely being felt. Hopefully, the infrastructure required will be there when needed.
technorati tags: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, MacWorld, Nemertes, IDC, whitepaper, UC Berkeley, How Much Info, study, Xbox 360, video, YouTube
Continuing this week's theme on Enterprise Applications, I will talk about [SAP
The history of SAP is fascinating. Back in 1972, five IBMers noticed that IBM wasn't leveragingits internal accounting/inventory software package. They asked if they could buy the rights to it, leave IBM to form their own company to fix it up, and sell it as their own. Since IBM had decided not tobe in the enterprise applications business any longer, they approved. These guys renamed the software to "Realtime Data Processing/1" or just R/1 for short, andformed Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung AG. In 2005, they renamed this to Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung AG,which is German for "Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing, Inc.", withSAP AG as the preferred abbeviation (the AG here is justthe German version of "Inc.").
R/1 became R/2, then R/3, and today is now called the SAP ERP forthe SAP Business Suite, although many still call it R/3. Other popular Business Suite components includeCustomer Relationship Management(CRM), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM),and Supplier Relationship Manager (SRM).The architecture had evolved in this time frame, separating out the application components from a base platform product line called NetWeaver, similar to IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS). Other ISVs or in-house developers can build their applications directlyonto the NetWeaver base platform, creating a form of eco-system of software applications.
Today, SAP is now the fourth largest software company (behind Microsoft, IBM and Oracle) employing over 42,000 employees worldwide,and is considered the leading global vendor of Enterprise Application software, generating over $14 billiondollars in revenue each year.
- Server Platforms
SAP runs on all of IBM's major operating systems and server platforms, so it makes sense for IBM to continue its strong ties to SAP. Together, we formed the IBM SAP International Competency Center[ISICC], in Waldorf, Germany,where SAP has its headquarters. I have been to Germany and visited with the folks from the ISICC.Of my 17 U.S. patents, several were for a feature called z/OS DFSMShsm "Fast Replication" that was requested by SAPat one of these meetings. This featuretakes advantage of IBM System Storage DS8000 FlashCopy to make instantaneous backups of an SAP environment built on DB2 for z/OS databases. For more details read the [IBM Redbook: Fast Replication].
The #1 UNIX platform for SAP is IBM's AIX operating system that runs on System p servers. Some of our customers create a[Composite Application] by havingthe SAP front-end application server run on AIX, and use z/OS to host the SAP DB2 databases. Thisallows you to take advantage of DFSMShsm Fast Replication on System z, with the number-crunching power of theSystem p server.
Combining IBM server and storage is a winning combination for SAP performance as well, as evidenced by this[New IBM server achieves championship benchmark results] press release.
Last year, IBM introduced [Lotus Notes 7 access to SAP solutions],which has since been enhanced with Lotus Notes 8 support of Composite Applications, building on IBM and SAP'smutual efforts to get customers to adopt [Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)] and Java.
- Server/Storage bundles
What's most exciting to me about SAP is that for every dollar spend on IT hardware to support an SAP application,60% is for storage, and 40% for servers. Therefore, buying both from IBM is simpler and easier than shoppingfor these separately.
[Business Intelligence], abbreviated BI, attempts to evaluate and correlate data across many different business applications, to help executives make business decisions.An exciting development is [IBM Systems forSAP Business Intelligence Accelerator]. These are pre-installed, pre-configured server/storagebundles in four ["T-shirt"] sizes, based on 500-byte rows:
- Small, 10 user sessions, and 120 million rows
- Medium, 20 parallel user sessions, and 250 million rows
- Large, 50 parallel user sessions, and 500 million rows
- Extra Large, 100 parallel user sessions, and 1 billion rows
The "Accelerator" provides a performance boost by managing large queries in memory. SAP blogger Nenshad Bardoliwalla in his Bardoli Blog explains why [the future is in memory-based data warehouses].
IDC Insight has an opinion paper titled [SAP Business Intelligence Accelerator: A High - Performance Analytic Engine for SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence by Dan Vesset.
- Backup and Archive Support
IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) was the first product to certify to SAP's BC-BRS interface for copy/mirror/backup/restore. IBM provides additional support with TSM for SAP, TSM for Databases, andTSM for Advanced Copy Services (ACS). TSM for ACS supports the use of FlashCopy on SVC, DS8000, DS6000, and ESS; as well as SnapShot on the IBM System Storage N series.
IBM's recent push into the Archive and Compliance space offers[IBM CommonStore for SAP],which acts as an "archive file manager" between you SAP application and your archive repository, such asthe IBM System Storage DR550, DR550 Express, N series, and tape.
- What's Next: SMB and SaaS
Since SAP has saturated the market for medium and large size businesses, IBM is now focused on helping theSMB customer base. The majority of these are expected to deploy SAP on x86 platforms running Linux orWindows. For smaller companies, SAP has their "Business All-in-One" for companies with 100-500 users,and "Business One" for companies with less than 100 users. Note: not every employee may need to use SAP,so larger companies may have only a subset of their employees actually using the SAP system and find thesesmaller offerings a good fit.
Nicholas Carr on his Rough Type blog writes:[has SAP unleashed a cannibal?],referring to SAP's new "Business ByDesign" Software as a Service (SaaS) offering to compete againstSalesforce.com business model. Rather than installing and maintaining the SAP software yourself, youinstead pay SAP on a per-user/per-month basis to use their systems remotely. The reference to cannibalism comes from the IT slang "eat your ownchildren", the notion that IT companies may introduce a new offering that eats away at future sales of theexisting product set.
For more information on IBM's support of SAP enterprise applications, check out this [IBM and SAP website].
technorati tags: IBM, SAP, ERP, Microsoft, Oracle, DFSMShsm, Fast+Replication, DS8000, FlashCopy, R/3, MySAP, Business Suite, DB2, z/OS, AIX, Lotus Notes, Composite Applications, SOA, Java, Business Intelligence, BI, BIA, BI-A, Accelerator, Nenshad Bardoliwalla, NetWeaver, TSM, ACS, database, CommonStore, DR550, x86, Linux, Windows, ByDesign, SaaS, cannibalism,CRM, PLM, SCM[Read More]
Well it's Tuesday, which means its time to look at recent announcements.While I was on vacation last week, IBM made a lot of storage announcements October 23.Josh Krischer gives his summary on WikiBon [October 2007 Review
].Austin Modine of the The Register
went so far as to say that [IBM goes crazy with storage system updates
- IBM System Storage DS8000 series
This is "Release 3" software/microcode upgrades on our existing "Turbo" hardware.
- IBM FlashCopy SE -- Here "SE" stands for Space Efficient. Rather than allocating a full 100% of the space for the FlashCopy destination, you can set aside just a fraction, and this will hold all the changed blocks, similar to whatIBM already offers on the DS4000 series.
- Dynamic Volume Expansion -- In the past, if you needed more space for a LUN, you had to carve out a newer one elsewhere, and then copy the data over from the old to the new, leaving the old LUN around to be re-used or leftstranded. With this enhancement, you can just upgrade the LUN in place, making it bigger as needed, similar to whatIBM already offers on the DS4000 series and SAN Volume Controller. This applies to CKD volumes for the System zmainframe users out there as well.
- Storage Pool Striping -- striping volumes across RAID ranks to eliminate or reduce hot-spots, and provide betterload balancing. Many used SAN Volume Controller in front of the DS8000 to do this, but now you can do it natively inthe DS8000 itself.
- z/OS Global Mirror Multiple Reader -- for System z customers, "z/OS Global Mirror" is the new name for XRC. Thisenhancement improves the throughput of sending updates to the remote disaster recovery location.
- DS Storage Manager enhancements, the element manager software has been enhanced, and is pre-installed on the new IBM System Storage Productivity Center, which I will talk about below.
- Intermix of DS8000 machine types -- this is especially useful to allow new frames to have co-terminating warrantieswith the base units. In other words, as you expand your system, you can ensure that the entire chunk of iron runs outof warranty all at the same time, to simplify your decision making process to upgrade or contract for extended service.
See the [DS8000 Announcement Letter] for more details.
- IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller 4.2.1
BarryW summarizes the updates in the[Announced SVC 4.2.1] release.If you have problems with the link he provides in his post, here is the [SVC 4.2.1 Announcement Letter].
- IBM System Storage Productivity Center
One of the biggest complaints about IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center is that it is software that needs to beinstalled on its own server, and that this installation process can take a day or two. Why wait? Now you can havea hardware console that has the DS8000 Storage Manager software, SVC Admin Console software, and IBM TotalStorageProductivity Center "Basic Edition" pre-installed. Here are the key features.
- Pre-installed and tested console
- DS8000 R3 GUI integration
- Cohabitation of SVC 4.2.1 GUI and CIMOM
- Automated device discovery
- Asset and capacity reporting, including tape library support
- Device configuration
- Advanced topology viewer
See the[System Storage Productivity Center - Announcement letter] for more details."Basic Edition" can be upgraded to "Standard Edition" to get full functionality.
- IBM System Storage N series
Our "Release 9" applies across the board, from N3000 to N5000 to N7000 series models, includingnew host bus adapters, and the new Data OnTAP 7.2.4 release level.
The Virtual File Manager (VFM) was announced as one of our latest [Storage Virtualization Solutions]. VFMprovides a global namespace that aggregates the file systems from Linux, UNIX, and Windows file servers, as well asN series storage, into a consolidated environment.
See the [N series Announcement Letter] for more details.
- IBM TS7520 Virtualization Engine
IBM's virtual tape library (VTL) for the distributed systems platform, has been enhanced to provide:
- Up to 12TB of disk cache, using 750GB SATA disk.
- F05 Tape Frames installed as TS7520 base units through a 32 port fibre channel switch
- Support for LTO generation 4 tape drives, both as virtual tape drives and as physical tape drives within IBM automated tape libraries attached to the TS7520. This allows you to use Encryption capabilities of LTO4.
See the [TS7520 Announcement Letter] for more details.
- IBM System Storage DS6000 series
The latest 300GB 15K RPM drives are now supported.
- IBM System Storage DS4000 series
This was a software/microcode upgrade release for the DS4000 series.
- RAID-6 support on the DS4700 Express models and the DS4200 Model 7V
- Support for greater than 2 TB volumes on selected supported operating systems
- 8K cache block size
- DS4000 Storage Manager v10.10 increases the number of FlashCopy tasks, remote mirror pairs, and storage partitions.
See the [DS4000 Announcement Letter] for more details.
- IBM System Storage DS3000 series
DS3000 series now supports SATA disk, and can be attached to AIX and Linux on System p servers. This appliesto the DS3200, DS3300 and DS3400 models.See the [DS3000 Announcement Letter] for more details.
- IBM System Storage TS2240
These are LTO4 Half-High drives, which can support encryption.See the [TS2240 Announcement Letter] for details.
Perhaps Austin is right, we might have gone crazy announcing all of this at once.
technorati tags: Josh Krischer, Austin Modine, IBM, DS8000, Turbo, FlashCopy, SE, space efficient, dynamic volume expansion, DVE, striping, z/OS Global Mirror, XRC, System Storage, Productivity Center, TotalStorage, Basic Edition, topology viewer, ONTAP, VFM, global namespace, TS7520, Virtualization Engine, virtual tape library, VTL, F05, SATA, LTO, LTO4, LTO-4, DS6000, DS4000, RAID6, RAID-6, AIX, Linux, System p, servers, TS2240, half-high, drives
I have arrived safely in Las Vegas for the IBM System Storage and Storage Networking Symposium. This eventis held once every year. The gold sponsors were: Brocade, Cisco, Finisar, Servergraph, and VMware. Our silversponsor was Qlogic.
Barry Rudolph was the keynote speaker with "Storage for the Green Data Center", similar to his presentationfor Storage Networking World in April, but with new and improved slides.
I myself had a busy day. Here's a quick recap:
- IBM System Storage - Strategy and Overview
I presented IBM's System Storage strategy and an overview of our product line. For those who missed it,our strategy is focused on helping customers in four key areas:
- Optimize IT - to simplify and automate your IT operations and optimize performance and functionality, through server/storage synergies, storage virtualization, and intergrated storage infrastructure management.
- Leverage Information - to enable a single view of trusted business information through data sharing, and to get the most value from information through Information Lifecycle Management (ILM).
- Mitigate Risk - to comply with security and regulatory requirements, and keep your business running with a complete set of business continuity solutions. IBM offers a range of non-erasable, non-rewriteable storage, encryption on disk and tape, and support for IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) service management disciplines.
- Enable Business Flexibility - to provide scalable solutions and protect your IT investment through the use of open industry standards like Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). IBM offers scalability in three dimensions: Scale-up, Scale-out, and Scale-within.
IBM has a broad storage portfolio, in seven offering categories:
- Disk Systems, including our SAN Volume Controller, DS family, and N series.
- Tape Systems, including tape drives, libraries and virtualization.
- Storage Networking, a complete set of switches, directors and routes
- Infrastructure Management, featuring the IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center software
- Business Continuity, advanced copy services and the software to manage them
- Lifecycle and Retention, our non-erasable, non-rewriteable storage including DR550, N series with SnapLock, and WORM tape support, Grid Archive Manager and our Grid Medical Archive Solution (GMAS)
- Storage Services, everything from consulting, design and deployment to outsourcing and hosting.
I could talk all day on this, but given that the room was packed, every seat taken and the rest of the audience standing along the walls, I had to keep it down to one hour.
- SAN Volume Controller Overview
I presented an overview of the IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC), IBM's flagship disk virtualizationproduct. Rather than giving a long laundry list of features and benefits,I focused on the five that matter most:
- Reduces the cost and complexity of managing storage, especially for mixed storage environments
- Simplifies Business Continuity through non-disruptive data migration and advanced copy services
- Improves storage utilization, getting more value from the storage hardware you already have
- Enhances personnel productivity, empowering storage administrators to get their job done
- Delivers high availability and performance
- SAN Volume Controller - Customer Success Stories
A good part of this conference are presented by non-IBMers, which include Business Partners and clientssharing their experiences. In this session, we had two speakers share their experiences with SVC.
- David Snyder keeps over 80 web sites online and available. His digital media technologiesteam uses SVC to make their storage administration easier, and ensure high availability for web site content creation and publishing.
- Mark Prybylski manages storage at his company, a financial bank. His storage management team uses SVC Global Mirror which provides asynchronous disk mirroring between different types of disk, as part oftheir Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery plan.
The last session I attended was "Storage .. to Optimize your ECM depoloyments" by Jerry Bower, now working for IBM as part of our recent acquisition of the Filenet company. ECM stands for Enterprise Content Management, and IBM is the market leader in this space. Jerry gave a great overview of IBM Content Manager software suite, our newly acquired Filenet portfolio, and the storage supported.
After the sessions was a reception at the Solution Center with dozens of exhibitor booths. For example,Optica Technologies had their PRIZM productswhich are able to connect FICON servers to ESCON storage devices.
technorati tags: IBM, storage, networking, symposium, Brocade, Cisco, Finisar, Servergraph, VMware, Qlogic, Barry Rudolph, green, datacenter, strategy, ILM, ITIL, SNIA, SMI-S, offering, disk, tape, software, SAN Volume Controller, SVC, David Snyder, Mark Prybylski, Jerry Bower, Filenet, ECM, Optica, FICON, ESCON
I am back at "the Office" for a single day today. This happens often enough I need a name for it.Air Force pilots that practice landing and take-offs call them "Touch and Go", but I think I needsomething better. If you can think of a better phrase, let me know.
This week, I was in Hartford, CT, Somers, NY and our Corporate Headquarters in Armonk, in a varietyof meetings, some with editors of magazines, others with IBMers I have only spoken to over the phone andfinally got a chance to meet face to face.
I got back to Tucson last night, had meetings this morning in Second Life, then presented "InformationLifecycle Management" in Spanish to a group of customers from Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. We have a great Tucson Executive Briefing Center, and plenty of foreign-language speakers to draw from our localemployees here at the lab site.
Sunday, I leave for Las Vegas for our upcoming IBM Storage and Storage Networking Symposium. We will cover the latest in our disk, tape, storage networking and related software.Do you have your tickets? If you plan to attend, and want to meet up with me, let me know.
technorati tags: The Office, IBM, ILM, Tucson, Executive, Briefing, Center, Spanish, Las Vegas, storage, networking, symposium, Dwight Schrute, Gun Show, T-shirt
Stephen over at RupturedMonkey
discusses the challenges of recruiting storage administrators:
There has been a Storage Admin job advertised for many months but no one wants it. Why? It's offering VERY good money but the word has got around the company has poor management practices and most people don't last for more than 6 months. So, with the shortage of good SAN people, good money and conditions, what can that company do to recruit someone? ...
This leads me to the thought that has anyone ever thought about the standards that storage administrators should follow? Can an employer look up a web site to find questions to ask prospective employees? More often than not, they are recruiting because the previous one left so how can companies know what they are getting.
There is actually a great standard called Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) that applies not just to storage administrators, but other IT personnel such as network administrators and server administrators. Here's a quick web-site about ITIL History:
ITIL History can be traced back to the late 1980’s when the British government determined that the level of IT service quality provided to them was not sufficient enough. The Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), now called the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), was tasked with developing a framework for efficient and financially responsible use of IT resources within the British government and the private sector.
The goal was to develop an approach that would be vendor-independent and applicable to organizations with differing technical and business needs. This resulted in the creation of the ITIL.
This standard spread from the UK to other governments in Europe, and is now being adopted worldwide by government agencies, non-profit organizations and commercial enterprises. IBM, of course, has been involved along the way, encouraging this set of best practices to take hold.
IBMer John Long, in ITSM Watch article, points outsome key points:
- ITIL provides a common vocabulary that puts everyone in the IT industry on the same page, with the ultimate goal of helping companies run their IT organizations more efficiently.
- ITIL provides recommendations, or best practices, for managing the way IT provides services to the rest of the organization, in the same way you would the rest of your business, with a defined set of processes.
- While ITIL does a great job of describing what needs to be done, it doesn’t describe how to get it done. It doesn’t tell you how to take those best practices and implement them with real-life tools and technology. It’s not prescriptive.
The general process is now referred to as "IT Service Management", and the seven ITIL books are managed by the IT Service Management forum (ITSMf).
ITIL is vendor-independent. You can learn ITIL disciplines at one IT shop, and carry those skills with you when you go to another IT shop that has completely different gear. A common vocabulary would allow employers to post jobs in a consistent manner, and ask questions to those interviewing for the job. You can be ITIL-trained, and even ITIL-certified. IBM offers this training.
Of course, specific skills on how to use specific software to configure storage devices, request change control approvals, or define SAN zones, are useful, but often can be picked up on the job, reading the vendor manuals on the specifics. Of course, you can use IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center, which would allow someone to manage a variety of disk, tape and SAN fabric gear from one interface, greatly reducing the learning curve.
To learn more about ITIL, visit IBM Service Managementor watch thisflash video.
technorati tags: IBM, ITIL, IT, Service, Management, standards, storage, administrators, admins, skills, recruitment, vocabulary, TotalStorage, Productivity+Center, history, SAN, CCTA, OGC, ITSMF, Tivoli, disk, tape
Chuck Hollis makes some excellent points about Green Data Center Goes Marketing Mainstream
. He does a great job summarizing EMC's strategy in this area:
- Use VMware to virtualize your x86-based servers
- Use more efficient disk media, such as high-capacity SATA disk drives
Both are great recommendations, but why limit yourself to what EMC offers? Your x86-based machines are only a subset of your servers,and disk is only a subset of your storage. IBM takes a more holistic approach, looking at the entire data center.
- VMware is a great product, and IBM is its top reseller. But in addition to VMware, there are other solutions for the x86-based servers, like Xen and Microsoft Virtual Server. IBM's System p, System i, and System z product lines all support logical partitioning.
To compare the energy effectiveness of server virtualization, consider a metric that can apply across platforms. For example, for an e-mail server, consider watts per mailbox. If you have, say, 15,000 users, you can calculate how many watts you are consuming to manage their mailboxes on your current environment, and compare that with running them on VMware, or logical partitions on other servers. Some people find it surprising that it is often more cost-effective, and power-efficient, to run workloads on mainframe logical partitions (LPARs) than a stack of x86 servers running VMware.
- More efficient Media
- SATA and FATA disks support higher capacities, and run at slower RPM speeds, thus using fewer watts per terabyte.A terabyte stored on 73GB high-speed 15K RPM drives consumes more watts than the same terabyte stored using 500GB SATA.Chuck correctly identifies that tape is more power-efficient than disk, but then argues that paper is more power-efficient than tape. But paper is not necessarily more efficient than tape.
ESG analyst Steve Duplessie divides up data betweenDynamic vs. Persistent. The best place to put dynamic data is on disk, and here is where evaluation of FC/SAS versus SATA/FATA comes into play.Persistent data, on the other hand, can be stored on paper, microfiche, optical or tape media. All of these shelf-resident media consume no electricity, nor generate any heat that would require additional cooling.
A study by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory titled High-Tech Means High-Efficiency: The Business Case for Energy Management in High-Tech Industries indicates thatData centers consume 15 to 100 times more energy per square foot than traditional office space. Storing persistent data in traditional office space can save a huge amount of energy. Steve Duplessie feels the ratio of dynamic to persistent data is 1:10 today, but is likely to grow to 1:100 in the near future, raising the demand for energy-efficient storage of persistent data ever more important to our environment.
Data centers consume nearly 5000 Megawatts in the USA alone, 14000 Megawatts worldwide. To put that in perspective, the country of Hungary I was in last week can generate up to 8000 Megawatts for the entire country (and they were using 7400 Megawatts last week as a result of their current heat wave, causing them grave concern).
Back in the 1990's, one of the insurance companies IBM worked with kept data on paper in manila folders, and armiesof young adults in roller skates were dispatched throughout the large warehouses of shelves to get the appropriate folder in response to customer service inquiries. Digitizing this paper into electronic format greatly reduced the need for this amount of warehouse space, as well as improved the time to retrieve the data.
A typical file storage box (12 inch x 12 inch x 18 inch) containing typed pages single-spaced, double-sided, 12 point font could hold perhaps 100MB. The same box could hold a hundred or more LTO or 3592 tape cartridges, each storing hundreds of GB of information. That's a million-to-one improvement of space-efficiency, and from a watts-per-TB basis, translates to substantial improvement in standard office air conditioning and lighting conditions.
To learn more about IBM's Project Big Green, watch thisintroductory video
which used Second Life for the animation.
technorati tags: IBM, EMC, Chuck Hollis, VMware, FC, SAS, SATA, FATA, disk, storage, logical partition, energy, power, cooling, Steve Duplessie, dynamic, persistent, data, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, megawatt, paper, optical, microfiche, LTO, 3592, Project Big Green, Secondlife
I'm in the Malev lounge at the Budapest Airport, waiting for my flight to return back to Tucson.
My buddy Marc Farley from EqualLogic points to a great InfoStorarticle by Ann Silverthorn titled The benefits of SANs for SMBs.
Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's, I was one of the architects for DFSMS on z/OS, and customers always asked, "What is the clip level?", in other words, how big does a customer have to be to take advantage of DFSMS. We worked it out that if you had more than 100GB of disk data, DFSMS is worthwhile. DFSMS is now just standard by default, as everyone now easily has more than 100GB of data.
Later, in the late 1990's, I worked on Linux for System z. Again, customers asked how many Linux guest images would justify deploying applications on a mainframe. We worked it out to about 10 images. 10 Linux logical partitions, or Linux guests under z/VM was enough to cost justify the entire investment.
So what is the "clip level" for SANs? How many servers does an SMB need to have to justify deploying a SAN? IBM announced the new BladeCenter S designed specifically for mid-sized companies, 100 to 1000 employees, typically running 25 to 45 servers. However, I suspect companies as small as 7-10 servers would probably benefit from deploying an FC or IP SAN.
What do you think? Send me a comment on how many servers should be the clip level.
technorati tags: IBM, Marc Farley, EqualLogic, Ann Silverthorn, SMB, SAN, IP, iSCSI, FC, Linux, DFSMS, z/OS, BladeCenter, Budapest
The results are finally in. IBMer Wolfgang Singer was awarded "Top Speaker" award for his NAS and iSCSI tutorial at last year's Orlando 2006 conference. Here he is receiving the awardfrom SNIA Executive Director Leo Leger.
Of course, NAS and iSCSI technologies have been around for a while, but they are still new formany customers, which is why tutorials like this are so important.
Not everyone is clear on these technologies. For example, Dave Hitz asksis iSCSI SAN or is iSCSI NAS? I Don’t Know.
To avoid this confusion, IBM adopted clarifying technology.
- When iSCSI is intermixed with NFS, CIFS and other TCP/IP messaging traffic, it's NAS.
- When iSCSI is run on its own dedicated network, for security and performance reasons, it's an IP SAN.
The advantage of IBM System Storage N series "unified storage" concept is that you can choose which method of attachment you prefer.
technorati tags: IBM, SAN, iSCSI, NAS, Wolfgang Singer, SNIA, SNW, Dave Hitz
The movie industry is slowly making the conversion to digital.
For about 25 years, movies were silent, actors acted, text was shown on the screen, and an organ or piano player added the musical score. My mother was a concert pianist, so I grew up listening to all kinds of piano music. Last weekend, while I was in Chicago for St. Patricks Day, we watched and listened to the dueling pianos at a bar called "Howl at the Moon". Those not familiar with this art form can watch this 1-minute video of Star Wars re-imagined as a Silent Movie.
About 80 years ago, "talkies" appeared. The sound was converted to a series of colors that were recorded as a separate strip on the film media itself, hence the name "soundtrack". When the movie ran, the colors would then be converted back to voice and music. While the live piano players were out of jobs, the move to sound created a whole new industry for foley artists, orchestras and composers.InformationWeek's Mitch Wagner explains in Something Will Be Lost thatgreat artists like Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford never completely made the transition to talkies.
Now the movie industry is changing again, this time from film to digital format. Thanks to digital, we can now see videos on the internet, such as this set of Impressive Palindromes parody of a Bob Dylan song.
While movies are digital when you rent them from the DVD store, download them on iTunes, or play them on YouTube, they are still mostly in analog format on 35mm or 70mm film stock when you see them on the big screen.
My first "digital projection" experience was the movie "Ice Age" shown in Denver, Colorado. The theatre owner came out to show us what film stock looks like, and then how small the DVD was that held the digital version. The theatre also showed previews of other movies first on film, then in digital, so that we could see the difference in quality.My second experience was "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (episode II)", which I saw opening night at the Ziegfeld theatre in New York City. This was a huge theatre, and we had front row seats in the upper balcony.
Of course, the transition of film stock to digital projection is just one of the many trends resulting in the fast growth of computer IT storage. Documents transitioned from paper, to being scanned into digital format, to being created digitally using word processing software. Likewise, photographs went from film, to being scanned, to being captured with digital cameras.
As with talkies, history repeats itself; the transition to digital projection is not going smoothly.NPR's Laura Sydell reports thatDigital Projection in Theaters Slowed by Dispute. The dispute is between movie production companies and theatre owners. Currently, it is quite expensive to send out film stock to all the theatres, so the transition to digital will save the movie production companies lots of money. On the other hand, installing digital projection equipment will be costly for theatre owners. How the two groups will share the burdensome costs to convert this infrastructure is still under negotiation.
As a fan of going to the movies, I hope they resolve this dispute soon.
technorati tags: IBM, silent movie, Chicago, Star Wars, piano, talkies, foley artists, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, DVD, iTunes, NPR, digital projection, theatre, Mitch Wagner, Laura Sydell
Wrapping up my week in China, I read an article by Li Xing in the local "China Daily" about energy efficiency in buildings. She argues that it is not enough for a building to be energy-efficient on its own, but you have to consider the impact of the other buildings around. Does it reflect the sun so harshly into neighboring windows that people are forced to put up blinds and use artificial light? Does it block the sun, so that rooms that previously could be used with natural sunlight must now be artificially lit?
A similar effect happens with power and cooling in the data center. Servers and storage systems generate heat, and that heat affects all the other equipment in the data center. IBM has the most power-efficient and heat-efficient servers and storage, but that is not enough. You have to consider the heat generated by all systems that might raise overall temperature.
This is what motivated IBM to deliver the IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger, a member of IBM's CoolBlue(tm) portfolio.
According to a press release:
Research has indicated that water can remove far more heat per volume unit than air. For example, in order to disperse 1,000 watts, with 10 degree temperature difference, only 24 gallons of water per hour is needed, while the same space would require nearly 11,475 cubic feet of air. IBM's Rear Door Heat eXchanger helps keep growing datacenters at safe temperatures, without adding AC units. The unobtrusive solution brings more cooling capacity to areas where heat is the greatest -- around racks of servers with more powerful and multiple processors.
The CoolBlue portfolio of IBM innovations includes comprehensive hardware and systems-management tools for computing environments, enabling clients to better optimize the power consumption, management and cooling of infrastructure at the system, rack and datacenter levels. The CoolBlue portfolio includes IBM PowerConfigurator, PowerExecutive, and Rear Door Heat eXchanger.
The eXchanger works on standard 42U racks, and can help clients deal with the rapid growth of rack-mounted servers and storage on their raised floor. How cool is that!
technorati tags: IBM, Rear Door Heat eXchanger, CoolBlue, power, cooling, efficiency, server, storage
I have created blog categories, based on our System Storage offering matrix, which you can track individually:
- Disk systems, including the IBM System Storage DS Family of products, SAN Volume Controller, N series, as well as features unique to these products, such as FlashCopy, MetroMirror, or SnapLock.
- Tape systems, including the IBM System Storage TS Family of products, tape-related products in the Virtualization Engine portfolio, drives, libraries and even tape media.
- Storage Networking offerings, from Brocade, McData, Cisco and others, such as switches, routers and directors.
- Infrastructure management, including IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center software, IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager, IBM Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator, and IBM Tivoli Storage Process Manager.
- Business Continuity, including IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, Tivoli CDP for Files, Productivity Center for Replication software component, Continuous Availability for Windows (CAW), Continuous Availability for AIX (CAA).
- Lifecycle and Retention offerings, including our IBM System Storage DR550, DR550 Express, GPFS, Tivoli Storage Manager Space Management for UNIX, Tivoli Storage Manager HSM for Windows, and DFSMS.
- Storage services, including consulting, assessments, design, deployment, management and outsourcing.
Last's weeks webcast [How to Diagnose and Cure What Ails Your Storage Infrastructure] drew 208 attendees!
Before we started, we asked the first survey question: "How is storage planning conducted in your shop?" Of the various responses, nearly four out of ten responded "Part of an overall IT infrastructure strategy".
Jon Toigo went first, and spent 20 minutes or so laying out the problem as he sees it. Jon travels all over visiting customers struggling with their storage infrastructures, so he gets to hear a lot of this first hand.
I then spent 20 minutes or so presenting IBM's vision, strategy and offerings to help solve these problems. I could speak for hours on this topic, but we kept it short for this one-hour webcast. To learn more, request a visit to the Tucson Executive Briefing Center.
At the end of my talk, we put out the second survey, asking the audience "What is your number one priority with respect to storage operations today?" Over one fourth of the attendees were focused on reducing storage infrastructure cost of ownership by any means possible.
I am glad we saved the last 15 minutes for Q&A, as there were a lot of questions.
The replay is now available. If you attended the event and want to hear it again, or want to share it with your colleagues, or you missed it and want to hear it, then [Register for the Replay].
technorati tags: IBM, Jon Toigo, storage, infrastructure, webcast, webinar