Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Architect for the IBM Storage product line at the
IBM Systems Client Experience 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 )
My books are available on Lulu.com! Order your copies today!
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 not a medical doctor, and this blog does not reference any IBM product or service that is intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, prevention or monitoring of a disease or medical condition, unless otherwise specified on individual posts.
Monday marked the first official day of [IBM Edge 2013] conference. This is actually three conferences in one: Executive Edge for the high-level executives, Winning Edge for the Business Partners, and Technical Edge for storage administrators and IT manager/directors. I attended the latter.
The General Session was kicked off by an awesome drumbeat-heavy song performed by a band from North Carolina called [Delta Rae]. Their use of drums reminded me of Adam Ant.
Deon Newman, IBM VP of Marketing, Systems and Technology Group, North America, served as today's master of ceremonies. He was pleased to announce there were more then 4,700 attendees at this event -- representing more than 60 countries -- a huge increase over the attendance we had last year. Here are my notes of the opening General Session:
Stephen Leonard, IBM General Manager, Sales, Systems & Technology Group
Consumers expect an always-on technology experience. We, as consumers, are leaving a trail of data that is getting wider and wider every day. Data is the new "natural resource", but plentiful and never ending.
In 1996, about 29 percent of IT spend was for adminstration and management, today it has grown to 68 percent. Some 34 percent of IT projects deploy late.
Stephen emphasized the themes of Smarter Computing: (a) systems that are designed for the data, (b) software-defined environments, that are (c) open and collaborative.
Stephen cited a customer example from [Jaguar Land Rover], a manufacturer of sporty automobiles and rugged 4x4 vehicles. IBM developed a ["Virtual Dealership"] for them. Rather that trying to maintain additional physical bricks-and-mortar facilities, which can be expensive to staff and fill with vehicles across their wide portfolio, the virtual dealership allows prospective customers to try out vehicles through simulation. This virtual dealership could be taken to where prospective clients are, such as a sporting event or shopping mall.
Ed Walsh, IBM VP of Marketing, System Storage and Networking
Ed presented the "data economics" of all-Flash arrays. IBM recently acquired Texas Memory Systems, and renamed the RamSan products to IBM FlashSystem, and committed to invest an additional $1 Billion US dollars in flash technologies.
On a $-per-IOPS basis, IBM FlashSystems can be 30 percent lower total-cost-of-ownership TCO than disk-based alternatives. The cost of Flash is offset by 17 percent fewer servers from having higher CPU utilization rates, resuling in 38 percent lower software license fees. Flash is also more efficient, with 74 percent lower in environmental costs, and 35 percent lower operational support costs. For many situations, Flash is the solution for poorly written software applications.
Ed also mentioned IBM's strong support for open source and open standards. Over the past 15 years, IBM as been a major contributor for open source efforts like Linux, Eclipse and Apache. IBM continues that tradition, with contributions to OpenStack and Hadoop.
Without going into any details, Ed also hinted that IBM announced 65 new or refreshed products in Storage, Networking and PureSystems. The details of each announcement would be explained during the break-out sessions during the week.
Charles Long, Founder and CEO of Centerline Digital
[Centerline Digital] does computer-generated animations in support of corporate marketing efforts.
(FTC disclosure: I work for IBM, and have worked closely with Centerline Digital marketing agency when I was the chief marketing strategist for System Storage back in 2006-2007. I was not paid or provided any products or services to mention any of the clients mentioned in this post.)
Charles indicates that internet technologies have converted "Analog dollars to digital pennies". Using IBM PureFlex with Storwize V7000 storage, real-time compression, and Tivoli Endpoint Manager, Centerline was able to drastically improve their business. He feels the old joke of "Better, Faster, Cheaper - Choose Any Two!" no longer applies with IBM solutions!
Ambuj Goyal, IBM General Manager, System Storage and Networking
Formerly my fifth-line manager in charge of Software and Systems, Ambuj switched to be the General Manager of System Storage and Networking group earlier this year.
In his former roles, Ambuj managed software and hardware product lines, but he feels storage is a completely different animal. In the past, clients focused on choosing the best servers, then chose their storage as an afterthought. Today, Ambuj feels that processors are now a commodity, and that storage is becoming the forethought.
Ambuj also highlighted the evolution of IBM's Software-Defined Environment:
In 2003, IBM introduced its the SAN Volume Controller, a storage hypervisor. Now, over 10,000 clients enjoy the benefits of a Software-Defined Environment using SAN Volume Controller.
SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center represents the "third generation" for policy-driven management, combining SAN Volume Controller, Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, FlashCopy Manager and the Storage Analytics Engine.
IBM is trying to help people keep their business critical apps running securely, to be able to start quickly, add value and functions at scale, and to leverage all of this data-intensive solutions to help drive new business and gain customer insight.
Joseph Balsamo, VP of Platform Engineering at Prudential Insurance
While the IT department of [Prudential Insurance] is focused on the three V's -- Volume, Velocity and Variety -- Joe is more focused on solutions, status and cost. His mission was to strengthen the role of IT as a partner through business aligned services. Prudential has deployed XIV, N series, SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and Storwize V7000 disk systems, with the following results:
Reduced their $-per-IOPS by 75 percent
No additional storage administrators
85 percent utilization through thick-to-thin migrations
Reduced their $-per-MB by 50 percent
Reduced their 72-hour RPO to 15 seconds
These benefits were achieved over the past 24 months of deployment.
Paulo Carvao, IBM Vice President, North America Systems & Technology Group
Paulo is Deon Newman's boss. He presented BlueInsight, IBM's internal "Business Analytics" cloud accessible by over 200,000 users, with over 1 PB of content.
Inside IBM, the deployment of a Smarter Infrastructure has allowed for 25 percent capacity growth at flat IT budget, with 30,000 fewer Megawatts and 103,000 square feet.
Why is this significant? Today's disk writes each bit of information across 1200 atoms, and the smallest number of atoms that can retain information is 12 bits, so sometime in the next 7 to 10 years, the improvements in magnetic bit density for disk will stop.
For silicon chips, the smallest practical feature is 7 nanometers, about 35 atoms wide. We are quickly approaching that limit also.
I can already tell that it's going to be a busy week! Follow me on twitter (@az990tony) and tag your posts and tweets with #IBMedge hashtag.
A Brief History of SVC and Storwize Family: What, How and Why?
Fellow IBM Master Inventor [and blogger] Barry Whyte gave an excellent session on the past 10 years of development history for IBM SAN Volume Controller and the rest of the Storwize Family based on its binary code. The SAN Volume Controller represents the start of a movement, what is now called "Software-Defined Storage", with a layer of abstraction that completely hides the differences between different back-end devices. The Storwize family is the most successful Software-defined Storage solution in the IT industry!
IBM Cloud Storage Architectures
IBM Clod Barrera presented an updated version of his "Cloud Storage Architecture" pitch from a technical and strategic viewpoint. From 2011 to 2015, external storage spend is increasing 25 percent for public cloud, and 17 percent for private cloud deployments, and that is not including all of the Do-it-yourselfers like Facebook who build their own storage devices from piece parts.
This year, Clod has expanded his "Cloud Storage Taxonomy" to six different categories:
OLTP/transactional, typically block-based
General purpose storage
Ephemeral storage that exists only while a specific virtual machine (VM) is running
Analytics, which tends to be more sequential than random in I/O pattern
IBM is a platinum sponsor of OpenStack, and is proud to have hundreds of contributors assigned to improve this open source initiative.
IBM Linear Tape File System - Enterprise Edition
IBM Ed Childers presented the latest announcement on Linear Tape File System [LTFS]. For a quick recap, IBM first introduced LTFS Standard Drive Edition [LTFS-SDE] in April 2010, which allowed workstations attached to single tape drives to use cartridges much like USB memory sticks. Then, IBM introduced LTFS Library Edition [LTFS-LE] which allows an entire tape library to be mounted as a file system, with each resident tape cartridge listed as a sub-directory.
Now, IBM has LTFS Enterprise Edition, which combines disk-based General Parallel File System [GPFS] with LTFS-LE, resulting in a combined hybrid disk-and-tape file system.
To provide a client's perspective, Konstantin Arnold with Biozentrum, the Life Sciences Research department of the University of Basel, Switzerland and SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics presented some shocking information on their data growth. Biozentrum studies 3D protein folding, with information from the Worldwide Protein Data Bank [PDB] and [UniProt], which combines protein information from Swiss-Prot with manually annotations and TrEMBL computationally analyzed and automatically annotated entries.
Combining lab data, proteomics, deep-sequencing, imaging and high-content analysis, their storage requirements has grown exponentially, from less than 50 TB in 2009, to over 350TB in 2013. With the need to have such a large repository of unstructured data, it made sense to use LTFS-EE for this project!
IBMers presented the use of SAN Volume Controller (SVC) in a "stretch cluster" for a production environment at a bank in the Middle East. Before going into the technical details of the solution, they explained the challenges of running a bank under Sharia law. For example, Sharia law does not allow charging interest rates on borrowed money, but banks can charge fees for services. Debit cards are automatically denied at shops that are "black-listed" such as liquor stores, that are not consistent with the precepts of the Islamic religion.
The SVC implementation was rather straight-forward. IBM has offered Stretch Cluster since 2009 with version 5.1, but it only gained popularity years later when VMware pointed out that this can be used for datacenter to datacenter vMotion activity. The IBM team tested this out with a short 500 meter distance locally, before stretching it out to two locations now implemented. They have three SVC nodes managing 60TB of managed disk capacity at each data center, made up from a mix of DS8870, Storwize V7000 and DS3950 disk systems.
To demonstrate the robustness of the solution, the client requested that the IBM team demonstrate various recovery scenarios while running live in production mode! As you would expect, IBM SVC successfully handled every one.
IBM Cloud Storage with OpenStack and IBM System Storage
IBM Michael Factor presented this overview of OpenStack, and how IBM already supports various aspects of the open source initiative with products like SAN Volume Controller, XIV, and Storwize V7000.
This was the best overview of OpenStack I had heard. IBM is a platinum sponsor of this open source initiative, managed by the [OpenStack Foundation]. In traditional open source fashion, bi-annual releases are given alphabetically-ascending names. The last release was named Folsom, the current release is Grizzly, and the next release planned will be named Havana.
OpenStack is designed to manage your data center or cloud across four capabilities: Compute, Network, Storage and Shared Services. For Compute, the "Nova" project focuses on managing running VM instances, and "Glance" manages VM images that can be launched. The "Networking" project focuses on providing network connectivity. This was formerly called "Quantum", but Quantum (the company) felt there might be some confusion, so it was renamed to just "Networking".
For Storage, there are two projects, "Cinder" and "Swift". Cinder refers to persistent, external block storage, accessible via iSCSI or Fibre Channel. IBM's SAN Volume Controller, XIV and Storwize V7000 already support the Cinder API interface. Swift is focused on "object storage", which can provide an alternative way of storing information for cloud-based applications. SNIA's Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) is working with OpenStack to bring object storage into the mainstream.
With the Cinder API, applications can create volumes, take snapshots, set quotas, and attach these volumes to VM instances.
I realize there is a big time gap between this post and my last. Where have I been? "Where haven't I been?"... might be the better question! After my week at Edge, I flew from Las Vegas to Sao Paulo, Brazil where various protests delayed my departure, then visited clients in the Midwestern USA, then London to watch a bit of tennis. From there, I flew to Athens, Greece (and yes, more protests!), took some overdue time-off on the beach on various Greek islands, then taught a Storage Top Gun class in Bangalore, India. So, yes, I have been quite busy. I will try to catch up on typing up all my notes from the IBM Edge conference over the next few weeks!
Tuesday (Day 2) of the [IBM Edge 2013] conference once again started with live music from the rock band [Delta Rae]. I had the pleasure to meet one of the lead singers, Liz Hopkins, before their set! In the picture on the right, she is the brunette in the middle.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM, and not for Sprint, Wellpoint or any other company mentioned on this blog post. I was not paid by any other company to mention their company, products or services. I have used Sprint in the past for my cellphone service, and I can say they are a great company from end user experience. As part of my job at IBM, I was a technical advocate for Wellpoint from 2009 to 2011 as they deployed their IBM Watson-based solution. I am an extended member of Jeff Jonas' G2 team.)
Here is a quick summary of the general sessions on Day 2:
Tom Rosamilla, IBM Senior VP of Systems and Technolgoy Group, Integrated Supply Chain
I have known Tom for a long time, since the 1990s when we both attended [SHARE user group] conferences, and he recently took over as Senior VP of our group. He started his talk about the innovative uses of "big data" analytics. For example, retailers can tell which shoppers are pregnant six months before birth of their child, based entirely on changes in shopping patterns, and can then send out "Hey, you're having a baby!" promotions targeted specifically to them.
Instead of the [Spray-and-Prey] of traditional direct-mail advertising that targets demographics based on broad categories of gender, race or income brackets, big data analytics allows our clients to get down to a "Demographic of One".
This is all part of IBM's "Smarter Planet" campaign that it launched five years ago. IBM has 3,000 research scientists (full disclosure: I was one, myself, before I switched over to development), investing over $6 billion USD per year, half of which is invested for our Systems and Technology Group that developers servers and storage hardware (or as we like to call it internally, the "M" in IBM). Here are some of the recent investments:
$1 Billion USD in Flash technology, including the acquisition of Texas Memory Systems
$800 Million USD in the development of eX5 for the System x server line
$2 Billion USD for PureSystems, including Flex System, PureFlex, PureApplication and PureData models. IBM has sold more than 4,000 PureSystems in 90 countries
$4 Billion USD for Power7 and Power7+ processors and the Power Systems that are based on them, which has helped IBM complete 3,400 displacements of competitive UNIX servers.
$1 Billion USD for zEC12, the latest System zEnterprise mainframe. Across all server types, IBM is #1 in worldwide server share, but the recent surge in mainframe sales certainly helps. Of the top 100 banks in the world, 96 run their mission critical applications on System z mainframes.
$10 Billion USD in acquisitions since 2010 (20 last year, 160 in last 12 years), including
SoftLayer Cloud, Kenexa Human Capital, Worklight mobile app development, Netezza analytics
IBM is also getting serious about being a "Social" business, and is already #1 in Enterprise Social Software. (This blog runs on IBM Connections, which is available to our clients as well for their social efforts).
The right infrastructure is required for innovation. Corporate cultural change is also required. Transformation is the new business imperative
Karim Abdullah, Director IT Operations at Sprint
What I like about Edge is that instead of listening to one IBM executive after another, IBM invites key reference clients to provide their testimonials.
Over 71 percent of CIOs at leading companies are trying to figure out how to best take advantage of new technologies to improve their customer experience. [Sprint] is one of them, ranking #3 telecom in the United States.
Flash is a Game Changer. Leveraging technology of IBM Flash allowed Sprint to achieve 45 times improvement in performance of targeted queries for the call centers. Not only has it helped increase performance at Sprint, but also to reduce energy, floorspace, power & cooling costs.
Dr. Samuel R. Nussbaum, M.D., Executive VP Clinical Health Policy, Chief Medical Officer, Wellpoint
[Wellpoint] is the largest health benefits company in the United States, with 36 million patients, and 600,000 physicians and medical specialists in its network.
Dr. Nussbaum spoke about the power of information. Citing a famous quote from Charles Dickens, he feels we are in the best of times, and the worst of times, when it comes to healthcare. On the best of times, we have genomics research that helps cure disease, and a variety of other science and technology breakthroughs.
On the worst of times, the industry is not without its own set of problems. Why are there such huge variations in healthcare, expenses and quality? We get the right care only 55% of the time. Part of the problem is that our reimbursement systems which focus on volumes, not outcomes. Wellpoint is working to fix this.
Dr. Nussbaum shared some shocking statistics:
$2.6 Billion USD is spent on Healthcare in USA, one third of this is wasteful and unnecessary
20 percent of patients are re-hospitalized within 30 days
From 2002 to 2010, annual U.S. household income grew only 7 percent, from $49,000 to only $52,000 per year, but medical expenses nearly doubled in the same timeframe, from $9,235 to $18,074 per year.
It's not enough to just spend nearly $100 Billion USD in public and private reserach in healthcare to get innovation, you have to put them to good use. Why did it take so long to put wheels on luggage for airplanes? It took six thousand years, from the invention of the wheel, to putting them on luggage.
Part of the challenge is that there is too much information, not enough time. Medical information doubles every 5 years. There are more than 21 million articles in [PubMed/MEDLINE], with 1 million being added every year. Only 12 percent of physicians' time is spent with patients and examinations, while 80 hours per week are spent with payors and administrators. For pre-authorizations for certain medical procedures or tests, 66 percent of physicians experience delay in pre-certifications.
Computer Science has evolved, from tabulation on punched cards, to programmatic logic, to new forms of [Cognitive Computing]. The Watson computer thinks like a physician does, and can understand natural language. Wellpoint's Anthem Watson Application can analyze the entire "Longitudinal Patient Record" of payors, labs, hospital EMR, physical office EMR, and Imaging. Watson crunches all this information available to recommend treatment options, dLiz Hopkinsecision support for oncology, and evidence-based care through pre-authorization.
Wellpoint is working with [Memorial Sloan-Kettering] to focus Watson-based efforts on cancer, based on analysis leverage 1.5 million patient records. More than 1500 people die of cancer every day. Wellpoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering are going after 22 different cancers, including lung cancer and breast cancer.
Bernie Meyerson, IBM Fellow and VP of Innovation
Many people felt that Bernie did not get enough time to speak on Monday, so he is back today for a second topic! He started with a quote:
"Cyber Security threat facing America is a pre-9/11 moment. We know foreign cyber actors are probing America's critical infrastructure networks."
--- Leon Panetta, U.S. Secretary of Defense
Bernie gave examples how cyber-terrorists can easily bring down the US government and its financial system. In a recent analysis, more than 50% of software was found to have "back doors". Recent attacks show the extent of the problem:
A perimeter defense is not enough. Thus, the primary weapon to fight these threats is Real-time data analytics. IBM has four specific platforms: Cyber Security Platform, Insider Threat Platform, Mobile Secuirty Analytics, and Cloud Security Analytics. These allow security teams to see threats "visually".
Various parts of IBM are focused on security issues. IBM Research, Security Systems, X-force, and IBM Security Services are constantly innovating because the bad guys are innovating too! IBM's Watson vast cognitive computing is being put to work to help address security issues.
Innovation is transforming IT. If your laptop did not benefit from [Moore's Law], the computing capability would weigh quarter of a million tons! Of course, some people fear the worst. Bernie cited HAL in the movie ["2001: A Space Odyssey"] and SkyNet in ["The Terminator"] anthology.
IBM recently launched [MobileFirst], to bring together all aspects of mobile computing, including smartphones and tablets. In some countries, your mobile phone is your only connection to your bank, your internet, your friends and families. Unfortunately, there are a few malicious apps readily available for download from respective "app stores" for each device.
Jeff Jonas (IBM Fellow, Chief Scientist, Entity Analytics) and David Baker (Pew Charitable Trust, Director of Election Initiatives at Pew)
David started out with a funny analogy. A government employee suggested that elections should be as simple as getting your oil change at [Jiffy Lube]. Think about it, changing your car's oil used to be quite a hassle, and now you can drive in, and have your oil changed in 15 minutes or so.
David's response was that elections are already like oil changes, if everyone got their oil change only once every four years, and all got them on the same day, at buildings that have never been designed for oil changes, by people who have never seen the underside of a car, being paid less than minimum wage.
Jiffy Lube performs oil changes every day. Elections, on the other hand, are on a 48 month cycle, with little to no activity for 47 months, then for one month they have Black Friday-meets-Day-after-Christmas times ten.
One of the biggest factors to the problems of elections are the voter lists. Here are some astonishing facts about U.S. elections:
12.7 out-of-date records at any given moment, mostly because Americans are quite mobile. One out of eight Americans moved between the 2008 and 2010 elections. One out of four among young Americans move every year.
1.8 million deceased listed as voters
2.7 million people are registered in multiple states, often because they update their registration in their new location, but fail to notify their previous state's voter registration.
51 million (1 in 4) not registered to vote
One out of three voters think voter registration is updated automatically when they move
More than 50 percent of voters are unaware that the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can be used to update voter registration when drivers license information is updated.
Most voter registrations happen within 30 days of election, in paper form. Some states like Michigan process 99.7 percent of voter registrations correctly, but other states like Indiana process only 28.3 percent correctly.
When IBM's Jeff Jonas was invited by Pew to work on a task force on elections, he felt like Jim Carrey in the movie ["Yes Man!"].
Jeff Jonas showed via whiteboading, how to connect voter records that match by some key pieces of information, like birthdate and social security number, by cross-referencing voter registration lists with information from each state's DMV.
Technology is "G2", analyzing the observation space like "puzzle pieces" as a metaphor. Data finds matching data. Relevance finds you.
To address privacy concerns, Jeff added seven key privacy features, including a "Data anonomization" features for date-of-birth, Drivers license number and Social Security number, using a one-way hash that cannot be reversed to get the original number. The information from each state is anonomized before it leaves the state, so it is secure from the very beginning.
To explain the one-way hash, you take a pig through a special grinder and create sausage. Even if a malicious party had access to both the grinder and the sausage, they would not be able to recreate the pig in its original form.
The result is the Electronic Registration Information Center, or [ERIC] for short, which is a collaboration across seven states. ERIC has already identified 5.7 million eligible voters in these seven states. Over 300,000 registered months before deadline, using efficient online methods, now offered in 13 states, and is more cost-effective.
How cost-effective? By comparison, the cost to process a paper voter registration form is about 83 cents, but online processing is only 3 cents. This means huge savings for taxpayers and governments.
The [Edge2013 livestream replays] are still available. If you went to Edge2013, and want to see something again, or if you weren't there, and want to see what you missed, check it out!
Gosh, is it October already? Last month marked my Seventh "Blogoversary". I started this blog seven years ago, in September 2006, to celebrate IBM's 50th anniversary of disk systems.
Several readers have expressed concern that I have not been blogging as much lately. For all my readers looking for a lame excuse, I just have two words: Jury Duty. Last month, I was selected for a specific trial. While many people dread the thought of jury duty, I found it a refreshing change of pace. However, I am glad to be back at work where I belong!
(For my readers outside the United States, jury service in USA is compulsory, Jurors listen to all of the testimony in a criminal or civil trail, ask questions, reviews evidence, and take notes. Thanks to a power called [jury nullification], members of the jury can disagree with the law the defendant has been charged with, and even reach a verdict contrary to the letter of the law, on the belief that the law should not be applied in that particular case.)
Continuing my belated coverage of the of the [ IBM Edge 2013] conference, I participated in the storage "Meet the Experts" panel, which is a long-time tradition, started at SHARE User Group conference, and carried forward to other IT conferences. The free-for-all is a Q&A Panel of experts to allow anyone to ask any question. These are sometimes called "Birds of a Feather" (BOF).
(Disclaimer: Do not shoot the messenger! We had a dozen or more experts on the panel, representing System Storage hardware, Tivoli Storage software, and Storage services. I took notes, trying to capture the essence of the questions, and the answers given by the various IBM experts. I have spelled out acronyms and provided links to relevant materials. The answers from individual IBMers may not reflect the official position of IBM management. Where appropriate, my own commentary will be in italics.)
How should storage administrators deal with server virtualization?
We recommend you investigate the use of OpenStack. IBM storage systems like XIV, SVC and the rest of the Storwize Family support the OpenStack Cinder interfaces to provision block storage in support of server virtualization.
What are the interactions between SVC and Flash?
Depending on which hardware model you have, SVC nodes can support up to four Solid-State Drives (SSD) each, a maximum of 32 drives in an 8-node cluster. IBM also announced the [ "IBM FlashSystem Solution"] that combines SAN Volume Controller (SVC) with All-Flash arrays, offering features like volume mirroring, thin provisioning, real-time compression and remote site replication.
Unlike block-level storage, object storage is access through HTTP interfaces known as [RESTful APIs]. OpenStack offers [Swift APIs] for this. Many cosider such APIs as a pre-requisite for deploying Software-Defined Storage. Object storage may be less expensive by employing commodity hardware.
Are five-minute intervals sufficient to determine storage performance problems?
IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center uses 5-minute intervals, gathering performance data from a broad variety of devices in your datacenter. Generally, this is sufficient for identifying and troubleshooting performance issues. If you need finer XIV-like granularity, you may need to use device-specific tools.
How can we bring processing closer to the data like with Oracle's Exadata?
When will SVC, Storwize V7000 or DS8000 series products offer the Object Storage interfaces you discussed in the previous question?
IBM already supports OpenStack's Cinder interfaces for block-level access to storage, and is contributing as a Platinum Sponsor to the OpenStack for object-based Swift. Watch this space!
Rather than having to put separate ProtecTIER gateways in front of SVC or Storwize V7000, can we have SVC/V7000 just add the "Virtual Tape Library" protocol to its stack of host-attachment protocols?
Great idea! We will pass this on to IBM development.
With all of this "read acceleration" won't this increase the likelihood of a "write storm"?
Yes, write storms are coming, but can be controlled.
Are there plans to offer SVC behind SONAS gateways?
Yes, an iRPQ is available.
What is the biggest performance bottleneck for Flash?
Data moving through SAN switches adds only 5-8 microseconds of latency. Distributed systems often do not measure in sub-millisecond units, making it difficult to see improvements below 1 millisecond. Many performance issues arise from lazily-written applications. It helps to have Flash-optimized middleware, such as IBM DB2 BLU and WebSphere.
Since SVC adds 60 to 100 microseconds of added latency in front of IBM FlashSystem, is there a way to optimize the path through the SVC stack?
Existing parameters allows you to disable the SVC cache for particular volumes. We are investigating a more formal solution, a leaner code path for SVC with FlashSystem.
Are there any exciting enhancements to the [ SDDPCM] multi-pathing drivers you can share with us?
No, IBM is focused on MPIO multi-pathing instead.
Thanks to all my readers who expressed concern over my lack of blogging. As you all know, [ blogging is like jogging], so getting back into the full swing of things requires extra effort on my part.
Continuing my coverage of the of the [IBM Edge 2013] conference, I have some photos of people I ran into at the Solutions Center.
Here is Sarah Hale at the Emulex booth. Emulex is one of our suppliers for host bus adapters (HBAs), headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. There is an ongoing controversy at IT events like this on whether to fly in experts from the home office (in this case, the Emulex home office is not far away) or use [locally available talent]. Some of those working the booth seem to hide their residency, while others are proud of where they live. When I asked Sarah how long she had been working for Emulex, she had the best answer of the week ... "Since 2 O'clock!"
For my readers who complain that I only appear to take pictures with beautiful women at these events, I present a counter-example. Here is Lang Levstek, a good friend of mine from Detroit. Officially, he is an IBM Storage Sales rep across Michigan and Northwest Ohio, and I have flown out to visit his clients several times this year. His wife took the photo and noticed that Lang and I both wear identical wristwatches, a detail we had never noticed before.
Some have asked me how I am able to get so many people to take pictures with me. In this case, these two ladies, Paige Taylor on the left, and Kate Williams on the right, both from [Centerline Digital] yelled "Hey, There's Tony Pearson, let's get a picture with him!" When I was the chief marketing strategist for IBM's System Storage product line, I worked closely with the team at Centerline Digital to develop marketing collateral. I will be going to Raleigh, NC in a few weeks, so I may just have to stop by to visit their new location!
The folks over at Bridgeworks in United Kingdom have developed an awesome storage protocol accelerator called [SANslide] that helps with remote replication across long distances. Here is April Trinidad, who works for [Agilesys], the Master Distributor of the Americas for SANSlide products. Bridgeworks and Agilesys were on hand to promote the [SANSlide 150V7KSVC] that supports Storwize Family products.
This is Julie Dufour from IBM Worldwide Marketing on the Tivoli Software side of our business. The Tivoli team has been renamed the "Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure" group, so if you see "C&SI" on people's business cards, now you know what that stands for. Julie has been involved with IBM Pulse events. Next year's [IBM Pulse 2014] conference will be held once again at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Feb 23-26.
Here is Jennifer Dennis from our Austin facility. I went to school at the University of Texas at Austin, and am often back in Austin to help out the EBC there. Like Tucson, Austin has both hardware and software labs, and Jennifer is from the Software side.
It has been said that all women look both taller and thinner when they take a picture next to me. This tall one is Moran Mazig, a relatively new IBM storage sales rep. She came from Israel and now works in the New York area. You might think she is standing on a box or something, but no, we were standing on level ground. She is literally that much taller than me. This is not an illusion!
Here is Joanne Blais from IBM's Corporate Headquarters. I have only been to HQ once in my career, back when I was chief marketing strategist, filling in for the VP of Storage to present our numbers to Corporate Marketing leadership.
Here is Kelly Groff, from IBM's recent acquisition of Texas Memory Systems. She was there working the booth to help answer questions about IBM's FlashSystems line of all-Flash arrays. Lurking in the background is my Tucson colleague Ahmed Almoustafa, our Storage Front Lines mission manager.
Here is Jessica Duda, a new storage rep in the Seattle area. I have family living now in Seattle, so I hope to see them the next time I visit clients with Jessica in Washington State.
I have a lot more photos of the event, so I will stop right here and continue with another post tomorrow.
Continuing my coverage of the of the [IBM Edge 2013] conference, I have more photos of people I ran into at the Solutions Center.
Here is Dana Grove, one of our event coordinators from George P. Johnson, or [GPJ], for short. GPJ is the company IBM hires to help us run conferences like this. I met Dana back in 2011 at the Gartner Data Center conference, you might remember her [wearting the white lab coat].
As a former owner of [Tucson Fun and Adventures], I am well aware of the challenges of running events, so I appreciate all the work they do.
Here is Ally Haigh, daughter of my former IBM colleague, Jerry Haigh. Jerry worked in the marketing team for System Storage, but retired from IBM shortly after this event.
Janet Wong, a Client Technical Specialist for IBM Disk Systems. She works in Techline up in Calgara, Canada, and provides pre-sales supports such as running modeling tools to help clients configure the optimal disk system for their workloads. I love going up to Calgary in the summer, to escape the Tucson heat. One of these days, I will try to line up with their famous [Stampede], touted as one of the greatest outdoor shows on Earth!
Here is Taylor Brown from [Fusion-IO], one of our suppliers for PCiE-based Flash memory cards that we use in IBM servers. Many clients have asked me what will happen to Fusion-IO now that IBM has acquired Texas Memory Systems that also makes PCiE cards that compete directly with them, and all I can say is that I have no idea what the IBM plans are in this area.
Here is Julia Mak, one my many friends over at [OxygenCloud]. The tattoo on her left arm reads: "Do what you love, Love what you do" with little clouds as quotation marks.
OxygenCloudis IBM's official front-end for IBM's SmartCloud Enterprise Object Storage, managed on our behalf by [Nirvanix]. The Tucson Executive Briefing Center where I work is a heavy user of OxygenCloud as a way to distribute materials to our clients. Previously, we would burn CDroms for each attendee containing the various PDF files, but it is SO MUCH EASIER to send a single link to all the materials via OxygenCloud.
The OxygenCloud team is based in San Francisco, and they have invited me to visit their office the next time I visit clients up there!
Update: Recently, Nirvanix announced they are winding down their operations, shuttind down on October 15, under [Chapter 11 bankruptcy] protection. They have designated IBM to help their clients move their data off their systems. I have already taken care of that for my own OxygenCloud accounts we manage here at the Tucson EBC, and working with others to do the same for their accounts.
Wrapping up my coverage of the of the [IBM Edge 2013] conference, I have some photos of people I ran into at the Solutions Center.
Leslie Hattig and Lisa Stone, both account managers for [MarkIII Systems], an IBM Business Partner located in Houston, TX. These ladies are inseparable BFFs, I have never seen one without the other! I first met them at the [Storage Symposium in Chicago] back in 2009.
Stacy Tabor was our Community Manager for the [Storage Community]. This community covers IT Storage challenges, hot topics, architecture and solutions. You'll find industry news, videos, blog discussion threads on timely topics, exclusive analyst white papers and experts opinions. I am a frequent contributor, myself, and thank Stacy for her past service. She helped run a "Social Media Hour" at Edge for all the bloggers like me to get to meet each other.
I could not resist getting a picture with this Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil] dancer. This was an invitation-only event, sponsored by IBM Business Partners, that I was invited to during the Social Media Hour. (See, it pays to be social!) I think the visual effects of the flag she was waving turned out really well in the picture! And yes, in case you are wondering, that is my favorite grape-flavored beverage (GFB) in my left hand. Posing for this picture was quite the balancing act, but then I am also a certified yoga instructor, so I was able to manage!
Tanaz Sowdagar is an IBM Storage Rep for our Business Development Team. This includes finding other companies to OEM our technology and re-brand it under their own names. I have worked with Tanaz for many years, helping answer questions that potential OEM parnters have about our products and technologies for this purpose.
This was Michelle, my Conference Room Monitor. Each room had one, scanning the bar-codes on each badge for all the attendees, keeping count of the number of people for each session, supporting anything the speaker needs, like getting the A/V guy to come help set up the laptop projector.
Since this was Friday, last day of the conference. I decide to dress casually, consistent with many company's [Casual Friday] dress code policy. I am wearing the "IBM Edge Rocks" tee-shirt given out at the concert and Solutions center the first few nights.
Getting this shot right took several takes, as the man I handed my camera to had apparently never seen a digital camera before, did not know how to focus, and some
Finally, leaving Las Vegas, I sat next to Mrs. Joey Clark, wife of "Bulldog" Clark of the Utah band [Blammity Blam]. She also sometimes plays violin with the band. She is a newly-wed, and not sure if Joey is her name, or her husband's name. (Joey, if you are out there, and want me to correctly identify you, please write a comment in the section below.)
What I have learned however, is that if a beautiful girl is sitting next to me on the plane, she will either talk to me the entire flight, implying that she is single, or mention within the first 30 seconds of conversation that she is married. Sadly for me, it was the latter.
(We were both flying on to Dallas, TX, whereupon she was going to visit her parents in Florida, and I was on my way to Sao Paulo, Brazil to get stuck there amongst the protesters in what is now called the [V for Vinegar movement], but I will save that for another blog post!)
Well, that wraps up my coverage of Edge 2013. I am sorry it took so many months to cover all the material, but I did not want to have it go uncovered much longer.
Next year's [Edge 2014] is expected to be bigger and better. It will in Las Vegas again, but this time at the Venetian Hotel, May 19-23, 2014. I plan to be there!
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? Announcements!
Today, IBM's announcements are designed to change the economics of big data analytics, cloud, mobile and social media.
[Software Defined Environments] require [Software Defined Storage], combining storage virtualization with open, extensible, industry-led interfaces. The IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center (VSC) and IBM Storwize Family are the market leaders in storage virtualization. SmartCloud VSC, Storwize Family, and XIV support the industry-led OpenStack interfaces.
Here are some of the announcements today:
IBM Storwize® Family
The [SAN Volume Controller] was first introduced 10 years ago, in 2003. Today, clients enjoy these storage virtualization capabilities across a variety of offerings, known collectively as the [IBM Storwize Family].
IBM adds a new member to the Storwize Family. In addition to SAN Volume Controller, Storwize V7000, Storwize V7000 Unified, Flex System V7000, Storwize V3700, and Storwize V3500, IBM is announcing the [IBM Storwize V5000]. Here's a quick side-by-side comparison:
Scalability: Maximum configuration
Four control enclosures clustered together, 36 expansion enclosures, 960 drives, 64GB cache
Two control enclosures clustered together, 12 expansion enclosures, 336 drives, 32GB cache
One control enclosure, 4 expansion enclosures, 120 drives, 8GB cache upgradeable to 16GB, optional Turbo performance
8Gbps FCP and 1GbE iSCSI standard; optional 10GbE iSCSI/FCoE.
Can upgrade to Storwize V7000 Unified by adding NAS File Modules to add support for CIFS, NFS, HTTPS, SCP and FTP protocols
1GbE iSCSI, 6Gbps SAS, 8Gbps FCP and 10GbE iSCSI/FCoE Standard
1GbE iSCSI, 6Gbps SAS standard; optional 8Gbps FCP and 10GbE iSCSI/FCoE
Storage virtualization/Data Migration
Internal virtualization, Data Migration standard; optional external virtualization
Internal virtualization, Data Migration standard; optional external virtualization
Internal virtualization, Data Migration (external devices can be attached to ingest data only) standard
optional Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, Global Mirror with Change Volumes
optional Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, Global Mirror with Change Volumes
optional Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, Global Mirror with Change Volumes
Sub-LUN Automated Tiering
Easy Tier standard
optional Easy Tier
optional Easy Tier
VMware VAAI, VASA, vCenter plug-in, and OpenStack Cinder APIs standard
VMware VAAI, VASA, vCenter plug-in, and OpenStack Cinder APIs standard
VMware VAAI, VASA, vCenter plug-in, and OpenStack Cinder APIs standard
Storwize V7000, V5000 and V37000 now support larger 800GB SSD drives. Previously, they only support SSD drives up to 400GB.
VMware 5.5 and VASA support. VMware ships every release with built-in support for all members of the IBM Storwize Family, but it bears repeating here just in case you were interested. IBM is a leading reseller of VMware, so it makes sense for IBM's storage devices to support everything that VMware customers could possibly want in terms of VMware integration. IBM SmartCloud VSC, Storwize Family, and XIV Storage System are no exception!
New IP-based replication driving lower costs for replication. Previously, Metro Mirror, Global Mirror and Global Mirror with Change Volumes were FCP-based, and many clients bought extra equipment to run FCP packets over long-distance IP (known as FCIP). Now, clients can replicate across distnace natively without FCIP routers, and use IP-based connections natively.
In my blog posts covering [Edge 2013 - Day 3 Solution Center], I mentioned that IBM has certified Bridgeworks' SANSlide 150SVCV7K unit that provides a Riverbed-like WAN Optimization for long-distance replication. Now, IBM has fully integrated Bridgeworks' SANSlide network optimization technology directly into Storwize Family!
All members of the Storwize Family will support 1GbE remote disk replication, and this will be extended to 10GbE support at a later date.
The [Storwize V3700] is now offered in 48-volt Direct Current (DC) models, [NEBS/ETSI compliance] for Telecommunications companies that require this, and now support 4TB drives.
When we introduced [IBM SmartCloud Storage Access] in February, it was to offer self-service, automated policy-based provisioning for file storage on the SONAS and Storwize V7000 Unified. Today, we add self-service, automated policy-based provisioning for block storage. The first products to be supported are SmartCloud VSC, the entire Storwize Family, and XIV Storage Systems. In addition to the web portal, the Storage Cloud Integration API enables 3rd party ISV applications to support SmartCloud Storage Access.
Storage admins will no longer need to be bothered with tedious provisioning requests, freeing up more time for them to work on more strategic, transformational projects.
[IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center] was introduced last year, combining SAN Volume Controller, Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, Tivoli FlashCopy Mangaer and the Storage Analytics Engine into a single license. The initial offering provided the cross-platform "Tiered Storage Optimization" that provided recommendations for what LUNs should be moved from one disk array to another to manage performance vs. cost. Today, IBM is first to market with an automated version, moving LUNs automatically from one disk array to another.
[SmartCloud Enterprise Object Storage] is switching from 3rd-party Nirvanix to its internal IBM Softlayer. This one involves more in-depth explanation which I will save for another post.
IBM XIV Storage System
As part of the [due diligence] team for IBM to acquire the XIV company back in 2007, I am glad to see how this system has evolved since then. I have certainly [blogged quite a bit on XIV] over the years.
Earlier this year, IBM introduced Hyper-Scale Mobility which allows the storage admin to move LUNs non-disruptively from one XIV frame to another. Today, Hyper-Scale Cross-system Consistency Groups allows you to have snapshots of collections of volumes across multiple XIV frames, up to 3PB of capacity snapped at the same instance of time.
The current supported releases of OpenStack are Folsom and Grizzly, and the newest release is Havana. XIV now offers OpenStack Cinder interfaces at the Havana level.
XIV now offers a RESTful API for monitoring and provisioning. [REST] is a de-facto standard in WEB services and cloud implementations. XIV's RESTful API is a programmatic management interface that follows REST principles:
Resources are identified by global identifiers (URIs)
Data is sent as JSON/XML over HTTP
Manipulations of resources are done by HTTP methods (GET, PUT, POST, DELETE)
The interface is Stateless and Hypertext driven
The interface is universally supported, programming language and platform agnostic. For monitoring, the following GET example could show the list of volumes on a particular XIV storage system:
For provisioning, the following PUT example could create "vol1" on that XIV storage system.
IBM SmartCloud Storage Access to allow self-service provisioning (see the SmartCloud section above).
Data-at-Rest encryption, using Self-Encrypting Drives (SED). XIV will encrypt the data, and IBM's Security Key Lifecycle Manager (SKLM) or Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager (TKLM). If you have an XIV already, you may already have SED drives ready to use! The XIV will also encrypt the data on the SSD drives used for persistent read-cache.
Other new and enhanced offerings
For our mainframe clients, the Virtualization Engine TS7700 now supports 60 percent more capacity, and can now support 8Gbps FICON attachement.
N series N3000, N6000 and N7000 support new disk drive types and sizes, as well as Data OnTap 8.2 Cluster mode. You can now lash together up to 16 N series together into a SONAS-like single system image.
Cisco MDS 9710 Multilayer Director for IBM® System Networking is a new 16 Gbps SAN director with robust security to support multi-tenancy cloud configurations.
Whew! That is a lot of things to discuss in one post. Since they were all related, I did not want to split it up into parts.
"SmartCloud Enterprise Object Storage is switching from 3rd-party Nirvanix to its internal IBM Softlayer. This one involves more in-depth explanation which I will save for another post."
It's time to make good on that promise! Here is a quick diagram to help visualize the agreement (with sincere apologies to [Jessica Hagy]!) but not to scale, of course!
Last month, Nirvanix announced it was shutting down October 15. Here was the exact wording from their website:
For the past seven years, we have worked to deliver cloud storage solutions. We have concluded that we must begin a wind-down of our business and we need your active participation to achieve the best outcome.
We are dedicating the resources we can to assisting our customers in either returning their data or transitioning their data to alternative providers who provide similar services including IBM SoftLayer, Amazon S3, Google Storage or Microsoft Azure.
We have an agreement with IBM, and a team from IBM is ready to help you. In addition, we have established a higher speed connection with some companies to increase the rate of data transfer from Nirvanix to their servers.
We are working hard to have resources available through October 15 to assist you with the transition process, and have set up a rapid response team that can be reached at (619) 764-5650 [press 2 for customer support during normal business hours] or (888) 791-0365 after business hours, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please check back to this web page periodically for status updates.
We thank you for your support and patience.
The Nirvanix team
UPDATE ON NIRVANIX
On October 1, 2013, Nirvanix voluntarily sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to pursue all alternatives to maximize value for its creditors while continuing its efforts to provide the best possible transition for customers."
In response, IBM put out this press release:
"In light of reports that Nivanix has decided to soon cease operations, IBM is moving quickly to help clients of our Nivanix-based Object Storage offering to move their data to other solutions such as the robust and highly scalable IBM SoftLayer Object Storage or IBM's persistent storage solution."
To understand why this is a big deal, consider the difference between Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage. Cloud Computing is like buying gasoline at your favorite gas station. If the station is closed, you can just drive a few blocks to another gas station. The ease with which customers can switch from one Cloud Compute provider to another is part of the appeal, forcing Cloud Compute providers to be extremely efficient at what they do to offer the lowest price.
Cloud Storage is completely different, more like a safety-deposit box at the bank, or a storage unit to hold all of your boxes of tax receipts. Now if you have a small amount stored away in a safety-deposit box, this is probably just a minor inconvenience. You can take out the contents and store at home, or find another bank and open a new safe deposit account.
However, if you have a lot stored in a storage unit, it may be more difficult.
For example, I am in the process of remodeling my home, so I have moved a lot of my stuff to a 400 cubic-foot storage unit during the process. There were a variety of storage units within miles of my home. Some are fully air-conditioned, some offered 24x7 access, while others are not air-conditioned, or only allowed access during business hours. It has taken me several weekends to box up and move them to the storage unit. My car only holds 12-14 boxes at a time, so many trips were involved.
If the Storage Unit company told me that they were closing down, and that I would have to move all of these boxes to another facility, I would have to hire moving professionals to do all the work. This is in effect what companies need to do with their data. They must take the data off Nirvanix systems, and either store it in-house, or find another cloud storage provider.
IBM offers three options:
IBM [SoftLayer Object Storage] offering which is an OpenStack Swift-based Object Storage solution. IBM's SoftLayer object based storage solution provides a robust, highly scalable solution, with the ability to retrieve and leverage data the way you want to, and grow when you need. You can choose to store your objects in Dallas, Texas (USA), Amsterdam (Europe), and/or Singapore (Asia).
SCE persistent storage solution where you will be able to manage storage resources by attaching an instance during the instance creation process.
An alternate storage solution of your choice. Yes, IBM will help you move your data to Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. While technically competitors, IBM also has strategic partnerships in place with each to facilitate the movement.
These options are not just for IBM's SmartCloud Enterprise Object Storage clients. Nirvanix has named IBM the savior for all of its other non-IBM customers as well. Why IBM? Well, IBM is one of the most recognized names in the IT industry. Not just one of the biggest Cloud Service providers, IBM also has an army of professionals in its Global Services division to help.
The first day of the residency started with introductions. Our emcee and project leader is Vasfi Gucer from IBM Austin lab. There are 17 participants (referred to as "residents") from the USA and various countries including Brazil, Canada and Sweden.
Michael Fork presenting. I am sitting on the far left side
in the pink shirt. Photo taken by Tina Williams.
To set the right expectations, Tina Williams (IBM Social Media ITSO Projects Program Manager) explained what was going to happen this week.
In a typical "residency", residents are brought together for 4-6 weeks to write an [IBM Redbook] which are often how-to guides written in a very conversational tone.
This residency is different. A bunch of social media and Cloud experts have been brought together to share experiences and to build up skills to write individual blog posts about IBM Cloud offerings. I was invited as both a world-reknown blogger as well as a Cloud expert. Everyone who signed up for this commits to write at least six blog posts about Cloud sometime in the next 90 days.
(Residents who do not have their own blogs can post to the IBM [Thoughts on Cloud] group blog Publishing is part of our promotion process, and writing blogs consistently over a period of time counts!)
Jennifer Turner (IBM Worldwide Cloud Marketing Manager) explained IBM Cloud Social Media Initiative. Five years ago, IBM was one of the top 5 Cloud service providers, then a whole bunch of things happened, and we fell out of the top 5 list, and now with the recent [IBM acquisition of SoftLayer], we are in the top 5 again!
Michael Fork (IBM CloudFirst Lead Architect), presented the latest about SoftLayer. Wow! He did a great job, and am glad to have him as a contact in case I have future questions from clients at the Tucson Executive Briefing Center.
Mohsin Syed [@mohsinusyed], IBM Development Manager, presented [IBM Social Media Analytics], combining Hadoop-style analytics using IBM BigInsights, DB2 database and Cognos reporting. IBM can do [sentiment analysis] to determine positive and negative comments in various languages. This product was formerly known as Cognos Consumer Insight.
I was the last speaker of the day. As one of the top bloggers in both the IT Storage Industry, and company-wide within IBM, I was invited to provide a few tips on blogging to the newbies in the audience. Jeff Antley, the "co-owner" of my blog [Inside System Storage] who works on the IBM developerWorks team, was there on hand to help answer questions.
(IBM requires all highly-visible corporate blogs like mine to have at least two owners. Jeff is an expert at HTML, CSS and other web design and has been immensely helpful in getting my blog looking nicer.)
Continuing my coverage of the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, the second day explained the ITSO Residency method of blogging, which was somewhat different than the method I presented on the first day.
Hillary explained how to find commercially-licensed stock photos, clip-art and graphics from various IBM repositories.
I generally use my own photos, drawings and charts, cropped and enhanced using the GNU Image Manipulation Program [GIMP] software tool. Sometimes I find graphics under a [Creative Commons] license.
These additional resources for photos will definitely come in handy!
Caroline Wall, IBM ITSO Copy Editor
While having blog posts with a [few misspelled words] and grammatical errors demonstrates [warts-and-all] authenticity, I make a point to double-check the spelling of proper names: people, companies, brands, locations, products, services and solutions.
Caroline explained the process of submitting blog proposals, and if approved, how to submit the blog post written in MS Word or Lotus Symphony. The ITSO team felt most residents already know how to use these word-processing tools, allowing the residents to focus on what to write. Think of them as training wheels until you learn HTML!
I also started out using [WYSIWYG editors], but have since switched over to writing direclty in native HTML using [Gedit] text editor software, which is available on Linux, Windows and Mac OS.
For half the residents, English is not their native language. When a blog post is submitted, Caroline will then edit for spelling, grammar and style. IBM's style is similar to the [Associated Press (AP) Style] used by many newspaper journalists. The revised posts are then returned to the author for approval or discussion.
While English is not my native language either, I generally act as my own editor. Occasionally, I do enlist the services of Jeff Antley from developerWorks to help with HTML formatting issues.
Kevin Allen, IBM Social Business Manager
Kevin takes the edited blog posts from Caroline, converts them to HTML, and posts them to the group blog [ThoughtsOnCloud.com].
(For those who want to learn HTML, I like Kevin Werbach's [Bare Bones Guide to HTML] for explaining the structure of ordered lists, unordered lists, definition lists, tables and embedded graphics or other rich-media objects. I also use VisiBone's [HTML Color Codes] reference charts when I need to change font or background colors.)
Blog posts need attract attention. Kevin explained how to draw traffic to your blog post by cross-posting links other social media sites like [Facebook], [Google+] and [Twitter]. I comb through the [Snowclones Database] for ideas to write a catchy title and opening paragraph.
Kevin also suggests using appropriate keywords that will enable Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For my SEO, I finalized each blog post with plenty of relevant [Technorati] tags.
There is more than one way to write a blog post! In either case, the end result is educational, entertaining and engaging content that people want to read.
Which "corporate blogs" do you follow regularly? Enter your comments below!
The gondolier propels the boat with an oar, and stopped rowing a few times to belt out beautiful Italian songs.
Truly impressed, I asked the gondolier how long was the training for this job. "Six weeks!" he answered. Wow! Where can I learn to sing like that in six weeks?
He clarified. No, the Venetian hotel hires competent singers, and then spends six weeks to teach them to row the gondola. Duh!
I asked Vasfi Gucer, our ITSO project leader for this residency, why there were so many Cloud topics on the agenda for this social media training. He explained it was just as important to emphasize "why" people need to be passionate about Cloud, in addition to the "what" and "how" of blogging.
This reminded me of this quote from fellow author Hugh MacLeod. I highly recommend his series of books.
"Blogging requires passion and authority. Which leaves out most people."
--- Hugh MacLeod.
Vasfi had invited Cloud experts who already have the authority to blog, and the point of this residency is for the residents to become passionate in sharing their expertise.
Here are some of the people that spoke on Cloud:
Ric Telford, IBM VP of Cloud Services
Ric Telford shared with us IBM's point of view of where the Cloud industry is going. He has been in this job position since 2009, and shared with us the history of how the IBM Cloud business has evolved in the past four years.
Jane Munn, IBM VP Business Line Executive for Cloud hardware
As the Center of Competency on Cloud for all 12 IBM Executive Briefing Centers in my group, I had to report to Jane Munn on a frequent basis. I was pretty candid on those calls on what we should change, and I am glad to see that many of my suggestions have been implemented, or being considered for 2014.
Michael Fork, IBM Lead Architect for Hosted Private Cloud
Michael Fork gave two great presentations, one on [IBM SoftLayer] Cloud services, and the second on IBM's support of open standards, such as [OpenStack] and Cloud Foundry.
Hans Zai, IBM Cloud Service Line Leader; and Odilon Magroski Goulart Junior, IBM Technical Solution Architect
All the residents had to present in front of the class on their expertise. Hans and Odilon presented their work on [IBM SmartCloud for SAP Applications]. Hans is from Sweden, and Odilon from Brazil, so their perspectives on this was quite interesting.
When IBM renamed LotusLive to [SmartCloud for Social Business], I thought this would be the naming convention for all of our Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings.
But SmartCloud for SAP Applications is a Platform-as-a-Service, providing the SAP environment as a platform, which allows clients to then deploy their customized SAP applications on this platform.
What did I present on for my "Share your expertise" session? IBM System Storage, of course! Storage is a critical part of Cloud!
So, my gentle readers, what topics do you want me to write about that combines Storage and Cloud? Enter your suggestions in the comments below.
In the prank, I indicated that I had submitted my video to the [Arizona International Film Festival], of AIFF for short, which coincidently was running April 1-20, and that it had won an award. I invited everyone who read my blog to see me accept the award at a ceremony at 6:00pm on April 1 at the Fox Theater, followed by the 8:00pm showing of another award-winning film.
I didn't submit the video, the video didn't win any award, and I was not invited to the award ceremony. I did, however, plan to see the movie at 8:00pm.
When I got there, I learned that a dozen of my friends, not realizing it was a prank, showed up, asking for me. The AIFF was quite amused, and invited me to award ceremony still going on. The other filmmakers were impressed I had concocted such an elaborate social media campaign!
A slideshow is another style of video, animating still images to music. The [Ken Burns effect] was named after the technique fellow filmmaker Ken Burns used in his documentaries.
In 2010, I worked with the XIV team to address FUD that our competitors were flinging about double drive failures. My blog post [Double Drive Failure Debunked: XIV Two Years Later] set the record straight and put this issue to rest once and for all. XIV sales shot up dramatically after this post went public!
Each resident presented at least six proposals for blog post ideas. A proposal included a title and short description of what it would entail. Titles had to be less than 70 characters, and the short descriptions were typically just a few sentences.
These were presented to the entire team, and we picked them apart, suggested better wording for the titles, or different ways to approach the topic.
"I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.
I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.
I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.
When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.
I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.
I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them."
Words to live by.
The residents spent most of the day working on our blogs from the proposals that were approved. The target was around 400 to 600 words in length, with one or two stock photos.
IBM is the #1 vendor for Social Business tools, so it makes sense for us to use our own stuff to facilitate the submission process. The residents submit their blog posts to IBM Connections as an activity in the Cloud Social Media Residency community. All of the resources we used, and all the presentations we saw, are all here in the community.
As an incentive, prizes were given out to those who submitted the most posts by end of the day.
We were given certificates for completing the class, and a "Redbooks Thought Leader" emblem to put on our blog.
Ryan Boyles took a group photo! If it seems that the photo is slightly askew, it is to make me look taller. Yes, I could have used GIMP to fix the orientation, but why bother? I look tall! Woo hoo! I will have to remember this technique for future group photos.
ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, Oct 2013. Photo by Ryan Boyles.
Lastly, I would like to thank Vasfi, Tamikia, Hillary, Caroline, Ric, Jane, LeeAnne, Tina, Karen, Michael, Shelbee, Farzad, Stewart, Arun, Eric, Chris, Hans, Odilon, Mohsin, Wolfgang and the rest of the ITSO team for a wonderful job organizing this week!
If Eskimos have 37 words for "snow", then EMC has perhaps a similar number of names for "failure". I have already covered a few of their past attempts, including [ATMOS], [Invista], and [VPLEX]. Last week, EMC introduced its latest, called XtremeIO.
But rather than focus on XtremeIO's many shortcomings, I thought it would be better to point out the highlights of IBM's All-Flash array, IBM FlashSystem.
But first, a quick story.
Two years ago, I worked the booth at [Oracle OpenWorld 2011]. After a conference attendee had visited the booths of Violin Memory and Pure Storage, he asked me why IBM did not have an all-Flash array.
Of course IBM did, and I showed him the [Storwize V7000]. For example, a 2U model with 18 SSD drives of 400GB each, configured in two RAID-5 ranks 7+P+S could offer 5.6 TB of space, running up to 250,000 IOPS at sub-millisecond response times.
Why didn't IBM advertise the Storwize V7000 as an all-Flash array? I though the question was silly at the time, since the Storwize V7000 supported SSD, 15K, 10K and 7200 RPM spinning disk, it seemed obvious that it could be configured with only SSD if you chose.
Since then, IBM has added 800GB support to the Storwize V7000, doubling the capacity. More importantly, IBM acquired Texas Memory Systems, and offers a much better all-Flash array.
Flash can be deployed in three levels. The first is in the server itself, such as with PCiE cards containing Flash chips, limited to applications running on that server only.
The second option is a hybrid disk system, that can intermix Flash-based Solid State Drives (SSD) with regular spinning hard disk drives (HDD). These can be attached to many servers.
The problem with this approach is that when Flash is packaged to pretend to be spinning disk, it undermines some of the performance benefits. Traditional disk system architectures using SCSI commands over Device adapter loops can introduce added latency.
The third fits snuggly in the middle: all-Flash arrays designed from the ground up to be only Flash.
Whereas SSD can typically achieve an I/O latency in the 300 to 1000 microseconds range, IBM FlashSystem can process I/O in the 25 to 110 microsecond range. That is a huge difference!
(FTC Disclosure: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires that I mention that I am an IBM employee, and that this post may be considered a paid, celebrity endorsement of both the IBM FlashSystem and IBM Storwize family of products. I have no financial interest in EMC, do not endorse the XtremeIO mentioned here, and was not paid to mention their company or products in any manner.)
Fellow blogger and IBM Master Inventor Barry Whyte has a great comparison table in his blog post [Extreme Blogging]. I thought I would add an added column for the Storwize V7000 with 18 Solid State drives.
IBM FlashSystem 820
IBM Storwize V7000 with SSD
20 Terabytes: 1U
11 Terabytes: 2U
7 Terabytes: 6U
I/O latency (microseconds)
110us (~5x faster)
Maximum I/O per second
NAND Flash type
While it is easy to show that EMC's XtremeIO does not hold a candle to IBM FlashSystems, I think it is more amusing that it is not even as good as a Storwize V7000 with SSD that IBM offered two years ago, long before [EMC acquired XtremeIO company] back in May 2012.