This month, I was in Johannesburg, South Africa for IBM Systems Technical University, or TechU for short. For those not familiar with [Johannesburg], it is South Africa's largest city with a metropolitan area more than eight million people. Like New York City in the USA, Johannesburg is not the capital but serves as the economic and financial center for the country.
(Compared to the rest of Africa, Johannesburg is only the 10th largest city. I spoke at TechU events earlier this year in Africa's largest two cities: Lagos, Nigeria, and Cairo, Egypt. IBM also had a TechU event in Casablanca, Morocco, the 12th largest in Africa, but this was all in French language. My high-school French is a bit rusty so I was not there.)
Here is my recap of Day 1.
The day ended with a nice Welcome Reception with drinks and snacks in our Solution Center, followed by dinner with my colleagues at a nice restaurant! Because Johannesburg is south of the equator, this is actually Spring time, heading into Summer, and the weather was just delightful.
IBM has several more TechU events planned for October and November at: Bogota (Columbia), Las Vegas, NV (USA), Sydney (Australia), Prague (Czech Republic), Pernambuco (Brazil), and Bali (Indonesia). Check out the [IBM Technical Events] landing page for details.
It's the month of September, and many are going back to school! Whether its your first day of class, or your coming back as an upperclassman it’s a chance to approach something from a new perspective.
I thought this week would be a good chance to think about going back to school and going back to basics. There are two things that come to mind with that; support and monitoring of storage.
When it comes to support, one thing we can always check on is the ‘Call Home’ status of the storage system. In case you didn't know, the IBM Storage systems have the ability to connect back to IBM Support using the [Call Home] function that’s part of the solution.
When Call Home identifies a potential problem, it notifies the administrator and IBM Support of the issue and transmits diagnostic data about the problem to the IBM Support Center.
Depending on your IBM Storage platform, from the IBM Spectrum Virtualize / Storwize platform to the IBM DS8000, to the IBM FlashSystem family, you can find out how to [enable Call Home here]. It’s a good time of year just to check to make sure Call Home is working and enabled for your Storage solution.
As for monitoring, did you know that [IBM Storage Insights] is available for IBM Storage solutions? IBM Storage Insights provides an excellent level of visibility across your entire storage environment from performance to support needs, as you can see in this [guided tour].
There are [two editions] of the tool, but they only require one data collector.
IBM Storage Insights also streamlines your interaction with IBM support. It leverages the Call Home features of the system as well as provides a data collector, automatic support for log uploading, and easy ticket creation and management. IBM support staff use read-only access to diagnostic information about monitored storage systems to proactively help resolve problems and provide recommendations.
If you need more information around the security protocols in place for IBM Storage Insights, you can leverage the ['Storage Insights Security Guide'].
You can start using IBM Storage Insights today! It will change how you look at your Storage environment and how you engage with IBM Support. If you want to learn even more about IBM Storage Insights,
Call Home support or really any topic when it comes to IBM Systems, IBM TechU is continuing this fall and you can attend one of the [IBM Systems Technical University]. events we have coming up in Bogota, Las Vegas, Sydney, Prague, and Bali.
Earlier this month, at the SHARE conference in Pittsburgh, my predecessor, Glenn Anderson, received the John R. Ehrman award for sustained excellence in Training Education. John Ehrman was "the father of High Level Assembler (HL-ASM)" which is still used today.
Here is SHARE president, Jason Bastin (left), with Glenn Anderson (right).
Here is a close-up picture of the award itself.
For the past 18 years, Glenn was the Content Manager for IBM Z and LinuxONE at IBM Systems Technical University (TechU) events. He also was active at SHARE and other Z-related events.
But managing IBM Z and LinuxONE content was not all he did. Several years ago, Glenn also launched "Leadership and Professional Development" track at TechU. This track helped IT leaders, and those aspiring to become leaders, to learn technical direction to implement projects from proof-of-concept into production. He also included soft skills, such as how to be a better public speaker, how to lead projects, or how to run meetings better.
After retiring from IBM last December, he has launched his own public speaking practice, and has spoken at a variety of events. Check out his website [Glenn Anderson The Performance Catalyst Speaker].
Next month, [NewEra Software] starts a monthly webcast featuring Glenn called "Up your game".
Glenn has been an excellent mentor to me, as I take over his responsibilities at IBM TechU events, and I am glad he is doing well in retirement!
Last week marked the 50th anniversary of landing a human on the moon. Over 4,000 IBM employees were involved. So much has been written about this, that I thought it would be better to point you to some articles and interviews I found of interest.
(While most people focus on the single day, July 20, when Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin stepped foot on the moon, the entire journey lasted a week, from take off July 16, to splash down on July 24.)
The [Apollo missions were highlighted during IBM's Centennial Anniversary] in 2011. Here is an excerpt:
"The Real-Time Computer Complex (RTCC) in Houston, Texas, was an IBM computing and data processing system at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center—now called the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center—that collected, processed and sent to Mission Control information to direct every phase of an Apollo mission. The RTCC was so fast, there was virtually no time between receiving and solving a computing problem. Initially, IBM 7094-11 computers were used in the RTCC. Later, IBM System/360 Model 75J mainframes, and peripheral storage and processing equipment were used."
Those peripheral storage were IBM tape and disk systems, of course. IBM Tape systems were developed in 1952, and disk systems in 1956, in time to be used for the Apollo missions.
Jason Perlow has a great series on the Apollo missions. His post, titled To the Moon: IBM and Univac, Apollo 11's integrators] focuses on IBM's contribution. Here are some excerpts:
"As a system integrator, IBM's involvement in the Apollo program was extensive. No other vendor, Boeing included, touched virtually aspect of the Apollo program.
NPR commemorated [The 50th Anniversary Of Apollo 11's Moon Landing] on their "Fresh Air" radio program. This radio program includes previously recorded interviews with:
As I mentioned in my infamous blog post [ IBM Watson -- How to replicate Watson hardware and systems design for your own use in your basement], you can build your own [Apollo Guidance Computer].
Real-time images from the moon were sent in 10-f
Years later, Gary George, a NASA intern, would purchase a whole bunch of surplus video tapes for just $218 dollars, which included three of the video tapes from Houston of the Apollo 11 landing. Today, they happen to be the only remaining recordings of the event, and [were sold last week for $1.82 Million dollars at Sotheby's auction!
This whole episode exposes the [Digital Dark Age]. Created on perishable plastic, film decays within years if not properly stored. According to [National Film Preservation Foundation], the losses are high. The Library of Congress has documented that only 20 percent of U.S. feature films from the 1910s and 1920s survive in complete form in American archives; of the American features produced before 1950, about half still exist.
To learn more on IBM's impressive capabilities to pull of projects like this, or just how to store data for long term retention, attend one of the [IBM Systems Technical University] events we have coming up in Bangkok, Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Las Vegas, Sydney, and Prague.
As promised, I am back to the topic of storage. We had a lot of announcements in storage this week. Here is a quick recap:
We will cover these and more at the upcoming IBM Systems Technical University [TechU] events. We will have upcoming events in: