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Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor, Senior IT Architect and Event Content Manager for [IBM Systems for IBM Systems Technical University] events. With over 30 years with IBM Systems, Tony is frequent traveler, speaking to clients at events throughout the world.
Lloyd Dean is an IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect in Infrastructure Architecture. Lloyd has held numerous senior technical roles at IBM during his 19 plus years at IBM. Lloyd most recently has been leading efforts across the Communication/CSI Market as a senior Storage Solution Architect/CTS covering the Kansas City territory. In prior years Lloyd supported the industry accounts as a Storage Solution architect and prior to that as a Storage Software Solutions specialist during his time in the ATS organization.
Lloyd currently supports North America storage sales teams in his Storage Software Solution Architecture SME role in the Washington Systems Center team. His current focus is with IBM Cloud Private and he will be delivering and supporting sessions at Think2019, and Storage Technical University on the Value of IBM storage in this high value IBM solution a part of the IBM Cloud strategy. Lloyd maintains a Subject Matter Expert status across the IBM Spectrum Storage Software solutions. You can follow Lloyd on Twitter @ldean0558 and LinkedIn Lloyd Dean.
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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.
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!
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!
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.
Besides, I have been in airplanes and airports nearly every week since March 1, so driving to Las Vegas was a pleasent alternative.
While driving to Las Vegas was pleasant, driving in Las Vegas was not. I would go crazy as a taxi driver here! I think I will leave my car in the free parking garage all week, and limit myself mostly to the Mandalay Hotel where the conference is being held, and only venture out to other hotels that are walking distance, like the Luxor next door.
In the evening, IBM hosted some of the industry's top analysts and press at an invitation-only reception. Several other IBMers were there, including Barry Whyte, Steve Kenniston, Nicki Rich and Ron Riffe. This event was organized by IBM Analyst Relations, including David Rasmussen and Leanna Holmquist.
Ron mentioned my penchant for taking pictures with other people and posting them on my blog, so I am glad that Leanna volunteered to take a picture with me for my first post of the week!
I would also like to mention that Ron Riffe has joined the ranks of storage bloggers. His blog is called [The Line]. Here is Ron's post on his "Day 0" observations here at Edge: [Rainy Days and Sunshine].
Twenty years ago, I flew to Atlanta for the semi-annual SHARE conference. I was a lead architect for DFSMS, the storage management software for mainframe servers. When I got to the hotel, I realized that I had forgotten to pack my saline solution for my contact lenses. I went to the hotel gift shop, and picked the first one I found. I took my contacts in the solution and went to bed.
The next morning, I put on my contacts, got dressed, and participated in meetings. One of my colleagues noticed my eyes were quite red, and suggested I switch from contact lenses to glasses. I went back to my hotel room, saw to my horror that what I thought was saline solution was actually hydrogen peroxide intended for hard lenses. When I removed the lenses, all I could see was white light.
I managed to find my way to the elevator, and feel for the button with the star that indicated the lobby on the ground floor. I asked a hotel staffer to call me an ambulance, but instead, they put me in a cab, and sent me to Emory Hospital. On arrival, all I could do was hand over my wallet to my cabbie, and let him take out what he felt was fair, since I could not see him, the meter, or his license number.
After bumping my knees into dozens of cars in the parking lot, I finally made it to the ER, only to have receptionist give me a form to fill out and a pen. At this point, I lost it. I gave her my wallet and said that any information she may need should be in there.
Thankfully, a doctor noticed this exchange, and took care of me right away. I had chemically burned off both corneas. He injected some green fluid into both eyeballs, and sent me off in a cab to the Pharmacy. At least I had both eyes were bandaged in gauze, so people were kind enough to take me to get to the counter to get my pain killers, Percocet.
The pharmacist provided me the pills, and warned me NOT to operate any heavy machinery under the influece of this medication. Seriously? I can't see, both eyes covered, and he tells me that?
I got back to the hotel, got ready for bed, took the pills and brushed my teeth. I woke up the next morning on the bathroom floor, still clutching the toothbrush, and vertical and horizontal lines across my right cheek which were made by the one-inch tiles of the bathroom floor. These pills really knocked me out.
That day, I had to present a full hour in front of hundreds of people. I had a colleague flip my transparencies for me, while I spoke to each one, my eyes still covered in gauze. That evening, I was one of the experts on the panel for a "Birds of a Feather", or BOF session, answering a variety of questions. People could see that I was blind, but I could still hear the questions, and I could still answer them as well.
If you are going to Edge 2013 in Las Vegas, please consider attending my BOF session on Security for PureSystems, System x and Storage products, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, June 13. I will be moderating a distinguished panel of experts to answer your questions! I have listed them here alphabetically:
Jack Arnold, US Federal. Jack has worked decades in the storage industry, and will provide insight into security issues related to the government.
Tom Benjamin, Development Manager for Key Lifecycle Management and Java Cryptography. Tom will bring his expertise in both TKLM and ISKLM for managing encryption keys, and how to communicate these between security and storage administrators.
Paul Bradshaw, Chief Storage Architect for Clouds. A research scientist from IBM's Almaden Research Lab, Paul will provide insight in how to deal with security issues related to private, hybrid and public cloud deployments.
Ajay Dholakia, Solution Center of Excellent. Ajay will cover server-side considerations for security deployments, including System x and PureSystems.
Jim Fisher, Advanced Technical Skills. Jim brings expertise related to deploying data-at-rest encryption.
Not sure what kind of questions to ask? Here is a series of Questions and Answers we had at a Storage event in 2011 that might give you a good idea: [2011 Storage Free-for-All].
Are you going to Edge 2013 in Las Vegas, June 10-14?
In my talks with clients about storage, I find similar hesitation on turning on various storage efficiency features that IBM (and other vendors) have to offer. Let's examine a few of them.
Less than half of businesses have activated "thin provisioning" on storage devices that support this feature. Why? IBM introduced thin provisioning on its RAMAC Virtual Array back in 1997! The technology is well proven in the field. Don't know how to report this for charge-back activity? Charge your end-users for the maximum capacity upper limit. Simple enough!
What about Data Deduplication? IBM has had this feature on its N series since 2007, but it wasn't until IBM came out with the IBM ProtecTIER gateway and appliance models that people started to take notice of this technology. Yes, I agree Hash Collisions can be quite scary on competitive gear, but on IBM ProtecTIER we do not use hash codes, and all data is compared byte-for-byte. For those considering hash-based deduplication, hash collisions in general are quite rare. Jeff Preshing does the math for you in his blog post: [Hash Collision Probabilities]. Of course, if you want to leave no doubt in the minds of a jury of your peers, stick with byte-for-byte comparison methods in the IBM ProtecTIER.
Lastly, I have heard concerns of using real-time compression? Really? Real-time compression has been used in wide-area network (WAN) transmissions ever since IBM developed the Houston Aerospace Spooling Protocol (HASP) for NASA back in 1973. IBM has offered real-time compression on tape cartridges since 1986, the year I started with IBM, some 27 years ago. And now, real-time compression is available for file-based and block-based disk systems. All of these solutions are based on the Lempel-Ziv lossless compression algorithms introduced in 1977. One customer I spoke with was unwilling to try compression, because it requires thin provisioning as a pre-requisite. How is that for having one fear based on another one!
IBM places a high value on data integrity. For each data footprint reduction method, IBM has designed a solution that returns back the exact ones and zeros, in the correct quantity and order, as was originally stored.
For more on this topic, come see me present "Data Footprint Reduction -- Understanding IBM Storage Efficiency Options" at [IBM Edge 2013 conference] in Las Vegas, June 10-14.
It seems I have been on the road non-stop for the past nine weeks! On my flights, I often find myself sitting next to a young adult who is flying for the first time. Many of these young adults formed their fear of flying a decade ago, in their teenage years, during the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Some are just now trying to face those fears.
(What does any of this have to do with storage? Actually, there are similar fears for enabling various storage efficiency functions like data deduplication, thin provisioning and compression, so work with me here!)
Flying from Seattle down to Los Angeles, I sat next to Michele (shown in the picture on the left). She was facing her fear of flying overseas by taking seven months off to visit Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Ireland, England and various countries in continental Europe. Wow! She was joining up with her friend Brittney in Los Angeles, and the two will be travelling together. Since I had been to nearly every country she was planning to visit, I gave her a list of survival phrases and cultural guidance.
Flying from Los Angeles to Tucson, I sat next to Alex on his first day of flying adventures. He flew from Jacksonville, to Dallas, to Los Angeles, to finally Tucson to pick up his fiancée. He met her in Florida, but her father was re-assigned to Fort Huachuca Army Base near Tucson, Arizona. He kept in touch with his bride-to-be, and now faced his fear of flying to go pick her up and bring her back for the wedding. This was the first time he had been west of the Mississippi river.
On a short 18-minute flight from Tucson to Phoenix, I sat next to Rachel, a college student at the University of Arizona, on her way to visit her folks in Santa Ana, California. She immediately apologized to me for not wearing pants. What I mistook for bikini bottoms were actually stretchy exercise shorts she wears to play [Lacrosse]. She had sprained her ankle, then went [AMA] to wear high-heeled shoes on a girl's weekend to Las Vegas, only to trip and break her ankle completely. Her foot was in a cast, thus preventing her from driving her car, or, as it turned out, wear any pants.
Returning from a briefing in Poughkeepsie, on the short flight from Stewart Airport to Philadelphia, I sat next to Krista (shown in the picture on the right), who formerly was a [Bacardi Girl], but now decided she wants to do something more meaningful in her life than handing out prizes and free samples of spiced rum. She decided to go visit her friend in Charlotte, North Carolina, but did not want to drive 15 hours to get there. She faced her fears of flying to avoid driving by herself all that distance. She didn't know what she wanted to do with her life, so I suggested she get a Myers-Briggs profile analysis, and perhaps determine her strengths using Gallup's [Strengths Finder 2.0]. This might help her find a career choice that best fits her interests.
As is often the case, many fears are unfounded. Statistically, flying is safer than being on the road in car. As a result of facing their fears, they all got to meet me, and be one step closer to accomplishing their life goals.
What do all of these have in common? They all faced their fear of flying, either because their situation forced them to, something more important drove them to, or they felt it was just time to do it. Good for them!
If you have recently faced your fears and came out ahead, let me know in the comments below!
I am back safely from my travels to New Zealand and Australia, and would like to wish everyone today a Happy [Earth Day]!
The Tucson area has been continuously-inhabited by people for the past 3,500 years. One of the great challenges for this arid desert region is water. Recently, Tucson was selected for a [2013 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge] grant. Here is an excerpt from a blog post by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild titled [Ensuring Tucson's Water Future]:
"One critical area for cost-effective investment is technology. We are converting all of our customer water meters to digital in order to reduce the amount of labor required to manually read all the 225,000 customer meters each month. And we are replacing our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system in order to improve our ability to control and manage our water distribution system.
I was pleased that Tucson was selected for a 2013 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant. As a result, a team of senior IBM executives came to Tucson for three weeks to listen to our story, learn about our water system and lend their expertise. They came from North Carolina, Texas, New York, California and Virginia to learn about how one of the most arid American cities is setting the standard for wise water use. The IBM team lived in our community and worked with the Tucson Water Department. They learned a great deal and helped us even more.
The Smarter Cities team's final report delivered exactly what we were looking for. It contained a roadmap with both shorter and longer term recommendations. The report did not recommend additional investments beyond our means, but it did make an effective case for the timing and scheduling of our planned investments – recommendations which will help us achieve better near-term results while we develop sustainable practices for this ongoing project. The four areas of improvement detailed in the roadmap were:
Improve customer service with automated metering
Modernize our meter management systems
Implement advanced operations management systems
Build additional capacities for our existing information technology systems
It's clear that IBM has made a strategic decision to focus on the opportunities and challenges facing cities around the world through its Smarter Cities program. They understand that a city is a 'system of systems,' and that comprehensive analyses of the ways these systems interact with one another and with the populations they serve are critical to improving the quality of life of citizens everywhere. IBM's selection of Tucson as a global smarter city has given us the chance to demonstrate that we have some of the highest standards for resource management, conservation, financial planning and community engagement for municipal water departments anywhere in the United States."
While this is certainly good for the environment, IBM's focus on helping the Earth become a smarter planet has been good for its bottom line as well. According to the latest 1Q 2013 financial results, IBM revenues related to Smarter Planet initiatives, including the Smarter Cities campaign, have increased 25 percent year-to-year.
Wrapping up my week teaching Top Gun class in Sydney, Australia, I could not resist taking a photo of the cityscape.
Sydney is a beautiful city, and the view from the 13th floor of the IBM Centre at St. Leonards in North Sydney is always worth a picture!
Vic, Scott and I all have engineering backgrounds, so it is easy for us to drop down into the technical weeds in discussing each product and solution. However, the student feedback from both Auckland and Sydney was that some of our material was just too technical.
Do they plan to store and process their data in house? IBM's [focus on Cloud is paying off], and IBM SmartCloud offerings might make a lot of sense for many clients.
Do they plan to centralize their IT? Some companies centralize all of their IT, and others distribute the decision-making to departments, remote office and branch office locations. For the latter, use the ROBO approach to selling.
Do they prefer one-stop shopping? In my now infamous post [Supermarkets and Specialty Shops], I mentioned research that found our clients fall into two camps. Those that favor one-stop shopping from IBM, HP, Cisco, Dell or Oracle, versus those that prefer to buy from the many IT equivalent of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers like EMC, HDS, or NetApp. For those clients that fall in the latter camp, focus on IBM's best-of-breed products.
IT Supermarket competition? The final group are clients that prefer one-stop shopping, but have not yet made up their mind between IBM versus the [IBM wannabees]. Focus on IBM's synergy between storage, servers, software, switches and services.
Last week, we celebrated Joe's birthday in Auckland. This week, it was Vic's turn, so we went to the Garfish restaurant at Manly beach. Here we are with bacon-enhanced oysters.
The four-day class finished Thursday afternoon, and I went out with some of the students to celebrate their graduation. I started with beers at the Cabana, then wine at [the Ivy Room], and finally dinner at Uccello on the rooftop [Pool Club]. Dinner was awesome: pork sausage-stuffed olives to start, roasted chicken with polenta, and finally a capuccino to finish the meal.
I would have never found these places on my own, and the students provided me some interesting feedback about the class and how to improve it.