This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to IBM Systems, storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.
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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.
Tony Pearson's books are available on Lulu.com! Order your copies today!
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Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
(This week I am in Pennsylvania and New York speaking to clients. The weather this week has not been cooperative!)
Spectrum Protect Plus 10.1.2
Just in time for the upcoming VMworld conference, IBM announces the following features added to Spectrum Protect Plus, a snapshot-based backup software for VMware, Hyper-V and databases.
Data-at-Rest Encryption for local backups stored in the vSnap repository
IBM Db2 support with point-in-time recovery
VMware vSphere 6.7 support
Alerting for backup and restore jobs and storage thresholds limits
Drill-down capabilities for dashboard widgets
Spectrum Protect 8.1.6
IBM also continues to enhance its traditional file-based backup product. Here are some of the features:
Tier data by backup state for container pools. When you have multiple backup versions, the most recent version is called the "active", the older versions are called "inactive" versions. Rarely do you recover inactive versions, so this feature allows them to be migrated off to object or cloud storage.
Ransomware detection for Virtual Environment workloads. This is an enhancement of the "Ransomware detection" introduced earlier this year, but for VMware and Hyper-V images.
IBM DS8882F All-Flash Array
When IBM announced the DS8880, it shocked folks that it changed them from the previous 33-inch wide, to a standard 19-inch width. The IBM Z team followed up with 19-inch wide models of its mainframe servers.
Now, IBM can bring these together. There are two flavors of the new DS8882F:
The "Rackless" model is 17U in height with the optional keyboard/monitor, and can be put into existing 19-inch racks. These can be used with VMware, Linux, Windows, AIX and z/OS.
The "Flex Frame" model, which is 16U, allowing it to fit nicely inside a single-rack IBM Z Z14 ZR1 model, or LinuxOne RockHopper II model. It is 16U instead of 17U because it shares the existing 1U-high keyboard/monitor unit.
Like the DS8888F, DS8886F, and DS8884F models, the new DS8882F uses the High Performance Flash Enclosure (HPFE) gen2 drawers, supporting either high-performance/high-endurance drives (400GB to 3.2TB each), or high-capacity/standard-endurance drives (3.8TB to 15.3 TB each).
The R8.5 release of firmware that accompanies this announcement also supports data-in-flight encryption for Transparent Cloud Tiering. It also supports a new feature called "Safeguarded Copies", up to 500 copies to protect against hackers and ransomware.
IBM Spectrum Access blueprints have been extended to support IBM Z and LinuxOne. These blueprints show how to run IBM Cloud Private with Spectrum Connect with IBM block storage, including IBM DS8880/F, SVC, Storwize and FlashSystem models.
IBM Storage Solutions for Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI)
IBM offers a new blueprint to configure Virtual Desktops with its newly announced IBM FlashSystem 9100 device. The low latency/high IOPS capability of the FlashSystem 9100 is perfect for the type of "boot storms" that are often encountered with VDI deployments.
IBM Spectrum Scale 5.0.2 and Elastic Storage Server
At recent IBM Technical University, I joked that the IBM Elastic Storage Server is only "part of a complete breakfast" because it only supported the NSD POSIX interface. To make it useful in most situations, you needed to buy additional servers outside of the ESS to run Spectrum Scale protocol nodes to provide industry-standard file and object protocols.
Today, IBM announced that you can order a new "IBM Elastic Storage Server Data Server" (5148-22L) which is a POWER server with the Spectrum Scale software pre-installed for protocol node support. It has [similar specifications] to the IBM Elastic Storage Server Management Server (5148-21L).
If you prefer to run Spectrum Scale in the cloud, you can "Bring your own license" (BYOL) to Amazon Web Services.
I travel a lot. In the first six months of this year, I was on the road 17 of the 26 weeks. This week, I am visiting clients in beautiful Minneapolis, MN.
Several readers have asked me what mobile phone or web apps I find the most useful, and here are my top three. For each, I will explain how I use them, and why they are useful.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM, and have no financial connections to any of the companies mentioned below, and have not been compensated in any way to mention them on this post. IBM has selected Concur as its travel platform, which runs TripIt mentioned below. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement" for each of the three sites below.)
[Rome2Rio] is one I use long before I plan my trip, and works both on my mobile phone as well as web application. Many people use apps like "Google Maps" for driving directions from point A to point B. But Rome2Rio handles airlines, trains and other alternative modes of transportation. It also provides estimated prices for each mode of transportation.
Landing in Gatwick Airport, I used Rome2Rio to figure out the most cost-effective way to get to my hotel on Southampton Row. A taxi would have been $160-200, Ride-share like Uber or Lyft $75-95, and train $17-28. I chose the train and saved a lot of money!
Rome2Rio is a great app, both for advanced planning, as well as dealing with situations in the moment. I have it bookmarked on my browser, and the app installed on my phone.
Long before IBM signed on Concur as its travel expense and trip planning tool, I was using [TripIt]. It automatically enters all of my airfare, hotel and car rental reservations into a single chronological itinerary, but then lets me add everything in between, such as meetings, dinner restaurant plans, and other activities.
While I am planning my travels, TripIt ensures I have all the connections I need. If I land at this airport, do I have a rental car or other transportation to the hotel? This forces me to get in advance all of the times and locations of every client dinner, briefing, or other meeting, so that I can plan how to get from point A, to B, to C, accordingly.
A few days before my trip, I can print out my TripIt itinerary, to PDF format file to send to my family and co-workers.
While traveling, I have the TripIt app to have all the information I need close at hand, including hotel address locations, or confirmation numbers once I arrive to the hotel.
[FlightStats] will show you the status of all flights, on any airline. Just enter the 2-character airline code, like AA for American Airlines, or DL for Delta Airlines, then the flight number. Here are the different ways I find this useful:
When I land at an airport connection, but have not yet left the plane, I can use FlightStats to determine which gate I have arrived at, and which gate I need for my next flight. This will give me a good sense of how much time I have, do I need to hurry, can I stop for a snack, and so on.
FlightStats seems to be more up-to-date than computer screens at the airport. I have learned of flight delays from FlightStats sooner than I have from the computer screens or gate agents.
If my flight is canceled or delayed, FlightStats also can find flights from point A to B using real-time information.
Are there any apps or web sites you recommend? Please comment below!
Mark your calendars! IBM plans to have back-to-back Technical University events in Hollywood, Florida:
October 8-12, will focus on IBM Z mainframe, and a subset of IBM Storage that offer synergy for IBM Z, such as DS8880 storage system, and the TS7760 Virtual Tape Engine.
October 15-19, will focus on IBM Power Systems and the entire IBM Storage portfolio.
When I first learned of this, I was not aware there was a city called Hollywood in Florida. The Hollywood in Florida is situated between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, so you can fly into either of those two airports to get to the conference.
(Did you know? The Hollywood most people know in California is no longer its own city, but rather incorporated as a neighborhood district into Los Angeles back in 1910. There are actually thirty different places called "Hollywood" around the world, two dozen in the United States, with the rest scattered in Ireland, Turkey, Russia, Singapore and the Philippines. Not all of these are formally "cities", but in some cases neighborhoods, districts, unincorporated areas, or other populated places. The Hollywood in Maryland claims to be the first, established in 1867!)
I only plan to attend the second week only, October 15-19. Here are some highlights:
In the past, IBM had keynote sessions for each brand, for example, one focused on IBM Power systems, and another on IBM Storage. However, these were scheduled during the same time slot, forcing some people to make a tough choice.
To solve this, the two keynote sessions will be staggered, so attendees can attend both!
The storage keynote will take on a new format, with a panel of experts. I have been invited as one of the experts to participate! If there is a particular topic you want to hear about on the panel, please enter your comments below.
As with most conferences, there is a "Call for Papers" requesting speakers submit the topics they can present, and then conference coordinators accept, adjust or reject them in building the final agenda.
Here are the topics I submitted:
Build your personal brand! Social Media tips from an experienced blogger
The Pendulum Swings Back - Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
IBM Hybrid and Multi-Cloud storage solutions
IBM Cloud Object Storage (powered by Cleversafe)
Managing Risks with Data Footprint Reduction
Information Lifecycle Management: Why Archive is different than Backup
The Seven Tiers of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
If you attended the IBM Technical Universtiy in Orlando last May, the conference in October will have six months' worth of new announcements and products to cover.
I also plan to be at the IBM Technical University events in Johannesburg, South Africa (September 11-13), and Rome, Italy (October 22-26). If you plan to be at any of these events, let me know! If not, you can follow along with Twitter hashtag: #IBMtechU
Several readers have asked me what is the difference between Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud. The two phrases are used in various contexts, not just by IBM, but also by our competitors, as well as the press and industry analysts.
A hybrid cloud attempts to develop a single platform to run a specific Cloud workload. This single platform combines two or more of the following resources:
on-premise private Cloud
off-premise private Cloud
off-premise public Cloud
A Hybrid Cloud is like the United Nations peacekeeping force. A single force, with a single mission, representing the combined resources of many countries.
A Hybrid Cloud is a deployment model that might offer advantages over just using a Private Cloud, or just using a Public Cloud.
A practical example is Tennis Australia. For three weeks every January, they run the Australian Open, a tennis tournament, with over 4,000 employees, and millions of views to their website each day. For the rest of the year, they have only about 300 employees, and manage quite well to run smaller tournaments for high-school and college students, as well as plan for next year's event.
In this case, a Hybrid Cloud that combines perhaps two racks of an on-premise private Cloud, combined with the incredible power of IBM Cloud, gives them the variability and agility needed to run smoothly without wasting CAPEX on equipment they don't need.
Many "Hybrid Cloud" products focus on being the "glue" that combines two different resources together. This can be at the management layer, the data layer, the application layer, or the infrastructure layer.
In contrast, a Multi-Cloud represents a deployment strategy for different Cloud workloads. One workload might be better served on a Private Cloud, another workload might be better served on a Public Cloud, and a third workload, as we saw above, might benefit from the combined resources of a Hybrid Cloud.
In the past, people felt that all Cloud Service Providers were the same. Just as people buy gasoline from which ever gas station offers the lowest prices, many just chose their Cloud Service Provider based entirely on the costs involved. Loyalty can change the minute new price tables are published.
But today, Cloud Service Providers have made an effort to provide differentiation. For example, your Multi-Cloud might have three Hybrid Clouds. One cloud platform combines your on-premise Private Cloud with IBM Cloud, another combines your on-premise Private Cloud with Amazon Web Services, and a third combines your on-premise Cloud with Microsoft Azure.
In this case, a Multi-Cloud is like the various armed forces. You might deploy the Army for one mission, the Navy for another, and the Air Force or Marines for a third.
Many "Multi-Cloud" products focus on being versatile and multi-purpose. For example, the same FlashSystem 9100 that you deploy in your "Analytics Cloud" platform could also be useful for your "Docker Container Cloud" platform, or your "DevOPS Cloud" platform. IBM's various Multi-Cloud Solutions provide the additional software and services needed to complement the FlashSystem 9100 to pull this off.
Deciding to use a Multi-Cloud strategy is mostly a business decision. Deploying a Hybrid Cloud as one of your Multi-Cloud platforms could be a combination of business and technical decision.
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! After much needed vacation in Cancun Mexico, Lake Havasu and Sedona, Arizona, I am glad to be back at work! This week, I was visiting clients in the Los Angeles area.
IBM FlashSystem 9100
IBM's latest addition to its lineup of All-Flash Arrays is the FlashSystem 9100.
There are actually two models: the 9110 (model AF7) has 8-core processors, and the 9150 (model AF8) has 14-core processors. Both models are 2U 19-inch shelves with 24 drives on the front, with two control node canisters in the back. The term "FlashSystem 9100" applies to both 9110 and 9150 models.
Each canister has two processors, 64GB to 768GB of cache memory, an on-board 1GbE port for management, four 10GbE ports for Ethernet, and three HIC slots for I/O adapters, which can be any mix of quad-port FC cards, dual-port 25GbE Ethernet cards, or 12Gb SAS cards for expansion drawers.
For drives, you can have any mix of FlashCore Modules (FCM) or Industry-Standard NVMe (ISN) drives. The FlashCore modules are similar to the FlashCore boards in the FlashSystem 900, including Variable-Striped RAID, advanced flash management, heat binning, health separation, hardware-embedded encryption and compression.
These FCM are packaged into standard NVMe SSD form-factor, with 4.8, 9.6 and 19.2 TB capacities. The Industry-Standard NVMe drives come in 1.92, 3.84, 7.68 and 15.36 TB capacities to offer additional price/capacity options to clients.
A fully maxed out twenty-four FCM module system at 19.2TB represents approximately 400TB usable capacity, combined with 5:1 data footprint reduction with deduplication and compression, can provide up to an effective 2PB in as little as 2U of rack space!
The NVMe and FlashCore technology truly accelerates performance. Latencies as low as 100 microseconds are 2.5x lower than competitive offerings. Each control enclosure can deliver up to 2.5 Million IOPS, and a four-way cluster up to 10 million IOPS in just 8U!
You can mix and match FCM and ISN drives in the same controller, but FCM and ISN have to be in their own separate RAID groups. To use Distributed RAID6 (DRAID6), you need at least six drives for this.
IBM has made a "Statement of Direction" that these models are NVMe-OF hardware ready and will support both FC-NVMe and NVMe-OF over Ethernet by year end. Part of this involves changes to server-side software, including various operating systems, device drivers, and multi-pathing drivers.
The FlashSystem 9100 support up to 40U of expansion drawers, over 12Gb SAS, in two sizes. A 2U drawer for 24 SFF drives, and 5U for 92 SFF/LFF drives. Each FlashSystem 9100 can support up to 760 drives. These expansion drawers are not NVMe, so the Solid-State Drives (SSD) inside them use standard SAS. Consider using Easy Tier sub-LUN automated tiering to move fast data up to the FCM/ISN drives, and slower data to these SAS-based SSD.
Even though it doesn't have a "V" in its name, the FlashSystem 9100 runs Spectrum Virtualize, so you can also virtualize other storage behind it. Over 400 different storage devices from leading storage vendors are supported. The FlashSystem 9100 can be virtualized behind SVC or FlashSystem V9000.
FlashSystem 9100 can also cluster with Gen2 and Gen2+ models of the Storwize V7000 and V7000F controllers. You can connect up to four of any of these into a single cluster, supporting up to 3,040 drives.
The FlashSystem 9100 offers all of the features you have come to love from the rest of the Spectrum Virtualize products: data deduplication and compression, encryption, high-availability guarantee, data footprint reduction guarantee, hardware refresh option after three years, storage utility pricing, and IBM Storage Insights support.
IBM has no plans to withdraw either the existing FlashSystem V9000 nor the Storwize V7000/F models anytime soon. They continue to be available for purchase.
To complement the hardware features of the FlashSystem 9100, IBM has come up with three Multi-cloud solutions.
Multi-Cloud Solution for Data Reuse, Protection and Efficiency - this combines Spectrum CDM with Spectrum Protect Plus to take snapshots of volumes on FlashSystem 9100. These snapshots are not just for data protection, but can also be "reused" for other purposes, like dev/test, DevOPS, or analytics.
Multi-Cloud Solution for Business Continuity and Data Reuse - combines Spectrum CDM with Spectrum Virtualize in the Public Cloud, allowing you to take snapshots to the IBM Cloud for disaster recovery. The snapshots can be used in the cloud, or copied back to the same or different data center.
Multi-Cloud Solution for Private Cloud Flexibility and Data Protection - combines IBM Cloud Private, Spectrum CDM, and Spectrum Connect to support client's efforts to re-factor their applications with Docker containers and Kubernetes. IBM FlashSystem 9100 can be used as persistent storage for containerized applications.
This release applies only to the Storwize V7000/F and the new FlashSystem 9100 models, and provides support for iSCSI Extensions over RDMA (iSER) on the 25GbE NIC cards. If you want to cluster existing Storwize V7000/F models to the new FlashSystem 9100 models, you need all of them to be at least v8.2.0 release.
Lower latencies and higher bandwidth requirements can be addressed by using RDMA to implement iSCSI. iSER is a new interconnect protocol that allows iSCSI to run on top of RDMA technology. RDMA can be implemented by using RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet) or iWARP (Internet Wide-area RDMA Protocol). iSER enables iSCSI to run on top of it regardless of which of these technologies is used underneath.
The "Storage Utility" pricing available for many of IBM's other products has been extended to include the IBM FlashSystem 9100 and IBM Cloud Object Storage.
Basically, this is a variable-priced usage-based lease. Let's say you lease 500TB of capacity, but only use 150TB, the first few months you only pay for 150TB, a bit later, you use more, and now start paying more monthly, say 200TB. The price can go up or down. At the end of the lease, typically 36 or 60 months, you have a choice: give the equipment back, or pay the difference.