This week I am in IBM Research Triangle Park (RTP) near Raleigh, NC visiting clients and participating in the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
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.)
Everybody asks me how to be a great blogger. Luckily, I just happened upon a post from fellow blogger David Spark of Spark Media Solutions titled [Why I'm Annoyed By All "How to Create Great Content" Advice] and it was perfect timing!
Anyways, my presentation [A dozen blogging tips from an experienced blogger] is posted on the IBM Expert Network on SlideShare for everyone to look at. And yes, SlideShare runs on IBM SoftLayer!
What's the best, or worst, advice you have ever heard about blogging? Enter your comments below!
technorati tags: IBM, #cloudres, ITSO, Redbook, Vasfi Gucer, Michael Fork, Tina Williams, Jennifer Turner, Mohsin Syed, Jeff Antley, David Sparks, Spark Media Solutions, IBM Expert Network, SlideShare
Wrapping up my coverage of the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, the final day was focused writing your first blog post.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
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.
IBM Social Media Guidelines
The residents were reminded to abide by the [IBM Social Media Guidelines] which are made publicly available for all to see.
I also subscribe to the notion of the [Blog with Integrity] oath, which is as follows:
"I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.
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.
One was the book, signed by fellow author Ed Brill, titled [Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager].
I brought in a few copies from my book series [Inside System Storage: Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, Volume IV and Volume V.]. I signed them personally to each winner.
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.
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!
technorati tags: IBM, ITSO, Social media guidelines, blog integrity, social business, IBM Connections, Ed Brill, Redbooks, thought leader, Ryan Boyles, Vasfi Gucer, Tamikia Barrow, Hillary Danz, Caroline Wall, Ric Telford, Jane Munn, LeaAnne Williams, Tina Williams, Karen Davis, Michael Fork, Shelbee Eigenbrode, Farzad Aidun, Wolfgang Kulhanek, Stewart Hyman, Arun Anandasivam, Eric Kern, Mohsin Syed, Chris Rosen, Hans Zai, Odilon Junior
Continuing my coverage of the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, day 4 was focused on incorporating video into your blog.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
As a filmmaker, I am not stranger to making and being filmed in videos. Here are some of the different types of videos that you can incorporate in your blog.
[Machinima] is the use of real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production.
In 2006, I produced IBM's first [Product Launch in Second Life - April 26 Event].
It was a live event, but we decided to screen capture it for posterity, and we created a short [Second Life Highlights of IBM Product Launch] video on YouTube.
In 2011, I thought it would be good to bring back this video as the basis for an April Fools' prank, titled [IBM System Storage Video Recognized at International Film Festival].
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!
Live-action is what we traditionally think of video of humans, cats and other animals. I did [Enterprise Systems: Storage] for a product launch last year, and [New Redpaper on IBM Smart Storage Cloud] to promote the new ITSO Redpaper.
For this residency, one of the exercises was to make a quick 30-60 second live-action video talking about your thoughts on cloud, when was a good "cloud moment" or vision for the future.
Here Martin Keen (IBM Redbooks Project Leader) is filming Farzad Aidun, IBM Cloud Client Technical Specialist for US Federal. His video is [Cloud: Meet Farzad Aidun].
Here is my video [My Cloud Moment by Tony Pearson], referring to Derek Gottfrid's success at the New York Times using Cloud to convert millions of articles into PDF. You can read the original NYT article [Self-Service, Prorated Supercomputing Fun!]
For some fun, Martin put together a [blooper reel].
What was your "Cloud moment"? When did you realize that Cloud Storage and Cloud Computing was a major driver for business growth? Enter your Cloud moment in the comments below!
technorati tags: IBM, machinima, Second Life, Arizona International Film Festival, AIFF, Ken Burns, Ken Burns Effect, XIV, DDF, Animoto, ITSO, Redbooks, Farzad Aidun, NYT, DerekGottfrid, Martin Keen, Camtasia, Jing
Continuing my coverage of the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, day 3 was filled with strategic and technical sessions on private, hybrid and public cloud solutions from IBM.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
But first, a quick story.
A few years go, I was at the [Venetian hotel in Las Vegas], and took their famous [gondola ride] in a flat-bottom boat along a canal, partly in the hotel, and partly outside.
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.
Excerpted from "Ignore Everybody" by Hugh MacLeod of [gapingvoid.com]
"Blogging requires passion and authority. Which leaves out most people."
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:
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.
technorati tags: IBM, Las Vegas, Venetian Hotel, gondola, Vasfi Gucer, Hugh MacLeod, Ric Telford, Jane Munn, Michael Fork, Hans Zai, Odilon Junior, SoftLayer, OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, SmartCloud, SAP, Social Business, System Storage, LotusLive
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.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
My blogging approach is more akin to the iterative, incremental, bottom-up approach of [Agile software development], resulting in gritty, edgy, timely and, yes, sometimes controversial content.
The ITSO Residency resembles the more formal, top-down [Waterfall model], resulting in more corporate-looking work. Of course, IBM doesn't want its blogs to be the typical [Blah, blah, and double blah]. Fellow blogger Paul Boag has a great post on the [10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Blogging].
Fortunately, IBM is often recognized for having some of the best corporate blogs. For example, the [IBMblr] blog is highlighted in fellow bloggers Arik Hanson's post [5 inspiring corporate blogs to emulate].
Here were some of the speakers we had for Day 2:
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!
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Stephen over at RupturedMonkey discusses the challenges of recruiting storage admi
There is actually a great standard called Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) that applies not just to storage administrators, but other IT personnel such as network administrators and server administrators. Here's a quick web-site about ITIL History:
ITIL History can be traced back to the late 1980’s when the British government determined that the level of IT service quality provided to them was not sufficient enough. The Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), now called the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), was tasked with developing a framework for efficient and financially responsible use of IT resources within the British government and the private sector.
This standard spread from the UK to other governments in Europe, and is now being adopted worldwide by government agencies, non-profit organizations and commercial enterprises. IBM, of course, has been involved along the way, encouraging this set of best practices to take hold.
IBMer John Long, in ITSM Watch article, points outsome key points:
The general process is now referred to as "IT Service Management", and the seven ITIL books are managed by the IT Service Management forum (ITSMf).
ITIL is vendor-independent. You can learn ITIL disciplines at one IT shop, and carry those skills with you when you go to another IT shop that has completely different gear. A common vocabulary would allow employers to post jobs in a consistent manner, and ask questions to those interviewing for the job. You can be ITIL-trained, and even ITIL-certified. IBM offers this training.
Of course, specific skills on how to use specific software to configure storage devices, request change control approvals, or define SAN zones, are useful, but often can be picked up on the job, reading the vendor manuals on the specifics. Of course, you can use IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center, which would allow someone to manage a variety of disk, tape and SAN fabric gear from one interface, greatly reducing the learning curve.
technorati tags: IBM, ITIL, IT, Service, Management, standards, storage, administrators, admins, skills, recruitment, vocabulary, TotalStorage, Prod
Welcome back everyone! Were you the IT Support for your friends and family during the holidays?
Last year, in my infamous "Laptop for Grandma" blog post series, I discussed my week exploring various Linux distributions (aka "distros") to find one that would re-purpose Grandma's laptop into an MP3 player. Here is the entire series for your reference.
With Microsoft [dropping support for Windows XP this April], many people got new PCs for the holidays.
(Why not just upgrade to a newer version of Windows in place? Well, [Microsoft Windows 7 requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM, with 4GB recommended], and these old machines simply do not have enough memory. If the motherboard could support the hardware and software upgrades, the cost of Windows 7 license and 4GB of RAM might get into hundreds of dollars!)
So what happens to the old machines? They come to me, of course, with three requests:
I had six old machines to work on this year. Generally, I only get the towers, as most people keep their mouse, keyboard and monitor for their next machine.
For five of them, the process was fairly straightforward. First, I would boot up the system to see what it was running, typically Windows XP or Windows Vista, and simply transfer the "My Documents" folder to an external USB drive.
If the system doesn't boot on its own, perhaps because the OS is corrupted on the hard drive or infected by a virus, then I would boot a Linux-based LiveCD, such as my favorite [SystemRescueCD], and copy the data over to USB external drive that way.
(The shred tool is more thorough, but I prefer scrub for its ease-of-use. Its default National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) method writes over the entire disk four times with different random patterns of data.)
Third, I would do a fresh install of the now out-dated Linux Mint 12 LXDE from CD. Why Linux Mint 12 LXDE? I don't have to worry about any licensing issues with Linux. Linux Mint is the [fourth most widely used home operating system] in the world.
The latest version of Linux Mint is 16, and version 13 has Long Term Support through 2017, but version 12 is the last release small enough to fit on a 700MB CD for the old machines that cannot read the higher capacity DVD media.
Linux Mint comes with various graphical interfaces, but the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment [LXDE] edition runs in as low as 256MB of memory, the minimum that Windows XP requires. Many newer operating systems expect 1GB or more. The machine is then ready to give to charity. Whomever gets it can certainly install a different OS if they prefer.
So, the process went smoothly for the first five, but the sixth machine gave me an interesting challenge. Here are the specs:
Operating System: Windows 98 Processor: AMD-K6 (Pentium II-class) 150 MHz RAM: 32MB Hard disk: 10GB Removable media: 3.5-inch floppy and CD-ROM drive Keyboard port: standard PS/2 mouse port: 6-pin DIN Ethernet NIC: 10Mb USB ports: none
Yikes! Windows 98? 32MB of RAM? Even a [Raspberry Pi] has more than this!
My keyboard fits, but my mouse doesn't, so I had to look up Windows 98 keyboard shortcuts to navigate the system. The age of the files indicates this machine was actively used from 1999 to 2005. While most people only keep a PC for 3-5 years, this hardware is 14 years old! It has been sitting in Judy's closet collecting dust the rest of the time.
Without USB port or CD burner, there were only two ways to get data off this system. First, was the 1.44MB floppy disk, and the second was through the Ethernet card. I was able to configure TCP/IP and connect via FTP back to my FTP server, allowing me to copy the files over.
Most of my LiveCDs that I tried just froze mid-boot without sufficient memory. Not even my SystemRescueCD would boot. I was able to use [Basic Linux BL3 version 3.5] which boots from two floppy diskettes and requires only 12MB of RAM.
Basic Linux has neither shred nor scrub utilities, so I used old school "dd" command, which was painfully slow.
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda1
While this was not as secure as NNSA, Department of Defense (DoD), or Guttman methods of erasure, I figured it was good enough for a 14-year old machine that had not been used since 2005.
While BL3 includes an install-to-hd script to copy the files over to the hard drive, I could not get LILO to boot natively from /dev/hda1. So, I switched to booting from Damn Small Linux [DSL] LiveCD. Using the "dsl 2" boot cheat code, I was able to boot directly to a superuser text-based prompt, allowing me to create two partitions, a 128MB swap and the rest for an ext2 file system.
DSL only requires 8MB of RAM, but having the extra 128MB swap ensures success. I was able to install DSL on the hard drive, fix up lilo.conf, and boot directly from it.
What a great way to start a new year! Happy New Year everyone!
If you would like a bit of humor, check out my [IT Superstar" video], and yes, I do speak several languages including Portuguese.
Last week's earthquake in Haiti reminds us all how fragile systems can be. Part of a complete Information Infrastructure is Information Security. Back in 2006, IBM [acquired Internet Security Services]. This week, IBM announces two sets of ISS Data Security Services: These services can include assessments of your current environment, running workshops to help gather requirements, help design security policies, and even follow through with implementation.
Both of these services include implementation of help desk support as well. To learn more, check out the ISS [Virtual Briefing Center].
Yesterday, I asked if you were prepared for the future? The future is now. Today, IBM announced its["New Enterprise Data Center"] vision and strategy which spans software, hardware and services in dealing withthe latest challenges that our clients are faced with today, or will face sooner or later this century.
Here's an excerpt:
Align IT with business goals
A lot was announced today, so I will give a quick recap now, and cover specific areas over the rest of the week.
Want to learn more? Read this 15-page[IBM's Vision]white paper.
technorati tags: IBM, New Enterprise Data Center, vision, strategy, z10 EC, mainframe, Enterprise Class, Jim Stallings, Linux, UNIX, Windows, z/OS, ITSMCz, Gartner, DS8000, infrastructure, services, economic stimulus package[Read More]