Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Architect for the IBM Storage product line at the
IBM Systems Client Experience Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor
to IBM's developerWorks. In 2016, Tony celebrates his 30th year anniversary with IBM Storage. He is
author of the Inside System Storage series of books. This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.
(Short URL for this blog: ibm.co/Pearson )
My books are available on Lulu.com! Order your copies today!
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We had a great event today! This was a first-of-a-kind product launch, using Second Life as the medium. We invited IBM Business Partners, industry analysts and reporters from the Press to have their "avatars" in-world to watch us launch new tape systems, archive and retention systems, and disk systems announced this month.
Andy Monshaw, IBM System Storage General Manager, welcomed everyone to the event, and introduced our three speakers.He mentioned that this was a great innovative way to meet, collaborate and forge relationships without the carbon pollution associated with travel required by a more traditional face-to-face meeting. We had attendees from the USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Colombia, and Brazil.
All the attendees were given a "goody bag" that contained IBM BP-logo clothing, animations and gestures to be used during the meeting.
Eric Buckley, one of our marketing managers for tape systems, introduced our complete line of LTO 4 tape systems, as wellas the TS7520 Virtualization Engine, a virtual tape library for Windows, UNIX and Linux servers. Eric had a virtual 3-Dversion of an LTO cartridge that is photo-realistic and dimensionally correct.
Funda Eceral, our solutions manager for archive and retention offerings, presented the new version of the IBM System Storage DR550, the DR550 file system gateway, and the IBM System Storage Multilevel Grid Archive Manager. At first we thought we would "pass the microphone" from speaker to speaker, but it turned out to be easier just to give all three speakers their own microphone.
Last, but not least, was David Tareen, marketing manager for disk systems, covering the entry-level DS3000 Express disk system bundles designed for our SMB client. David used a black-and-brown pointer stick to point out specific things on the charts.
After the presentations, Kristie Bell, VP of Marketing for IBM System Storage, hosted a Question & Answer (Q&A) panel.Avatars rose their left hand to indicate they had a question.
We thought it would be a good idea to have a few minutes at the end to socialize over a cup of coffee. This involved making a "coffee machine" that dispensed coffee, and the appropriate animations and gestures so that everyone could sip the coffee, and hold the coffee at waist level when they were talking.
The event was held upstairs in one of the conference rooms of the IBM Briefing Center, located on "IBM 8" island.Many people went to the ground floor to look at the many IBM System Storage products on display. Unlike a picture on a web-page, Second Life gives you a 3-D view that you can walk around each product, and get a feel for the size and shape of the hardware.
We had four photographers and camera-persons on hand to capture still shots, video, audio, and chat text, and are working now to combine them for marketing collateral. I want to thank the builders, script programmers, animators, clothing designers, speakers, editors, and channel enablement team for making this event such a great success!
The Magic Quadrant is copyrighted concept by Gartner, representing a two-by-two grid that ranks various offerings from different vendors. Ideally, vendors want their products in the upper right "Leaders" quadrant. Yahoo Finance reports:
According to Gartner, Inc., "Leaders have the highest combined measures of an ability to execute and a completeness of vision. They have the most comprehensive and scalable products. They have a proven track record of financial performance and an established market presence. In terms of vision, they are perceived as thought leaders, having well-articulated plans for ease of use, how to address scalability and product breadth. For vendors to have long-term success, they must plan to address the expanded market requirements for change management and root-cause and performance analysis. Leaders must not only deliver to the current market requirements, which continue to change, but they also need to anticipate and deliver on future requirements. A cornerstone for leaders is the ability to articulate how these requirements will be addressed as part of their vision for resource management. As a group, leaders can be considered a part of most new purchase proposals, and they have high success rates in winning new business."
IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center is a strategic part of IBM Service Management, and a foundational component of the IBM Systems Director family. IBM is making a concerted effort across servers, networks, software and storage to help manage the IT infrastructure in a coordinated way.
It seems like I just get out of one conference, and into another. This week I am at Pulse 2008, which combines the best of IBM Tivoli and Maximo into one conference.Like many conferences, this one starts on Sunday, and ends on Thursday.
We're at the Swan and Dolphin hotels at [Walt Disney World] in Orlando, Florida. I've been to several conferences in Orlando, but this is my first time at the Swanand Dolphin. (When I walked into the main lobby, I had a bout of "deja vu". IBM LotusSphere was here last year, and they had a complete replica made in SecondLife!)
If you haven't been to Walt Disney World resorts, whether for a conference or vacation,there are two things you need to know:
Nothing is within a short "walking distance", you need to take a bus or boat to get anywhere
Despite this, you will be doing a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes!
Pulse encouraged everyone to blog and take pictures posted onto FlickR, here are a few from Sunday:
Lou and Elizabeth from [Syclo], an IBM Business Partner
Mike and Megha from [Birlasoft] show off their accreditation
Greg Tevis explains FilesX, recently acquired by IBM
Continuing my summary of Pulse 2008, the premiere service managementconference focusing on IBM Tivoli solutions, I attended and presentedbreakout sessions on Monday afternoon.
Tivoli Storage "State-of-the-Subgroup" update
Kelly Beavers, IBM director of Tivoli Storage, presented the first breakout for all of the Tivoli Storage subgroup.Tivoli has several subgroups, but Tivoli Storage leads with revenuesand profits over all the others.Tivoli storage has top performing business partner channel of anysubgroup in IBM's Software Group division.IBM is world's #1 provider of storage vendor (hardware, softwareand services), so this came to no surprise to most of the audience.
Looking at just the Storage Software segment, it is estimatedthat customers will spend $3.5 billion US dollars more in the year 2011 than they did last year in 2007. IBM is #2 or #3 in eachof the four major categories: Data Protection, Replication, Infrastructure management, and Resource management. In eachcategory, IBM is growing market share, often taking away share fromthe established leaders.
There was a lot of excitement over the FilesX acquisition.I am still trying to learn more about this, but what I have gathered so far is that it can:
Like turning a "knob", you can adjust the level of backupprotection from traditional discrete scheduled backups, to morefrequent snapshots, to continuous data protection (CDP). Inthe past, you often used separate products or features to dothese three.
Perform "instantaneous restore" by performing a virtualmount of the backup copy. This gives the appearance that therestore is complete.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of IBM Tivoli StorageManager (TSM), with over 20,000 customers. Also, this yearmarks the 6th year for IBM SAN Volume Controller, having soldover 12,000 SVC engines to over 4,000 customers.
Data Protection Strategies
Greg Tevis, IBM software architect for Tivoli Technical Strategy,and I presented this overview of data protection. We coveredthree key areas:
Protecting against unethical tampering with Non-erasable, Non-rewriteable (NENR) storage solutions
Protecting against unauthorized access with encryption ondisk and tape
Protecting against unexpected loss or corruption with theseven "Business Continuity" tiers
There was so much interest in the first two topics that weonly had about 9 minutes left to cover the third! Fortunately,Business Continuity will be covered in more detail throughoutthe week.
Henk de Ruiter from ABN Amro bank presented his success storyimplementing Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) across hisvarious data centers using IBM systems, software and services.
Making your Disk Systems more Efficient and Flexible
I did not come up with the titles of these presentations. Theteam that did specifically chose to focus on the "business value"rather than the "products and services" being presented. Inthis session, Dave Merbach, IBM software architect, and I presentedhow SAN Volume Controller (SVC), TotalStorage Productivity Center,System Storage Productivity Center, Tivoli Provisioning Managerand Tivoli Storage Process Manager work to make your disk storagemore efficient and flexible.
I attended the main tent sessions on Day 2 (Monday). The focuswas on Visibility, Control and Automation.
Steve is IBM senior VP and Group Executive of the IBM Software Group, and presented someinsightful statistics from the IBM Global Technology Outlookstudy, some recent IBM wins, and other nuggets of IT trivia:
In 2001, there were about 60 million transistors per humanbeing. By 2010, this is estimated to increase to one billion per human
In 2005, there were about 1.3 billion RFID tags, by 2010this is estimated to grow to over 30 billion
IBM helped the City of Stockholm, Sweden, reduce traffic congestion 20-25% using computer technology
Only about 25% data is original, the remaining75% is replicated
In 2007, there were approximately 281 Exabytes (EB), expected to increase to 1800 EB by the year 2011
70 percent of unstructured data is user-created content, but 85 percent of this will be managed by enterprises
Only 20% of data is subject to compliance rules and standards, and about 30% subject to security applications
Human error is the primary reason for breaches, with34% of organizations experiencing a major breach in 2006
10% of IT budget is energy costs (power and cooling), and thiscould rise to 50% in the next decade
30 to 60 percent of energy is wasted. During the next 5 years, people will spend as much on energy as they will on new hardware purchases.
Al Zollar is the General Manager of IBM Tivoli. He discussedthe 20 some recent software acquisitions, including Encentuate and FilesX earlier this year.
"The time has come to fully industrialize operations" -- Al Zollar
What did Al mean about "industrizalize"? This is theclosed-loop approach of continuous improvement, including design, delivery and management.
Al used several examples from other industries:
Henry Ford used standardized parts and processautomation. Assembly of an automatobile went from 12 hours by master craftsmen, to delivering a new model T every 23 seconds off anassembly line.
Power generation was developed by Thomas Edison. A satellite picture showed the extent of the [Blackout of 2003 in Northeast US and Canada]. The time for "smart grid" has arrived, making sensors andmeters more intelligent. This allows non-essential IP-enabled appliances in our home or office to be turned off to reduce energy consumption.
[McCarran International Airport] integrated the management of 13,000 assets with IBM Tivoli Maximo Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software, and was able to increase revenues through more accurate charge-back. Unlike traditional EnterpriseResource Planning (ERP) applications, EAM offers the deep management of four areas: production equipment, facilities, transportation, and IT.
When compared to these other industries, management of IT is in itsinfancy. The expansion of [Web 2.0] and Service-Oriented Architecture [SOA] is driving this need.What people need is a "new enterprise data center" that IBM Tivoli software can help you manage across operational boundaries. IBM can integrate through open standards with management software from Cisco, Sun, OracleMicrosoft, CA, HP, BMC Software, Alcatel Lucent, and SAP.Together with our ecosystems of technology partners, IBM ismeeting these challenges.
IBM clients have achieved return on investment from gettingbetter control of their environment. This week there are client experience presentations Sandia National Labs, Spirit AeroSystems, Bank of America, and BT Converged communication services.
Chris O'Connor used some of his staff as "actors" to show an incredible live demo of various Tivoli and Maximo products for the mythical launch of "Project Vitalize", thenew online web store for a new "Aero Z bike" from the mythical VCA Bike and Motorcycle company.
Shoel Perelman played the role of "CIO".The CIO locked down all spending, and asked the IT staff to make the shift from bricks-and-mortar to web salesof this new product on in 15 months. While the company andsituation were mythical, all the products that were part of thelive demo are all readily available.The CIO had three goals:
What do we have? where is it? what's connected to what?Traditionally, these would be answered from lists in spreadsheets.The CIO had a goal to deploy IBM Tivoli Application DependenceDiscover Manager (TADDM) which discovered all hardware and software,with an easy to understand view, and how each piece serves the business applications.
Each of the teams have processes, and needed them consistent andrepeatable, tightly linked together. Time is often wasted on thephone coordinating IT changes. For this, the CIO had a goalto deploy Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database (CCMDB) for "strict change control".The process dashboard is accessible for all teams, to see how all projects are progressing. There is also aCompliance dashboard, which identifies all changes by role, clearly spelling out who can do what.
There is a lot of computerized machinery, Manufacturing assets and robotics. The CIO set a goal to "do more with existing people", and needed to automate key processes.Sales rep wanted to add a new distributor to key web portal.This was all done through their "service catalog", When they needed to deploy a new application, they were able to find servers with available capacity and adjust using automatic provisioning. Thanks to IBM, the IT staff no longer get paged at 3am in the morning, and fewer days are spent in the "war room". They now have confidence that thelaunch will be successful.
Ritika Gunnar played the role of "Operations manager". She highlightedfive areas:
"Service viewer" dashboard with green/yellow/red indicators forall of their edge, application and datbase servers. This allowsher to get data 4-5 times faster and more accurate.
Tivoli Enterprise Portal eliminates bouncingaround various products.
Tivoli Common Reporting for CPU utilization of all systems, helps find excess capacity usingIBM Tivoli Monitor
On average, 85 percent of problems are caused by IT changes to the environment. IBM can help find dependencies, so that changes in one area do not impact other areas unexpectedly
Process Automation will Show changes that have been completed, in progress, or overdue.She can see all steps in a task or change request. A"workflow" automates all the key steps that need to be taken.
Laura Knapp played the role of "Facilities manager". She wanted to See all processes that apply to her work using a role-based process dashboard. The advantage of using IBM is that it changes work habits, reduces overtimeby 42 percent, improves morale. The IT staff now works as team,collaborates more, and jobs get done faster with fewer mistakes.Employees are online, accessing, monitoring and managing dataquicker. In days not weeks.
IBM Tivoli Enterprise Console (TEP) served as a common vehicle.She was able to pull up floor plan online, displaying all of the managed assets and mapped features. With the temperature overlay from Maximo Spatial, she was able to review hot spots on data center floor. Heat can cause servers to fail or shut down.
Power utilization chart at peak loadsCan now anticipate, predict and watch power consumption,and were able to justify replacement with newer, more energy-efficient equipment.
The CIO got back on stage, and explained the great success of thelaunch. They use Webstore usage tracking, security tools tracking all new registrations, and trackingserver and storage load.It now only takes hours, not weeks, to add new business partners and distributors.Tivoli Service Quality Assurance toolstrack all orders placed, processed, and shipped.Faster responsiveness is competitive advantage. TheirIT department is no longer seen as stodgy group, but as a world classorganization.
The live demo showed how IBM can help clients with rapid decisionmaking, speed and accuracy of change processes, and automation to take actions quickly. The result is a strong return on investment (ROI).
Liz Smith, IBM General Manager of Infrastructure Services, presented the results of an IBM survey to CEOs and CIOs asking questions like: What is the next big impact? Where are you investing?What will new datacenter look like?
The five key traits they found for companies of the future:
They were hungry for change
Innovative beyond customer imagination
Disruptive by nature
Genuine, not just generous
The IT infrastructure must be secure, reliable, and flexible.Taking care of environment is a corporate responsibility, notjust a way to reduce costs.
The five entry points for IBM Service Management: Integrate, Industrialize,Discover,Monitor and Protect.IBM Service management and compliance are critical for theGlobally Integrated Enterprise, with repeatable, scalable and consistent processes that enablechange to an automated workflow. This reduces errors, risks and costs, and improves productivity.IBM has talent, assets and experience to help any client get there.
Lance lives in Austin, TX, where IBM Tivoli is headquartered,so this made a good choice as a keynote speaker.He is best known for winning seven "Tour de France" bicycle races in a row, but he spoke instead gave an inspirational talk about how he survived cancer.
In 1996, Lance was diagnosed with cancer. Surprisingly, He said it was thegreatest thing that happened to him, and gave him new perspective on his life, family and the sport ofbicycling.Back then, there wasn't a webMD, Google or other Web 2.0 socialnetworking sites for Lance to better understand what he wasgoing through, learn more about treatment options, or find othersgoing through the same ordeal.
After his treatment, he was considered "damaged goods" by manyof the leading European bicycle teams. So, he joined the US Postal Serviceteam, not known for their wins, but often invited to sell TVrights to American audiences. Collaborating with his coachesand other members of his team, he revolutionized the bicycling sport, analyzed everything about the race, and built up morale.He won the first "yellow jersey" in 1999, and did so each yearfor a total of seven wins.
Lance formed the [Livestrong foundation] to help other cancer survivors. Nike came to him and proposed donating 5 million "rubber bracelets"colored yellow to match his seven yellow jerseys, with the name "Livestrong" embossed on them, that his foundation couldthen sell for one dollar apiece to raise funds. What some thought was a silly idea at first has started amovement.At the 2004 Olympics, many athletes from all nations and religious backgrounds, wore these yellow braceletsto show solidarity with this cause.To date, the foundation has sold over 72 million yellow bracelets, and these have served to provide a symbol,a brand, a color identity, to his cause.
He explained that doctor's have a standard speech to cancer survivors.As a patient, you can go out this doorway and never tell anyone,keep the situation private. Or you can go out this other doorway, you tell everybody your story. Lance chose the latter, and he felt it was the best decision he ever made.He wrote a book titled [It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life].
His call to action for the audience: find out what can you do to make a difference.A million non-governmental organizations[NGO] have started in the past 10 years. Don't just give cash, also give your time and passion.
Continuing this week's series on Pulse 2009 video, we have a double header. Bob Dalton discusses our entry-level IBM System Storage [DS3000] and midrange IBM System Storage [DS4000] disk systems, followed by Dan Thompson discussing [IBM Tivoli Storage Manager FastBack] software.
IBM Tivoli Storage Manager FastBack is the result of IBM's [acquisition of FilesX], a company in Israel that developed software to backup servers at remote branch offices running Microsoft Windows operating system.
This week, IBM clients, Business Partners and executives get together for the inaugural IBM [Think 2018] conference. There are over 30,000 attendees.
This is a combination of last year's three events: Edge, InterConnect, and World of Watson (WoW). The combined event is divided into four "campuses":
Cloud and Data -- formerly covered at InterConnect
Modern Infrastructure -- formerly covered at Edge
Business and AI -- formerly covered at World of Watson
Security and Resiliency -- covered in the other three events
(I am not in Las Vegas! In my first post in this series, [Science Slam], I forgot to mention that I was not physically there, and have since been flooded with invitations and requests for one-on-one meetings with clients and cocktail parties. Sorry folks! I am in Tucson writing these blog posts by watching the live stream videos of the event.)
Putting Smart to Work
Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and CEO, kicked off the event. In the opening video, we realize that "smart" is just a placeholder, translated to "Putting Cloud to Work", "Putting AI to work", and so on.
An "interesting moment" that happens every 25 years, when business and technology change at the same time. Those who learn exponentially are disruptors, not victims of disruption.
[Moore's law]: Double the number of transistors on a chip every 18-24 months.
[Metcalfe's law]: The value of a network is related to the square of the number of nodes involved.
[Watson's law]: Ginni would like to coin this new law to refer to exponential learning from data using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
How much of the world's data is searchable? only about 20 percent. The other 80 percent is proprietary that provides competitive advantage. IBM is helping clients be the "incumbent disruptor".
Ginni covered three inflection points: your business, society, and IBM itself
Companies must go on the offense, leverage multiple digital platforms (plural), and empower people by enable "man+machine" learning in every process they have. What are better decisions worth? Over $2 Trillion US dollars!
Man+Machine better than man-alone and machine-alone. At [Credit Mutuel], a leading European bank, Watson technology is used to answer 60 percent of customer emails, and 95 percent of the employees there are happier about this.
IT technology represents both the greatest opportunity and the biggest issue of our time.
Trust and responsibility. We must be data stewards, with focus on privacy and security. Only 4 percent of data is encrypted.
Jobs and skills. Man+Machine augments man alone. 100 percent of jobs will change. Ginni coined the term "new collar jobs" a few years ago.
Inclusion is important. IBM is one of the leaders in this area with its 400,000 employees spanning all races, genders, and sexual orientations. IBM was awarded [Catalyst award] for companies making real change for women in the workplace. IBM is the only tech company to be ever awarded this, and this will be the fourth time IBM is honored with this award.
IBM has revamped its own HR with [Workday]. In 2016, Workday partnered with IBM on 7-year deal to use IBM Cloud for its platform. IBM in turn has switched its HR to using Workday applications.
Mainframe technologies and POWER9 are now on the IBM Cloud. IBM is also expanding IBM Cloud Private to include "IBM Cloud Private for Data".
To date, IBM has completed 16,000 Watson engagements to-date. Watson Oncology now in 150 hospitals analyzing 13 different types of cancer.
The big system Watson used to play Jeopardy in 2011 have been broken down to micro-services and APIs that are more easily consumable by applications.
IBM and Apple have announced integration with Watson. Apple [CoreML] natively goes to Watson. IBM can now go straight to Apple Swift code. A new "Watson Studio" allows you to develop AI models in the cloud, then deploy them in private on-premises.
IBM will also offer "Watson Assistant". In the past, buying Watson was like buying a puppy, you needed to train it yourself. If you wanted a vicious guard dog, or a seeing-eye dog, that was up to you. Now, IBM offers "Watson Assistant" which is pre-trained.
Secure to the core
IBM is obsessed with security and trust, from Blockchain to Pervasive Encryption.
In the past, IBM often tried to do this all on its own, but in today's business climate, IBM now has strategic partnerships in these many areas.
Lowell McAdam, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Verizon Communications was the first guest speaker.
April 2017, Verizon launched Oath, formed from the company’s acquisition of AOL and Yahoo, which houses more than 50 digital and technology brands that together engage more than 1 billion people worldwide.
(I personally have been working with Verizon for decades, back when they were just NyNEX, BellAtlantic, and GTE, before they acquired Vodaphone, MCI, AOL and Yahoo! I use FlickR, one of the Yahoo brands.)
With the acquisition of AOL and Yahoo, Verizon formed "Oath", with over 1.2 billion consumers. The name came from the promise to customers for giving them to get what they want, when they want them.
Largest fiber provider for the USA. We have enough fiber on hand to stretch to Mars.
They invest $18 billion per year, but often payoffs not for another 5 years. [5G Wireless network technology] is an example. Lowell feels that 5G will usher the "fourth" industrial revolution:
Speeds over 1Gbps for consumers, 25Gbps for commercial, compared to 10 Mbps typical today.
5G will support 1,000 more devices per cell site, enabling IoT like intelligent lighting, video surveillance, face recognition.
5G has short latency, 1 msec compared to 200 msec today to cell site and back. This shorter latency will enable Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR).
5G also reduces battery consumption, imagine only charging your cell phone once per month!
Verizon delivers value three ways:
Provide connectivity only. Verizon will continue to do this for some markets
Like IBM, Verizon promises it will not use customer data in any manner that the customer did not "opt in" for. Business is based on trust. Those business that lose trust have difficult time to regain it.
Shipping, Supply Chain and Global Trade
Michael J. White manages the Global Trade Digitization organization for Maersk. He was recently named CEO-designate of the IBM-Maersk Joint Venture.
Shipping products is $4 Trillion US Dollar business. As much as 80 percent of what we consume came over the ocean. On average, 20 percent of the shipping cost is administrative paperwork, however, in some cases, the administrative costs exceed the physical transport costs.
State of industry, over the last 5 years, has been 3.7 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). This is expected to increase to 4 percent as economies bounce back. Many companies run lean, expecting their supply chains to provide supplies "just in time".
Unfortunately, shipping is hugely inefficient, paper-based. This impedes growth of local trade. Take for example the shipment of a container of Avocados from Kenya to Netherlands: 30 entities involved, over 100 individuals, over 200 transactions.
Why did IBM-Maersk joint venture pick blockchain? Blockchain is not a solution searching for a problem. The problems are well known, and blockchain addresses them. Smart contracts and decentralized authority provides immutable trust, critical in an industry where many parties do not know each other.
IBM Maersk Joint venture was formed over the past 18 months to create the world's best global trading platform.. There are 25 companies on-boarding now, with another 40 companies have expressed interest to join soon.
Unlike the anonymity of Bitcoin that enables terrorists and murders for hire, IBM is focused on transparency that all parties identify each other.
Blockchain benefits all the key parties involved. Carriers benefit, customers benefit, and ports and terminals get information earlier upstream for better planning during peak periods, and this results in better utilization of resources available.
(Not everyone benefits - counterfeiters and corrupt government officials will not be happy with Blockchain used in this manner!)
Paperless transactions reduces re-keying information by 80 percent. Less re-keying means fewer mistakes, fewer typos.
This new global trade platform offers opportunities in adjacent blockchain networks for financial services, insurance, and food safety. To ensure food safety, Blockchain is used by Walmart, Kroger, Unilever and 20 others. One third of food grown is wasted.
Dave McKay, President & Chief Executive Officer, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was the next speaker. Dave graduated from the University of Waterloo, a COBOL computer programmer at heart. RBC still use COBOL programs in their banking applications!
RBC is the top bank in Canada, and would be #5 bank if it was based in the USA. It will be celebrating its upcoming 150th anniversary in 2019. Highest customer sat for multiple years running. RBC has 13 million customers. RBC is also Canada's #1 broker/dealer for investment banking.
Back in the 1980s, banks were only open 10am-3pm, and treated it as a privilege for clients to work with the bank. Account holders came in several times per week, and relationships were built with local branches. Today, account holders are not coming into branch offices, using ATMs and mobile phones instead.
In the past, consumers used their RBC Credit Cards, and this provided brand recognition for RBC. Today, traditional banking services are now being embedded into other value chains. With Apple Wallet, for example, you enter your RBC credit card once, and then nobody knows what bank you are using to pay for coffee.
Like any bank, RBC is focused on three areas: moving money, storing money, and lending money. AI is needed to evaluate these transactions into knowledge, to provide business value and insight. However, RBC has only 40 Applied and Pure data science researchers on staff. This was deemed not enough, so RBC partnered with IBM.
Cloud, the computer power and speed needed, RBC has 60 apps in development in the IBM Cloud. While silicon valley start-ups might "let the app fail faster in the hands of clients", that approach doesn't work with money transactions.
RBC has invested heavily in blockchain. It will transform how we work with others. Digital transformation not just technology, but also cultural change. Is RBC in the mortgage business or the "Housing enablement business"? Is it in the car loan business or "transportation enablement business"?
Working with small business, they want to focus on their own clients, not bookkeeping and accounting. RBC has deployed AI in the Cloud to create the Advisor's Virtual Assistant [AVA] application. There have been over 48 million interactions in the first four months!
RBC is also investing $500 million this year to build the IT skills of their employees.
RBC is also focused on the stewardship of data. The strength and trust of financial institutions is the core to a strong economy. RBC policies are based on "opt in" to provide value relevant to both clients and the bank. Banks that breach that trust will struggle.
Ginni (and the rest of the company) has re-invented IBM to achieve exponential change. The change impacts all industries, not just the three we saw on the stage during this keynote session.
To follow along with the rest of Think2018 conference, watch the live stream on [www.ibm.com/events/think/watch] or follow the twitter hashtag #Think2018
Back in 1986, when I first started with IBM, my first job was working on a software product called Data Facility Hierarchical Storage Manager (DFHSM). This did "Information Lifecycle Management" (ILM) by moving data sets from one storage tier to another. (The phrase "Information Lifecycle Management" was coined by StorageTek in 1991, and later resurrected by EMC a few years ago. As is often typical, things that appear new to the distributed systems crowd, are often well-established concepts in the mainframe arena).
To help explain DFHSM and its sister product Data Facility Data Set Services (DFDSS), an enterprising sales rep in Los Angeles named C.D. Larsen made a video called "Re-arranging the sock drawer". He explained that sometimes you want the socks you wear the most on the top drawer, and socks that you only wear now and again in lower drawers. DFHSM can re-arrange your sock drawer based on policy-based automation, determining which ones you wear most often, and moving the others down the "hierarchy" accordingly.
To explain DFDSS, he pulled out an entire drawer of socks, and move it to another level. DFDSS was able to do volume-level backups and dumps to tape very quickly, since it did not process individual data sets, but rather the entire volume image as a whole. These two products are now DFSMShsm and DFSMSdss components of the DFSMS element of the z/OS operating system.
Mainframes use an interesting naming convention for its data sets. 44 characters, divided up into qualifiers that are 1-8 characters long, separated by periods. For example:
The first qualifier indicated it belonged to me, that it was for my Project A, that it was a testcase, and specifically TEST1 job control language. Arranging them in this order meant that I could easily find all the data needed for project A, but if I wanted to keep all the testcase data together, I might have put that as the second qualifer instead.
On Linux, UNIX and Windows, most people are more familiar with hierarchical file systems, so the same file might be stored as:
Same concept. You set up a taxonomy of they way you want to organize your data, so that related data can be grouped together and easier to manage. Whereas we used to tell customers that "Qualifiers are your friend", we now tell people "sub-directories are your friend". This is true when organizing the files on your laptop, in your Lotus Notes, and in Second Life.
Since starting Second Life last November, I have picked up all kinds of free things along the way, and now have thousands of objects in my "inventory". Basically, its like keeping things in your pocket, when you want it, you just take it out of your pocket, and *poof* it appears magically on the ground. I was having a hard time finding things in my inventory, so I decided to re-arrange with sub-folders. This is done in-world, and I found it best to do this away from other avatars asking "what are you doing?" which can get quite annoying. Find a remote island or the rooftop of some building when doing "house cleaning".
I've arranged my main folders as follows. These all appear on a single screen, and makes it easy to find exactly what I am looking for.
Lost and Found
In Second Life, you can make complete "outfits" which include your body shape, skin, eyes, hair, and clothes. However, saving away many outfits means duplicating a lot of items. Therefore, I separated them out. I keep body shape, skin, eyes and hair in the folder "Body Parts" and all of the clothing items under "Clothing". Under clothing, I separated everything out into the major categories:
I could have a separate folder for "socks", but I keep those in the "shoes" folder.
As we get to larger and larger flash and spinning disk drives, a common question I get is whether to use RAID-5 versus RAID-6. Here is my take on the matter.
A quick review of basic probability statistics
Failure rates are based on probabilities. Take for example a traditional six-sided die, with numbers one through six represented as dots on each face. What are the chances that we can roll the die several times in a row, that we will have no sixes ever rolled? You might think that if there is a 1/6 (16.6 percent) chance to roll a six, then you would guarantee hit a six after six rolls. That is not the case.
# of Rolls
Probability of no sixes (percent)
So, even after 24 rolls, there is more than 1 percent chance of not rolling a six at all. The formula is (1-1/6) to the 24th power.
Let's say that rolling one to five is success, and rolling a six is a failure. Being successful requires that no sixes appear in a sequence of events. This is the concept I will use for the rest of this post. If you don't care for the math, jump down to the "Summary of Results" section below.
Error Correcting Codes (ECC) and Unreadable Read Errors (URE)
When I speak to my travel agent, I have to provide my six-character [Record Locator] code. Pronouncing individual letters can be error prone, so we use a "spelling alphabet".
The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, sometimes known as the [NATO phonetic alphabet], has 26 code words assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.
Foxtrot Golf Mike Oscar Victor Whiskey
Foxtrot Gold Mine Oscar Vector Whisker
Boxcart Golf Miko Boxcart Victor Whiskey
Having five or so characters to represent a single character may seem excessive, but you can see that this can be helpful when communications link has static, or background noise is loud, as is often the case at the airport!
If spelling words are misheard, either (a) they are close enough like "Gold" for "Golf", or "Whisker" for "Whiskey", that the correct word is known, or (b) not close enough, such that "Boxcart" could refer to either "Foxtrot" or "Oscar" that we can at least detect that the failure occurred.
For data transfers, or data that is written, and later read back, the functional equivalent is an Error Correcting Code [ECC], used in transmission and storage of data. Some basic ECC can correct a single bit error, and detect double bit errors as failures. More sophisticated ECC can correct multiple bit errors up to a certain number of bits, and detect most anything worse.
When reading a block, sector or page of data from a storage device, if the ECC detects an error, but is unable to correct the bits involved, we call this an "Unrecoverable Read Error", or URE for short.
Bit Error Rate (BER)
Different storage devices have different block, sector or page sizes. Some use 512 bytes, 4096 bytes or 8192 bytes, for example. To normalize likelihood of errors, the industry has simplified this to a single bit error rate or BER, represented often as a power of 10.
Bit Error Rate per read (BER)
Consumer HDD (PC/Laptops)
Enterprise 15k/10k/7200 rpm
Solid-State and Flash
IBM TS1150 tape
In other words, the chance that a bit is unreadable on optical media is 1 in 10 trillion (1E13), on enterprise 15k drives is 1 in 10 quadrillion, and on LTO-7 tape is 1 in 10 quintillion.
There are eight bits per byte, so reading 1 GB of data is like rolling the die eight billion times. The chance of successfully reading 1GB on DVD, then would be (1 - 1/1E13) to the 8 billionth power, or 99.92 percent, or conversely a 0.08 percent chance of failure.
In this paper, Google had studied drive failure using an "Annual Failure Rate" or AFR. Here are two graphs from this paper:
This first graph shows AFR by age. Some drives fail in their first 3-6 months, often called "infant mortality". Then they are fairly reliable for a few years, down to 1.7 percent, then as they get older, they start to fail more often, up to 8.3 percent.
This second graph factors in how busy the drives are. Dividing the drive set into quartiles, "Low" represents the least busy drives (the bottom quartile), "Medium" represents the median two quartiles, and "High" represents the busiest drives, the top quartile. Not surprisingly, the busiest drives tend to fail more often than medium-busy drives.
Given an AFR, what are the chances a drive will fail in the next hour? There are 8,766 hours per year, so the success of a drive over the course of a year is like rolling the die 8,766 times. This allows us to calculate a "Drive Error Rate" or DER:
Drive Error Rate per hour (DER)
For example, an AFR=3 drive has a 1 in 287,800 chance of failing in a particular hour. The probability this drive will fail in the next 24 hours would be like rolling the die 24 times. The formula is (1-1/287,800) to the 24th power, resulting in a failure rate of roughly 0.008 percent.
Let's take a typical RAID-5 rank with 600GB drives at 15K rpm, in a 7+P RAID-5 configuration.
During normal processing, if a URE occurs on a individual drive, RAID comes to the rescue. The system can rebuild the data from parity, and correct the broken block of data.
When a drive fails, however, we don't have this rescue, so a URE that occurs during the rebuild process is catastrophic. How likely is this? Data is read from the other seven drives, and written to a spare empty drive. At 8 bits per byte, reading 4200 GB of data is rolling the die 33.6 trillion times. The formula is then (1-1/E16) to the 33.6 trillionth power, or approximately 0.372 percent chance of URE during the rebuild process.
The time to perform the rebuild depends heavily on the speed of the drive, and how busy the RAID rank is doing other work. Under heavy load, the rebuild might only run at 25 MB/sec, and under no workload perhaps 90 MB/sec. If we take a 60 MB/sec moderate rebuild rate, then it would take 10,000 seconds or nearly 3 hours. The chance that any of the seven drives fail during these three hours, at AFR=10 rolling the DER die (7 x 3) 21 times, results in a 0.025 percent chance of failure.
It is nearly 15 times more likely to get a URE failure than a second drive failure. A rebuild failure would happen with either of these, with a probability of 0.397 percent.
The situation gets worse with higher capacity Nearline drives. Let's do a RAID-5 rank with 6TB Nearline drives at 7200 rpm, in a 7+P configuration. The likelihood of URE reading 42 TB of data, is rolling the die 336 trillion times, or approximately 3.66 percent chance of URE failure. Yikes!
The time to rebuild is also going to take longer. A moderate rebuild rate might only be 30 MB/sec, so that rebuilding a 6TB drive would take 55 hours. The chance that one of the other seven drives fail, assuming again AFR=10, during these 55 hours results in a 0.462 percent.
This time, a URE failure is nearly eight times more likely than a double drive failure. The chance of a rebuild failure is 4.12 percent. Good thing you backed up to tape or object storage!
The math can be done easily using modern spreadsheet software. The URE failure rate is based on the quantity of data read from the remaining drives, so a 4+P with 600GB drives is the same as 8+P with 300GB drives. Both read 2.4 TB of data to recalculate from parity. The Double Drive failure rate is based on the number of drives being read times the number of hours during the rebuild. Slower, higher capacity drives take longer to rebuild. However, in both the 15K and 7200rpm examples, the chance of a URE failure was 8 to 15 times more likely than double drive failure.
Many of the problems associated with RAID-5 above can be mitigated with RAID-6.
After a single drive fails, any URE during rebuild can be corrected from parity. However, if a second drive fails during the rebuild process, then a URE on the remaining drives would be a problem.
Let's start with the 600GB 15k drives in a 6+P+Q RAID-6 configuration. The chance of a second drive failing is 0.0252 percent, as we calculated above. The likelihood of a URE is then based on the remaining six drives, 3600 GB of data. Doing the math, that is 0.0319 percent chance. So, the change of a URE during RAID-6 failure is the probability of both occurring, roughly 0.0000806 percent. Far more reliable than RAID-5!
Likewise, we can calculate the probability of a triple drive failure. After the second drive fails, the likelihood of a third drive at AFR=10, results in 0.00000546 percent.
Combining these, the chance of failure of rebuild is 0.000861 percent.
Switching to 6 TB Nearline drives, in a 6+P+Q RAID-6 configuration, we can do the math in the same manner. The likelihood of URE and two drives failing is 0.0145 percent, and for triple drive failure is 0.00183 percent. Chance of rebuild failure is 0.0163 percent.
Summary of Results
Putting all the results in a table, we have the following:
RAID-5 rebuild failure (percent)
RAID-6 rebuild failure (percent)
600GB 15K rpm
6 TB 7200rpm
Hopefully, I have shown you how to calculate these yourself, so that you can plug in your own drive sizes, rebuild rates, and other parameters to convince yourself of this.
In all cases, RAID-6 drastically reduced the probability of rebuild failure. With modern cache-based systems, the write-penalty associated with additional parity generally does not impact application performance. As clients transition from faster 15K drives to slower, higher capacity 10K and 7200 rpm drives, I highly recommend using RAID-6 instead of RAID-5 in all cases.
Often, when looking at disk storage it is easy to focus on comparisons to other disk storage, but disruptive technologies cross boundaries. Already we have seen Flash Memory drives on the IBM BladeCenter, replacing traditional disk drives internal to each blade server. They are smaller than regular disk drives, but big enough to hold the operating system to boot from.
The New York Times has an article by John Markoff, Redefining the Architecture of Memory that talks about IBM's research on "Racetrack Memory".The article is a good read, but here are some interesting excerpts:
Now, if an idea that Stuart S. P. Parkin is kicking around in an I.B.M. lab here is on the money, electronic devices could hold 10 to 100 times the data in the same amount of space.
Currently the flash storage chip business is exploding. Used as storage in digital cameras, cellphones and PCs, the commercially available flash drives with multiple memory chips store up to 64 gigabytes of data.
However, flash memory has an Achilles’ heel. Although it can read data quickly, it is very slow at storing it. That has led the industry on a frantic hunt for alternative storage technologies that might unseat flash.
Mr. Parkin’s new approach, referred to as “racetrack memory,” could outpace both solid-state flash memory chips as well as computer hard disks, making it a technology that could transform not only the storage business but the entire computing industry.
But ultimately, the technology may have even more dramatic implications than just smaller music players or wristwatch TVs, said Mark Dean, vice president for systems at I.B.M. Research.“Something along these lines will be very disruptive,” he said. “It will not only change the way we look at storage, but it could change the way we look at processing information. We’re moving into a world that is more data-centric than computing-centric.”
This technology has the potential to break some of the physical limitations that are currently worrying disk drive designers. I look forward to see how this plays out.
This week was the 2008 MacWorld conference. I thought I would reflect on some of the storage related aspects of the products mentioned by Steve Jobsin his Keynote address.Many were updated version of products introduced last year's MacWorld. (In case you forgot whatthose were, here ismy post that covered [MacWorld 2007]).
(Disclaimer: IBM has a strong working relationship with Apple, and manufacturers technology used in someof Apple's products. I own both an Apple iPod as well as an Apple G4 Mac Mini. IBM supports its employees usingApple laptops instead of Windows-based ones for work, and IBM has developed software that runs on Apple's OS X.Apple is kind enough to extend its "employee discount prices" to IBM employees.)
In the first 90 days of its release, Apple sold 5 million copies, representing 19 percent of Mac users. I am stillone of the 81 percent still using 10.4 Tiger, the previous level. My Mac Mini is based on G4 POWER processor, and upgrading is on my [Someday/Maybe] list. I am not taking sides in the [OS X vs. Windows vs. Linux religious debate]; I use all three.
The key storage-related feature of Leopard is their backup software Time Machine, and Steve Jobs announceda companion product called Time Capsule that would serve as the external backup disk wirelessly, over 802.1nWi-Fi. For many households, backup is either never done, or done rarely, so any help to simplify and relieve theburden is welcome.
Time Capsule comes in 500GB and 1TB SATA disk capacities, which Steve Jobs called "server-grade". What about a 750GB model? Looks like Apple followed EMC'sexample and went straight to 1TB instead. After EMC failed to deliver 750GB drives in 2007 that they [promised back in July], EMC blogger Chuck Hollis explains in his post[Enterprise Storage Strikes Back!]:
So there's something in the EMC goodie bag as well for you -- the availability of the new 1TB disk drives you've been hearing about. We skipped the 750GB drive and went right to the 1TB drive.
Apple iPhone and iPod Touch
In the first 200 days, Apple has sold 4 million phones, and has garnered nearly 20 percent of the smart phone market share. New features include a GPS-like location feature that uses [triangulation] with cell phone towers and Wi-Fi hotspotsto determine where you are located.
I covered last year's introduction of the iPhone in my post on [Convergence].All of the features he presented were software updates to the existing 8GB and 16GB models. No new modelswith larger storage were introduced.
I am a T-mobile customer, so am out of luck until either (a) Apple unlocks their phones from the AT&T network, or(b) Apple signs an agreement with T-mobile in the USA. I reviewed the various hacks to unlock iPhones last year, but was not interested in losing official warranty or future software support.
The iPod Touch is an interesting alternative. It is basically an iPhone with the cell-phone features disabled, whichgives you Wi-Fi over the Safari browser, music, videos, and so on. Steve Jobs mentioned enhanced software updates for this as well. The iPod Touch comes in the same 8GB and 16GB sizes as the iPhone.
AppleTV and iTunes
Steve Jobs indicated that they have sold over 4 billion songs over iTunes, 125 million TV shows, and 7 million movies.He announced that now iTunes would allow for movie rentals, with the option to see them within 30 days, but once you started watching a movie, you have 24 hours to finish. I found it interesting that he said rentals were to reduce space on your hard drive, versus outright purchase of movie content.
In a rare concession, Steve admitted that the original AppleTV misunderstood the marketplace. The original AppleTV allowed you to view pictures and listen to music through your television, but people wanted to view movies. Thesoftware upgrade would allow this, using the iTunes rental model above, as well as watch video podcasts and over 50 million videos posted on YouTube.
Some television-related stats from [z/Journal] were quite timely. The older non-digital TVs could be usedwith the AppleTV and gaming systems like Nintendo Wii.
33 percent of U.S. households do not know what to do with (their older) TVs after digital switch (Feb 2009)
69 percent of Americans think PCs are more entertaining than TV
Rather than try to fight peer-to-peer website piracy, Apple cleverly decided to compete head-to-head against it. This iswell summarized in Matt Mason's 6-minute video [The Pirate's Dilemma]. Eleven major movie studios are on board with Apple's movie rental plans, making thousands of movietitles available for this, with hundreds in High Definition (HD).
I personally have a Tivo, connected wirelessly to a regular non-HD television, as well as my PC, Mac and internet hub, and this allows me to view my photos, listen to my iTunes collection of music and internet radio stations from [Live365], as well as rent movies and TV shows from Amazon Unbox, with prices ranging from free to four dollars.
The theme of this week was "Something is in the Air", an obvious reference to this product, billed as the world's thinnest laptop.John Windsor on his YouBlog writes[Making it Memorable] aboutthe use of a standard office envelope to demonstrate how thin this new MacBook Air laptop is. It is 0.16 inchesat one end, and 0.76 inches as the other end. Unlike other "ultra-thin" laptops, this has a full-size back-lit keyboardand full-size 13.3 inch widescreen. The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures similar to the iPhone and iPod Touch.Intel managed to shrink down their Core 2 Duo processor chip by 60 percent to fit inside this machine. Thebattery is reported to last five hours.
This laptop was designed for wireless access, with 802.1n and BlueTooth enabled. No RJ-45 connection for traditionalLAN ethernet connection, but I guess you can use a USB-to-RJ45 converter.
Storage-wise, you can choose between the 1.8-inch 80GB HDD or a pricey-but-faster 64GB Flash Solid-State Disk (SSD).In a move similar to [getting rid of the 3.5-inch floppy disk in 1998's iMac G3], the MacBook Air got rid of the CD/DVDdrive. While they offer a USB-attachable SuperDrive as an optional peripheral, Steve Jobs gave alternative methods:
Watching movies on DVD
Rent or Buy from iTunes instead
Burning music CDs for your car stereo
Attach your iPod to your car stereo
Taking backups to CD or DVD
Use Time Machine and Time Capsule instead
Installing Software from CD
Wirelessly connect to a "Remote Optical Disc" on a Mac or PC, running special Apple-provided software that allows you to make this connection
Here's a list to the 90-minute[keynote address video]. If you arenot a fan of recycling, saving the environment, free speech or democracy, you can safely skip the last 15 minutes when musical artist Randy Newman performs.For alternative viewpoints on the keynote, see posts from [John Gruber] and [Tara MacKay].
Registration for the "Meet the Storage Experts" event in Second Life will close this week fornext week's September 20 event. All IBMers, clients and IBM Business Partners are welcome to attend. We will focus this time on DS3000 and N series disk systems, tape systems,and IBM storage networking gear.
If you miss this one, we plan to have another one in November!
Registration for [IBM Pulse 2008] is now open! This is the first ever global conference to cover not just Tivoli Storage software, but also the rest of Tivoli portfolio,Maximo and Tivoli Netcool products, and disciplined service management and governance practices and procedures.
Join us on May 18-22 in Orlando, Florida. You'll learn how IBM service management solutions can give you the visibility needed to see all aspects of your business and manage it against objectives, control to secure assets, and automation to drive business agility for competitive advantage.
Leverage this opportunity to meet with fellow clients, IBM partners, industry analysts, and IBM experts in an environment dedicated to the latest technology, trends, and best practices in service management. Whether youl are in network and service operations, IT, the executive office, line of business or services sales, IBM Pulse offers keynote presentations, in-depth seminar sessions, exhibitions and hands-on labs.
But wait, there's more!
One-on-one meetings with IBM executives and industry experts
Presentations by more than 100 customers sharing their real-world experiences and lessons learned
An evening of "Speed Training" (a la [speed dating]) for technology consulting: Ask specific questions of our technical subject matter experts – and get answers instantly
I realize this conference is five months away, however one of my pet peeves is learning about a conference, especially a first-of-its-kind conference like this one, at the last minute, and not having time to plan accordingly. Travel budgets are tight for lots of people, so as an added incentive there is a $600 US dollar discount per person if you register before February 1, 2008. So don't wait! Sign up today!
Next week is [VMworld 2010], so I thought today would be a good day to write a blog post about reporting and managing virtual guest images.
As the original lead architect for IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, I am no stranger to reporting and management tools. Needless to say, if you have lots of virtual guest images, it makes sense to deploy reporting and management software. I had never heard of Veeam before, but I decided to check out Veeam Reporter 4.0, an enterprise-level reporting solution specifically designed for large Virtual Infrastructure (VI3) and vSphere virtual environments that allows you to automatically discover and collect information about your VMware virtual environment.
Their 90-page User Guide offered these helpful "First Steps" on page 9 which I used as the master plan for my evaluation.
Install Veeam Reporter 4.0
The instructions appeared fairly straightforward: Download [the latest version] of the application. Unpack the downloaded archive and run the VeeamReporter.exe file. Then follow the installation wizard steps. What could go wrong?
I should have known better. Like IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, Veeam Reporter is designed to be installed on its own server-class machine with its own application web server and database. I wasn't going to stand up a new server in our lab just for this contest, so I decided to just install it on my Windows XP SP3, which Veeam had listed as a supported operating system level. I ran into a series of installation issues, including installing IIS, installing SQL server, and installing the SRSS component. I am more familiar with IBM's WebSphere Application Server and DB2 combination used in IBM's own products, and have experience with Apache and MySQL on a standard LAMP stack, so my lack of experience with IIS and SQL server made the installation more difficult. Many thanks to all the support personnel at Veeam, Microsoft, and my internal IT department to finally get all of this working.
It appears you can set this up as a client/server environment, where the Veeam Reporter server runs IIS and SQL Server, and then you have a browser on your client machine point to that server. In my cases, I have client browser and server all on one machine.
Create and run a collection job
This step also seemed fairly standard for reporting tools. Once you launch Veeam Reporter 4.0 for the first time, you need to retrieve data from your virtual infrastructure to be able to generate reports. To start the created collection job, select it and click the Start button on the toolbar. If you have a vCenter server in your VI environment, we recommend that you create a job for it to immediately collect data for all objects in its hierarchy. After that, you will be able to select VI objects that were engaged in the performed job using the Workspace, and generate reports for it.
I signed up for this contest August 7, but step 1 above took me two weeks to resolve all the installation iissues. I wanted to get my blog post entry for the contest BEFORE the start of VMworld. Since I am in Dallas, Texas this week for the IBM Storage Solutions University, I had to go through several firewalls for my laptop to tunnel through and get to my VMware Center back in Tucson.
Click on the graphic above to see larger view.
I was able to create and run a collection job. I have a WMware ESX 3.5 host running five guest images and 14 datastores. This seemed to be enough to evaluate the basic features of this reporting tool. Veeam Reporter let's you run the collection process manually, or set a "periodic" schedule to collect data every hour.
Generate reports manually or create a reporting job
Finally, I get to the fun part: To generate report manually, click the Workspace tab, select a necessary VI object from the tree view, date and collection job session, choose reports and click the Create Report button.
At this point, I am reminded of a famous poem:
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
- William Blake
When evaluating products, try to imagine what the reports would look like with hundreds of virtual guest images. Certainly, I can see some potential, even though I had rather limited data to work with. In theory, the tool can create Visio output files, but you need to have Microsoft Visio installed. I have only "Visio Viewer" so I was unable to create any visio files with this product.
The reports can be exported to PDF, Word or Excel formats. Here is an example of an Excel spreadsheet export. While it has 14 bars for the 14 datastores, there are no labels, and the misleading details link in the lower right corner is non-functional. The only way for me to figure out what each referred to was to go back to my vCenter client, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a separate reporting tool.
This same report exported to PDF spanned across four pages, leaving the re-assembly to be done with a pair of scissors and celophane tape.
When you create reports, you can use SRSS or Veeam's internal proprietary format. Only SRSS reports can be put on the dashboard, so I recommend that.
Customize your dashboard
The fourth and final step is to configure your own dashboard: To add reports to the Dashboard, you should first create and save them using Workspace of Veeam Reporter 4.0. Keep in mind that you can add to the Dashboard only saved SSRS-based reports. To customize the Dashboard, click the Dashboard tab and then click the Edit Dashboard button. Customize the layout by dragging blue borders from the right and the bottom of the screen. Then, drag reports from the Reports list and drop them onto the created cells.
The "Free Edition" only allows you to put a single report on the dashboard, so as in step 3, you have to use your imagination of what the potential of the full license would looke like with multiple reports are on a single pane of glass.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM, the leader in server virtualization worldwide, and the number #1 reseller of VMware. In this post, I review [Veeam Reporter 4.0] as my official entry for their blogging contest. IBM and Veeam do not have any business relationshiop that I know of, other than both being VMware business partners, so I am treating them here as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV). Veeam has not compensated me in any manner for this review, this review is not to be taken as an endorsement of Veeam or its products, and I was not provided any full or evaluator license keys. The review is based entirely on my experience using the "Free Edition" available to all for download. None of this blog post was pre-reviewed by anyone from Veeam. IBM, of course, also offers similar software, which I mention below for comparison purposes.)
At this point, you might be thinking, "Doesn't IBM offer something like this?" Of course it does! IBM is the leader in infrastructure reporting, monitoring and management software. Last October, [IBM unveiled IBM Systems Director VMcontrol] software. Not only does IBM Systems Director VMcontrol provide similar support for your VMware environment, it also manages Microsoft Hyper-V and Xen deployments, PowerVM on POWER-based serves, and even z/VM guest images on the System z mainframes. Combined with the rest of the IBM Systems Director, you can manage all of your physical and virtual servers with a single tool from a single pane of glass. How cool is that?
I would like to think Doug Hazelman, Senior Director of Product Strategy at Veeam, for organizing this awesome blogging contest. If you liked this blog post, click here to [vote for me] to get counted for this contest.