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Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor, Senior IT Architect and Event Content Manager for [IBM Systems for IBM Systems Technical University] events. With over 30 years with IBM Systems, Tony is frequent traveler, speaking to clients at events throughout the world.
Lloyd Dean is an IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect in Infrastructure Architecture. Lloyd has held numerous senior technical roles at IBM during his 19 plus years at IBM. Lloyd most recently has been leading efforts across the Communication/CSI Market as a senior Storage Solution Architect/CTS covering the Kansas City territory. In prior years Lloyd supported the industry accounts as a Storage Solution architect and prior to that as a Storage Software Solutions specialist during his time in the ATS organization.
Lloyd currently supports North America storage sales teams in his Storage Software Solution Architecture SME role in the Washington Systems Center team. His current focus is with IBM Cloud Private and he will be delivering and supporting sessions at Think2019, and Storage Technical University on the Value of IBM storage in this high value IBM solution a part of the IBM Cloud strategy. Lloyd maintains a Subject Matter Expert status across the IBM Spectrum Storage Software solutions. You can follow Lloyd on Twitter @ldean0558 and LinkedIn Lloyd Dean.
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I am back from China, and now glad to be back in the old USA. Last week, someone asked me what would it take to add a specific feature to the IBM System Storage DS8300. The what-would-it-take question is well-known among development circles informally as a "sizing" effort, or more formally as "Development Expense" estimate.
For software engineering projects, the process was simply that an architect would estimate the number of "Lines of Code" (LOC) typically represented in thousands of lines of code (KLOC). This single number would convert to another single number, "person-months", which would then translate to another single number "dollars". Once you had KLOC, the rest followed directly from a formula, average or rule-of-thumb.
More amazing is that this single number could then determine a variety of other numbers, the number of total months for the schedule, the number of developers, testers, publication writers and quality assurance team members needed, and so on. Again, these were developed using a formula, developed and based on past experience of similar projects.
Hardware design introduces a different set of challenges. When I was getting my Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, it took myself and four other grad students a full semester just to design a six-layer, 900 transistor silicon chip, which could only perform a single function, multiply two numbers together.At IBM, another book that I was given to read was Soul of a New Machine, documenting six hardware engineers, and six software engineers, working long hours on a tight schedule to produce a new computer for Data General.
So why do I bring this up now? IBM architects William Goddard and John Lynott are being inducted posthumously this year into the prestigious National Inventors Hall of Fame for their disk system innovation.
Under the leadership of Reynold Johnson, the team developed an air-bearing head to “float” above the disk without crashing into the disk. Imagine a fighter airplane flying full speed across the country-side at 50 feet off the ground. If you every heard the term "my disk crashed", it was originally referring to the read/write head touching the disk surface, causing terrible damage.
A uniformly flat disk surface was created by spinning the coating onto the rapidly rotating disk, leaving many wearing lab coats covered with disk liquid at waist level. Developing disk-to-disk and track-to-track access mechanisms proved more challenging, and nearly halted the project. The team, however, was adamant that this problem could be solved, and customers were increasingly asking for random access technology. The result was the "350 Disk Storage Unit" designed for the "305 RAMAC computer", which I have talked about a lot last year as part of our "50 years of disk systems innovation" celebration.
Neither Goddard nor Lynott had computing experience prior to joining IBM. Goddard was a former science teacher who briefly worked in aerospace. Lynott had been a mechanic in the Navy and later a mechanical engineer. They didn't have a nice formula based on past experience, they didn't have the benefit of Fred Brooks' advice, or the rules-of-thumb or averages now used to estimate the size of projects. They had to break new ground.
It's official! IBM System Storage TS1120 tape drive takes home the gold award, the product of the year, announced by Storage magazine.
I spent 18 hours traveling from Australia to China yesterday, and we were partially delayed due to weather, but felt that it was necessary to discuss the innovative use of encryption on this drive.
While most consider the TS1120 an "Enterprise-class" tape technology for the mainframe, it is also attachable to the smallest distributed systems running Windows, Linux, or various flavors of UNIX. Rather than limit users with an Encryption Key Manager that only ran on z/OS, IBM instead chose to implement it in Java, that can be run on anything from z/OS to Linux, Unix and Windows platforms, giving clients choice and flexibility in their deployment.
The design is quite clever and elegant. In the encryption world, there are two ways to encrypt.
This is very fast, because it uses a single key for both encryption and decryption, and can be incorporated on a chip. The problem is that anyone with the key can read the sensitive data.
This is slower, but more secure, using two separate keys. The public "encryption" key takes clear data and encrypts it. Anyone can be freely given this key, as they cannot use it to decrypt any other data. The private "decryption" key is able to decrypt the data, so that one is kept secret. If two business plan to exchange lots of tapes, they can exchange their "encryption" keys to each other.
So, let's say that Green, Inc. wants to send a tape to Blue, Co. Blue has already provided its public "encryption" key to Green, so Green does the following:
Generate a unique data key, will call it the "red key", and there is one for each tape. It is a standard AES 256-bit symmetric key that can be processed with less than one percent overhead on the tape drive. All the data is encrypted with this key.
Store the red key on the tape. How does Green give Blue the red key? Green encrypts it with Blue's RSA 2048-bit public "encryption" key. This is stored on three places on the tape cartridge, one in memory, and the other two on the media itself.
Sends the tape over to Blue Co.
When it arrives on the dock at Blue Co., they do the following:
Mount the tape and decrypt the "red key" using Blue's super-secret private decryption key.
Pass the "red key" to the tape drive, and have it read, append or re-write the tape.
If the super-secret private key is ever compromised, all you have to do is mount the tape, unlock the red key with the old private key, and re-lock the red key with a new public key. Since the red key doesn't change, the rest of the data can be left in tact. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes, compared to Sun Microsystems method, which could take 1-2 hours per cartridge, having to decrypt and re-encrypt the entire data stream.
Well, I have left Japan, and while everyone else is enjoying the Super Bowl, I am now in Australia, at another conference.Today I had the pleasure to hear filmmakers talk about their successes, and how IBM helps the movie industry.
At one extreme was Khoa Do, independent filmmaker. After acting in movies asideMichael Caine and Billy Zane, he decided to become his own director. He started a project to help seven disadvantaged youths from a poor drug-ridden section of Sydney, by having them act in his first full-length film.Armed with only an IBM laptop and small budget, he made the film called "The Finished People" that had critical acclaim.
The film was a success, and many of the disadvantaged youths have gone on to act in other movies. In 2005, Khoa Do was named "Young Australian of the Year".
Thanks to IBM technology, filmmaking is now accessible to a wider number of aspiring wanna-be directors. It is no longer necessary to be part of a large film studio with a multi-million dollar budget to tell your story.
At the other extreme, was Xavier Desdoigts, director of technical operations at Animal Logic, the Computer Graphics (CG) arthouse that produced special effects of movies like "The Matrix", "House of Flying Dragons" and "World Trade Center". They started with producing digital effects for TV commercials, like this one forCarlton Draught Beer.
With the support of a large film studio and multi-million dollar budget, Animal Logic now boasts the 86th most powerful "Supercomputer" based on IBM BladeCenter technology, with over 4000 servers connected into a cluster, for making the movie "Happy Feet". The movie took four years to make, with over 500 people, of 27 different nationalities. It was the first CG movie made in Australia, and has been well-received by audiences worldwide.
Mr. Desdoigts gave out some interesting facts and figures about the movie:
While visually stunning on the big screen, each frame is only 1.4 Megapixel, about the same resolution as most camera phones.
In one scene, there are 427,086 penguins all appearing on frame.
Mumble, the lovable lead character, is made up of over 6 million feathers.
As many as 17 dancers were "motion-captured" to choreograph the tap-dancing and character interaction segments.
Only one system admin was needed to manage this entire server farm. (IBM Systems Director technology makes this possible)
The movie consumed 103 TB of disk space, backed up to 595 LTO tape cartridges.
An estimated 17 million CPU-hours were needed for all the processing and rendering.
Rather than talking about technology for technology sake, these filmmakers showed how technology couldbe put to use, in a practical sense, to provide the world something of value.
I will wrap up this week's theme on travel, conferences and Japan discussingGroundhog day, celebratedtoday (Feb. 2) in the US.
I thought of this because there was a 2003 movie called"Lost in Translation", the title of yesterday's post. This movie is about an American actor, played by Bill Murray, coming to Tokyoto film a whisky commercial. I first saw it with my sister and father, and we musthave been the only three who have actually been to Japan, as we were laughing hysterically,while the rest of the audience was utterly confused. If you have never been to Japan, see the movie before you go, then see it again after you get back home.
Ten years earlier, Bill Murray also played the lead role in another movie called"Groundhog day".In the movie, Bill Murray's character is TV newsman "Phil Connors" who travels to a small townwhere they bring out a small groundhog. If the groundhog can see his shadow, it predictsat least six more weeks of winter. If it does not, winter will end sooner. The nextday, Phil wakes up to realize that he is re-living the same day, over and over, like a modern-day Sisyphus or Promethius. Howhe handles himself in this situation, is what makes the movie so memorable.
When I explain what I do for IBM, to people I meet at home and abroad, I get asked the same set of questions.
Don't you get bored presenting the same presentations?
The fact is, I never give the same presentation twice. Since I focus mostly on visual informationand what I say, versus the words of text on the page, I am able to customize my presentation toeach unique audience. In much the same way that Bill Murray's character managed to do somethingfun and different each day in the movie, despite his situation.
I do pity those presenters who focus entirely on text, turning their back to the audience, and then reading verbatim what is on each page.They should read Seth Godin's Really Bad PowerPointwith advice like "Bullets are for the NRA".
Another problem are presenters who apologize because they did not develop the materials they are presenting. Sorry, bub, you present it, you own it. The only person held accountable fora bad presentation at a conference is the speaker. When I make charts for others, I expect themthem to adjust it to their own speaking styles.
As a speaker, if you inherit materials fromsomeone else, have the courage to change it, or accept the parts you can't change, and have thewisdom to know the difference.
Don't you get tired of traveling?
At first I thought this was odd. It's like asking "Don't you get tired of doing different things and eating different foodswith different people in a different country every week?" How can anyone grow tired of variety?
As with any question, you have to go inside the mind of the person asking the question.For most people, travel is an ordeal, outside their comfort zone. They are travelingto attend a funeral, family reunion, or a theme park with spouse and kids in tow.If that is the only kind of traveling a person knows, then it is understandablewhy they might ask this question.
Don't you get annoyed answering the same questions at conferences?
As if this only happens at conferences!
Seriously, it might be the 17th time I've heard the question asked, but might be onlythe first time the person is asking it, and my response may be the crucial "first impression"that sets the stage for later engagements.
In this case, I focus on continuous improvement. What is the best way to answer thisquestion? How could I have answered that better? How could I have phrased the answerso it will be well-remembered? Again, like Bill Murray's character in "Groundhog Day",have fun with it, take advantage of the opportunity for improvement.
Continuing my week's theme on travel, conferences, and Japan, I will discuss translation and interpretation.
By now, you realize that I speak some Japanese, but not enough to give a full presentation. In addition to English, I can present Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, but am not yet comfortable doing a full hour talk in Japanese, especially when technical terminology is required.
This brings us to the differences between translation and interpretation. The former is more literal, but the latter is needed to get the spirit or essence of what is being communicated. Sometimes, the differences in languages and culture need to be taken into account to get the right meaning across.
One phrase, different interpretation
The conference attire was listed as "Business Casual" which they use the foreign words, as it is a very foreign concept to the Japanese. In the US, Business Casual could be polo shirt and kahki pants, perhaps. In Japan, where everyone wears a dark suit, white shirt and conservative tie, "business casual" means your shirt can be blue, or have stripes. Few dressed down for the occasion; I saw mostly white shirts underneath those dark suit coats.
One interpretation, different connotations
Working with my interpreter team, I went page by page to explain what I would say. On one page, I mentioned having "free space" to run applications. They asked if "free space" was good or bad? I was caught off-guard by this question. Americans enjoy wide open spaces, and the comforts afforded by having enough "leg room", "head room" or "elbow room".The Japanese word for this is "yoyu", which roughly translates to "leeway". However, "yoyu" also is used in the negative sense, tailored-to-fit clothing, for example, is preferred over loose-fitting off-the-rack clothing, because it has no "yoyu". Having too much "free space" can be just as bad as not enough, much like an hour presentation that ends 20 minutes too early is just as bad as one that goes 20 minutes over.
One word, two different interpretations
In explaining the word "archive" we came up with two separate Japanese words. One was "katazukeru", and the other was "shimau".If you are clearing the dinner plates from the table after your meal, for example, it could be done for two reasons.Both words mean "to put away", but the motivation that drives this activity changes the word usage. The first reason, katazukeru, is because the table is important, you need the table to be empty or less cluttered to use it for something else, perhaps play some card game, work on arts and craft, or pay your bills. The second reason, shimau, is because the plates are important, perhaps they are your best tableware, used only for holidays or special occasions only, and you don't want to risk having them broken. As it turns out, IBM supports both senses of the word archive. We offer "space management" when the space on the table, (or disk or database), is more important, so older low-access data can be moved off to less expensive disk or tape. We also offer "data retention" where the data itself is valuable, and must be kept on WORM or non-erasable, non-rewriteable storage to meet business or government regulatory compliance.
Sames words, different order
On many of my charts, we show on the left the entry-level models, in the center the midrange offerings, and on the right the enterprise class high-end devices. In English, I would say "Small, Medium, and Large". However, in Japan, they read from right to left, and their words "Dai, Chu, Sho" represent "Large, Medium, Small". So, the chart had the offerings on the page correctly sequenced, I just had to start on the right, and work my way to the left, from largest to smallest.
Understanding the differences in both language and culture greatly helps in communications.