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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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Last week, IBM clients, Business Partners and executives got together for the inaugural IBM [Think 2018] conference. There were over 30,000 attendees.
In an age of exponentially more data, connected devices and computing power, there are more ways for attackers to breach an organization than ever before. Teams are challenged to manage these threats as they deal with too many disparate tools from too many vendors, an enormous security and IT skills shortage, and a growing number of compliance mandates.
Marc van Zadelhoff, General Manager, IBM Security, kicked off the session "Ready For Anything: Build a Cyber Resilient Organization". The year 2017 was a tough year for security. People can relate to the number of security breaches that happened.
Why do companies struggle in this area? It is not just because hackers have become more sophisticated. IBM Security has over 8,000 security experts to help clients. When IBM is called in, we find 90 percent lack basic fundamentals from firewall rules and patch management. It takes on average 200 days for companies to detect breaches. Sadly, 77 percent do not have a response plan after the breach happens.
To help this, IBM has come up with new terminology. At a certain point, [the shit hits the fan], a Canadian phrase meaning "messy consequences are brought about by a previously secret situation becoming public." Marc explained that it often is accompanied by FBI agents showing up at the front door.
Marc referred to this event as "the Boom". All of the preparation and prevention happen "left of Boom". The clean-up, salvaging your brand reputation, and remediating the damage was called "right of Boom". Here are some examples of a Boom event:
Compromised Cloud app
Left of Boom is our domain of choice. We are surrounded with just security and IT problems, problems we have studied our entire careers, involving daily activities we complete with a sense of certainty.
Right of Boom is a completely different matter. Others get involved, including Legal, HR, and sometimes even the Board of Directors. These are distant, hazy problems that don't occur every day, and more uncertainty.
The Boom is not the initial breach, but when the breach becomes public, an average of 200 days later. Hackers can do quite a lot of damage during these 200 days. What might have started as phishing emails, might continue with access to sensitive databases, stolen credentials to other servers, access to internal networks, and additional compromises.
Likewise, companies should not expect to clean up the mess in just a few days either. IT forensics are used to determine the scope of the breach. Regulators and auditors are notified, press conferences and legal dispositions are scheduled to address the public concerns, and social media sentiment might fall.
Back in 2016, [IBM acquired Resilient] a security software company. Ted Julian, IBM VP Product Management and Co-Founder of Resilient, performed a live demo of this software. Basically, it is a dashboard that automates gathering incident data, determines the tasks required, and then orchestrates appropriate responses. This allows the security administrator to launch remediation directly in context.
Last year, over 1,400 customers have taken advantage of IBM's security breach simulator lab, the IBM X-Force Command Center. On the right side of the boom, time matters. What might take 90 minutes manually can be done in two minutes with IBM Resilient dashboard and the right amount of practice and training.
Next on stage were Wendi Whitmore, IBM Security Services, and Mike Errity, Vice President IBM Resiliency Services. While Wendi's team is handling the situation from afar, Mike's team lives in the data center. Mike explained Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which applies to recovery after cyberattack, similar to Disaster Recovery after a hurricane.
Wendi indicates that executives need visibility into what is going on after a breach, and to have retainers involved in PR firms and other industry experts to be called on a short notice as needed right of boom.
Richard Puckett, Vice President Security Operations, Strategy and Architecture, at Thomson Reuters, was the final speaker. Richard spent the first six months of his job uplifting the security protocols at Thomson Reuters. They partnered with IBM to build up their talent for their Security Operation Center (SOC).
Threats are asymmetric. Unlike traditional physical threats from mobs of people, or trucks parked at the front door, cyber threats go undetected. Once they are detected, it can be difficult to identify the perpetrator. Richard suggests that good security requires good management. Patch management is not the sexiest, but is critical. Don't focus on shiny new objects, but rather fixing weak passwords and poor patch management procedures.
In the struggle to keep up, organizations are not doing a good job of mastering the security fundamentals. IBM believes that with the right approach, technologies and experts, our clients can fight back. IBM can deliver security and resiliency at the scale and speed necessary to protect businesses against the challenges of today, and tomorrow.
While Sal Khan was a hedge fund manager in Nor then California, he was also a math tutor to his cousin Nadia over the Internet in the evenings. This extended to 15 other family members. In November 2006, Sal started to record his teachings on a YouTube channel. His cousins liked the YouTube recordings better, as they could go at their own pace.
In 2007, Sal realized that many people who were not family-related were watching his educational videos on YouTube. Sal quit his job and set up [Khan Academy] as a non-profit organization. Unfortunately, the donations he received from students and parents were not enough to support his monthly expenses. However, he received a generous $10,000 US dollar donation from a parent who used the site with her kids.
Word got around. Bill Gates from Microsoft mentioned Khan Academy in an on-stage interview. Mr. Gates admired Sal's wife for letting him quit his job to pursue his interests.
(Later, Mr. Gates invited Sal to visit the Microsoft campus in Seattle, WA, asking him "What could Khan Academy achieve if you had more resources?" A question folks in public education, or the IT industry for that matter, rarely hear! )
By Fall 2010, the Gates Foundation, Google, [and other supporters] helped make this a fully funded organization, he was able to hire engineers and educators.
Sal gave an interesting analogy. Imagine building a house, the first step is to pour the concrete foundation, instructing the builders to "do what you can in two weeks". The inspection indicates problems, but you go ahead and build first floor with the same approach "do what you can in two weeks", then build second floor. Eventually, the house collapses.
Sal organized Khan Academy similar to [Kung Fu belt colors], rather than the manner students are grouped by age in traditional American schools, promoted lock-step, regardless of their readiness. Many students have gaps, and being moved to next grade just results in more gaps. The solution is to fill the gaps in a timely manner.
Sal gave three inspiring stories of some of his students:
Charlie dropped out of high school his freshman year. When he came back to school, he was put in remedial math and science classes. Charlie was able to catch up using Khan Academy, graduated as high school valedictorian, and went on to major in Computer Science at Princeton. Hearing this testimonial, Sal offered him an internship during his Junior year at Princetom. Charlie is now fully employed at Khan Academy.
Some engineers from Silicon Valley went to Mongolia to setup computer labs for kids in an orphanage. One orphan, Zaya, sent an [email with video] to Sal about how much she appreciated learning through Khan Academy. Zaya is now 19 years old, and one of the top contributors to Khan Academy in the Mongolian language, helping to educate her own people.
Seven years ago, a girl named Sultana living in Afghanistan. The Taliban took over her town, and physically prevented girls from attending school. Sultana had Internet access at home, and taught herself English. She asked her uncle to bring back any reading materials in English he could find. He brought back a Time magazine with an article on Khan Academy.
Between her ten hours' worth of household chores every day, Sultana taught herself math, chemistry, biology and physics using Khan Academy. She illegally crossed into Pakistan, a dangerous 30-hour journey, just to take the SAT exam and did surprisingly well.
Nicolas Kristof from the New York Times wrote an article [Meet Sultana, the Taliban's worst fear]. Sultana was able to get assylum into the United States, and is now doing research with a top physicist at MIT.
But how effective is Khan Academy overall? Working with the college test board, Sal was able to do efficacy studies. With 250,000 students using Khan Academy for PSAT/SAT prep for just 20 hours produced 100 percent extra gain. A similar study in Idaho found 80 percent extra gain with 10,500 students. In Brazil, a 7,000 student study found that one hour of Khan academy per week resulted in 30 percent more learning.
The videos on Khan Academy favor being simple and authentic, rather than high production value. The software and equipment used to make the first videos only cost a few hundred dollars. The costs are just 30 US cents per hour of learning.
Today, the free online learning resources cover preschool through early college education, including K-12 math, grammar, biology, chemistry, physics, economics, finance, history, and SAT prep. Khan Academy also provides teachers with tools and data so they can help their students develop the skills, habits, and mindsets they need to succeed in school and beyond.
The concept scales well. Khan Academy has over 150 employees, with another 14,000 volunteers helping with translations. Over 59 million students have registered across 190 countries. Every year, about 300,000 people send in donations. The webiste has had over 1.4 billion views.
Sal finished his talk with a thought experiment: Go back 400 years ago to Western Europe, a time when only about 10 percent of men, and 5 percent of women, could read. If you asked someone, back then, what percentage of people could be taught to read, they would estimate only 20 to 30 percent.
Today we know that nearly 100 percent of people can be taught to read. However, if you asked people today what percentage of people could become a software engineer, start a business, or write a novel, people respond only one to five percent.
IBM Watson is also helping out in the area of education. Register today at [Teacher Advisor]!
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
This week, IBM clients, Business Partners and executives get together for the new IBM [Think 2018] conference. This is a combination of last year's three events: Edge, InterConnect, and World of Watson (WoW).
(The theme this week is "Putting smart to work." Some might feel that this is a grammatically-incorrect use of the adjective [smart], referring to having quick-witted intelligence or being neat and well-dressed. Many words in the English language have multiple meanings and uses. The word smart is also a noun, referring to either business acumen, technical skills, or "a sharp stinging pain")
The keynote session today was "Science Slam: Unveiling 5 Breakthrough Technologies That Will Change the World!" by Arvind Krishna, IBM Research Director. IBM has over 3,000 researchers, in 12 labs, across six continents.
This talk was based on IBM's annual five-in-five, five predictions that might change the world in the next five years. For amusement, read my 10-year-old blog post [Five in five for 2008], including predictions for smart thermostats that can be controlled remotely, and self-driving cars.
("Science Slam" is IBM Research version of [Pecha Kucha], but instead of art students having 20 minutes to show 20 PowerPoint slides, each IBM research scientist has 5-7 minutes to explain the research project they are exploring. These are done both internally, as well as to audiences outside the company.)
Jamie Garcia served as emcee, introducing each of the five experts. Each spent 5-7 minutes, Science Slam style, on what projects they were working on.
1. Crypto-anchors and blockchain technology
‘Everything you don’t understand about money
combined with everything you don’t understand
about computers’ [25-minute video]
Andreas Kind presented first. Blockchain is not just a provenance system that enables Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it can be used for other goods.
(The best layman explanation of blockchain and cryptocurrencies I saw was John Oliver's humorous take on his HBO show [Last Week Tonight]!)
Counterfeit goods, from cinnamon to footwear, to medicine and automotive parts, is estimated over $1.8 trillion US dollars. IBM is working on how to use blockchain for other things, such as to restore trust into global supply chain. IBM hopes to reduce the number of counterfeit goods in half or more.
Andreas explained tamper-proof technologies called "crypto-anchors" -- from indelible ink on pharmaceuticals to computers smaller than a grain of salt -- that can be used to track products as they travel from one country to the next.
2. Lattice Cryptography and Fully Homomorphic Encryption
Cecilia Boschini from IBM Zurich presented next. As quantum computers get more powerful, the basic math involving prime numbers that most current encryption models are based on become vulnerable.
(Don't worry, she assured the audience, hackers would need a 1000-Qubit quantum computer to break today's encryption codes, which don't exist yet!)
What we need are post-quantum or quantum-resistant mathematical models. Lattice Cryptography aims to use more difficult math equations to make it more difficult for hackers to break the code, even when armed with quantum computers.
Another challenge with existing encrypted data is that we must decrypt the data to perform computations on it. Fully Homomorphic Encryption, or [FHE] for short, allows computations to be done in its encrypted state. For example, if I had a list of names with credit card or social security numbers encrypted, I could sort this list alphabetically without decrypting any of the data.
3. AI-enabled robotic microscopes to monitor ocean water
Tom Zimmerman is known as IBM Almaden's [McGyver], able to use common technologies in new and innovative ways.
By 2025, over half of the world's population will be living in water-stressed locations. IBM is working on robotic microscopes that can be deployed across the oceans, connected to the Cloud, monitoring the state of plankton.
Why plankton? Plankton produces two-thirds of all oxygen we breathe, and serves as the "baby food" for all oceanic species. Tom has re-programmed "face recognition" in smartphone cameras to recognize plankton, identifying what they are doing and eating.
Monitoring plankton provides an "early warning system", the proverbial [canaries in the coal mine] for impending water problems.
4. Eliminating Bias from Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Information overload! Overwhelmed by too much, our brains sort it out by either looking only for differences, or focusing on what we are already familiar with that confirm our beliefs.
Not enough meaning. Lacking complete information, our brains fill the gaps and connect the dots to find patterns that aren't patterns at all. Racism, prejudice, and stereotypes are examples of this.
The need to act fast! Survival in some cases demands acting fast, to avoid being eaten by an animal, for example. Unfortunately, our brains favor the quick and simple, over the more important but often delayed, distant or complicated response.
What should we remember? We decide what to remember, and what to forget. Our brains often favor generalities over specifics, as they take up less space. The details we remember when we experience it, or often edited or reinforced after the fact.
IBM is collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] to reduce bias in Artificial Intelligence by rating different AI models on fairness.
The AI models that will win in the future are those where the biases are tamed or eliminated altogether.
5. Quantum Computing
Talia Gershon was the last speaker.
Many problems become exponentially more difficult to solve with classical computers. For example, simulating protein molecular bonding gets more difficult the larger the molecules are, because you have more electron interactions.
Quantum Computers run at a temperature of 15 millikelvin (mK), which is 460 degrees below zero. The computation unit is called a [Qubit], and a 5-Qubit quantum computer can solve problems that your laptop can solve classically. IBM now has "IBM Q" with 50-Qubit computers available.
The IT industry is still in the early stages, but IBM Quantum Information Software development kit (QISkit) allows programmers to experiment and develop algorithms for this new computational model.
Over the next five years, IBM predicts that Quantum Computing will transition from the lab, to the mainstream, to solve problems that were previously too difficult or time-consuming to solve.
Back then, IBM allowed its employees the option to run Windows, Linux or Mac OS. Since then, dual-boot Windows/Linux configurations, like the one I had back then on my Thinkpad T410, proved too difficult for our help desk, so these are no longer allowed.
In 2015, I received my new Thinkpad T440p to replace the old T410 model. For those 20 to 25 percent of the IBM employee population that manage, support and connect directly to client networks, IBM required Linux encrypted with LUKS, using Windows as KVM guests when needed for specific applications. This is more secure than running Windows natively, preventing viruses and other malware to spread between IBM and its clients.
As I am occasionally asked to help out our colleagues in lab services or with critical situations, I decided to implement my laptop to match, just in case. RHEL is rock solid, and running Windows as KVM guests could not be easier. Not having to worry about Windows viruses while travelling on business is a huge benefit as well.
Upgrading from RHEL 6.1 all the way up to RHEL 6.9 was simply a push of a button, all the new applications and kernel get installed, followed by a quick reboot. The migration from RHEL 6.9 to RHEL 7.4, however, was a major undertaking.
In past migrations, I was moving from a working laptop to a second laptop, affording me to be fully productive on the old machine until I was ready to cut over. In this case, I am performing a fresh install on my existing machine. To avoid any problems or delays, I wrote myself an 8-page, 17 step migration plan to capture all the tasks I needed to do to minimize the impact to my productivity.
(Of cousre, IBM has a help desk. You hand over your laptop, they backup the home directory, wipe your system clean, fresh install, restore your home directory, and return the laptop to you 3-5 days later, leaving the rest of the tasks up to you. Basically, this would merely replace the first three of my 17 steps below. I did not feel like burdening our help desk, nor wait 3-5 days without a laptop!)
Here were my steps:
Backup my existing system
In addition to backing up all my individual files to the Cloud, I also used [Clonezilla] to create a full image backup of my 500GB drive to an external USB drive.
Not all data is in file form. I also exported my browser bookmarks, so that I could import them back later. I also ran an "rpm -qa" to get a list of my existing applications installed.
Initially, I thought to format the 4TB external drive in UDF format, which is readable by Windows, Linux and Mac OS and supports files that are larger than 4GB in size.
Not knowing whether I should use [ExFAT] or Universal Disk Format [UDF] format, I split the 4TB into two 1.9TB partitions, and formatted one as ExFAT, and the other as UDF. Both formats support files greater than 4GB in size, which I have, but I discovered that on the older RHEL 6.9 release, based on a 2.6 Linux kernel, you can only write 68GB of data to a UDF partition. This is fixed in later kernels, but doesn't help me with my existing RHEL 6.9 release.
Fortunately, the latest Clonezilla LiveCD chops up the cloned images into files small enough that you can write to a variety of formats, and has a newer kernel that allows writing the full capacity of UDF partition.
In a crisis, I can restore back to RHEL 6.9 within 2 hours. This was my "relief valve" if I encountered any major delays and had to go travel for business on short notice.
Fresh install of RHEL 7.4 Linux
This completely wipes clean my drive, and installs two partitions. A tiny "/boot" partition needed to boot the system, and the remaining drive capacity as a large LUKS-encrypted LVM, to be internally partitioned between "/" and "swap" logical volumes.
Copy all of my files back
The challenge is that some files might clobber some of the configurations of the new applications. For this reason, I created /home/tpearson/RHEL69 and put everything there, so that I can move them to the correct locations as appropriate.
Copying all the files back in this manner eliminated having to be tethered to the external USB drive.
Setup LAN connectivity
I have to connect to IBM and guest systems, so this configuration is important. This includes EAP, TLS and VPN configurations. I thought I could just re-use the certificates I have for RHEL 6.9, but no, I had to create and register fresh new certificates for RHEL 7.4 release.
Configure Cinnamon Desktop
RHEL 7.4 uses Gnome 3 by default, which is quite different than Gnome2 used in RHEL 6.9 release. I don't care for it, so I configured [Cinnamon desktop] instead. Many people who use Linux Mint or Ubuntu might be familiar with this, and for those switching from Windows or RHEL 6.9 Linux, Cinnamon has familiar "Start" button in lower left corner.
By default, our RHEL 7.4 image comes with Firefox and Chrome browsers, so all I needed to do was import the bookmarks that I had exported in step 1 above.
Configure KVM guests
I was able to bring over my Windows7 Kernel-Virtual Machine [KVM] from RHEL 6.9 and run without problems, but this was bloated and now consuming nearly 60GB of space. Therefore, I decided to get a fresh Windows7 and Windows10 guest images instead.
Like with Linux, I wrote down what applications I had installed on Windows, and used that to configure the Windows guests. Nearly everything I do runs natively on Linux, but I do use Microsoft Office (Powerpoint, Excel, Word) and a nice tool called [CutePDF] that allows me to print to PDF instead of an actual printer.
Windows10 comes with the "Print-to-PDF" feature built-in, so no need for CutePDF on that one.
Configure IBM Notes, Sametime and Gnote
IBM is a heavy user of [IBM Notes] (formerly called Lotus Notes), not just for email but also for its document management and database capabilities. Sametime is our "Instant Messenger" app. [Gnote] is a linux-based tool to store short notes, I use it for all of my email templates for quick copy-and-paste responses.
IBM recently made using printers super easy. Print to the common "Cloud printer", and then pick up your print-outs from any printer in the building, any IBM building, worldwide. I could print in Tucson, for example, and pick up my print-outs when I am in the IBM buildings in Austin, Texas!
I also had to configure my printer at home, for those days where I need to print a boarding pass or quick document.
Configure File Sharing
IBM has deployed IBM [Spectrum Scale] internally for employees to share files across the company called "Global Storage Architecture" (GSA). Configuration for me just meant having to find my local cell (tucgsa) for Tucson, and entering my credentials.
Install Docker and DSX Desktop
[DSX Desktop] is the local laptop version of IBM's cloud-based [Data Science Experience], allowing me to perform Hadoop and Spark analytics for the various projects I work on. It runs as a Docker container, so I had to configure Docker as well.
Install Multimedia Codecs
One of the big detractors for Linux, compared to Windows or Mac OS, is the lack of multimedia support. Linux distros, like Red Hat, don't ship with these pre-installed, leaving this as an exercise for the end user.
IBM does a lot of audio and video files, including replays of conference calls and webinars for internal training. I keep a collection of different audio and video files to ensure that I have everything configured correctly for proper playback.
Install GIMP and other software
The GNU Image Manipulation Program [GIMP] is a great tool for quick editing of graphics. Another tool, Inkscape is designed for vector graphics.
Configure file-level backup
In addition to doing full-volume image backups with Clonezilla, I back up individual files, which are sent over the IBM internal network to a central server. All I need is configure to my previous backup set, and create the appropriate include/exclude list.
Many employees might just back up their home directory, but I customize a lot of the Linux configuration, so I like to backup a few more directories. Here is what I choose to back up:
Congigure Grub2 boot configuration
RHEL 7.4 supports [Grub2], which allows you to boot iso files directly. I like to add Clonezilla and [SystemRescueCD] as boot options. These were simple enough to add, just follow instructions, copy files to the /boot directory, and create a menuentry for each.
Validate final configuration
After eight days, I have finally completed all these steps, and am able to validate that everything is working correctly. I did some sample workflows, such as:
Verify that I can launch Windows KVM guest, edit Powerpoint presentation, and print to PDF file.
Verify that I can open email, launching embedded URL links, and copy-and-paste templates from Gnote
Launch GIMP, verify that I can edit graphics, and import the results in a Powerpoint presentation.
Download and play a Webinar replay MP4 file
Fresh Clone of full volume image
Using the Clonezilla that I added to the Grub2 boot menu, I am able to backup my full 500GB drive. At this point, I will keep the RHEL 6.9 for a few weeks as emergency backup, but so far, everything seems to be working just fine.
This took longer than I expected, but am happy with the final result. Red Hat is rock-solid, and the new RHEL 7.4 allows me to run DSX Desktop, Windows 10, and some other applications that were not available on our previous RHEL 6.9 build.
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
Everyone is getting ready for next week's "Think 2018" event, so these might get missed under all the excitement.
IBM Spectrum Archive Enterprise Edition V1.2.6
IBM [Spectrum Archive] Enterprise Edition supports Linear Tape File System (LTFS) cartridges as part of a larger IBM Spectrum Scale deployment. Version 1.2.6 provides features to help transition from old technology to new technology, at the library, drive and cartridge level. It also adds support for "Little Endian" mode for IBM Power servers.
Tape library replacement procedure
Tape intermixing in pool for technology upgrade
Support for LTO 8 Media on LTO 8 drives
Support for Power Systems in Little Endian (LE) mode
IBM Copy Services Manager [CSM] was formerly knows as Tivoli Storage Productivity Center for Replication. It manages the copy services like FlashCopy and remote mirroring for DS8000, Spectrum Virtualize family, and Spectrum Accelerate family products. Version 6.2.2 adds some nice features:
Support for scheduled tasks against Copy Services Manager sessions
Support to create DS8000 system diagnostics from the Copy Services Manager GUI and CLI for issue resolution
New SNMP event and email notifications for any detected path failures
Ability to enable embedded Easy Tier heat map transfer to support full Copy Services Manager session configuration, including practice volumes
Next week, I will not be in Las Vegas for Think 2018. If you won't be there either, you might consider watching some of the livestream videos at [www.ibm.com/events/think/watch] starting March 19, 2018.
Many of you have seen the Storage announcements that were made last month on February 20. I gave you all the skinny about the context of the technology shift and some resources to go deeper still in my blog post [IBM Storage Announcements for February 2018].
So, there’s a lot going on in IBM Storage right now. I’m looking forward to the upcoming IBM Systems Technical University in Orlando, Florida, from April 30 to May 4, 2018.
TechU’s are my favorite events to attend. This is a true event for techies! You get hands-on labs, demos, technical sessions, and birds of a feather (BOF) sessions and open technology discussions.
There are over 200 sessions on IBM Storage. I have the honor of sharing the latest in storage technology and strategy. Here are the topics I am scheduled to present:
IBM hybrid cloud storage solutions
Managing risks with data footprint reduction
Information lifecycle management: Why archive is different than backup
The seven tiers of business continuity and disaster recovery
Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage System (powered by Cleversafe)
The pendulum swings back: Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
Reporting and monitoring: How to verify your storage is being used efficiently
It is funny how an article or blog post can remind me of something long, long ago.
Back in 2005, my manager, Rich Lechner, was then the Executive Advocate for a client in Chicago. While visiting that client, he asked what the client wanted most. His answer, for IBM to come in and do an "Information Lifecycle Management" (ILM) study on his IT environment. He agreed to send me on-site for a week.
I had done disk and tape studies of this kind before, but this time, I was going to do an end-to-end to evaluate their growth, and where was the best storage media for different data types.
Joining me were three "observers" from IBM Lab Services: Barbara Read, Steve Bisel and Tom Moore. As if I did not have enough pressure from the client, now I had to be "watched" while I interviewed the storage administrators, generated and reviewed reports.
At the end of the week, I had provide the client's upper management with a list of short-term, mid-term and long-term recommendations. As a side benefit, the client decided to purchase two DS8000 storage systems, replacing their HDS equipment!
After that initial engagement, the four of us formed a team. We performed similar studies at other client locations. Barbara Read was the process expert who wrote the "Documents of Understanding". Steve was our financial expert, and used spreadsheets to show total cost of ownership comparisons. Tom was our infrastructure expert, and used Microsoft Visio to document the inventory of IT equipment, and how it was all interconnected.
I was the consultant and public speaker for the team. I was able to incorporate the work of the three others into a Powerpoint presentation. During the week, we would show initial findings to the client, and then follow it up a few weeks later with a full report.
A lot has changed in the past 13 years! First, ILM was renamed to "Storage Infrastructure Optimization" (SIO) studies. Our initial team trained dozens of other practitioners. Today, SIO studies are done all over the world.
This week -- Jan 29 to Feb 2, 2018 -- I am in New York city with other IBM Storage executives, to meet with Channel distributors and Business Partners. If you are in the NYC area, and wish to have a product briefing, or just dinner or drinks, let me know!
I believe the "T" stands for "Third generation", as we have had other 9132 boxes before. Here are the details:
Small: Just 1U in size
Ports: 8, 16 or 32 ports
Transceivers: 32, 16, 8, and 4 Gbps
Protocols: FCP only, no FICON, FCIP, FCoE or iSCSI
Why is this important? Because the 16 Gbps and 32 Gbps transceivers support NVMe over Fabrics. Let's do a quick NVMe recap:
Last May, IBM announced that its developers are re-tooling the end-to-end storage stack to support [New Faster Protocols for Flash Storage], to boost the experience of everyone consuming the massive amounts of data now being perpetuated across cloud services, retail, banking, travel and other industries.
NVMe is a new language protocol that is replacing traditional SAS and SATA standards for solid state drives (SSD). Through employing parallelism, to simultaneously process data across a network of devices, clients can anticipate significantly reduced delays caused by data bottlenecks and move higher volumes of data within their existing flash storage systems.
IBM's NVMe strategy is based on optimizing the entire storage system stack - from applications requiring the data to flash technology to store it. Through the development of its FlashSystem family of all-flash storage solutions, IBM recognized years ago that multiple technologies would be required to address the demands of ultra-low latency data processing. IBM is developing solutions with NVMe across its storage portfolio, which it plans to bring to market in 2018.
At the AI Summit New York, December 2017, IBM disclosed a [technology preview and demonstration] with the integration of IBM POWER9 Systems and IBM FlashSystem 900 using NVMe-over-Fabrics InfiniBand. This combination of technologies is ideally suited to run cognitive solutions such as IBM PowerAI Vision, which can ingest massive amounts of data while simultaneously completing real time inferencing (object detection).
Whether it is streams of data, transactional data, or batch processes, a consistent requirement is the lowest possible latency. Among the leading all flash storage vendors, IBM with its FlashSystem 900, has stuck to its mission delivering low latency all flash arrays. Along comes NVMe-oF, which is, at its core, about getting rid of latency.
How do you take an already low latency protocol, like InfiniBand or Fibre Channel, and make it faster? Replace SCSI with NVMe and enable NVMe from server to fabric to storage array.
The FlashSystem 900 has been shipping with InfiniBand using SRP (SCSI over RDMA) for many years. In the technology preview, the very same InfiniBand adapter, based on the Mellanox chip set, is instead used to support the OpenFabrics driver distribution and NVMe-oF InfiniBand.
While the demonstration last December used Infiniband, this is not the only transport. NVMe-OF can also be used with Ethernet, either using Internet Wide Area RDMA (iWARP) or RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE). NVMe-OF over Fibre Channel is often referred to as FC-NVMe, and can drive NVMe over FCP or FCoE. Even though iWARP, RoCE and FCoE are all Ethernet-based, NVME-OF RDMA on the first two is different than FC-NVMe over FCoE.
Why not just drive NVMe commands over standard TCP/IP? The NVMe standards board is actually investigating this, but probably won't have anything until next year in 2019.
This week, IBM will be at the [Cisco Live!] event in Barcelona, Spain, talking about this new 9132T switch, as well as all of our VersaStack solutions! I won't be there, obviously, since I am in New York City, but if you are there, please send me photos! Barcelona is a wonderful city!
I hope everyone had a festive and restful winter break! I sure did!
(FCC Disclosure: I work for IBM. IBM is in our 17-day "quiet period" before it announces full-year and 4Q results on January 18. Therefore, I picked today's topic that has nothing to do with storage products, recent client wins, or financials.)
It's January, so I thought I would discuss [New Year's resolutions], a tradition in United States in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life. Early Romans made promises to their god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
Sadly, most of us are unsuccesful. This is often because the resolutions were unrealistic, people failed to measure and track their progress, or simply lost interest midyear.
From my own experience, most resolutions can be lumped into four major categories:
Get healthy: Eat better, lose weight, exercise more, sit less, quit smoking
Get organized: Stop procrastinating, pay off debt, de-clutter, switch to a better job, reduce stress
Become social: Spend more time with friends and family, meet new people, travel, volunteer for charity
Learn new skills: Learn a new language, take up a new hobby, learn to paint or create arts and crafts
A technique I use to develop presentations might help people keep New Year's Resolutions. The technique called [SCIPAB®], created by Mandel Communications, is an elegantly simple, six-step method for starting important conversations or create [Effective Presentations]. Since Resolutions are basically "conversations with yourself", let's give it a try!
Situation: "Oh No! The boss's daughter, Nell Fenwick, is tied to the railroad tracks!"
Complication: A train approaches!
Implication: If nobody does anything soon, she will die
Position: "I, Dudley Do-Right, will save her!"
Untie her from the tracks and set her free
Arrest the villain, Snidely Whiplash
Benefit: Nell lives! "Dudley Do-Right, you are my hero!"
Let's see how we can use this approach on different categories of resolutions. To get healthy, we might use:
Situation: "Oh No! My latest doctor visit indicates that my numbers are too high!"
(AMA Disclosure: I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice. Here numbers could represent any appropriate health measurement of your BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, liver enzymes, or blood sugar, for example.)
Complication: I am not getting any younger.
Implication: I am at risk of heart disease, cancer, or other health issue. This situation will not go away on its own.
Position: I need to change my lifestyle to get healthy
Set appointment to see my doctor
Follow doctor's recommendations for diet, medication and exercise
Schedule follow-up appointments to measure and track progress
Benefit: My health measurements will return to normal range.
Rather than resolving to "Eat less and exercise more", the above approach is more focused on the end result, rather than intermediate actions, and therefore has a better chance of success, getting your health within normal range.
Let's try another one. To get better organized, we might use:
Situation: "Sigh! All of my projects are over budget and behind schedule, my desk is a mess, I forget important thoughts and ideas, and I am always late to meetings."
Complication: I just got assigned to lead project XYZ.
Implication: If I am not better organized, I could lose my job.
Position: I need to change my work routine to get organized.
Read David Allen's book and learn his system for "Getting Things Done" [GTD], or one of the many variants, like [GSD] or [ZTD].
Decide on where to write down and keep track of my thoughts, tasks and projects, either on paper like a notebook or [Hipster PDA], or an online mobile account like [Evernote] or [Google Keep]. Chose something that will be within arms reach 24 hours a day.
Work with project managers to track and measure progress of project XYZ.
Benefit: Project XYZ will be completed on schedule, within budget. I might even get a bonus, raise, or promotion!
I could go on, but you get the idea.
In his WSJ article [Blame it on the Brain], Jonah Lehrer cautions against trying to change too many habits all at once. If you have multiple resolutions, try to focus on establishing new habits for one resolution for a month or two, before starting the next one. Prioritize what is most important.