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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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This week, I am in Las Vegas for [Edge 2016], IBM's Premiere IT Infrastructure conference of the year. Here is my recap of Day 3 Wednesday.
Become your own Storage Consultant
Gary Graham, IBM Field Technical Specialist for Storage, and Brian Pioreck, IBM Client Technical Specialist for Storage, co-presented this session. This session explained how to use IBM's 30-day free trial of IBM Spectrum Control Storage Insights, a cloud-based services offering.
(Note: 15 years ago, I was the chief architect of version 1 of what we now call IBM Spectrum Control. I am pleased to see how well this product has evolved over the years.)
Storage Insights provides a reporting-only subset of the popular IBM Spectrum Control Standard and Advanced editions. It reports on IBM storage devices, as well as any non-IBM devices that are virtualized behind IBM Spectrum Virtualize products like SAN Volume Controller (SVC), Storwize, and FlashSystem V9000.
If you are a storage administrator, consider trying this out for 30 days, get some immediate results. Since it is cloud-based, you only need a Windows, Linux or AIX system to install a "collector" on site. This collector sends data up to the Cloud at one of IBM SoftLayer facilities. The installation process takes only 30 minutes, and you can download the code from the Internet.
If you find Storage Insights valuable, helping you reclaim some unused space, or provide other insight that saves your company money, consider buying the service, for only 250 US Dollars per 50 TB monitored. If you want more than just monitoring and reporting, consider one of the on-premise solutions like IBM Spectrum Control Standard, or IBM Spectrum Control Advanced edition, which provide provisioning and configuration capabilities as well.
Enhance your Security posture with At-Rest Encryption using the latest IBM Spectrum Virtualize
All of the IBM Spectrum Virtualize products support Data-at-Rest Encryption. For direct-attached storage, the 12Gb SAS controller performs hardware-assisted encryption.
For SAN-attached storage via FCP, FCoE or iSCSI back-end devices, IBM uses the [AES-NI instruction set] that comes included in certain Intel CPU processors.
Last November 2015, [IBM acquired Cleversafe] for $1.3 Billion US dollars because Cleversafe has the brand name recognition as the #1 Object Storage vendor the past two years in a row (2014 and 2015). On July 1 of this year, the transformation was complete, and their flagship product was officially renamed to the IBM Cloud Object Storage System, which some abbreviate informally as IBM COS.
Since then, IBM has been busy integrating IBM COS into the rest of the storage portfolio. I explained how IBM COS can be used for all kinds of static-and-stable data, but not suited for frequently changed data, such as Virtual machines or Databases.
Object storage can be access via NFS or SMB NAS-protocols using a gateway product, like IBM Spectrum Scale, or those from third-party partners like Ctera, Avere, Nasuni or Panzura. It can also be used as an alternative to tape for backup copies, and is already supported by the major backup software like IBM Spectrum Protect, Commvault Simpana, or Veritas NetBackup.
A few years ago, I explained to a client that Converged and Hyperconverged were like a pendulum swinging back. Over the past few decades, we have gone from internal disk, to externally attached disk, to SAN and LAN networks.
Each time, we gained more flexibility, greater connectivity and longer distances. Then I explained that Converged and Hyperconverged is like going backwards, the pendulum swinging back to the days of internal and direct-attached storage. The analogy was a hit, and thus this session was born!
IBM offers multiple Converged Systems. IBM PureSystems, PureData, PurePower and PureApplication solutions offer racks of compute, storage and network gear. Last year, IBM collaborated with Cisco to create VersaStack, a converged system that combines Cisco's x86 blade servers and switches with IBM FlashSystem and Storwize products.
IBM also offers Hyperconverged solutions. IBM Spectrum Accelerate allows the compute, storage and network functions run on 3 to 15 VMware ESXi hosts to form a cluster. The cluster can then make iSCSI-based volumes available to other virtual machines running on these same hosts. The volumes can also be made available to servers outside the cluster, such as bare metal servers or other Hypervisors. This is available as software-only, or you can get pre-built system called the Supermicro Hyperconvergence Appliance.
IBM Spectrum Scale provides a clustered file system that allows the compute, storage and network functions to run on 3 to 16,000 machines. Formerly called General Parallel File System (GPFS), IBM Spectrum Scale has been around for over 18 years. Over 200 of the world's largest "Top 500" supercomputers run IBM Spectrum Scale today.
IBM Spectrum Virtualize and IBM Storwize Birds-of-a-Feather
Barry Whyte, fellow blogger and IBM Master Inventor, presented an overview of the latest features, and where IBM is headed in 2017 for the IBM Spectrum Virtualize family of products. Barry now works in Advanced Technical Skills for Storage Virtualization Asia/Pacific Region.
The group then moved to another room offering delicious food and drink, as Eric Stouffer, IBM Director, Storwize Offering Manager and Business Line Exec, presented the future areas that IBM is consider for this product family.
All of this was done under Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA), preventing me from blogging any details. Back in 2003, Las Vegas started a marketing campaign ["What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas"]. Coincidentally, this is the same year IBM introduced the IBM SAN Volume Controller, the first product in the IBM Spectrum Virtualize family.
This was a long day, but was pleased with the large audiences I had at my sessions.
This week, I am in Las Vegas for [Edge 2016], IBM's Premiere IT Infrastructure conference of the year. Here is my recap of breakout sessions on Day 2.
Introducing IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R: Grid Architecture Designed for the Hybrid Cloud
Tomer Carmeli, IBM Offering Manager for the A9000 and A9000R presented. Both models offer data-at-rest encryption, snapshots, remote mirroring, and data footprint reduction, assuming 5.26:1, a combination of pattern removal, data deduplication and hardware-assisted Real-time compression.
The A9000 is an 8U high pod that can fit into existing racks. It comes in 60TB, 150TB and 300TB effective capacity.
The A9000R includes its own 42U rack. The rack is organized as two to six "grid elements" combined with two InfiniBand switches. Grid elements come in 150TB and 300TB effective capacities, giving you up to a whopping 1.8 PB in a single rack!
Similar to the IBM XIV and IBM Spectrum Accelerate offerings, the A9000 and A9000R support Hyper-Scale features. Hyper-Scale Manager lets you manage up to 144 devices on a single pane of glass. Hyper-Scale Mobility lets you move volumes (LUNs) non-disruptively from one device to another.
Different data compresses or dedupes at different ratios. Your mileage may vary. Unless you are evaluating a JBOF (just a bunch of flash) device, there is a great difference between raw, usable, and effective capacity. Raw capacity can be calculated by the size of each chip, times the number of chips. Usable capacity factors out RAID, and any spare capacity set aside for RAID rebuild and garbage collection. Effective capacity indicates the amount of information that can be stored by taking advantage of data footprint reduction technologies, such as compression or data deduplication.
IBM offers three options:
Measured Estimate -- IBM has a set of data reduction estimator tools that can scan your existing data, and estimate your reduction ratio, within 5 percent accuracy.
Competitive Match -- If a competitor had run their own set of estimator tools, IBM might be able to match the reduction ratio, without repeating the analysis, by just reviewing the competitor results.
"Sight unseen" -- without analyzing your actual data, reduction ratio is determine by the type of data (DB2, Oracle, SQL server, etc.), based on experience with similar data at other data centers.
Both A9000 and A9000R models are published at 250 microsecond latency, about 30 times faster than traditional spinning disk, although some workloads actually can run even faster than that. Assuming 5.26:1 reduction, these sell for about $1.50 per effective GB.
Flash Primer - Ready to move from disk storage?
Patricia Crowell, IBM Worldwide FlashSystem Enablement manager, presented. She presented an interesting time line:
First Solid-State Drive (SSD)
First Flash card, such as for digital cameras
First USB stick
Flash used in specialized IT appliances
Flash for the enterprise - Microsoft and UCSD paper on SSD
In 2012, Microsoft Research and University of California San Diego published ["The Bleak Future of NAND Flash Memory"], 8 pages, by Laura M. Grupp, John D. Davis, and Steven Swanson. Here is an excerpt:
"The technology trends we have described put SSDs in an unusual position for a cutting-edge technology: SSDs will continue to improve by some metrics (notably density and cost per bit), but everything else about them is poised to get worse. This makes the future of SSDs cloudy: While the growing capacity of SSDs and high IOP rates will make them attractive in many applications, the reduction in performance that is necessary to increase capacity while keeping costs in check may make it difficult for SSDs to scale as a viable technology for some applications"
IBM disagreed with this bleak assessment, announced it was investing $1 billion US Dollars into this technology, acquired Texas Memory Systems, and has deployed flash throughout its product line. For the past three years, IBM has been the #1 vendor for Flash storage systems.
Patricia offered the following example. What would it take to run 20 million IOPS? Here's a comparison:
Disk systems 15K rpm
Disk systems 7200 rpm
How to migrate from SONAS to IBM Spectrum Scale/ESS using Active File Manager
Paul Schena, IBM Senior IT Specialist, presented his experiences migrating existing SONAS data to new IBM Spectrum Scale or Elastic Storage Server (ESS) deployments. SONAS is going End-of-Service (EOS) on April 30, 2018, so it is never too soon to start this migration.
Paul gave two different methodologies. The first used Active File Management (AFM):
Setup an IBM Spectrum Scale "Gateway Node" in "Independent-Writer" AFM mode. Paul recommends 10 threads per gateway node.
Issue an AFM pre-fetch, disabling the "cache eviction" feature to ensure data remains. AFM transfers the directory structure, file data including sparse files, Access Control Lists (ACL), extended attributes.
Define your exports with no-root-squash and move your user mounts to the new systems
Once all the data is moved, convert the cache filesets to regular filesets
Define your quotas, export settings, ILM policies and rules
Decommision the SONAS
The second used Robocopy and Rsync, which may be required if there is high-latency, long-distance connection that prevents proper AFM connections:
Configure IBM Spectrum Scale CES servers to appropriate NFS and/or SMB protocols
Use Robocopy and/or Rsync as appropriate to move the data to the new system
Decommision the SONAS
Having it all: Hybrid Cloud Storage Services for Block, Power and Backup
Clint Parish, Director of Enterprise Solutions and Services for VSS, and Marc The'berge, Business Development for Supermicro, co-presented this session.
VSS offers POWER8-based Cloud services. They consider themselves "boutique" with POWER8 servers, able to run AIX, IBM i and Linux on POWER applications, but not at the scale and size of larger x86-based clouds like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
For IBM i, they attach to IBM Storwize V7000. For AIX and Linux on POWER, they use IBM Storwize V7000 and/or Supermicro Hyperconverged Appliance, a pre-built system based on IBM Spectrum Accelerate.
Supermicro offers three "tee-shirt sizes", their small systems have six nodes, medium with 9 nodes, and large with 15 nodes. Unlike other Hyperconverged systems, the ones from Supermicro include a rack, and are pre-cabled with all the necessary Ethernet switches necessary to make a complete solution.
To offer backup services, VSS uses IBM Spectrum Protect with the Supermicro appliances.
In the evening, we were treated with a concert with Train, known for songs like "Meet Virginia", "Hey Soul Sister", "Calling all Angels" and "Drops of Jupiter". They played all of these, plus covered some songs by Led Zeppelin, Journey, Queen and Aerosmith,
This week, I am in Las Vegas for [Edge 2016], IBM's Premiere IT Infrastructure conference of the year.
General Session - Outthink Status Quo
This week's motto is "Outthink the Status Quo.. Before the Status Quo disrupts your business!
Tom Rosamilia, IBM Senior VP for IBM Systems (and my fifth-line manager), kicked off the event. There are about 5,500 people at this event. He mentioned that just like a picture is worth a thousand words, "a prototype is worth a thousand meetings."
He showed a video of our client "Plenty of Fish" [POF], which is a dating site. They have 100 million members, of which 4 million access their site every day. IBM FlashSystem paid for itself, with an ROI payback period of 2 months.
Jason Pontin, Editor in Chief and Publisher of [MIT Technology Review], mentioned three major areas to watch:
Explosive innovation in Artificial Intelligence (AI), including IBM Watson, machine learning, etc.
Pervasive computing, including augmented reality or virtual reality, what IBM calls Internet of Things (IoT)
Re-writing life, directly editing genomes for healthcare and agriculture
Jason feels there are two major challenges for humans. First, what is the "future of work"? People are no longer working for the same company for their entire career. Rather, they come and go, moving in and out of companies. Second, how will we deliver food and water to the 9.6 billion population expected to exist by 2050, with added challenge of climate change. Ed Walsh, IBM General Manager for Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, presented next. Last year, I was asked to throw my hat in the ring to be the next General Manager of IBM Storage. I was up against some strong competition, and in the end upper management selected Ed Walsh instead. He is a good choice, and I support his efforts.
Matt Cadieux, CIO for [Red Bull Racing], presented on the IT challenges of designing, building and racing Formula One racing cars. They have 21 races per year, and each race has slightly different specifications, forcing Red Bull Racing to break down and rebuild their cars for each race.
Michael Lawley, Senior IT Vice President for [HealthPlan Services], explained how his business grew 300 percent in the past four years. Their workloads are very "spiky", so it is good that they can scale up or down their IT infrastructure 3-4x as needed, within minutes.
Jacob Yundt, CIO for University of Pittsburgh Medical Center [UPMC], explained the importance of genomics as the next frontier of medicine. Genomics allows for more accurate cancer determinations, which helps target specific treatments. They moved from x86-based clusters to those based on Power LC models from IBM. For analytics, they chose IBM Power8 S822L servers with Elastic Storage Server (ESS) and the Hadoop Transparency Layer.
Lastly, Terri Virnig hosted two technology partners to the stage for some major announcements. First, Jim Totton from Red Hat, announced that RHEV v4 (based on Linux KVM) is announced for POWER platform. Secondly, Scott Gnau, CTO for [Hortonworks], announced that Hortonworks will run on the POWER platform, as part of IBM and Hortonworks Open Data Platform [ODP] initiative.
Trends & Directions: The Future of Storage in the Cloud and Cognitive Era
Eric Herzog, IBM Vice President, Product Marketing and Management Software Defined Infrastructure, served as emcee for this session.
Ed Walsh, IBM General Manager for IBM Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, marveled at IBM's "storied history in storage innovation". He suggests clients should modernize and transform their business with IBM broadest storage portfolio in the IT industry.
Clod Barrera, IBM Engineer and the Chief Technical Strategist for IBM Systems Storage, explained that in the past 60 years of disk systems, areal density has improved by a factor of one billion. Unfortunately, that is slowing down, and we won't see such improvements anymore.
Bina Hallman, IBM Vice President, Software Defined Storage Solutions Offering Management, hosted a panel of clients, including:
Bob Osterlin, from [Nuance], that has 5-10 PB of data using IBM Spectrum Scale for voice recognition software.
Rich Spurlock, from [Cobalt Iron], that provides Backup-as-a-Service using IBM Spectrum Protect. Their clients experience an 80 percent reduction in operating expenditures (OPEX) using Spectrum Protect.
Moshe Perez, from [RR Media], that provides television channel distribution like ESPN and BBC to other countries. They use IBM Spectrum Accelerate to handle the demand peaks, such as the Olympics.
Mike Kuhn, IBM Vice President for Storage Solutions Offering Management, also hosted a panel of clients, including:
Kevin Muha, from [UPMC], managing 13 PB of storage, across a variety of IBM storage devices, including 700 TB of FlashSystem V9000.
Bill Reed, CTO for [Arizona State Land Department], that uses VersaStack with IBM FlashSystem V9000 for geographic information system [GIS] applications. They manage over 9.2 million acres to help fund K-12 schools in Arizona.
Owen Morley, from Plenty of Fish [POF] dating website, evaluated nearly every flash device in the market, and chose IBM FlashSystem. "The one metric that matters is Latency!"
These were the two main keynote sessions on Monday morning. During the rest of the week there will be over 285 storage-related breakout sessions, dozens of labs, and 7 panels.
This week, I am in Las Vegas for [Edge 2016], IBM's Premiere IT Infrastructure conference of the year. In previous years, this conference was held in May, June or July, but this year, it was moved back to September, to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of IBM Disk Systems.
I have arrived safely to Las Vegas, and checked in at Edge 2016 Conferenece Registration.
This year, the Solutions EXPO opens early, on Sunday with a reception. This gives people a chance to go to booth #330 to make appointments for one-on-one with various IBM Executives!
I was able to catch up with co-workers I have not seen in a while! There is a whole section on IBM storage products such as the IBM DS8888 All-Flash Array, as well as software products like IBM Spectrum Protect and IBM Spectrum Control.
On Monday, my session "All Flash is Not Created Equal: Tony Pearson Contrasts IBM FlashSystem and SSD" has moved from the tiny room to a much larger room "Studio A". There was a lot of demand for this session, so I have agreed to present this again, as a repeat session, on Wednesday.
Edge will be different in many ways this year. The past few years we had separate "Executive Edge" for C-level executives, "Winning Edge" for IBM Business Partners, and "Technical Edge" for server, network and storage administrators.
This year, all 1,000 sessions are combined back into one, but with clever hints in the titles. The words "General Session", "Outthink" or "Cognitive" are used to indicate C-level executive talks. Those that use the terms "Winning" or "Community" target IBM Business Partners, Managed Service Providers and Cloud Service Providers. Those that mention z Systems, POWER servers, or Storage solutions, often adding the term "Deep-Dive", are technical.
(Unlike other sessions that might appeal to one portion of the audience or another, mine are suitable for everyone, from C-level executives and IBM Business Partners to storage administrators. To help people find them under the new naming scheme, I have added "Tony Pearson Presents", or words to that effect.)
About 260 breakout sessions relate to IBM Storage, but there are only 20 or so time slots, so obviously you can't see them all in person.
I strongly suggest you pick about three to five topics per time slot, so that you are not overwhelmed by the dozens of choices during the event. This allows you to make a quick decision on which one you finally decide on during each time slot.
Occasionally, a session might get canceled, postponed, or be so full of attendees that nobody else is allowed in, so having three to five topics selected allows you to chose an alternate.
Here is my schedule for next week at Edge 2016.
Trends & Directions: The Future of Storage in the Cloud and Cognitive Era
All Flash is Not Created Equal: Tony Pearson Contrasts IBM FlashSystem and SSD
MGM Grand - Studio 9
Solution EXPO: Reception
Edge at Night: Poolside Reception and Concert "Train"
Tony Pearson Presents IBM Cloud Object Storage System and Its Applications
MGM Grand - Room 114
The Pendulum Swings Back: Tony Pearson Explains Converged and Hyperconverged Environments
MGM Grand - Room 113
Solution EXPO: Reception
Tony Pearson Presents IBM's Cloud Storage Options
MGM Grand - Room 116
My colleagues Dave Dabney or Adam Bergren will be located at the WW Systems Client Centers Booth 125 of the Solution EXPO.
If you are active in Social Media, consider using the hashtags #IBMedge, #IBMstorage, and #IBMcloud. You can follow me on Twitter, my handle is @az990tony
For those interested in a one-on-one meeting with me, over breakfast, lunch or dinner, or some other time, I have several slots still available. Fill out a request form on BriefingSource at: [https://briefingsource.dst.ibm.com/]
As I have mentioned before, I started this blog on September 1, 2006 as part of IBM's big ["50 Years of Disk Systems Innovation"] campaign. IBM introduced the first commercial disk system on September 13, 1956 and so the 50th anniversary was in 2006. That means this month, IBM celebrates the "Diamond" anniversary, 60 years of Disk Systems!
For those who missed it, IBM announced last Tuesday encryption capability for the TS1120 drive, our enterprise tape drive that read and write 3592 cartridges. Do you need special cartridges for this? No! Use the sames ones you have already been using!
You can read more about it www.ibm.com/storage/tape."
Short and sweet, but it got me started, and I ended up writing 21 blog posts that first month. You can read blog posts from all 10 years by looking at the left panel of my blog under "Archive".
While traditional disk and tape storage are still very important and relevant in today's environment, IBM has also expanded into other technologies:
In 2012, IBM [acquired Texas Memory Systems]. In 2014, IBM shipped 62PB, more Flash capacity than any other vendor. In 2015, continued its #1 status, shipping 170PB of Flash, again, more than any other vendor.
IBM has flash everywhere, from the advanced FlashSystem 900, V9000, A9000 and A9000R models, to other all-flash array and hybrid flash-and-disk systems a with various sets of features and functions to meet a variety of workload requirements.
The DS8888 all-flash array, and the DS8886 and DS8884 hybrid flash-and-disk systems round out the latest in the DS8000 storage systems family. SAN Volume Controller and Storwize family of products, based on IBM Spectrum Virtualize software, also have all-flash array and hybrid configurations. The most recent being the Gen2+ models of Storwize V7000F and V5030F. The latest solution is the DeepFlash 150 models, designed for analytics and unstructured data.
Between internally-developed IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM Spectrum Archive, and IBM's [acquisition of Cleversafe], IBM is ranked #1 in Object Storage. IBM Cloud Object Storage System, IBM's new name for Cleversafe's flagship product, is available as software-only, pre-built systems, or in the IBM SoftLayer cloud.
Software-Defined Storage (SDS) with IBM Spectrum Storage
Last year, IBM re-branded its various storage software products under the "IBM Spectrum Storage" family. Earlier this year, IBM announced the new [IBM Spectrum Storage Suite license] which makes it even easier to procure, either with a perpetual software license, elastic monthly licensing, or utility license that combines some of each.
IBM is ranked #1 in Software-Defined Storage, with over 40 percent marketshare, offering solutions as Software-only, pre-built systems, and in IBM SoftLayer cloud.
Well it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM announcements!
(For those wondering where I went in July, then perhaps the better question should be "where didn't I go?". I started in Boston, MA, then Iceland, England, Hungary, Romania, Qatar, Kenya, Dubai UAE, and finally Seattle, WA. Whew! This week, I am visiting clients in Tennessee.)
Today, IBM launches a whole set of updated offerings based on the IBM Spectrum Virtualize software code base.
IBM Spectrum Virtualize v7.7.1 software-only offering
Like the rest of the IBM Spectrum Storage family of products, IBM Spectrum Virtualize can now be purchased as software only, allowing you to install it on your own x86 servers, rather than purchasing pre-built systems from IBM.
The software license comes in two flavors. The traditional "perpetual license" allows you to move the software from one x86 server to another. Say after 4 years, you have depreciated the server, or the hardware components fail, and you want to get a newer server. This is the same perpetual license that clients with IBM SAN Volume Controller and Storwize family have enjoyed since 2003.
The other is a "monthly license", which allows you to stand up your own "SVC" using your own x86 servers, for a period of months needed for a development/test project, disaster recovery, or some other purpose. After the project is over, you can discontinue the license, and re-purpose the x86 servers for something else. This is especially handy for Managed Service Providers (MSP) and Cloud Service Providers (CSP), but certainly can prove useful in traditional datacenters as well. The "monthly licensing" option is also available for IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) as well.
The software license is based on Tebibyte [TiB]. For those not familiar with international standards, here is a comparison table:
The v7.7.1 also provides new features for existing SVC, Storwize and FlashSystem V9000 products. Here are a few:
Manageability with CLI support for host groups
Scalability with support for up to 10,000 virtual disks, depending on the model; and up to 20 Expansion Enclosures on SVC 2145-DH8, Storwize 5639-SV1, FlashSystem V9000 models
RAS and performance enhancements for distributed RAID (DRAID)
Flexibility with iSCSI virtualization support for XIV® Gen 3, Spectrum Accelerate, FlashSystem A9000 and FlashSystem A9000R arrays.
The IBM SAN Volume Controller now offers "Enterprise Class Support" as an option. In the past, the SVC was a "customer setup" box, similar to midrange and entry-level products. Now, you can upgrade your support to match that of IBM DS8000 and XIV enterprise class offerings. This means that IBM experts will maintain your microcode levels for you.
The new 624 model is based on the 10-core [Intel Broadwell] processor, which IBM has clocked at up to 45 percent performance improvement. It also offers up to 128GB of cache memory per system, 64GB per node, double what came standard on the 524 model!
Why "Gen2+"? Moving from an 8-core Haswell to a 10-core Broadwell CPU, and doubling the cache memory didn't seem to be enough "architectural change" to justify calling in a "Gen3", so marketing decided on Gen2+ instead.
I refer to the IBM FlashSystem V9000 as my "Superman" product. When Superman dons on his glasses he becomes "Clark Kent", mild-mannered newspaper reporter. But behind the glasses, he is always Superman! Likewise, the FlashSystem V9000 is an all-flash array with an impressive set of features, but take off the fancy bezel, and you find that it is a pair of fully-loaded SAN Volume Controllers (which we call "Control Enclosures AC3") and a FlashSystem 900 drawer of the world's fastest flash storage.
The FlashSystem V9000 can attach up to 20 expansion enclosures over 12Gb SAS connections. Each expansion enclosure can hold either 24 of the smaller 2.5-inch drives, or 12 of the larger 3.5-inch drives. Of course, the FlashSystem V9000 can also virtualize any of almost 400 other storage arrays, similar to SAN Volume Controller. This provides tiering options that match well with the FlashSystem 900 inside using IBM's Easy Tier auto-tiering capability.
IBM Storwize V7000F and V5030F all-flash array models
The FlashSystem V9000 was originally going to be called the Storwize V9000, but the FlashSystem folks wanted to keep all of the "FlashCore" technology under one name. In perhaps a bit retaliation, or maybe sibling rivalry, the Storwize team added the letter "F" to refer to the All-flash models of the Storwize V7000F and V5030F.
The "flash" in the V7000F and V5030F are just Solid-state drives, not nearly as fast as the cards in the FlashSystem models. The drives come in 1.92TB and 3.84TB capacities. You might see these rounded up to 2TB and 4TB on some presentations, but IBM officially never likes to exaggerate.
Last week, I presented at the "IBM TechU Comes to You" event in beautiful Nairobi, Kenya. This was a three-day event, so here is my recap of Day 3, Thursday Aug 4, 2016.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for z Systems
I have been working in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery my entire career at IBM, so when I was asked to give a "z Systems" mainframe slant to my standard BC/DR pitch, I was up to the challenge. IBM offers a complete set of solutions, and I presented best practices for each.
Data Protection, Management and Journey to the Cloud with IBM Spectrum Protect
This session was presented by Saumil Shah, IBM Spectrum Protect Sales Leader for Middle East, Turkey & Africa. I am glad that Saumil volunteered to cover IBM Spectrum Protect, as I already had six sessions on my plate for this week. My version tends to focus on the "What and How" of data protection, whereas Saumil focused instead on the "Why" of data protection. Why should you protect data, and why you should use IBM Spectrum Protect instead of the various other software out in the marketplace.
IBM Spectrum Virtualize - Understanding SVC, Storwize and the FlashSystem V9000
IBM Spectrum Virtualize is the new name for the code base shared by all of these products. I presented the latest features of SVC, Storwize and FlashSystem V9000 hardware models, as well as the latest software features.
How to combine the advantages of Storage Virtualization and Flash performance (the Turbocompression effect)
This session was presented by Dominique Salomon, IBM Certified IT Specialist Storage and European New Technology Introduction Leader. He works at the IBM Montpelier Briefing Center in France, a sister organization to the IBM Tucson Executive Briefing Center that I work in. The term "Turbocompression" was initially coined by his team in Montpelier to explain the combined benefits of Flash technology, Easy Tier automated sub-LUN tiering, with Real-time Compression.
I have to admit that the first time I heard this, I was skeptical. It sounded like a marketing gimmick to mention these together. However, once I saw the demo and the resulting numbers, I was convinced. IBM Easy Tier technology identifies and ranks which blocks are the busiest, and moves extents to the appropriate place. Real-time Compression can compress data in cache memory, flash and spinning disk, allowing more of the busiest blocks of data to reside in the fastest storage media. This means higher hit ratios for cache, lower latency for flash, and less wear-and-tear on the spinning disk drives.
Storage Integration with OpenStack
While OpenStack is used by more than 60 percent of Cloud Service providers, it is used by fewer than 10 percent of the Fortune 500 corporations. This represents an excellent opportunity for IBM, leading in having its storage products support this important open source interface.
IBM supports OpenStack Cinder interface for its block level devices, including DS8000 and XIV. IBM Supports OpenStack Swift for its object storage, including IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Archive, and IBM Cloud Object Storage System (formerly Cleversafe). IBM Spectrum Scale supports OpenStack Cinder, Swift, and Manila interfaces for a complete solution across volumes, files and objects.
Marlin Maddy, IBM Manager of Worldwide Systems Technical Events, served as master of ceremonies. He thanked the audience for attending, and drew names for prizes. This time these were Samsung "smart-watches".
Thursday evening, some people left, and the few of us remaining had dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel. I joined folks from USA, Germany and Middle East. I love our informal discussions! I learn so much listening to other points of view.
Last week, I presented at the "IBM TechU Comes to You" event in beautiful Nairobi, Kenya. This was a three-day event, so here is my recap of Day 2, Wednesday Aug 3, 2016.
IBM Spectrum Scale overview and update
This session was covered by Mack Kigada, IBM Executive Consultant for the "Executive Advisory Practice" portion of Systems Lab Services. This session explained the basic features of Spectrum Scale, including the latest features of version 4.2, and related Elastic Storage Server pre-built systems.
Software Defined Storage - IBM Spectrum Overview
This session was presented by Saumil Shah, IBM Spectrum Protect Sales Leader for Middle East, Turkey & Africa. Since SDS is an important topic, the conference coordinators schedule several speakers to present at different time slots, to give everyone a chance to hear the SDS message. Rather than using my same charts, Saumil used his own deck, which he customized based on his experience working in this region.
Flash and the Next Generation Data Center
This session was covered by Firat Ozturk, IBM FlashSystem Sales Leader for Middle East, Turkey & Africa. While IBM offers all-flash array versions of its DS8000, SVC and Storwize product lines, Firat focused on the IBM FlashSystem family, including the FlashSystem 900, FlashSystem V9000, and the new A9000/A9000R models.
According to IDC, Flash-based technologies are predicted to represent 50 percent of the storage capacity sold in 2018. Today it is about 10 percent, so that is a big leap. The primary reason he feels are new applications like Cloud and Mobile that are driving customer expectations to faster performance.
Which product should you get? Firat indicated that the FlashSystem 900 is ideal to boost the performance of specific applications, like Oracle or SAP HANA. The FlashSystem V9000 borrows all the code base from SVC and Storwize with Real-time compression ideal for OLTP and Database applications, while offering Storage Virtualization to protect your existing storage infrastructure investment. The FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R are targeted to Cloud deployments, as well as Server Virtualization and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
What is Big Data? Architectures and Practical Use Cases
I have been presenting this since 2013, but still draws a new crowd every time. Based on my [2015 Presentation], I made some updates to reflect IBM's latest support for Spark, and the new POWER8 solution offerings.
Storage Tiering on z Systems: Less Management, Lower Costs, Less Management, and Increased Performance
When I present Storage Tiering for distributed systems, I typically focus on Easy Tier feature of SAN Volume Controller, the Analytics-based storage optimization of Spectrum Control, and the Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) policies of Spectrum Scale and Spectrum Archive. This time, Glenn Anderson asked me to give this a "z Systems" slant, for a mainframe-oriented audience.
In this new version, I focused on Easy Tier on IBM DS8000 systems, Hierarchical Storage Management in DFSMShsm, and the new Class Transition features that were introduced initially with DFSMSoam for objects, and now extended for data sets.
Linux on IBM z Systems and its Participation in Open Source Ecosystem, including Blockchain
Wow! What a long title!
This session was presented by Holger Smolinski, IBM Senior Performance Analyst Linux and KVM on IBM z Systems from the Boeblingen, Germany Lab. Back in the late 1990s, Holger and I worked on porting Linux to the S/390 platform. I led a team to test all of the device drivers for IBM disk and tape storage systems, working with Holger and his team to fix the drivers and submit them to the Open Source Community, so that they would be incorporated formally into the latest Red Hat and SUSE distributions.
Holger gave quite an extensive overview of the entire Open Source Ecosystem that run on Linux on z System mainframes. Over 60 percent of new mainframe customers use Linux on z Systems operating system, and the complete set of capabilities, makes this quite practical.
One of the latest of these is [Blockchain], a new way to track transactions between organizations. The open source project for this is [HyperLedger]. Transactions are recorded into blocks that are encrypted with a hash code, which prevents tampering and fraud. These blocks are then chained together as transactions occur between organizations.
For example, if a product is manufactured in China, shipped over the Pacific Ocean by a shipping company, received at a port in the United States, processed by US Customs, then shipped via trucking company to the buyer, these all would be represented as transaction blocks chained together.
Wednesday we had free evening to explore on our own. Some of my colleagues went to an all-you-can eat steakhouse for dinner, but I will get plenty of that in my upcoming trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, so went elsewhere.
Last week, I presented at the "IBM TechU Comes to You" event in beautiful Nairobi, Kenya. This was a three-day event, so here is my recap of Day 1, Tuesday Aug 2, 2016.
Opening Keynote Session
Once again, Marlin Maddy, IBM Manager of Worldwide Systems Technical Events, served as master of ceremonies. He arrived into Nairobi just a few hours earlier, and we were worried that one of us might have to jump in and take over if he had any delays in his flight schedule. Fortunately, he arrived and did a great job welcoming the audience.
Eric Jaoko, chief manager of Kenya's Rural Electrification Agency [REA], presented next. Back in 1973, the Kenyan government wanted to have all of its rural areas offering electrical service. Some 30 years later, in 2002, only 4 percent of the rural areas had achieved this. In 2006, the Kenyan government formed this new REA agency to accelerate the progress. By 2008, nearly 25 percent of rural areas were electrified. Currently (2016), they are now at 68 percent, including all primary schools (more than 20,000 across the country).
Eric mentioned that this success was in part to their partnership with IBM for Information Technology. REA switched from Oracle to SAP applications on IBM Power systems with IBM Storwize V7000, resulting in lower costs, less power consumption, easier to deploy and manage, redundancy and high availability, scalability and high speed access to critical data. Not surprisingly, IBM's leadership in "Mobility" plays another key role, since these areas are rural and often connected only by cellular phone service.
REA employees both AIX and Linux on POWER operating systems, and uses OpenStack to manage both the servers and storage components. PowerVM, PowerVC and PowerHA complete the solution to provide a more robust environment. REA found it was very easy to clone their SAP systems, which made it very easy to test software upgrades without impacting their production environments.
The next speaker was IBM's own Glenn Anderson, IBM z Systems Consultant and Worldwide Technical Events Content Manager. His talk was titled "Think Outside the Cubicle" to emphasize that there are changes underfoot in the IT industry. Rather than focusing on IT as a cost to be reduced, enlightened CEOs are discovering that IT can be used to optimize value for their organization.
One trend that has changed drastically is what IBM refers to as "Systems of Engagement". To better connect with clients, customers and suppliers, organizations now create conversations on social media channels, listen and react to those conversations, building communities that allow them to better understand and serve their markets.
Another trend was "Two-speed IT", often called "Bimodal IT", which indicates that some projects should have "fast-track" status, streamlining the process of design, development and deployment for new innovations. This is in contrast to traditional "slower" projects for mission critical "Systems of Record" operations, like databases and Online Transaction Processing (OLTP).
His last trend he covered was this notion of "Cognitive Business", the use of self-learning, natural language processing to assist in business decision making. Glenn compared the old way as a static map that indicated "You Are Here". The new way was more like GPS, which indicated where you are, where you want to be, and the steps to get there.
(You might ask "Why do business leaders need such assistance?" First, business executives cannot ingest and comprehend the vast amount of data they need to make correct decisions, causing them to make less-than-optimal choices with limited information. Second, business leaders are often only on the job a few years, moving around from one opportunity to another, and do not build the experience background that a computer that can ingest millions of documents can achieve much more quickly. Third, business leaders often are prone to bias, surrounding themselves with ["yes-men"], unwilling to accept any information that contradicts their world view. Computers do not have that bias, and are capable in finding insights, trends and patterns that business leaders might not have considered.)
Software Defined Storage -- What? Why? How?
I was honored to be asked to be the keynote kick-off for the IBM Storage track of this conference. There is still much confusion over the concept of Software Defined Storage (SDS). While there are many different positions on this, IBM has adopted the IDC definition, which requires all three criteria to be met:
Solutions based on Industry-standard, off-the-shelf components.
Solutions that offer the complete set of storage features and functions, such as point-in-time copies, data footprint reduction, technical refresh migration, and remote replication.
Solutions that are offered in multiple ways, such as software-only, pre-built systems using industry-standard off-the-shelf components, and cloud-based services.
IBM's SDS offerings include all of the IBM Spectrum Storage family available as software-only, pre-built systems like SAN Volume Controller and XIV Gen3, and cloud-based services like IBM Cloud Managed Backup and Archive, and IBM Cloud Object Storage System (formerly Cleversafe).
IBM ranks #1 in SDS marketplace, with over 40 percent marketshare. The advantage of IBM's approach is that it does not require a complete rip-and-replace of existing IT infrastructure. IBM solutions can work with your existing servers and storage that you have already in place! This allows for a smooth and graceful transition.
Cloud Computing Concepts and the Role of Infrastructure
This session was covered by Mack Kigada, IBM Executive Consultant for the "Executive Advisory Practice" portion of Systems Lab Services. Frankly, I think this should have been classified as a "Cross-Brand" rather than other "Storage", as it showed not just storage but also how servers and OpenStack participate in a complete Hybrid Cloud solution.
The new IBM FlashSystem A9000 GUI
This session was presented by Dominique Salomon, IBM Certified IT Specialist Storage and European New Technology Introduction Leader. He works at the IBM Montpelier Briefing Center in France, a sister organization to the IBM Tucson Executive Briefing Center that I work in.
When IBM was ready to launch its newest FlashSystem offering, which combines the low-latency IBM FlashCore technology from IBM FlashSystem 900 with the IBM Spectrum Accelerate software from XIV, they had to decide what Graphical User Interface [GUI] to deploy it with. The IBM development team had narrowed it down to three options:
Use the IBM XIV Gen3 GUI, which is installed client code that runs on a handful of select operating systems. This GUI is nine years old.
Adopt and modify the browser-based GUI used by all of the other IBM Storage systems like DS8000 and SAN Volume Controller. By using HTML5, AJAX and Dojo widgets, this newer approach eliminates Operating System and Java dependencies, and can run on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. However, this technology is four years old.
Deploy a new GUI, adopting the latest techniques and methods, offering a new, simpler way to manage the new device.
The development team decided on the third option, and so Dominique spent the first half hour explaining what the IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R systems are, and then the last half showing a live demo connecting back to his systems in Montpelier, France.
IBM XIV, Spectrum Accelerate and the new IBM FlashSystem A9000
This session was covered by Maurice "Mo" McCullough, IBM Storage Technical Content Leader for IBM Systems Worldwide Technical Events. In retrospect, he admitted that he should have scheduled this session before Dominique's session above, which would have reduced the amount of time and questions Dominique spent explaining the IBM FlashSystem A9000 and more time showing the new GUI.
Mo first covered the newest model of the XIV Gen3 pre-built system, the model 314. It has double the cache memory and double the processing cores to drastically improve Real-time compression. Then, he explained IBM Spectrum Accelerate, available as either software you can deploy on your own x86 servers on-premises, or in cloud-based servers from IBM SoftLayer. Finally, Mo covered the A9000 and A9000R, the newest members of the IBM FlashSystem family that share features and capabilities with the XIV Gen3 and Spectrum Accelerate offerings.
Tuesday evening we had a welcome reception for all the attendees, staff and speakers. This was a great time to relax and meet everyone on a social level.