This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to IBM Systems, storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.
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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.
Tony Pearson's books are available on Lulu.com! Order your copies today!
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Every year, March 31 marks "World Backup Day". Sadly, many people forget the importance of backing up their critical information. This is not just true for businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies, but also for all of your personal information that you keep on computer devices.
My friends over at Cloudwards had developed an awesome infographic related to World Backup Day. Here it is.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM, which has no business relationship with Cloudwards. Cloudwards does not itself provide backup services, but rather reviews services provided by others. This post should not be considered an endorsement of Cloudwards or their reviews.)
Courtesy of: Cloudwards.net
I hope you find this information helpful and informative!
Well it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
Today, IBM announced an exciting new addition to the IBM System Storage™ product line, [IBM Spectrum Storage™], a family of software defined storage offerings.
To understand its significance, I need to explain a few things first. Software defined storage is part of a larger concept of software defined environment.
How is software defined environment different than what you have now? In every data center, you need to map business requirements of an application workload with an appropriate set of IT infrastructure, including server, network and storage resources.
The traditional approach involves an application owner or database administrator reviewing the business requirements documented for the application, calling the server, network and storage administrators, who match those requirements to appropriate IT hardware and notify the folks in facilities to rack and stack the gear accordingly.
In a software defined environment, Application Programming Interfaces (API), Service Level Agreements (SLA) and Orchestration workflows can automate the request for the appropriate resources. This is referred as the "Control Plane".
Responding to these requests, the software can provision the appropriate server, network and storage resources required. Server, network and storage virtualization, standard interfaces and deployment technologies exist to make this practical. This is referred to as the "Data Plane".
Any time new a way of doing things is introduced into the world, there could be some resistance. Let's tackle the three most frequently stated objections:
"IT infrastructure resources are rare and expensive! Administrators need to control or approve how resources are doled out!" An objection to self-service automation is the fear that employees would take too much.
If you have a bank account, Automated Teller Machines (ATM) can restrict the amount of cash you can take out, based on what is appropriate per request, or per day, with an upper limit of what you have in your personal checking or savings account. You enter your debit card and PIN into the "Control Plane" keypad and out comes a stack of 20-dollar bills from the "Data Plane" slot. In a software defined environment, you can limit requests through quotas and resource pools.
"Some application workloads are more important than others! Another objection is that every workload will be treated in the same standard way, mission critical workloads and dev/test would be treated alike.
At the gas station, you can select different levels of octane gasoline. You enter your credit card and zip code into the "Control Plane" keypad and selected octane comes out of the "Data Plane" hose. In a software defined environment, resources can be provisioned with different Quality of Service (QoS) levels.
"Different applications require different combinations of resources!" Another objection is the fear that fixed combinations of server, storage and network resources will be stifling to innovation and productivity.
At the vending machine, you can choose which candy bar and which chips to have with whatever soft drink you choose for lunch. You enter your bills and coins into the "Control Plane" slot, select the row letter and column number for your snack of choice, and then fetch your purchases from the "Data Plane" flap. In a software defined environment, a Service Catalog can offer a virtual menu of different server, network and storage resources to be combined together as needed.
These concerns are addressed well enough in software defined environments, in general, and with IBM Spectrum Storage family of products, in particular.
(Nostalgia: I remember the days before self-service automation. At the bank, I had to stand in line at the bank until I could to talk to a human bank teller to get cash from my savings account. At the gas station, human gas attendants would come out and pump the gas for me, check my oil and wash my windshield. And at a restaurant, I felt like I waited an eternity from the time I ordered my meal to the time the human short-order cook had it ready and human wait staff delivered it to my table. These all seem silly today, doesn't it?)
Today in the USA, we honor [Martin Luther King, Jr.] This year marks the 50th anniversary of the largest political demonstration to date in American history. Over 250,000 people went to Washington DC to hear Dr. King give his now famous "I have a dream" speech.
Well, it's the end of the year, so I thought a recap of year 2014 would be in order.
The year started out with some January announcements, including the IBM FlashSystem 840. IBM is proud to be ranked #1 in All-Flash Arrays, and the IBM acquisition of Texas Memory System has caused all of the other competitors to scramble their own wanna-be offerings. IBM also announced it was going to sell off its System x division to Lenovo.
In February, I wrapped up a project to build a Linux-based PC for a kindergarten class. IBM announced some exciting new things at Pulse 2014 conference, including IBM Bluemix Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), new IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center offerings, and acquisition of Cloudant Database. Also, on Valentine's day, IBM announced the FlashSystem V840, which combines the software-defined storage features of SAN Volume Controller, with the Microlatency of the FlashSystem 840. IBM sold its 10,000th PureSystems converged expert-integrated system.
In March, I completed a six-month film project ["A Tucson Executive Briefing Center: A Quick Visual Tour"]. I was writer/director/actor for this quick 3-minute film posted on YouTube. I wrote the script and had it reviewed by a professional script reviewer, hired a professional cinemetographer, paid royalties for background music, located a voice-over expert for narration, and trained the actors (all IBM employees) how to read their lines and stand on their mark for the camera. It was a big success!
In April, I presented at the Systems Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey. I had been to Turkey before, but this was my first time to the city of Istanbul itself. The owner of my local [Savaya Coffee] is from Istanbul, and was able to introduce me to someone who was able to arrange for a full tour my first day! Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, IBMers in New York were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the IBM mainframe, including a cameo appearance on the TV show "Mad Men".
In May, I was busy presenting at the IBM Edge conference in Las Vegas. IBM celebrated the sixth anniversary of IBM ProtecTIER data deduplication device, announced "Codename: Elastic Storage" and new features on the DS8870 disk system, and presented analyst findings that IBM Software Defined Storage was substantially less expensive than competitive offerings.
In July, I took a nice summer vacation, [a road trip across the state of Tennessee]. IBM made a strategic partnership with Apple to offer mobile apps for the data center enterprise for the iOS operating system on iPhones and iPad tablets.
In August, I completed a summer partnership with University of Toronto and IBM Softlayer to build "Concept IBM Watson", a scaled down version of IBM Watson based on my infamous 2011 blog post [How to replicate Watson hardware and systems design for your own use in your basement]. Rather than using three physical servers, however, we had virtual x86 machines running on IBM Softlayer cloud. The system was only asked the simplest "How many...?" questions against a single text document, but proved to the University that teaching analytics by replicating IBM's historic achievement was effective and possible.
In September, I celebrated my eight year "Blogoversary". That's right, I have been blogging for the past eight years! With over 800 posts, and five published books, I countinue to be ranked #1 most-read blog on IBM developerWorks. IBM was ranked #1 for Software Defined Storage!
In October, I presented at the Systems Technical University in Dublin, Ireland. This was my first time in Ireland, and I found Dublin to be quite a beautiful city, with friendly people and delicious food.
The rest of October, and much of November and December, I spent on the road, visiting clients to help close deals! (Sorry folks... Due to SEC black-out rules, I am prohibited from telling you how well I did) Since I am not allowed to talk about on-going discussions that I have with clients, my blog has been noticeably silent during these months. I apologize for any stress or anxiety this might have caused any of my readers!
Despite too-much-candy, too-much-turkey and too-many-cookies that the year-end often brings, I managed to lose twenty pounds on a low-carb, gluten-free, Paleo diet and exercise.
(Note: While Lenovo has officially taken over the System x on October 1st back in the United States, China, and several other countries in Asia and the Americas, it has not yet happened in Europe. This is expected to happen this December. This results in some awkwardness during this period of transition.)
Day 1 started off with some keynote sessions. Amy Purdy, IBM Director of Training Services, was the emcee.
Gareth Tucker, Director of EMEA for Intel
Gareth focused on the strong partnership between IBM, Lenovo and Intel. For example, a client query that took 4 hours with traditional DB2 database on Intel Xeon, but only 90 seconds on DB2 BLU with the new Xeon V2 chip.
10 years ago, some storage vendors warned clients not to use any Intel-based storage devices. Today, over 85 percent of storage is Intel-based, including most of the IBM System Storage portfolio. IBM SoftLayer also uses Intel to offer both bare metal and virtual x86 servers, and was the first cloud provider to use Intel's "Trusted Execution" mode.
Next year, Microsoft will drop support for Windows 2003 server on July 15, 2015. This represents an excellent selling opportunity to get clients to upgrade their x86 server hardware. Intel estimates there are 24 million instances of Windows 2003 worldwide. On average, it takes 150 days to migrate to Windows 2012, so get clients to start now!
Jeff Howard, Vice President of Lenovo Flex and BladeCenter
Jeff was a last-minute stand-in for Adalio Sanchez who is busy getting thousands of employees and hundreds of trailer trucks full of IT equipment from IBM's Raleigh location to Lenovo's new building in Morrisville.
Lenovo's goal is simple: to be the #1 vendor of x86 enterprise servers. Lenovo sees a $44 Billion USD opportunity in x86 servers, with an additional $14B opportunity selling IBM System Storage attached to these servers. Lenovo is already #1 for Personal Computers in the consumer space, and is #1 for customer satisfaction. IBM System x #1 in reliability and up-time for x86 servers. In a client survey of how many clients had an outage lasting four hours or more, less than 1 percent from IBM System x compared to 13 percent for HP servers. That's a big difference!
There is a 40 percent growth in "Converged Systems" such as the Flex System and PureFlex systems. Lenovo will take over the x86-only versions of these, while IBM will retain the POWER-based and Power-and-x86 hybrid models. IBM will also retain the PureApplication and PureData models of the PureSystems line.
Lenovo is also focused on security. Their "Trusted Platform" includes Self-encrypting Drives (SED) managed by IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager software, and Crypto-assist co-processors.
Jeff also mentioned new reference architectures for VMware's VSAN, Microsoft's Fast-track Data warehouse for SQL Server, SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure VDI with Atlantis ILIO, and Flex Systems for Hyper-V.
Greg Lotko, VP of IBM Storage Systems Development
Greg is the new VP of Storage Systems Development, about 11 months on the job, but I am glad to hear that he recognizes that IBM System Storage has a huge portfolio of products.
He focused on those areas where IBM is ranked #1:
IBM is #1 for All-Flash arrays.
IBM is #1 for Software Defined Storage (SDS).
IBM is #1 for Tape, including tape drives, tape libraries and virtual tape systems
The weather here in Dublin is great, although I have had not had much time to enjoy the outdoors with all the awesome and interesting sessions inside!
Hello everyone! I am back, fully well-rested from a wonderful 3-week vacation touring the lovely state of Tennessee. Here's a quick recap:
(FCC Disclosure: I mention various companies and products in this blog post. I have no financial interested in any of them, nor have I received any compensation to mention or endorse them here.)
Our first stop was Lynchburg, TN, home of [Jack Daniel's], America's oldest whiskey distillery. Our tour guide, Ron (who both looked and sounded like [John Goodman]) took us first to see how they burn wood to make charcoal, then the natural water spring which supplies the iron-free water used for the whiskey. We then got a whiff of the mash at various stages of fermentation. Lastly, we had samples of Original No. 7, Gentleman's Jack, and Single Barrel.
(A word of caution: Domestic airlines only allow FIVE LITERS of Bourbon, Whiskey or Rum in your checked luggage. That is only six bottles at the 750ml size, of beverages that are between 24 to 70 percent alcohol by volume [ABV]. Anything above 70 percent is considered too flammable to take on the plane. Excess bottles can be custom packed and shipped, but can be quite expensive. Nearly everyone we met drove all the way to Tennessee instead of flying, and now I understand why.)
While in the area, we had a nice lunch at [Miss Mary Bobo's], a boarding house turned into a restaurant. They only serve one meal a day at 1pm, by reservation only. And we were paired up with eight others and served food "family style" a large round table with a [Lazy Susan].
Jack Daniel's is not the only attraction in the area. We also visited [Falls Mill], a grist mill that grinds corn, wheat and rye for the other distilleries. Mo and I visited [Prichard's Distillery], where they make Whiskey, Rye and Rum. We highly recommend their molasses-flavored "Sweet Lucy"!
We stopped at the famous historic landmark, the [Chattanooga Choo Choo], which was formerly a train station, and now renovated into a hotel. We asked to see the inside of one of the train cars converted into a hotel room.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
We stayed in a cabin in the [Smokey Mountains] near Gatlinburg. In addition to pleasant rides through the National park, we also walked around the small town, looking at all the shops and amusements.
The next town over is Pigeon Forge, and driving down the main parkway is like Las Vegas in a slightly alternate universe. One person called it the Redneck Riviera!
We spent two days at Dollywood theme park, named after its founder, famous country singer Dolly Parton. We arrived after 3pm the first day, so they gave us the second day free!
In addition to roller coaster rides, artisan shops and restaurants, we found zip lines! Mo and I put on harness, attached to a pulley, and zipped over roller coasters, trees and rivers throughout Dollywood park. It was a lot of fun!
We also went to Dolly Parton's other attraction: Stampede. This was a dinner show with horses. It was similar to the Excalibur show we saw in Las Vegas last year during the week of Edge 2013 Conference.
On our way from Gatlinburg, we stopped into Knoxville to have lunch with clients. We had a choice to make, we could either drive up into Kentucky and visit the distilleries in the Bourbon trail, or drive straight to Nashville and spend more time there. We opted for Nashville, saving the Bourbon trail for a future trip.
Our final stop was Nashville, known as Music City. Our hotel was on Broadway, walking distance between Vanderbilt University and the [honky-tonks] downtown.
We had purchased advanced tickets for the [Grand Ole Opry]. This is not your typical concert. Instead, you have no idea who will play until just a few days before. The three hour show had about a dozen different musical acts, some famous, some new to the country music scene.
We went to the Johnny Cash Museum. People with ticket stubs from the Grand Ole Opry get in for a discount!
Searching [TripAdvisor] for things to do in Nashville, I found [The Escape Game]. You pay them money to lock you up in a room with a bunch of strangers, and then collectively as a team you need to figure out how to escape by solving puzzles and clues.
Each room has different themes. First, we tried the "Underground Playground". You know that TV show [Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?] Well, the majority of our so-called team were not in this case, and after 60 minutes the referee told us we had failed and unlocked the door.
We had so much fun that we came back two days later to try a different room. This time we tried "The Heist" which is all about art theft. The strangers we were teamed up with were very motivated to get out of the room in time, and we succeeded, getting out in just 54 minutes!
Mo and I had a great time, but are glad to be back home!
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
Back in 2007, my blog post [Double Happy Wedding] compared IBM's acquisition for a company that produced data migration software to the practice in Japan of waiting until the bride is five to seven months pregnant to have a wedding. In USA, these are called "shotgun" weddings.
I was in Japan when I wrote that, and the company IBM acquired was Japanese, so the comparison stuck.
Today, IBM announces the latest versions Transparent Data Migration Facility z/OS v5 [TDMF] and z/OS Dataset Migration Facility v3 [zDMF] software products.
(Where better to commemorate this event than in Pigeon Forge, Tenessee, the capital of shotgun wedding venues! Including, and I am not making this up, a replica of the [grand staircase of the Titanic]. Yes, you can book this for a shotgun wedding, while your guests re-arrange the deck chairs. I stopped at a local McDonald's to submit this blog post.)
TDMF software allows you to migrate CKD volumes that are attached to your System z mainframe, including those that are actively being used by applications. zDMF allows you to migrate z/OS data sets, including those currently open by applications.
The migration is hardware-agnostic, supporting CKD volumes on IBM, EMC and HDS disk systems. As many clients are migrating from EMC and HDS disk systems to IBM DS8870, this is a good time to look at TDMF and zDMF to help make the process as transparent as possible.
Of course, if you are not interested in acquiring the software to do this yourself, you can hire IBM Data Mobility Services, which uses TDMF and zDMF to do it for you!
Over time, I have gotten many emails, comments and tweets related to this post. The instructions have been downloaded over 130,000 times!
The letter below was so inspiring that I felt I need to share it. (Published here with permission from the author, who goes by the screen name DaveAlex)
Thought you would like to know that I am working toward an AI Agent hopefully more advanced than "Watson Jr." although I will probably include the software behind it.
The hardware I have on hand is a System X3650M2 which I bought for $250 on eBay. It has four 2.66 GHz Xeons with 6 cores each, and 16 GB RAM. I have another 16 to install when I need it. I will shortly have 4 TB of HDD space on line, plus an addition 3 TB USB3 drive.
Ultimately, I hope to have some of the available knowledge bases on line, Freebase, CYC, etc which will handle specific information perhaps better than the Watson software by itself.
What the target (goal) that I am aiming for is a stationary version of Commander Data of Star Trek, Next generation.
I envision if having some form of self knowledge, being capable of processing graphical data, i.e., facial recognition, gesture interpretation, voice input/output, mathematical processing, with graphical output (display & hardcopy) and several additional features.
As I have studied this project, I am amazed at how much of the required software is already available. The biggest stumbling block is integrating the separate parts.
Back to Hardware. I just bought 2 Dell 2850 servers, each with dual Intel Xeons which can handle some of the tasks. If I need more processing power, I just happen to have about 10 other towers with Pentium IV or dual core processors sitting around, which can be pressed into service as needed. So far, my total cost is less than $1000 US Dollars, and my wife has not thrown me out yet. I continue to watch eBay for additional older used equipment for fractions of the original cost. My friends who follow my project keep telling me that I need to get on with the software, and add hardware as needed; they are absolutely correct, but I can't resist a bargain.
The power consumption is a potential problem, but I have a 4500 Watt solar array to use. The cooling could be a problem too, but my house sits into the side of hill, and can readily duct the air supply pass the sub-surface wall, perhaps with old Processor cooling fins glued to the wall.
I hope to get some hobby programmers involved in the project, it is a bit beyond my programming capabilities. I hope that I can live long enough to see it come to fruition; I am 78 now, and mentally in very good condition.
Wow! He is 78 years old! While others his age are playing shuffleboard at the nursing home, he is out there learning new things about the latest technology. I wish him the best of luck on this! If you would like to reach out to DaveAlex, send me a note or comment below, and I will forward them on to him.