Happy [Thanksgiving], everyone! Yes, I mean everyone. Even if you are not an American from United States eating turkey and stuffing this week, it wouldn't hurt to take stock in what you are thankful for.
And before I forget, I want to thank all of you, my readers, for making this blog the #1 most read blog at IBM developerWorks, and one of the top blogs in the IT storage industry!
A few years ago, I was stuck in Venice, Italy for the holiday. Not by choice, but because I was the victim of a car accident on my business trip. My neck in a brace, I was unable to fly home in time to celebrate Thanksgiving.
The local IBMers directed me to a wonderful restaurant where I would dine alone, on Thanksgiving, and insisted that I ask the waiter to have some butter for my bread. The joke was on me! A collection of waiters came out, banging on pot lids, with a huge six-pound "cube" of butter on a tray, with a fork and knife stuck into the top. They do like to make fun of the tourists in Vencie, don't they?
In other years past, I have found myself spending the holiday working at client locations, baby-sitting their datacenter. Why? Since Thanksgiving always lands on a Thursday in the USA, the day after is known as "Black Friday", the official kick-off of consumerism craziness.
The next day is "Small Business Saturday", to give small local businesses a chance to compete for some revenue. Two days after that is "Cyber Monday", where many people shop online from their office, rather than fight all the crowds in the traditional brick-and-mortar stores. My job was to make sure the systems ran smoothly, from Thursday to Monday, for our largest clients in the retail industry.
(Note: This is not the first time I have mentioned [Cyber Monday] on my blog. For the past few years, I remind people that the perfect holiday gift is one or more of my books from the Inside System Storage series, volumes I through V, are available in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats from my [Spotlight page on Lulu.com].)
This year, I am thankful that I will be in Tucson with my friends and family. The weather here is expected to be a beautiful 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Last year, I hosted my friends and family in my home for the big meal. It went so well that I invited everyone back again this year. In August, I started the contractual process to remodel my kitchen, and the company I hired assured me repeatedly it would be ready by Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, due to a combination of sloppy project management of the company that I hired to do the work and a few unforseen circumstances that caused some delays, I have no kichen.
I have an empty room where my kitchen used to be, the floor partially tiled, the walls clean and freshly panelled and painted. My new cabinets and sink are stacked up inside cardboard boxes in my garage.
So, instead, I am taking everyone out. I am thankful there are restaurants open tomorrow, and I was able to make a last-minute reservation for the six of us. Construction will resume on Friday.
Well it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
You might be thinking, didn't IBM just have a [huge storage announcement October 8, 2013]? You would be right! IBM's $1B additional investment in Storage has been like shot of adrenaline in getting new features and functions out sooner to our clients.
These new models will help our clients deploy new workloads and consolidate existing workloads.
If Eskimos have 37 words for "snow", then EMC has perhaps a similar number of names for "failure". I have already covered a few of their past attempts, including [ATMOS], [Invista], and [VPLEX]. Last week, EMC introduced its latest, called XtremeIO.
But rather than focus on XtremeIO's many shortcomings, I thought it would be better to point out the highlights of IBM's All-Flash array, IBM FlashSystem.
But first, a quick story.
Two years ago, I worked the booth at [Oracle OpenWorld 2011]. After a conference attendee had visited the booths of Violin Memory and Pure Storage, he asked me why IBM did not have an all-Flash array.
Since then, IBM has added 800GB support to the Storwize V7000, doubling the capacity. More importantly, IBM acquired Texas Memory Systems, and offers a much better all-Flash array.
Flash can be deployed in three levels. The first is in the server itself, such as with PCiE cards containing Flash chips, limited to applications running on that server only.
The second option is a hybrid disk system, that can intermix Flash-based Solid State Drives (SSD) with regular spinning hard disk drives (HDD). These can be attached to many servers.
The problem with this approach is that when Flash is packaged to pretend to be spinning disk, it undermines some of the performance benefits. Traditional disk system architectures using SCSI commands over Device adapter loops can introduce added latency.
The third fits snuggly in the middle: all-Flash arrays designed from the ground up to be only Flash.
Whereas SSD can typically achieve an I/O latency in the 300 to 1000 microseconds range, IBM FlashSystem can process I/O in the 25 to 110 microsecond range. That is a huge difference!
(FTC Disclosure: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires that I mention that I am an IBM employee, and that this post may be considered a paid, celebrity endorsement of both the IBM FlashSystem and IBM Storwize family of products. I have no financial interest in EMC, do not endorse the XtremeIO mentioned here, and was not paid to mention their company or products in any manner.)
Fellow blogger and IBM Master Inventor Barry Whyte has a great comparison table in his blog post [Extreme Blogging]. I thought I would add an added column for the Storwize V7000 with 18 Solid State drives.
While it is easy to show that EMC's XtremeIO does not hold a candle to IBM FlashSystems, I think it is more amusing that it is not even as good as a Storwize V7000 with SSD that IBM offered two years ago, long before [EMC acquired XtremeIO company] back in May 2012.
But don't just take my word for it, fellow blogger Robin Harris, on his StorageMojo blog, has several posts, including [EMC's Xtreme embarrassment] and [ XtremLY late XtremIO launch]. Both are worth a read.
Earlier this year, [IBM announced it is investing $1 Billion USD in Flash technology]. EMC's announcement last week shows that they are at least 18 months behind IBM in Flash technology solutions.
Wrapping up my coverage of the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, the final day was focused writing your first blog post.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
Each resident presented at least six proposals for blog post ideas. A proposal included a title and short description of what it would entail. Titles had to be less than 70 characters, and the short descriptions were typically just a few sentences.
These were presented to the entire team, and we picked them apart, suggested better wording for the titles, or different ways to approach the topic.
IBM Social Media Guidelines
The residents were reminded to abide by the [IBM Social Media Guidelines] which are made publicly available for all to see.
I also subscribe to the notion of the [Blog with Integrity] oath, which is as follows:
"I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.
Words to live by.
The residents spent most of the day working on our blogs from the proposals that were approved. The target was around 400 to 600 words in length, with one or two stock photos.
IBM is the #1 vendor for Social Business tools, so it makes sense for us to use our own stuff to facilitate the submission process. The residents submit their blog posts to IBM Connections as an activity in the Cloud Social Media Residency community. All of the resources we used, and all the presentations we saw, are all here in the community.
As an incentive, prizes were given out to those who submitted the most posts by end of the day.
One was the book, signed by fellow author Ed Brill, titled [Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager].
I brought in a few copies from my book series [Inside System Storage: Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, Volume IV and Volume V.]. I signed them personally to each winner.
We were given certificates for completing the class, and a "Redbooks Thought Leader" emblem to put on our blog.
Ryan Boyles took a group photo! If it seems that the photo is slightly askew, it is to make me look taller. Yes, I could have used GIMP to fix the orientation, but why bother? I look tall! Woo hoo! I will have to remember this technique for future group photos.
Lastly, I would like to thank Vasfi, Tamikia, Hillary, Caroline, Ric, Jane, LeeAnne, Tina, Karen, Michael, Shelbee, Farzad, Stewart, Arun, Eric, Chris, Hans, Odilon, Mohsin, Wolfgang and the rest of the ITSO team for a wonderful job organizing this week!
technorati tags: IBM, ITSO, Social media guidelines, blog integrity, social business, IBM Connections, Ed Brill, Redbooks, thought leader, Ryan Boyles, Vasfi Gucer, Tamikia Barrow, Hillary Danz, Caroline Wall, Ric Telford, Jane Munn, LeaAnne Williams, Tina Williams, Karen Davis, Michael Fork, Shelbee Eigenbrode, Farzad Aidun, Wolfgang Kulhanek, Stewart Hyman, Arun Anandasivam, Eric Kern, Mohsin Syed, Chris Rosen, Hans Zai, Odilon Junior
Continuing my coverage of the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, day 4 was focused on incorporating video into your blog.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
As a filmmaker, I am not stranger to making and being filmed in videos. Here are some of the different types of videos that you can incorporate in your blog.
[Machinima] is the use of real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production.
In 2006, I produced IBM's first [Product Launch in Second Life - April 26 Event].
It was a live event, but we decided to screen capture it for posterity, and we created a short [Second Life Highlights of IBM Product Launch] video on YouTube.
In 2011, I thought it would be good to bring back this video as the basis for an April Fools' prank, titled [IBM System Storage Video Recognized at International Film Festival].
In the prank, I indicated that I had submitted my video to the [Arizona International Film Festival], of AIFF for short, which coincidently was running April 1-20, and that it had won an award. I invited everyone who read my blog to see me accept the award at a ceremony at 6:00pm on April 1 at the Fox Theater, followed by the 8:00pm showing of another award-winning film.
I didn't submit the video, the video didn't win any award, and I was not invited to the award ceremony. I did, however, plan to see the movie at 8:00pm.
When I got there, I learned that a dozen of my friends, not realizing it was a prank, showed up, asking for me. The AIFF was quite amused, and invited me to award ceremony still going on. The other filmmakers were impressed I had concocted such an elaborate social media campaign!
A slideshow is another style of video, animating still images to music. The [Ken Burns effect] was named after the technique fellow filmmaker Ken Burns used in his documentaries.
In 2010, I worked with the XIV team to address FUD that our competitors were flinging about double drive failures. My blog post [Double Drive Failure Debunked: XIV Two Years Later] set the record straight and put this issue to rest once and for all. XIV sales shot up dramatically after this post went public!
Live-action is what we traditionally think of video of humans, cats and other animals. I did [Enterprise Systems: Storage] for a product launch last year, and [New Redpaper on IBM Smart Storage Cloud] to promote the new ITSO Redpaper.
For this residency, one of the exercises was to make a quick 30-60 second live-action video talking about your thoughts on cloud, when was a good "cloud moment" or vision for the future.
Here Martin Keen (IBM Redbooks Project Leader) is filming Farzad Aidun, IBM Cloud Client Technical Specialist for US Federal. His video is [Cloud: Meet Farzad Aidun].
Here is my video [My Cloud Moment by Tony Pearson], referring to Derek Gottfrid's success at the New York Times using Cloud to convert millions of articles into PDF. You can read the original NYT article [Self-Service, Prorated Supercomputing Fun!]
For some fun, Martin put together a [blooper reel].
What was your "Cloud moment"? When did you realize that Cloud Storage and Cloud Computing was a major driver for business growth? Enter your Cloud moment in the comments below!
technorati tags: IBM, machinima, Second Life, Arizona International Film Festival, AIFF, Ken Burns, Ken Burns Effect, XIV, DDF, Animoto, ITSO, Redbooks, Farzad Aidun, NYT, DerekGottfrid, Martin Keen, Camtasia, Jing
Continuing my coverage of the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, day 3 was filled with strategic and technical sessions on private, hybrid and public cloud solutions from IBM.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
But first, a quick story.
A few years go, I was at the [Venetian hotel in Las Vegas], and took their famous [gondola ride] in a flat-bottom boat along a canal, partly in the hotel, and partly outside.
I asked Vasfi Gucer, our ITSO project leader for this residency, why there were so many Cloud topics on the agenda for this social media training. He explained it was just as important to emphasize "why" people need to be passionate about Cloud, in addition to the "what" and "how" of blogging.
This reminded me of this quote from fellow author Hugh MacLeod. I highly recommend his series of books.
Excerpted from "Ignore Everybody" by Hugh MacLeod of [gapingvoid.com]
"Blogging requires passion and authority. Which leaves out most people."
Vasfi had invited Cloud experts who already have the authority to blog, and the point of this residency is for the residents to become passionate in sharing their expertise.
Here are some of the people that spoke on Cloud:
What did I present on for my "Share your expertise" session? IBM System Storage, of course! Storage is a critical part of Cloud!
So, my gentle readers, what topics do you want me to write about that combines Storage and Cloud? Enter your suggestions in the comments below.
technorati tags: IBM, Las Vegas, Venetian Hotel, gondola, Vasfi Gucer, Hugh MacLeod, Ric Telford, Jane Munn, Michael Fork, Hans Zai, Odilon Junior, SoftLayer, OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, SmartCloud, SAP, Social Business, System Storage, LotusLive
Continuing my coverage of the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency, the second day explained the ITSO Residency method of blogging, which was somewhat different than the method I presented on the first day.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
My blogging approach is more akin to the iterative, incremental, bottom-up approach of [Agile software development], resulting in gritty, edgy, timely and, yes, sometimes controversial content.
The ITSO Residency resembles the more formal, top-down [Waterfall model], resulting in more corporate-looking work. Of course, IBM doesn't want its blogs to be the typical [Blah, blah, and double blah]. Fellow blogger Paul Boag has a great post on the [10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Blogging].
Fortunately, IBM is often recognized for having some of the best corporate blogs. For example, the [IBMblr] blog is highlighted in fellow bloggers Arik Hanson's post [5 inspiring corporate blogs to emulate].
Here were some of the speakers we had for Day 2:
There is more than one way to write a blog post! In either case, the end result is educational, entertaining and engaging content that people want to read.
Which "corporate blogs" do you follow regularly? Enter your comments below!
This week I am in IBM Research Triangle Park (RTP) near Raleigh, NC visiting clients and participating in the ITSO Cloud Social Media Residency.
This blog post is part of a five-part series:
The first day of the residency started with introductions. Our emcee and project leader is Vasfi Gucer from IBM Austin lab. There are 17 participants (referred to as "residents") from the USA and various countries including Brazil, Canada and Sweden.
Michael Fork presenting. I am sitting on the far left side
in the pink shirt. Photo taken by Tina Williams.
To set the right expectations, Tina Williams (IBM Social Media ITSO Projects Program Manager) explained what was going to happen this week.
In a typical "residency", residents are brought together for 4-6 weeks to write an [IBM Redbook] which are often how-to guides written in a very conversational tone.
This residency is different. A bunch of social media and Cloud experts have been brought together to share experiences and to build up skills to write individual blog posts about IBM Cloud offerings. I was invited as both a world-reknown blogger as well as a Cloud expert. Everyone who signed up for this commits to write at least six blog posts about Cloud sometime in the next 90 days.
(Residents who do not have their own blogs can post to the IBM [Thoughts on Cloud] group blog Publishing is part of our promotion process, and writing blogs consistently over a period of time counts!)
Jennifer Turner (IBM Worldwide Cloud Marketing Manager) explained IBM Cloud Social Media Initiative. Five years ago, IBM was one of the top 5 Cloud service providers, then a whole bunch of things happened, and we fell out of the top 5 list, and now with the recent [IBM acquisition of SoftLayer], we are in the top 5 again!
Michael Fork (IBM CloudFirst Lead Architect), presented the latest about SoftLayer. Wow! He did a great job, and am glad to have him as a contact in case I have future questions from clients at the Tucson Executive Briefing Center.
Mohsin Syed [@mohsinusyed], IBM Development Manager, presented [IBM Social Media Analytics], combining Hadoop-style analytics using IBM BigInsights, DB2 database and Cognos reporting. IBM can do [sentiment analysis] to determine positive and negative comments in various languages. This product was formerly known as Cognos Consumer Insight.
I was the last speaker of the day. As one of the top bloggers in both the IT Storage Industry, and company-wide within IBM, I was invited to provide a few tips on blogging to the newbies in the audience. Jeff Antley, the "co-owner" of my blog [Inside System Storage] who works on the IBM developerWorks team, was there on hand to help answer questions.
(IBM requires all highly-visible corporate blogs like mine to have at least two owners. Jeff is an expert at HTML, CSS and other web design and has been immensely helpful in getting my blog looking nicer.)
Everybody asks me how to be a great blogger. Luckily, I just happened upon a post from fellow blogger David Spark of Spark Media Solutions titled [Why I'm Annoyed By All "How to Create Great Content" Advice] and it was perfect timing!
Anyways, my presentation [A dozen blogging tips from an experienced blogger] is posted on the IBM Expert Network on SlideShare for everyone to look at. And yes, SlideShare runs on IBM SoftLayer!
What's the best, or worst, advice you have ever heard about blogging? Enter your comments below!
technorati tags: IBM, #cloudres, ITSO, Redbook, Vasfi Gucer, Michael Fork, Tina Williams, Jennifer Turner, Mohsin Syed, Jeff Antley, David Sparks, Spark Media Solutions, IBM Expert Network, SlideShare
Two years ago, IBM and Nirvanix formed a [Strategic Relationship for Enterprise Cloud Storage]. This was to complement IBM SmartCloud Enterprise (SCE) persistent block storage, as we had no offering back then to provide object-based access.
Earlier this week, in my blog post summarizing the [IBM 2013 Storage Announcements for October 8], I mentioned:
"SmartCloud Enterprise Object Storage is switching from 3rd-party Nirvanix to its internal IBM Softlayer. This one involves more in-depth explanation which I will save for another post."
It's time to make good on that promise! Here is a quick diagram to help visualize the agreement (with sincere apologies to [Jessica Hagy]!) but not to scale, of course!
Last month, Nirvanix announced it was shutting down October 15. Here was the exact wording from their website:
In response, IBM put out this press release:
"In light of reports that Nivanix has decided to soon cease operations, IBM is moving quickly to help clients of our Nivanix-based Object Storage offering to move their data to other solutions such as the robust and highly scalable IBM SoftLayer Object Storage or IBM's persistent storage solution."
To understand why this is a big deal, consider the difference between Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage. Cloud Computing is like buying gasoline at your favorite gas station. If the station is closed, you can just drive a few blocks to another gas station. The ease with which customers can switch from one Cloud Compute provider to another is part of the appeal, forcing Cloud Compute providers to be extremely efficient at what they do to offer the lowest price.
Cloud Storage is completely different, more like a safety-deposit box at the bank, or a storage unit to hold all of your boxes of tax receipts. Now if you have a small amount stored away in a safety-deposit box, this is probably just a minor inconvenience. You can take out the contents and store at home, or find another bank and open a new safe deposit account.
However, if you have a lot stored in a storage unit, it may be more difficult.
For example, I am in the process of remodeling my home, so I have moved a lot of my stuff to a 400 cubic-foot storage unit during the process. There were a variety of storage units within miles of my home. Some are fully air-conditioned, some offered 24x7 access, while others are not air-conditioned, or only allowed access during business hours. It has taken me several weekends to box up and move them to the storage unit. My car only holds 12-14 boxes at a time, so many trips were involved.
If the Storage Unit company told me that they were closing down, and that I would have to move all of these boxes to another facility, I would have to hire moving professionals to do all the work. This is in effect what companies need to do with their data. They must take the data off Nirvanix systems, and either store it in-house, or find another cloud storage provider.
IBM offers three options:
These options are not just for IBM's SmartCloud Enterprise Object Storage clients. Nirvanix has named IBM the savior for all of its other non-IBM customers as well. Why IBM? Well, IBM is one of the most recognized names in the IT industry. Not just one of the biggest Cloud Service providers, IBM also has an army of professionals in its Global Services division to help.
For more details, here are [SmartCloud Object Storage FAQ] and [Options for Moving Data from IBM SmartCloud Enterprise Object Storage] documents.
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? Announcements!
Today, IBM's announcements are designed to change the economics of big data analytics, cloud, mobile and social media.
[Software Defined Environments] require [Software Defined Storage], combining storage virtualization with open, extensible, industry-led interfaces. The IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center (VSC) and IBM Storwize Family are the market leaders in storage virtualization. SmartCloud VSC, Storwize Family, and XIV support the industry-led OpenStack interfaces.
Here are some of the announcements today:
Whew! That is a lot of things to discuss in one post. Since they were all related, I did not want to split it up into parts.
technorati tags: IBM, Software Defined Environment, SDE, Software Defined Storage, SDS, SmartCloud, Virtual Storage Center, VSC, Storwize, V7000, V5000, V3700, OpenStack, Havana, XIV, SAN Volume Controller, SVC, VMware, VASA, IP-based Replication, Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, FCIP, Bridgeworks, SANSlide, NEBS, ETSI, SmartCloud Storage Access, SmartCloud Enterprise, Object Storage, Storage Analytics Engine, Tiered Storage Optimization, Nirvanix, Softlayer, Hyper-Scale, data-at-rest, encryption, SED, SKLM, TKLM, TS7700, FICON, N3000, N6000, N7000, Data OnTap, Cluster-Mode, Cisco MDS