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.
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This week, I am presenting at the IBM Systems Technical University for IBM Storage and POWER Systems. This conference is being held in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 16-20, 2017, at the beautiful Hyatt Regency. There were about 800 clients attending.
This is my recap for the last few sessions before I left town, spanning Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon.
Reasons why IBM hyperconverged systems powered by Nutanix surpass other HCI from HPE, Cisco and more
Rob Simpson, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager at Nutanix, presented Nutanix hyperconverged systems. Nutanix runs on both x86 and POWER. For x86, it supports VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer, as well as their own Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) derived from Linux KVM. For POWER, it uses AHV re-compiled for POWER chip set.
Hyperconverged systems can be sold in full rack configurations, as individual appliances, or as software that can be deployed on your own servers. Rob compared Nutanix against three competitive appliances: Dell EMC VxRAIL based on VMware VSAN, HPE Simplivity, and Cisco HyperFlex.
Everything you wanted to know about IBM Spectrum Scale metadata but didn't know to ask
Eric Sperley, IBM Software Defined Infrastructure Architect, presented the internal metadata structures used in IBM Spectrum Scale.
Why, oh why, did I attend this presentation? I had worked on Spectrum Scale back when it was called GPFS over 15 years ago, and thought I already knew everything about "inodes" that I ever wanted to, but Eric proved me wrong!
"Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made."
--John Godfrey Saxe
A lot has changed! There have been a lot of improvements to the internal structures to improve parallel I/O performance, and reduce latency of administrative tasks.
IBM Spectrum Scale can be divided into different file systems, each of which can be configured with different performance characteristics and block size, such as random small files for scanned images, versus large sequential files for streaming videos.
My presentation was nowhere near as technical as Eric's above. I provided an overview of how IBM Spectrum Scale is configured, how it works, and how it interacts with IBM Cloud Object Storage System, Spectrum Protect, and System Archive.
I also covered the latest GSxS and GLxS models of the Elastic Storage Server, or ESS for short. These models provide awesome performance at low cost. The GSxS models are all-flash arrays for high performance. The GLxS models are hybrid with 2 Solid-State Drives and the rest NL-SAS 7200 rpm spinning disk for high capacity.
IBM COS new features
Andy Kutner, IBM Channel and Alliances Architect, presented the latest features in IBM Cloud Object Storage, IBM COS for short.
Compliance Enabled Vaults, or CEV for short, offer Non-Erasable, Non-Rewriteable (NENR) tamperproof protection for objects. Objects written to a CEV vault can not be deleted or replaced with newer versions, for a specific retention period.
(Note: Some folks mistakenly use the term "Write Once, Read Many" (WORM) for this. WORM applies only to tape, optical, paper tape, punched cards, and non-erasable ROM chips. For this reason, the term "Non-Erasable, Non-Rewriteable" (NENR), used in the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC 17a-4) regulation, has been created to extend this tamperproof protection to flash, disk and cloud-based storage architectures.)
The entry-level systems lowers the minimum capacity of systems. Before, IBM recommended at least 500 TB capacity to consider IBM COS. Now, the combination of embedded Accessers and Concentrated Dispersal mode, can lower the starting point to as low as 72 TB, but still allow you to grow to multiple PBs.
Continuing my coverage of the IBM Systems Technical University in Orlando, here are the sessions that I presented or attended on Day 1 (Monday).
Storage Keynote Session
This was a three-part kick-off keynote session. Mo McCullough, IBM Systems Lab Services and Training, coordinated the storage track of this event and provided some details on how to use the website portal and smartphone app.
Clod Barrera, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technical Strategist for Storage, presented the future of the storage industry, including trends in storage media technologies, data plane and control plane level enhancements, and broader system-wide considerations.
Tony Pearson, IBM Master Inventor and Senior Software Engineer, wrapped up the session with an overview of IBM's Smarter Storage strategy.
IBM Software Defined Storage Overview, Concepts and IBM SDS Family
Brian Sherman, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Client Technical Specialist for Advanced Technical Skills in the Americas, provided an overview of Software Defined Environments and how storage fits in that view, especially IBM's Spectrum Storage family.
IBM Cloud Storage Options
Tony Pearson presented on IBM's various Cloud Storage options.
While my original focus was on-premise storage solutions for use by Data Centers and Cloud Service providers, there was a lot of interest in IBM's storage available from SoftLayer and other Cloud providers. During this week, IBM announced its acquisition of CleverSafe, which I had not incorporated into the deck.
What's New in IBM Spectrum Protect v7.1.3
Tricia Jiang, IBM Technical Enablement Specialist for IBM Spectrum Storage, presented the latest release of IBM Spectrum Protect. That's an inside joke--this is the first release, but since it was based on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) v7.1.2, it was easier just to continue the same numbering scheme.
The main features of v7.1.3 is the new in-line dedupe capability, the new "deduplication containers" concept, and support for backing up to object storage either on-premise or in the cloud
IBM Spectrum Scale v4.1 Overview
Glen Corneau, IBM Client Technical Specialist for Power Systems, presented the latest features of IBM Spectrum Scale, formerly known as IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS). It was interesting to hear this from a Power Systems perspective, as IBM Spectrum Scale supports both AIX and Linux on POWER.
The day ended with a Welcome Reception at the IBM Solution Center that had various z System, Power System and System Storage solutions, as well as solutions from various IBM Business Partners and other third parties.
With over 2,000 technical sessions and 500 client testimonials, the event can be intimidating. For those of you attending this conference for the first time, I have some advice:
Review all the sessions you want to attend.
Don't limit yourself to just sessions in your area of job responsibility. Venture out. Look for adjacent spaces. Attend a session of two that you might learn something completely new and different.
Build your schedule in advance. The mobile app [IBM Events] can help you plan out your week.
Select one to five sessions per time slot, this gives you the choice to make a final selection, if there are last minute cancellations, or you discover a room is completely full.
Be mindful that some sessions are at the MGM Grand hotel, and others at the Mandalay Bay Resort, so you may need to account for travel time. This [Week-at-a-Glance] can help. I will be focusing my efforts at the Mandalay Bay.
Here's my first cut at my schedule. Maybe this will help you organize your own.
Sunday, Feb 21
7152A IBM Research Day: Cognitive IoT -- Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
7176A IBM Research Day Demo: Cognitive IoT Analytics Enable Connected Vehicle Service Innovations
7108A IBM Research Day: Blockchain and the Future of Finance
7234A IBM Research Day: Building Cloud Infrastructure for Next-Generation Workloads
7135A IBM Research Day: Storing and Using Data in the Cloud -- Putting Together the Puzzle Pieces
7085A Discover InterConnect: Discover the Value of IBM Systems for Your Business
7291A IBM Research Day Demo: Event-Driven, Serverless Cloud Compute and Storage
7112A IBM Research Day: Cloud Programming Models
7144A Open Technology Summit
Networking Reception -- Mandalay Bay South Convention Center Ballroom
Monday, Feb 22
7030A General Session Day 1: Digital Business Transformation
1581A University of Chicago Taps into IBM Cloud Object Storage for More Effective Patient Treatments
7221A Is Your Data Infrastructure Designed for Cloud, Analytics and Cognitive? Get Ready with IBM Storage!
1441A Data Resiliency: Data-Driven Analytics and Beyond
6488A Blockchain for Dummies
1267A Prudential and IBM: Integrating Application and Storage Management to Drive Cloud Service Levels
7433A Special Session: Open for Data -- An Open Invitation to Help You Solve Your Greatest Data Challenges
3050A IBM Cloud Architecture Center: A Story of 1001 Client Implementations and How You Can Leverage Them
6285A Data Management from the Cloud: Introduction to IBM Storage Insights
7215A Software Defined Storage: How Data Growth and Analytics are Driving New Innovation in Cloud Storage
3690A Meet the Experts on IBM Cloud Storage Services
7171A Solution EXPO Reception - Monday
Tuesday, Feb 23
6139A Manulife's Transformation to Agility with a Hybrid Cloud
4852A The Weather Company: How Insurers Can Differentiate with Weather Data
4955A IBM and Box: Delivering Hybrid Solutions for Enterprise Content Management
7032A General Session Day 2: IT Transformation
6524A The Role of Tape in a Cloud-Based World for Economical and Secure Data Retention
7253A Blogging 201: Plan, Maintain, and Optimize Your Blog
1013A Trends in Encryption of Data at Rest: On-Premise and in the Cloud
3757A Moving from Enterprise Premises to the Cloud in Gradual Steps
2131A Enabling Cloud Business with IBM FlashSystem
1709A Big Data—Beyond the Hype
3318A System of Systems Transformation at the Boeing Company
7408A IBM + Box: Transforming Work in the Cloud
1885A Enterprise IT "as-a-Service": A Hybrid Model for the Digital Enterprise
2692A In Wine There is Wisdom, in Beer There is Freedom, in IBM There is Digital Transformation...
5602A Successfully Architecting the Enterprise Edge: Insight from ADP
1234A Ubuntu -- Make It Your Choice for Cloud and Scale-Out Linux Workloads on POWER8
2154A Expert Panel on Hybrid Cloud Data Protection: Who Is the Service Provider?
7172A Solution EXPO Cocktail Reception
7175A InterConnect ROCKS with Elton John
Thursday, Feb 25
2419A Enhance the Agility of Your Cloud with IBM FlashSystem
7398A Cybersecurity Jeopardy! Are We Putting the Answers before the Question?
4331A Leverage zOS and Cloud Storage for Backup/Archive Efficiency and Cost Reduction
7341A IBM Storage and Catalogic: Software Defined Solutions for Hybrid Cloud and DevOps
2027A Get the Best From Your Storage: Why IBM Spectrum Virtualize Makes Sense for Your Cloud
4921A Radical Storage Simplicity for Your Cloud and How it Can Impact Your Customers
If you use Twitter, follow @IBMInterConnect, @IBMSystems and @IBMStorage for updates, and my own tweets @az990tony. If you take a photo at the event, tag it with #ileadIT to enter into the social-photo contest!
I will be there all week! Contact me if you want to get together.
Are you looking for new storage for 2014? Time to replace that old gear on your IT floor?
The decisions you make about your IT infrastructure affect everything -- from database and business analytics to cloud and virtualization. That's why it's more important than ever to choose wisely.
If you are currently running on storage from HP, HDS, EMC or one of IBM's many other competitors, you might want to take a fresh new look at IBM storage which...
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Next week, on January 16, senior IBM executives will share news about breakthrough technologies, featuring Intel® processors, that enhance Smarter Computing servers and storage.
(This webcast will be available worldwide. I, myself, will be in Winnipeg, Canada, freezing my [tuque] off!)
In this webcast, you will learn how to improve decision support and data processing for your mission-critical applications, drive higher performance on analytics and increase agility and flexibility through scalable solutions.
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! I am here in New York for the exciting news!
(FCC Disclosure: I work for IBM. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement" for the IBM z14 mainframe and DS8880 Storage System.)
In support of the [IBM z14] mainframe announcement, IBM has also disclosed R8.3 enhancements for the DS8880 Storage System. Here is a quick recap:
New Tier-1 Flash Capacities available for HPFE Gen2 drawers
IBM introduces the new Tier-1 flash card capacity 3.84 TB flash card. In the past, IBM DS8880 only supported Tier-0 cards that support 10 Drive Writes per Day (10 DWPD), with capacities 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 GB. The Tier-1 flash card only handles 1 DWPD, often dubbed "Read-Intensive" devices, but can actually handle about 90 percent of most production workloads.
zHyperLink™ drastically reduces the latency between the IBM z14 mainframe and the DS8880 storage systems. Traditional FICON paths through SAN switches or directors introduced about 140 to 175 microseconds of latency between systems. This new system is a direct cable, with 20 microsecond latency.
The I/O bays on the DS8880 used for HPFE Gen2 already have zHyperLink ports on them. This direct cable is limited to 150 meters, however, so plan accordingly.
Transparent Cloud Tiering
IBM already announced Transparent Cloud Tiering to IBM Bluemix, IBM Cloud Object Storage and the IBM TS7760 virtualization engine in R8.2.3 release. The new Release 8.3 of DS8880 now adds support for Amazon S3, providing yet another choice for where to migrate data sets to. IBM also adds replication, allowing the data set to be migrated to two separate target locations, for added availability, much like writing to separate ML2 tape cartridges.
Cascading FlashCopy is a feature that has existing for awhile now on IBM XIV and SAN Volume Controller platforms, so this is just a port of that concept over to the DS8880 microcode. Now, if you FlashCopy target can become the source of a follow-on FlashCopy request. You can make copies of copies. This applies to both the volume and data set level functions.
Why would anyone do this? Well, you might suspend your application at midnight and create a clean FlashCopy of a 24-by-7 ever-changing database. Then in the following morning, workers who need a static "midnight version" of the database now can use this as their source and perform additional FlashCopy requests for their own needs.
IBM DS8880 MES Support
MES is an abbreviation for "Miscellaneous Equipment Specification", one of the many Three Letter Acronyms [TLA] that doesn't help knowing what the words stand for. In short, an MES is a formal supported option to upgrade a piece of hardware that is already installed and running at a client location. IBM will offer MES to upgrade existing DS8880 systems to have the additional HPFE Gen2 drawers, and to upgrade the I/O bays to support zHyperLink connections.
(Final note: you might notice the change in upper and lower case. The IBM z14 (lower case) refers to the specific mainframe model, consistent with its predecessors the z13 and z13s, but the family name "IBM z Systems" has been shortened to "IBM Z®" (upper case). IBM Storage Systems and IBM POWER Systems were already upper case, so the mainframe guys just wanted to follow suit. I suspect "IBM i" will remain lower case, however.)
Last month, I had the pleasure to help train Watson in its latest mission, to help answer questions from sellers, this are not just for the IBM feet on the street, but also for IBM distributors and IBM Business Partners as well.
"... [survey by SearchYourCloud] revealed 'workers took up to 8 searches to find the right document and information.' Here are a few other statistics that help tell the tale of information overload and wasted time spent searching for correct information -- either external or internal:
'According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day -- 9.3 hours per week, on average -- searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.' Source: [Time Searching for Information]
'19.8 percent of business time -- the equivalent of one day per working week -- is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively,' according to Interact. Source: [A Fifth of Business Time is Wasted]
IDC data shows that 'the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30 percent of the workday, searching for information ... 60 percent [of company executives] felt that time constraints and lack of understanding of how to find information were preventing their employees from finding the information they needed.' Source: [Information: The Lifeblood of the Enterprise]."
In the early days of the Internet, before search engines like Google or Bing, I competed in [Internet Scavenger Hunts]. A dozen or more contestants would be in a room, and would be given a list of 20 questions to find answers for. Each of us would then hunt down answers on the Internet. The person to find the most documented answers before time runs out wins. It was quite the challenge!
Over the years, I have honed my skills as a [Search Ninja]. With over 30 years of experience in IBM Storage, many sellers come to me for answers. Sometimes sellers are just too lazy to look for the answers themselves, too busy trying to meet client deadlines, or too green to know where to look.
A good portion of my 60-hour week is spent helping sellers find the answers they are looking for. Sometimes I dig into the [SSIC], product data sheets, or various IBM Redbooks.
Other times, I would confer with experts, engineers and architects in particular development teams. Often, I learn something new myself. In a few cases, I have turned some questions into ideas for blog posts!
It was no surprise when I was asked to help train Watson for the new "Systems SmartSeller" tool. This will be a tool that runs on smartphones or desktops to help answer questions that sellers might need to respond to RFP or other client queries.
The premise was simple. Treat Watson as a student at "Cognitive University" taking classes from dozens of IBM professors, in a series of semesters, or "phases".
Phase I involved building the "Corpus", the set of documents related to z Systems, POWER systems, Storage and SDI solutions; and a "Grading Tool" that would be used as the Graphical User Interface. I was not involved in phase I.
Phase II was where I came in. Hundreds of questions are categorized by product area. I worked on 500 questions for storage. For each question, Watson had up to eleven different responses, typically a paragraph from the Corpus. My job as a professor was to grade the responses to some 500 storage questions:
★ (one star)
Irrelevant, answer not even storage-related
★★ (two stars)
Relevant, at least it is storage-related, but does not answer the question, or answers it poorly
★★★ (three stars)
Relevant, adequately answers the question
★★★★ (four stars)
Relevant, answers the question well
Most of the answers were either 1-star (not storage related) or 2-star (mentioned storage, but poor response). I would search through the existing Corpus looking for a better answer, and at best found only 3-star responses, which I would add to the list and grade as a 3-star response.
I then searched the Internet for better answers. Once I found a good match, I would type up a 4-star response, add it to the list, and point it to the appropriate resources on the Web.
Other professors, who were also looking at these questions, would then get to grade my suggested responses as well. Watson would learn based on the consensus of how appropriate and accurate each response was graded.
I don't know where the Cognitive University team got some of the questions, but they were quite representative of the ones I get every week. In some cases, the seller didn't understand the question he heard from the client, making it difficult for me to figure out what they were actually asking for.
It reminds me of that parlor game ["Telephone" or "Chinese Whispers"], in which one person whispers a message to the ear of the next person through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. I have actually played this at an IBM event in China!
Watson needs to parse the question into nouns and verbs, and use that Natural Linguistic Programming (NLP) to then search the Corpus for appropriate answer. I determined three challenges for Watson in this case:
The questions are not always fully formed sentences. For example, "Object storage?" Is this asking what is object storage in general, or rather what does IBM offer in this area?
The questions often do not spell the names of products correctly, or use informal abbreviations. "Can Store-wise V7 do RtC?" is a typical example, short for "Can the IBM Storwize V7000 storage controller perform Real-time Compression?"
The questions ask what is planned in the future. "When will IBM offer feature x in product y?" I am sorry, but Watson is not [Zoltar, the fortune teller]!
I managed to grade the responses in the two weeks we were given. Part of my frustration was the grading tool itself was a bit buggy, and I spent some time trying to track down some of its flaws.
The next phase is in late January and February. This will give the Cognitive University team a chance to update the Corpus, improve the grading interface, and find more professors and different set of questions. I volunteered the most recent four years' worth of my blog posts to be added to the Corpus.
Maybe this tool will help me turn my 60-hour week back to the 40-hour week it should be!
Over the past ten years, my co-workers have asked to write a "guest post" on this blog. This time, Moshe Weiss, IBM Senior Manager, Development and Design, has offered the following post, not in his own voice, but in the voice of his "baby", the Hyper-Scale Manager software.
You might think this is a strange approach, but today we have robots that can dance, and cars that can drive themselves! If software could talk, this is what IBM Hyper-Scale Manager would say:
"I was born a year ago.
It wasn't an easy birth… there were many complications. In fact, so many, that I was almost prematurely born!
Most of my development, in preparation for labor and delivery, was done within the last 6 months of the overall 18 months. I was shaped and designed, and sometimes re-shaped, three times. Lots of assumptions had to be made in hopes to ease a successful delivery and help bring me to full term of the birthing process.
During my first year of maturity, I focused on learning how customers used me; what frustrated them the most, and what they loved or 'almost' loved, while still needing refinement and redesign.
The number of customers adopting me grew higher and higher, as did the number of complaints and bugs that I had to deal with, and my users’ frustrations and dislikes because I wasn't yet a complete solution and still had some missing features.
I was renewed four times! Each time of which improved me and made my senses better, faster, adding new capabilities that helped make me more approachable, intuitive and delightful.
Choosing how to renew, and what to add to each renewal, is not an easy task. Basically, it was about prioritizing user experience versus gaps that were deferred from my birth, versus differentiators to make me unique and sell more, versus features in my roadmap, versus investing huge efforts in my quality.
Each renewal was a complex process with lots of features and behaviors to add, while trying to make my customers’ life a bit easier, since features that were important to them were sometimes considered low priority.
But, there were also good times during my first year:
Huge customer adoption rate
100 new customers in two months!
Growing was a great thing and my parents were and are still so proud! But, like with most things, it came with a price - a lot of sustain issues from the field, requests for changes and bad feedback that I am hard to use and missing core elements.
Being a new baby in the Storage world is not a simple thing, as expectations are huge (mainly because of my successful elder brother, the XIV GUI) and I must quickly keep up with all of them.
Although, I am getting tons of good feedback for being revolutionary and unique. People are emotionally engaged with me, and being that I’m a baby, I love to see emotions!
Huge marketing efforts to put me center stage
However, because of some initial problems at the start -- I am a new product, remember? -- I was thrown out of multiple customer sites, and some sales/marketing guys just stopped believing in me. That made me sad.
My parents did a great job, though, in talking, explaining and demonstrating what I can do, together with what I can’t do now, but will do soon. This really helped in some areas, and customers began to see what my parents saw in me for so many years.
I’m really enthusiastic to hear what people will think of me when I’m two years old!
As part of the renewal I had four times during my first year, design elements were reconsidered, redesigned and rewritten to find the best solutions ever. No product has come even close to what I suggest to the world… I am so proud of myself!
Additionally, my parents wrote approximately 20 patents on my User Interface (UI) elements and User Experience (UX) concepts, which makes me extremely unique.
Prioritization of what goes in and what doesn't, especially during a time when fewer and fewer babysitters handled me during that year. It was a real challenge. Read my parent's post [How to drive forward an exhausted team?] for more details.
But my parents did it! They succeeded to add cool features like:
Filter analytics and free text, making the filter a great experience that everyone is using.
Great UX improvements like redesigning the tabs, adding right click menus, and adding more on-boarding enablers
Improving the dashboard.
Improving my core business, capacity management (four different times!), and still working on it.
Adding features that were initially deferred in my birth. Deferring features back then was the way to make my birth go smoother. Now, these missing features annoy people.
Improving quality dramatically, adding automation to the way people test me.
Adding differentiators, like the health widget, with more than 20 best practices that provide helpful tips to the customer when there’s a need to change something in their environment, to avoid future issues.
Continue to bring added values for the 'A-family'. I am monitoring: FlashSystem A9000/R, XIV and Spectrum Accelerate, both on and off premises. This added value makes for a family with the most powerful management solutions and experience."
If you are planning to attend the upcoming IBM Systems Technical University, Orlando Florida, May 22-26, There will also be a variety of hands-on labs. I recommend participating in the hands-on session to feel and witness the next release of IBM Hyper-Scale Manager.
I presented IBM's Smarter Storage Strategy. This is focused on three key areas:
Data-intensive Solutions. Storage is needed for Big Data analytics. IBM is focused on efficiency in all dimensions: capacity efficiency with data footprint reduction techniques, energy efficiency, administrator efficiency with ease-of-use interfaces, and reduced complexity.
Business-critical workloads. Storage needs to allow business to prioritize which applications and workloads are most critical, and automate Quality of Service (QoS) for each application based on its business importance. The result is a balance between performance and cost across the spectrum of applications.
Start quickly and add value. IBM is committed to support private, hybrid and public cloud deployments. Storage needs to support not just VMware, but also Hyper-V, KVM, PowerVM and z/VM. That is why IBM is a platinum sponsor for the OpenStack foundation.
Eric Aquaronne presented an excellent session on OpenStack foundation, an open source collaboration of various companies to bring a consistent Cloud-management standard across compute, storage and network resources.
Replication for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
I have been involved with Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery my entire 28-year career at IBM System Storage, so when I was asked to cover BC/DR in 75 minutes, I focused just on aspects related to disk-to-disk replication.
I divided the presentation into three sections:
Business priorities. You need to prioritize which business processes are most important, and prioritize your recovery accordingly.
Technical implementation. Once priorities are set, there are seven "Business Continuity Tiers" to choose from. BC Tier 1 is the least expensive, recovering from physical tapes stored in an off-site vault. The fastest recovery is BC Tier 7, which automates the storage, server and network fail-over to a secondary site in as little as 30 minutes.
Ongoing management. Just setting up a BC/DR implementation is not enough. It needs to be monitored to ensure that it continues to provide the protection you expect. BC/DR exercises should be performed one or more times per year to ensure that everyone has the skills and procedures documented to succeed in the event of a real disaster.
Of these seven BC tiers, BC Tier 6 is focused on storage replication, such as Metro or Global mirror available on our DS8000, XIV Storage System, SONAS and SAN Volume Controller. BC Tier 7 involves system automation, such as Tivoli Distributed Disaster Recovery Manager and GDPS.
What is Big Data? Architectures and Practical Use Cases
This session was an expanded version of the one I gave in Belgium last year. Big Data is a big topic, and there are a variety of "big data" related sessions at this conference. I focused on three key areas:
The change in the role of Storage Administrator. In the past, most of the data was structured and stored in databases, managed by database administrators. However, in today's environment, over 80 percent of the data is unstructured, outside of traditional relational databases, so either the database administrators need to learn new skills, or storage administrators will need to step up and help manage this unstructured data content.
The change in the role of Business Analyst. We are no longer just looking at the financial consequences of patterns and trends. The new role of Data Scientist needs to apply statistical models, show some business acumen, and be able to "tell a story" that is supported by the data when communicating findings to Business and IT leaders.
The change in the role of Decision Maker. In the past, Decision Support Systems were available only to the top-level business executives. Now, empowered employees have access to real-time analytics that can help them make decisions and take immediate actions.
This session packed the house, with standing room only. I would like to offer a special thanks to IBM VP Bob Sutor, Stephen Brodsky, Linton Ward, and Ralph McMullen in helping me finalize my presentation.
This week, I was in beautiful Melbourne, Australia for IBM Systems Technical University. On Wednesday evening, we had a poster session. This was the first time I presented a poster session, so I was understandably very excited.
(I have so many photos that I will split this post up into topics. This post will focus on storage posters. See my other posts for IBM Power and Z systems.)
The venue was Eureka Skydeck 89, the top floor of the Eureka Tower. This tower is 297 meters tall (974 feet), and the views it afforded of the city of Melbourne were stunning.
Mo and I arrived early as I was one of the 11 finalists that got selected to present a poster. While it is a hot summer back in Arizona, it is cold here in Australia. I am glad we brought our heavy coats for the brisk 8-minute walk from our hotel, the Crown Promenade, to the Eureka Tower.
Posters are designed to present specific topics in a concise and interactive way to appeal to peers and colleagues at conferences and/or public displays. Everyone would be given an "A0" poster size foam board on which to tape on their poster, 841mm wide, and 1189 mm tall (roughly three feet by four feet).
Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
My design was simple. I took my summary chart from one of my presentations, and enlarged it to fit the "A0" poster size. I chose my "Pendulum Swings" presentation that explains the history of storage infrastructure, and the rise in interest in Converged and Hyperconverged Infrastructure.
In the early days of IT, storage was internal to its server, over time, storage outgrew its container, and we started having externally attached storage, and benefits like RAID and clustered servers for high availability. Then, SANs, LANs and WANs took the main stage, allowing for greater connectivity and distance.
But now, it seems the pendulum is swinging back with converged and hyperconverged systems. Converged Systems like IBM PureSystems, or VersaStack from IBM and Cisco, provide best-of-breed hardware for servers, storage and networks in a pre-cabled, pre-configured rack. With everything in a single rack, port count and cable distance limits are no longer a major concern.
Hyperconverged Systems, such as IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Accelerate, Nutanix or Simplivity, focus instead on offering commodity servers with internal flash and disk storage. Software-Defined Storage software is then used to glue together multiple units over a LAN infrastruture. With the huge increase in Flash and Disk capacities, a server with internal storage can hold many TB of data.
My poster included a "QR Code" that pointed to a link on BOX so that people could use their smartphones to access all of my presentations.
IBM Spectrum Scale with focus on Active File Management
A poster presents not all the details but the most important information.
Trishali Nayar, IBM AFM/Spectrum Scale Development from Pune India, had a poster on IBM Spectrum Scale with focus on Active File Management (AFM). She had a clean, simple design, basically two presentation slides enlarged to fill the poster size.
Active File Management (AFM) enables sharing of data across clusters, even if the networks are unreliable or have high latency. AFM allows you to create associations between IBM Spectrum Scale™ clusters or between IBM Spectrum Scale clusters and NFS data source. With AFM, you can implement a single name space view across sites around the world making your global name space truly global. You can also duplicate data for disaster recovery purposes without suffering from WAN latencies.
IBM Ubiquity Storage Service for Container Ecosystems
Your audience isn't trying to replicate your solution or case -- they are simply after the basics. Take for example, this poster on IBM's Ubiquity Storage Services.
Ashutosh Mate, IBM WW Senior Solutions Architect, created this poster on storage for Containers. Not to be confused with the Containers used in Spectrum Protect container pools, or the Containers supported by IBM Cloud Object Storage!
The poster had six enlarged presentation slides. Two at the top under "Abstract" covered business need and technology overview. The two in the middle under "Ubiquity Architecture" had a connection diagram and a list of supported environments. The last two under "IBM Vision" covered customer value, use cases, and additional resources.
As people transition from monolithic applications to microservices, IT is shifting from heavy Virtual Machines to lightweight Docker containers.
The Ubiquity project enables persistent storage for the Kubernetes and Docker container frameworks. It is a pluggable framework available for different storage systems. The framework interfaces with the storage systems, using their plugins. Different container frameworks can use Ubiquity concurrently, allowing access to different storage systems.
IBM has support for Spectrum Scale, all of the Spectrum Accelerate offerings (including XIV, FlashSystem A9000/R) and all of the Spectrum Virtualize offerings (including SVC, Storwize and FlashSystem V9000).
Single page handouts as "take-aways" was a nice extra touch.
Last week, I was in Atlanta for the "IBM TechU Comes to You" event at the beautiful Marriott Marquis hotel. This was a three-day event, so here is my recap of Day 1.
Marlin Maddy (IBM Systems Lab Services) acted as emcee to kick off this event. We had about 300 attendees.
Louise Hemond-Wilson (IBM Distinguished Engineer) presented IBM's transition from being a "Systems, Software and Services" company to one that focuses on "Cognitive Solutions and Hybrid Cloud". IBM offerings help clients to accelerate innovation, to analyze their data in context with other public sources of information, and ensure service predictability.
Glenn Anderson (IBM Systems Lab services) presented "Thinking outside the Cubicle". While many of the people in the room are administrators focused on their day-to-day jobs, Glenn argued it would be good to learn what others in the industry are doing, including DevOps, Agile programming, and AlwaysOn approaches.
Marlin came back on stage to give a brief overview of the latest IBM Global Technology Outlook 2015 report. The GTO is IBM Research's vision of the future for IT. It highlights emerging technology trends that will impact the industry in the next 3-10 years. GTO 2015 is dedicated entirely to the historic changes occurring around data.This talk provides an overview of the GTO 2015 topics: data at the edge, data gravity, data-centric enterprises, and brain-inspired systems for processing all that data.
Here are some of the predictions and findings:
By 2017, data stored on off-premise clouds may equal as much as three-quarters of all data in traditional data centers
Smartphones already possess more storage capacity than all servers combined.
Curating data to generate meaningful insights easily can consume 70-80 percent of the time-to-value
In a lifetime, an average human in the developed world will generate 0.4 TB of clinical data, 6 TB of genomic data, and 1100 TB of exogenous "lifestyle" data
About 85 percent of consumer transactions and 10% of government and business transactions are in cash, which largely is invisible to analytics today
90% of data created over the last 10 years was ABANDONED
60% of valuable sensory data loses value in milliseconds
Having data accessible "at the edge" increases business opportunities, speed and value of business decisions.
IBM Spectrum Protect - Roadmap and Futures
Mike Hedden presented this session on what the latest features of IBM Spectrum Protect v7.1.5, and various directions that our development teams are pursuing for upcoming quarterly releases. By a show of hands, most attendees were still using IBM Tivoli Storage Manager v5 or v6.
Introduction to Object Storage and its Applications - Cleversafe
A few years ago, IBM invested over $1B to be the #1 vendor in All-Flash Arrays, led by our IBM FlashSystem product line. A year ago, IBM invested over $1B to be the #1 vendor for Software Defined Storage solutions, including Spectrum Storage family of products. Last October, IBM invested another $1.3B to become #1 in Object Storage, with the acquisition of Cleversafe, a Chicago-based company.
I presented the basics of object store, a radical new way of storing information and how it is different from block or file-based storage alternatives. I then covered the features of our Cleversafe solutions, available as software, pre-built appliances, and in the Cloud. I wrapped up with practical use cases for Content Repository, Enterprise Collaboration, Active Archive, Storage as a Service and Backup.
Software Defined Storage
At this event, we put all three Software Defined Storage sessions back to back, giving attendees the option to choose the time slot that best fits their schedule. Clod Barrera did the first one, then I did mine, and then Jeff Barnett did his.
Clod focused on "Software Defined Environment" which is a broader category that includes Compute, Storage and Network. While Software-Defined Networking has been around for four years now, IBM has invested heavily in Software Defined Compute with the acquisition of Platform Company.
My presentation "Software Defined Storage--Why? What? How?" was more technical than the other two, focusing on key features of each of the six products in the Spectrum Storage family. I explained the new Spectrum Storage Suite licensing that drastically simplifies how TB are counted for an all-encompassing TB-based price.
Jeff focused more on the business value obtained by deploying Software Defined Storage, with practical use cases and client references that had amazing results.
(There were some attendees who attended two or three. If that sounds repetitive, consider Penn & Teller made an entire movie in 2005 called [The Aristocrats] that basically has dozens of stand-up comedians tell the same joke, but each gives a unique spin on it. It's not the song itself, they argue in the movie, but the singer that makes performances memorable. I highly recommend it.)
Integration between IBM Spectrum Scale and Cleversafe
This was a fun session. First, I presented an overview of IBM Spectrum Scale which provides volume, file and object-level storage interfaces on data that can span various flash, hybrid and spinning disk storage devices. Second, I presented Cleversafe for those who missed my earlier session. Finally, I then showed how files can be migrated from IBM Spectrum Scale to either Cleversafe on-premises, Cleversafe in the Cloud on IBM SoftLayer, or LTFS-enabled tape using IBM Spectrum Archive, or to any combination of disk, tape, object storage, Cleversafe and Cloud through IBM Spectrum Protect HSM and Space Management features.
The day concluded with a reception serving food and drinks. There were several booths from our sponsors, including Rocket Software, Catalogix, Storix and others.
Did you miss Atlanta? Want to hear the latest technical information about IBM Storage, but not willing to wait until the big [IBM Edge Conference] this September? We will have several more "IBM TechU Comes to You" events in May and June. To learn more, or to register for one of these, check out the [IBM Technical Events in 2016] landing page. I have negotiated [special discounts] for those who read this blog!