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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This week, I am in Las Vegas for [Edge 2016], IBM's Premiere IT Infrastructure conference of the year. Here is my recap of breakout sessions on Day 2.
Introducing IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R: Grid Architecture Designed for the Hybrid Cloud
Tomer Carmeli, IBM Offering Manager for the A9000 and A9000R presented. Both models offer data-at-rest encryption, snapshots, remote mirroring, and data footprint reduction, assuming 5.26:1, a combination of pattern removal, data deduplication and hardware-assisted Real-time compression.
The A9000 is an 8U high pod that can fit into existing racks. It comes in 60TB, 150TB and 300TB effective capacity.
The A9000R includes its own 42U rack. The rack is organized as two to six "grid elements" combined with two InfiniBand switches. Grid elements come in 150TB and 300TB effective capacities, giving you up to a whopping 1.8 PB in a single rack!
Similar to the IBM XIV and IBM Spectrum Accelerate offerings, the A9000 and A9000R support Hyper-Scale features. Hyper-Scale Manager lets you manage up to 144 devices on a single pane of glass. Hyper-Scale Mobility lets you move volumes (LUNs) non-disruptively from one device to another.
Different data compresses or dedupes at different ratios. Your mileage may vary. Unless you are evaluating a JBOF (just a bunch of flash) device, there is a great difference between raw, usable, and effective capacity. Raw capacity can be calculated by the size of each chip, times the number of chips. Usable capacity factors out RAID, and any spare capacity set aside for RAID rebuild and garbage collection. Effective capacity indicates the amount of information that can be stored by taking advantage of data footprint reduction technologies, such as compression or data deduplication.
IBM offers three options:
Measured Estimate -- IBM has a set of data reduction estimator tools that can scan your existing data, and estimate your reduction ratio, within 5 percent accuracy.
Competitive Match -- If a competitor had run their own set of estimator tools, IBM might be able to match the reduction ratio, without repeating the analysis, by just reviewing the competitor results.
"Sight unseen" -- without analyzing your actual data, reduction ratio is determine by the type of data (DB2, Oracle, SQL server, etc.), based on experience with similar data at other data centers.
Both A9000 and A9000R models are published at 250 microsecond latency, about 30 times faster than traditional spinning disk, although some workloads actually can run even faster than that. Assuming 5.26:1 reduction, these sell for about $1.50 per effective GB.
Flash Primer - Ready to move from disk storage?
Patricia Crowell, IBM Worldwide FlashSystem Enablement manager, presented. She presented an interesting time line:
First Solid-State Drive (SSD)
First Flash card, such as for digital cameras
First USB stick
Flash used in specialized IT appliances
Flash for the enterprise - Microsoft and UCSD paper on SSD
In 2012, Microsoft Research and University of California San Diego published ["The Bleak Future of NAND Flash Memory"], 8 pages, by Laura M. Grupp, John D. Davis, and Steven Swanson. Here is an excerpt:
"The technology trends we have described put SSDs in an unusual position for a cutting-edge technology: SSDs will continue to improve by some metrics (notably density and cost per bit), but everything else about them is poised to get worse. This makes the future of SSDs cloudy: While the growing capacity of SSDs and high IOP rates will make them attractive in many applications, the reduction in performance that is necessary to increase capacity while keeping costs in check may make it difficult for SSDs to scale as a viable technology for some applications"
IBM disagreed with this bleak assessment, announced it was investing $1 billion US Dollars into this technology, acquired Texas Memory Systems, and has deployed flash throughout its product line. For the past three years, IBM has been the #1 vendor for Flash storage systems.
Patricia offered the following example. What would it take to run 20 million IOPS? Here's a comparison:
Disk systems 15K rpm
Disk systems 7200 rpm
How to migrate from SONAS to IBM Spectrum Scale/ESS using Active File Manager
Paul Schena, IBM Senior IT Specialist, presented his experiences migrating existing SONAS data to new IBM Spectrum Scale or Elastic Storage Server (ESS) deployments. SONAS is going End-of-Service (EOS) on April 30, 2018, so it is never too soon to start this migration.
Paul gave two different methodologies. The first used Active File Management (AFM):
Setup an IBM Spectrum Scale "Gateway Node" in "Independent-Writer" AFM mode. Paul recommends 10 threads per gateway node.
Issue an AFM pre-fetch, disabling the "cache eviction" feature to ensure data remains. AFM transfers the directory structure, file data including sparse files, Access Control Lists (ACL), extended attributes.
Define your exports with no-root-squash and move your user mounts to the new systems
Once all the data is moved, convert the cache filesets to regular filesets
Define your quotas, export settings, ILM policies and rules
Decommision the SONAS
The second used Robocopy and Rsync, which may be required if there is high-latency, long-distance connection that prevents proper AFM connections:
Configure IBM Spectrum Scale CES servers to appropriate NFS and/or SMB protocols
Use Robocopy and/or Rsync as appropriate to move the data to the new system
Decommision the SONAS
Having it all: Hybrid Cloud Storage Services for Block, Power and Backup
Clint Parish, Director of Enterprise Solutions and Services for VSS, and Marc The'berge, Business Development for Supermicro, co-presented this session.
VSS offers POWER8-based Cloud services. They consider themselves "boutique" with POWER8 servers, able to run AIX, IBM i and Linux on POWER applications, but not at the scale and size of larger x86-based clouds like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
For IBM i, they attach to IBM Storwize V7000. For AIX and Linux on POWER, they use IBM Storwize V7000 and/or Supermicro Hyperconverged Appliance, a pre-built system based on IBM Spectrum Accelerate.
Supermicro offers three "tee-shirt sizes", their small systems have six nodes, medium with 9 nodes, and large with 15 nodes. Unlike other Hyperconverged systems, the ones from Supermicro include a rack, and are pre-cabled with all the necessary Ethernet switches necessary to make a complete solution.
To offer backup services, VSS uses IBM Spectrum Protect with the Supermicro appliances.
In the evening, we were treated with a concert with Train, known for songs like "Meet Virginia", "Hey Soul Sister", "Calling all Angels" and "Drops of Jupiter". They played all of these, plus covered some songs by Led Zeppelin, Journey, Queen and Aerosmith,
"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:
For the past seven years, we have worked to deliver cloud storage solutions. We have concluded that we must begin a wind-down of our business and we need your active participation to achieve the best outcome.
We are dedicating the resources we can to assisting our customers in either returning their data or transitioning their data to alternative providers who provide similar services including IBM SoftLayer, Amazon S3, Google Storage or Microsoft Azure.
We have an agreement with IBM, and a team from IBM is ready to help you. In addition, we have established a higher speed connection with some companies to increase the rate of data transfer from Nirvanix to their servers.
We are working hard to have resources available through October 15 to assist you with the transition process, and have set up a rapid response team that can be reached at (619) 764-5650 [press 2 for customer support during normal business hours] or (888) 791-0365 after business hours, or contact email@example.com.
Please check back to this web page periodically for status updates.
We thank you for your support and patience.
The Nirvanix team
UPDATE ON NIRVANIX
On October 1, 2013, Nirvanix voluntarily sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to pursue all alternatives to maximize value for its creditors while continuing its efforts to provide the best possible transition for customers."
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:
IBM [SoftLayer Object Storage] offering which is an OpenStack Swift-based Object Storage solution. IBM's SoftLayer object based storage solution provides a robust, highly scalable solution, with the ability to retrieve and leverage data the way you want to, and grow when you need. You can choose to store your objects in Dallas, Texas (USA), Amsterdam (Europe), and/or Singapore (Asia).
SCE persistent storage solution where you will be able to manage storage resources by attaching an instance during the instance creation process.
An alternate storage solution of your choice. Yes, IBM will help you move your data to Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. While technically competitors, IBM also has strategic partnerships in place with each to facilitate the movement.
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.
This week, I am in Las Vegas for [Edge 2016], IBM's Premiere IT Infrastructure conference of the year. In previous years, this conference was held in May, June or July, but this year, it was moved back to September, to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of IBM Disk Systems.
I have arrived safely to Las Vegas, and checked in at Edge 2016 Conferenece Registration.
This year, the Solutions EXPO opens early, on Sunday with a reception. This gives people a chance to go to booth #330 to make appointments for one-on-one with various IBM Executives!
I was able to catch up with co-workers I have not seen in a while! There is a whole section on IBM storage products such as the IBM DS8888 All-Flash Array, as well as software products like IBM Spectrum Protect and IBM Spectrum Control.
On Monday, my session "All Flash is Not Created Equal: Tony Pearson Contrasts IBM FlashSystem and SSD" has moved from the tiny room to a much larger room "Studio A". There was a lot of demand for this session, so I have agreed to present this again, as a repeat session, on Wednesday.
I hope everyone had a festive and restful winter break! I sure did!
(FCC Disclosure: I work for IBM. IBM is in our 17-day "quiet period" before it announces full-year and 4Q results on January 18. Therefore, I picked today's topic that has nothing to do with storage products, recent client wins, or financials.)
It's January, so I thought I would discuss [New Year's resolutions], a tradition in United States in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life. Early Romans made promises to their god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
Sadly, most of us are unsuccesful. This is often because the resolutions were unrealistic, people failed to measure and track their progress, or simply lost interest midyear.
From my own experience, most resolutions can be lumped into four major categories:
Get healthy: Eat better, lose weight, exercise more, sit less, quit smoking
Get organized: Stop procrastinating, pay off debt, de-clutter, switch to a better job, reduce stress
Become social: Spend more time with friends and family, meet new people, travel, volunteer for charity
Learn new skills: Learn a new language, take up a new hobby, learn to paint or create arts and crafts
A technique I use to develop presentations might help people keep New Year's Resolutions. The technique called [SCIPAB®], created by Mandel Communications, is an elegantly simple, six-step method for starting important conversations or create [Effective Presentations]. Since Resolutions are basically "conversations with yourself", let's give it a try!
Situation: "Oh No! The boss's daughter, Nell Fenwick, is tied to the railroad tracks!"
Complication: A train approaches!
Implication: If nobody does anything soon, she will die
Position: "I, Dudley Do-Right, will save her!"
Untie her from the tracks and set her free
Arrest the villain, Snidely Whiplash
Benefit: Nell lives! "Dudley Do-Right, you are my hero!"
Let's see how we can use this approach on different categories of resolutions. To get healthy, we might use:
Situation: "Oh No! My latest doctor visit indicates that my numbers are too high!"
(AMA Disclosure: I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice. Here numbers could represent any appropriate health measurement of your BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, liver enzymes, or blood sugar, for example.)
Complication: I am not getting any younger.
Implication: I am at risk of heart disease, cancer, or other health issue. This situation will not go away on its own.
Position: I need to change my lifestyle to get healthy
Set appointment to see my doctor
Follow doctor's recommendations for diet, medication and exercise
Schedule follow-up appointments to measure and track progress
Benefit: My health measurements will return to normal range.
Rather than resolving to "Eat less and exercise more", the above approach is more focused on the end result, rather than intermediate actions, and therefore has a better chance of success, getting your health within normal range.
Let's try another one. To get better organized, we might use:
Situation: "Sigh! All of my projects are over budget and behind schedule, my desk is a mess, I forget important thoughts and ideas, and I am always late to meetings."
Complication: I just got assigned to lead project XYZ.
Implication: If I am not better organized, I could lose my job.
Position: I need to change my work routine to get organized.
Read David Allen's book and learn his system for "Getting Things Done" [GTD], or one of the many variants, like [GSD] or [ZTD].
Decide on where to write down and keep track of my thoughts, tasks and projects, either on paper like a notebook or [Hipster PDA], or an online mobile account like [Evernote] or [Google Keep]. Chose something that will be within arms reach 24 hours a day.
Work with project managers to track and measure progress of project XYZ.
Benefit: Project XYZ will be completed on schedule, within budget. I might even get a bonus, raise, or promotion!
I could go on, but you get the idea.
In his WSJ article [Blame it on the Brain], Jonah Lehrer cautions against trying to change too many habits all at once. If you have multiple resolutions, try to focus on establishing new habits for one resolution for a month or two, before starting the next one. Prioritize what is most important.
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 2.
Data Pattern Analytics for IBM Storage Infrastructure
Justin Doster (IBM FlashSystem Center of Competency) presented Data Protection Analytics (DPA), an analysis performed by IBM experts similar to ILM and SIO studies I helped to launch in 2005. DPA will discover and review:
physical environment inventory
configuration issues (array, switches)
system availability/reliability issues
performance issues and bottlenecks
capacity by location
VMware vCenter configuration
host OS Inventory
The IBM experts gather the data using various tools, interview the storage administrators, and review the data in context of the issues raised. The resulting heat map allows the IBM experts to make recommendations, focused on how IBM FlashSystem, IBM DS8000 High Performance Flash Enclosures, and Solid-State Drives.
Identify LUNs/Servers/Applications most impacted from Latency
Identify high I/O Density patterns impairing performance
Identify tiering considerations
Rather than showing the results of individual clients, Justin averaged out several clients together to illustrate some of his key points.
IBM Spectrum Scale for File and Object Storage
I presented an overview of IBM Spectrum Scale v4.2.1 release. I covered our support for POSIX, NFS, SMB, Hadoop, OpenStack Swift and Amazon S3 interfaces. IBM Spectrum Scale is an ideal solution to replace NetApp filers, EMC Isilon or DataDomain storage devices.
In retrospect, I should have done this one before yesterday's "Integration between IBM Spectrum Scale and Cleversafe" discussion, but it went well nonetheless.
IBM Storage and OpenStack
This is one I have done in the past, but this time it was presented by Brian Sherman (IBM Distinguished Engineer). Brian covered the basics, particular the OpenStack Cinder driver, and the various IBM products like the DS8880 and XIV that provide this new interface.
What is Big Data? Architectures and Practical Use Cases
Another fun session. I cover the basics of Big Data analytics, IBM's Analytics Platform, and IBM InfoSpehere BigInsights. IBM Spectrum Scale iuncludes a Hadoop Connector for 100 percent HDFS compatibility. This let's you run all of the Hadoop and Spark Map-Reduce, Hive and HBase applications.
Attendees suggested I should have listed this as a "Cross-brand" session rather than a "Storage" session, since analytics can run on z Systems and POWER Systems. It was listed under Storage because I mention the key role IBM Spectrum Scale and its Hadoop Connector play in these deployments.
New Generation of Storage Tiering: Less Management, Lower Costs, and Improved Performance
It would be difficult to justify a whole hour on a single feature like "Easy Tier" or "Storage Analytics Engine" or "Information Lifecycle Management", so I combined them all into a single session.
Easy Tier offers single-system optimization, moving extents of data across Flash, Enterprise and Nearline drive tiers.
Storage Analytics Engine in the IBM Virtual Storage Center and IBM Spectrum Control Advanced Edition takes it up a level, automating the movement of LUNs and volumes across storage systems.
Lastly, Information Lifecycle Management policies in IBM Spectrum Scale allow files and objects to be moved from Flash, Disk and Tape, with Active File Management across data centers, remote office and branch offices forming a global namespace.
The Pendulum Swings Back -- Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
A few years ago, I explained to a client that Converged and Hyperconverged were like a pendulum swinging back. Over the past few decades, we have gone from internal disk, to externally attached disk, to SAN and LAN networks.
Each time, we gained more flexibility, greater connectivity and longer distances. Then I explained that Converged and Hyperconverged is like going backwards, the pendulum swinging back to the days of internal and externally-attached storage. The analogy was a hit, and thus this session was born!
IBM offers multiple Converged Systems. IBM PureSystems, PureData and PureApplication solutions offer racks of compute, storage and network gear. Last year, we collaborated with Cisco to create VersaStack, a converged system that combines Cisco's x86 blade servers and switches with IBM Spectrum Virtualize products.
IBM also offers Hyperconverged solutions. IBM Spectrum Accelerate allows the compute, storage and network functions run on 3 to 15 VMware ESXi hosts to form a cluster. The cluster can then make iSCSI-based volumes available to other virtual machines running on these same hosts. The volumes can also be made available to servers outside the cluster, such as bare metal servers or other Hypervisors.
IBM Spectrum Scale provides a clustered file system that allows the compute, storage and network functions to run on 3 to 16,000 machines. Over 200 of the world's largest supercomputers run IBM Spectrum Scale today. IBM Watson that beat the two smartest humans on Jeopardy TV game show was also based on IBM Spectrum Scale.
The day concluded with another reception serving drinks. Afterwards, I had dinner at [Agatha's -- A Taste of Mystery], a murder mystery dinner show, where the patrons "share the stage" with the paid actors. Everyone is handed their "script" and we each took turn reading when we heard our cue. The five-course meal was delicious, and the zany antics and southern accents were hilarious. The show I attended was a mash-up of two popular TV shows: [House of Cards] and [Scandal].
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!
Eventually hardware fails, ... ... eventually software works.
For a solid backup product, consider usingIBM Tivoli Storage Manager.I use it to protect all my data on my laptop. And when switching recently from my old Thinkpad T30 to my newThinkpad T60, used it to transfer my data over as well.[Read More]
I got some exciting news today that i would like to share with my readers!
Several years ago, I mentored a young 19-year Tarun Pondicherry from India to work on one of Google's Summer-of-Code project. We worked on a simple blogging system to help teach grade school children in Uruguay how to write their own blogs.
Well, that was six years ago, but I have kept in touch, and today learned that Tarun has been working on an exciting project to teach young kids to write computer programming code.
It's called "LightUp" and the idea is quite simple. Using a simple programming interface, you can program the machine to light up based on what the programming code specifies. It is immediate feedback for the child to explore the world or software logic. Already they have helped kids around the world build over 100,000 circuits!
And speaking of learning new innovations, I will be at the [IBM Edge 2015 conference] next week in Las Vegas. There will be traditional lectures about IBM's latest innovations, mixed with hands-on labs and plenty of exciting demos, because Adults need to learn too!
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
(This week in the USA there are big elections. However, I am far, far away in Zurich, Switzerland writing IBM Redbooks.)
Storwize V7000 Model 724
The next generation of the Storwize V7000, officially model 724, supports NVMe and FC-NVMe (NVMe/FC) on 16Gbps adapters, and iSER on 25GbE adapters. You can cluster Storwize V7000 Gen2+, Storwize V7000 model 724, and FlashSystem 9100 series into the same cluster. There are some differences, shown in this table below:
The latest software is now available for SVC, FlashSystem 9100 and V9000, and Storwize V7000 and V5000.
NVMe over Fibre Channel support on 16 Gb Fibre Channel adapters extends the simplicity, efficiency, and end-to-end NVMe model where NVMe commands and structures are transferred end to end, requiring no translations. This is often written as FC-NVMe or NVMe/FC.
Full IP-based quorum delivers support for administrators looking to consolidate their infrastructure over Ethernet. Previously, clients used a mix of IP-based and physical quorum disks.
Increased host mappings to 64K, more than triple from the previous limitation of 20K.
IBM Spectrum Insights provides a call home protocol that uses IBM IP to deliver a more robust path and higher bandwidth/higher frequency data transmission, with end-to-end confirmation of receipt.
Single copy vdisk expand with format enables administrators to expand a vdisk without migrating the data off and back on. For example, if you want to expand a 100GB LUN to 150GB, you can do this, and the hardware will format the additional 50GB capacity.
iSER support for host attachment with 25 GbE adapters expands the host connectivity options for SVC, FlashSystem V9000 and Storwize V5000. This is similar to the v8.2 support for Storwize V7000 and FlashSystem 9100.
Clustering support over Ethernet using RDMA enables IBM Spectrum Virtualize software to run over multiple types of technology, including FlashSystem 9100 and V9000, SVC, and Storwize V7000. This was the last hold-out for all-Ethernet shops. IBM supported Ethernet host attachment, and Ethernet-based back-end storage, and Ethernet-based replication mirroring, so the last piece is now complete, Ethernet-based node-to-node communications needed for clustering.
(Back in 2010, I poked fun at EMC with my post [VPLEX: EMC's Latest Wheel is Round]. I pointed out that EMC's announcement of "new features" that already existed in IBM's SAN Volume Controller. Oops! They did it again!)
Basically, Dell EMC is working on a new "2 Tiers" approach that combines high-performance flash tier with high-capacity object storage. Guess what? IBM already offers this! Why wait?
IBM Spectrum Scale, formerly known as the General Parallel File System (GPFS), supports POSIX, HDFS, OpenStack Swift, Amazon S3, NFS, SMB and iSCSI protocols.
Spectrum Scale can provide this front-end abstraction layer between flash and object storage, including IBM Cloud Object Storage system and IBM Bluemix (formerly SoftLayer) cloud services.
But why limit yourself to just two tiers? IBM Spectrum Scale can also support 15K, 10K and 7200 RPM spinning disk drive tiers, as well as virtual or physical tape tier, the ultimate low-cost high-capacity tier!
Several years ago, IBM coined the phrase "FLAPE" to discuss the two-tier approach of combining Flash with Tape using Spectrum Scale as the front-end abstraction layer.
Perhaps we should call combinations of Flash and Object "FLobject" storage? If the name catches on, you read it here first!
Next month, I will be presenting at the IBM Systems Technical University in Orlando, Florida, May 22-26, 2017. There will not be an "IBM Edge" conference this year, so this is your best opportunity to hear the latest information on all of the IBM server and storage products at one conference.
I will be there! Here are the topics I will be presenting:
The pendulum swings back -- Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged environments
IBM cloud storage options
Software Defined Storage -- Why? What? How?
Business continuity -- The seven tiers of business continuity and disaster recovery
Introduction to object storage and its applications - Cleversafe
New generation of storage tiering: Less management, lower investment and increased performance
IBM Spectrum Scale for file and object storage
This conference is not all lectures, which some refer to as "Death by Powerpoint".
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, which is the management application for what IBM calls its A-line storage family -- FlashSystem A9000/R, XIV Storage System, and Spectrum Accelerate software.
Hyper-Scale Manager is the most advanced GUI in the market today, may help reduce your management total cost of ownership (TCO) in half!
You can [Enroll Today!] There is an "early-bird" special to save hundreds of dollars if you enroll by April 16!
International Technology Group [ITG] has just published a series of papers about IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center (VSC) and SAN Volume Controller/Storwize storage hypervisor virtualization technology detailing the cost benefit advantages over EMC and VMware.
IBM delivers up to 72% lower storage TCO than EMC storage virtualization and management solutions in large enterprises ... and up to 35% lower storage TCO than VMware tools in mid-sized environments
Also, you can watch an interview with the study's author, International Technology Group Managing Director, Brian Jeffery, live from next week's IBM Edge Conference in Las Vegas. Brian will be interviewed on [TheCUBE by Wikibon] on Monday afternoon. Watch it live on May 19!
I will be at Edge next week. If you plan to be there, I would be glad to discuss these ITG findings with you and your clients in person.
Fellow blogger Chris Mellor from The Register has an interesting post titled [It's a ratchet: Old storage guard face incoming tech squeeze]. Chris opines that the big traditional storage vendors -- which he refers to as the "old guard": Dell EMC, HDS, HPE, IBM and NetApp -- are being squeezed out by startups with new technologies.
Last week, I saw the play [Fiddler on the Roof], a musical production by Arizona Theater Company (ATC), and thought of various parallels with Chris's post.
For those not familiar, the story centers around a father named Tevye and his wife trying to stick to tradition, with five daughters who are open to breaking with tradition to get married. The family lives in a small rural town, back in a time long ago when people were persecuted for their religious and ethnic background. Aren't you glad we live in [more enlightened times]!
Back to Chris Mellor, he writes in his post:
"This old guard has so far failed to squash newcomers in the all-flash array, hyperscale, object and software-defined storage areas. This is despite the established firms adopting these technologies and acquiring some startups."
Should the old guard try to squash newcomers? Often, these startups provide much needed innovations that move the IT industry forward.
In the play, Tevye wants to stick to tradition, whereby the town's matchmaker would find a husband for each daughter, and he, as father of each bride, would then provide his permission and blessing to the match.
Obviously, these startups are neither asking the old guard for their permission nor their blessing. While I can't speak for the rest of the "old guard", IBM is leading in these various spaces. Let's look at each of these new trends.
All-Flash Arrays (AFA)
The category of "All-Flash Arrays" include both purpose-built hardware as well as traditional devices based on solid-state drives (SSD). While the R&D investment needed for purpose-built hardware can limit this to some of the largest vendors, nearly any startup can slap commodity SSD into traditional HDD controllers and call it AFA.
IBM offers the world's fastest AFA, and has been a leader in the AFA category for the past three years, investing over $1 Billion USD on its FlashSystem, DS8000, Elastic Storage Server (ESS), SVC and Storwize product families.
Software-Defined Storage (SDS)
While the definition for SDS is still in a bit of flux, IDC has tried to identify three characteristics:
Storage software stack that can be installed on commodity resources (x86 hardware, hypervisors, or cloud) and/or off-the-shelf computing hardware
SDS should offer a full suite of storage services
Federation between the underlying persistent data placement resources to enable data mobility of its tenants between these resources
IBM has been ranked [Number 1 in Software Defined Storage] for several years now, investing over $1 Billion USD in its IBM Spectrum Storage family. This collection of software is implemented in a variety of offerings, including pre-built systems, software that you can deploy on commodity off-the-shelf servers, and in the Cloud.
Object storage breaks tradition with block and file-based storage solutions. Rather than reading and writing files using POSIX, NFS or SMB protocols, objects are accessed via HTTP GET and PUT requests. The two most common protocols are Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift.
Object storage is ideal for static and stable data that either never changes, or changes infrequently. A lot of new workloads are based on unstructured data that falls in this category, such as Big Data Analytics, High-performance Computing (HPC), and active archives.
In the latest IDC Marketscape, [IBM is ranked #1 in Object Storage]. IBM has actually three software-defined storage offerings that support Object access methods. IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Archive and IBM Cloud Object storage System. The latter from 2015 acquisition of Cleversafe.
"Hyperscale leverages commodity servers and a software-defined approach, scaling the resources needed for applications and storage separately. As storage needs grow, companies can add servers running software-defined storage (SDS) to the storage tier to expand capacity... Data is automatically distributed across the entire cluster of storage servers as new nodes are added to the system... With hyperscale, .. cluster nodes network together to form a storage resource pool."
This breaks from the tradition of dual-controller high-end arrays, which scale-up, rather than scale-out. IBM offers its IBM Spectrum Accelerate, IBM Spectrum Scale, and IBM Cloud Object Storage System to fill this hyperscale requirement.
In the play, Tevye realizes the world is changing all around him, he can either fight these changes and stick to tradition, or accept that he must change also, and move on. After 105 years, IBM continues to lead the IT industry, primarily by adopting new trends and technologies, moving to new business opportunities as they present themselves.
This week, I am presenting at the IBM Systems Technical University for Storage and POWER Systems. This conference is being held in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 16-20, 2017, at the beautiful Hyatt Regency.
Storage: Opening Keynote Session
Clod Barrera, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technical Strategist, and Craig Nelson, Brocade, co-presented this session.
Clod Barrera presented the latest in Storage trends. He organized his talk around four layers: Infrastructure, Storage Management, Storage Systems, and Storage Media.
Craig Nelson presented the changes in Storage Networking. With advancements in both server and storage bandwidth, the storage network becomes the bottleneck. Insane flash storage performance requires insanely fast storage networks. IBM offers Brocade-manufactured switches and directors that now support 32Gbps. Combining four paths together, these can offer Interswitch Connection Links (ICL) at 128 Gbps.
The Seven Tiers of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
With the recent Hurricans Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria, my topic on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) was well attended. I have been working in BC/DR for most of my career, including the "High Availability Center of Competency" or HACOC.
Back in 2005, I was here in New Orleans, the week before Hurricane Katrina, for the IBM Storage Symposium, August 22-26, the predecessor of this conference. I left on Friday, August 26, and the storm hit that weekend.
I met with people photographing all the buildings, in hopes to sell "before pictures" to insurance companies and filmmakers after the hurricane hit. Film director Spike Lee bought much of this footage. Smart!
However, natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados and floods represent less than 20 percent of all discasters. The majority of disasters, nearly 75 percent, arise from electrical power outages, human error, system failure and randsomware.
IBM FlashSystem Overview
Andy Walls, IBM Fellow, CTO and Chief Architect,and Brent Yardley, IBM STSM and Master Inventor, co-presented this session. Andy started with FlashSystem 900, V9000 and A9000/R.
The room was packed with standing room only, and Andy was answering so many questions that he never finished his portion, and Brent Yardley never had a chance to cover his portion.
Fortunately, there were "deep dive" sessions on FlashSystem 900, V9000 and A9000/R later in the week, so Andy suggested everyone go to lunch and attend these other more detailed sessions.
The new TS1155 enterprise tape drive can write up to 15 TB uncompressed data to existing JD/JZ/JL media.
It can read/write existing 10TB-formatted JD media, and 7TB-formatted JC media, written by former TS1150 drives. It also can offer read-only support for older 4TB-formatted JC media from TS1140 drives.
These are uncompressed capacities, and some clients achieve 2x or 3x compression on top of these capacities. This depends heavily on the type of data. Your mileage may vary, as they say.
Most of the rest of the features of the TS1150 drives carry forward., The performance 360 MB/sec is similar, encryption via IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager (SKLM) is similar, and support for IBM Spectrum Archive via Linear Tape File System (LTFS) format is similar.
An interesting development is that the TS1155, in addition to standard 8Gb Fibre Channel attach, is the first IBM enterprise drive to also offer 10Gb Ethernet support. IBM will offer both RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) as well as iSCSI support.
The newest member of the IBM Spectrum Storage software family, IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management automates the creation of snapshot images (FlashCopy for those familiar with IBM terminology) on IBM, NetApp and EMC storage arrays. These copies can be made for various uses, such as DevOps, Dev/Test, Backup/Restore, and Disaster Recovery.
At some data centers, these copies can consume as much as 60 percent of your total storage space, because often each developer and tester are generating their own copies. Instead, having copies automated, registered, cataloged, and made available to developers and testers eliminates rogue copies.
This release adds support for additional databases, including Microsoft SQL Server on physical machines, SAP HANA in-memory databases, and Epic/Caché from InterSystems used in Electronic Health Records (EHR) management systems.
IBM also adds support for long-distance Vmotion for VMware virtual machine images. The target for this movement is IBM Spectrum Accelerate running on IBM Bluemix Cloud, supporting Hybrid Cloud configurations.
Johann Weiss, Jim Blue and I joined several other local experts to answer questions and respond to comments and suggestions attendees had about IBM System Storage products and solutions. Here is a sample:
I would like to add 1TB of Flash to our FlashSystem 810 and have the system automatically re-stripe across this new capacity non-disruptively?
How can I have XIV systems at two datacenters in an active/active configuration that would allow me to vMotion from one location to the other non-disruptively?
Put them behind the SAN Volume Controller in Stretched Cluster mode.
What about a similar active/active but for NAS?
IBM N series.
I would like HyperSwap on the SVC/Storwize family like the DS8000 offers for AIX?
When will IBM offer a multi-frame XIV?
The "Hyper-Scale" set of features lets you logically connect 144 XIV frames together and treat as a single system. There is no need to physically bolt them together, since the communication is done over standard network switches.
When will IBM devices have native FCoE support?
All IBM System Storage products work within an FCoE framework today, either with native FCoE support, or through Top-of-Rack switches splitting out the traffic between IP and FCP traditional networks. IBM Storwize and N series products support FCoE natively, and any disk behind virtualized by SAN Volume Controller or Storwize can be access via FCoE hosts because of this support.
What is FLAPE?
FLAPE is the combination of Flash and Tape. Both of these technologies are improving over 40 percent year-to-year, but disk is slowing down to 20 percent improvement. It is possible to combine Flash and tape systems, such as IBM LTFS-EE or IBM ProtecTIER TS7600 series.
Only the Storwize V7000 Unified supports file modules to add NAS capabilities, what can IBM offer us that is smaller for NAS deployments, perhaps a Storwize V5000 Unified or Storwize V3700 Unified?
Consider the IBM N3000 series.
Other storage vendors indicate that RAID-5 and RAID-6 are running out of steam, are no longer practical to protect ever growing capacities of disk. What is IBM planning in this area?
IBM XIV Storage System was one of the first to offer a distributed RAID that addresses many of the RAID-5/RAID-6 drive rebuild concerns. IBM DCS3700 and DCS3860 also have Dynamic Disk Pooling to reduce drive rebuild impact. Lastly, IBM GPFS now offers Native RAID support, used in the IBM GPFS Storage Server.
Is it true that GPFS is NFS only?
Do not confuse GPFS the file system with the various storage offerings that are based on GPFS. IBM SONAS and Storwize V7000 Unified, both based on GPFS, support CIFS, NFS, HTTPS, SCP and FTP. IBM GPFS Storage Server can be configured to access GPFS natively, or you can run NFS v3/v4 server to make those protocols available. With Microsoft [Windows Storage Server], you can provide CIFS access to any GPFS-based storage solution.
LTFS-EE sounds like an exciting alternative to IBM Tivoli Storage Manager HSM space management for moving data from disk to tape. Do you agree?
Yes, we agree. However, TSM HSM space management supports a broader set of file systems. LTFS-EE only provides disk-to-tape movement for IBM GPFS.
Why does the DS8000 implementation of Easy Tier sub-LUN automated tiering support three tiers, but SVC/Storwize only support two tiers?
The same software engineering team works on both, but develop new features for the DS8000 first, get it working, then port it over to the Storwize family. At times, there might be gaps between what is supported on the latest DS8000 version and what is available on Storwize family products.
In an SVC Stretched Cluster, I would like to have the third quorum disk connected over the IP network, rather than FCP.
Personally, I enjoy these interchanges. They are sometimes called "Birds-of-a-Feather" or BOF at some conferences, "Free-for-All" at others. At IBM conferences, they are often titled "Meet the Experts". Whatever you call it, the questions and feedback on what clients are thinking are quite useful for product planning and prioritization of future planned features.
Want to hear the latest technical information about IBM Storage, but not willing to wait until the big [IBM Edge Conference] this September?
I just completed two "IBM Tech University Comes to You" events. Last week in Atlanta, and this week in Dubai, UAE. In May and June, I will be speaking at the following events:
San Francisco, CA -- May 10-12
Chicago, IL -- May 18-20
Boston, MA -- June 7-9
Standard tuition rate for these 3-day events is $1,495. However, for my blog readers, I have negotiated two special discounts:
Individual: Promo Code TUST8R
The promotion code TUST8R for a $1,250 rate must be entered at enrollment to apply. This promotion code is only valid for the IBM Technical University (IBMTechU) Comes to You events in the United States found at [ibm.com/training/events].
Groups: Three or More
If THREE(3) co-workers attend the same event, each pays only $1,100 on tuition! This offer is only valid for the IBM Technical University (IBMTechU) Comes to You events in the United States found at [ibm.com/training/events]. The three-or-more attend for $1,100 promotion will be applied once validation is completed.
(The fine print: IBMTechU Comes to You events promotions (including currency OR pricing references which exclude applicable taxes) are current as of the initial date of publication of this blog and may be changed by IBM at any time. Discounts cannot be combined with any other programs or discounts, including IBM Business Partner discounts. Attendees will be charged the conference fees less any applicable discount. Any discount will be applied when the credit card is billed. All registrations require that credit card information is entered regardless of the payment type.)
Continuing coverage of the [Systems Technical University 2014] conference, we had an early morning awards ceremony to celebrate top sellers that led big wins in Europe for FlashSystems, XIV, Power Systems, and PureSystems.
Afterwards, there were several breakout sessions on day 2.
Storage Technology Futures -- fresh from IBM research labs, tomorrow in your datacenter
Axel Koester presented several projects from IBM Research labs that have contributed to actual products, including the incredible scalability of [PERCS] that was incorporated into IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS).
Cloud Storage and Active Cloud Engine
My presentation started off explaining the taxonomy of cloud storage. There are basically four kinds of cloud storage: persistent storage, ephemeral storage, hosted storage, and reference storage. Each of these has unique access patterns and service level requirements.
IBM has three distinct cloud storage offerings, so I covered IBM XIV Storage Systems, SONAS and Storwize V7000 Unified with Active Cloud Engine, and Linear Tape File System (LTFS) Enterprise Edition (LTFS-EE).
FlashSystem competitive overview
Henrik Wilken provided an excellent presentation comparing IBM FlashSystems to the dozen or more competitors that offer all-flash or hybrid flash-and-disk combinations.
IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center
From 2001 to 2003, I was the chief architect for what is now called Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. It continues to be the top most requested topic for briefings at the IBM Tucson Executive Briefing Center.
I presented an overview of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, with a brief update on what's new in TPC 5.2.1 and the SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center v5.2.1 releases.
IBM Archive Storage Solutions - Data Retention for Government Compliance and Industry Regulations
I can't believe it has been nine years since I was on the Product Development Team for the IBM DR550 Data Retention storage solution!
In this session, I explained the lessons we learned from the DR550, its successor the Information Archive, and how we now position System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM) software as their replacement. SSAM was recently certified by KPMG to meet a variety of US, European and International laws.
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 3.
Troubleshooting SAN Performance Issues
Jim Blue (IBM SAN Central) did a great job presenting best practices for resolving performance issues in your Storage Area Network (SAN). This was an advanced technical session intended for SAN administrators, with more level of detail than I am used to.
IBM's Cloud Storage Options
What do all IBM Storage products have in common? They can all be used in Cloud deployments. All of them. Really! No exceptions. I did a short 20-minute version of this in Las Vegas last February for InterConnect conference. Here in Atlanta, I expanded this to a full hour version.
(Whenever IBM Storage is sold into a Cloud deployment, IBM counts this as "IBM Cloud revenue" instead of "IBM Systems Storage revenue". Total IBM Cloud revenues (public,private and hybrid) for the first quarter of 2016 increased 34 percent--up 36 percent adjusting for currency--thanks to this clever way of counting money. See the [IBM 1Q 2016 Results] for more details.)
When I was first asked to cover "Cloud Storage", I asked "What do YOU mean by Cloud Storage?" as different people have different notions of what that is. Their response "You tell US what Cloud Storage is!" So, I came up with a four category taxonomy, and for each category, I explain which protocols of block, file or object provide the best fit, and which IBM Storage products we lead with in each area.
Optimizing Performance with IBM Spectrum Virtualize
IBM Spectrum Virtualize is the software that runs on IBM SAN Volume Controllers, Storwize, FlashSystem V9000, and all of these can be part of a VersaStack solution from IBM and Cisco. John Wilkinson from the IBM Hursley Lab that develops the IBM Spectrum Virtualize software gave a great presentation on how to optimize performance with these offerings.
A good part of his session was discussing the new "Distributed RAID" feature. Rather than having a dedicated SPARE drive that becomes a bottleneck during a RAID rebuild, the spare drive space is interspersed and rotated among all the drives, so that rebuilds can occur in parallel, much like the distributed RAID-10 in the IBM XIV storage system.
Using IBM Spectrum Control to manage IBM Spectrum Scale
Brian Sherman presented the latest synergy between Spectrum Control and Spectrum Scale, two products in our IBM Spectrum Storage family. In past releases, Spectrum Control was focused almost exclusively on SAN-based storage, with some support for IBM N series and NetApp filers. Now, IBM Spectrum Control provides a range of features to help manage IBM Spectrum Scale deployments, both at the file and object level.
At the end of the last day of this conference, people left early. Atlanta traffic is worse than Los Angeles or Boston. Rather than fly back home to Tucson, only to fly out again to Dubai, I stayed in Atlanta to fly directly to Dubai for my next speaking gig.
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!
Well it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM announcements!
(For those wondering where I went in July, then perhaps the better question should be "where didn't I go?". I started in Boston, MA, then Iceland, England, Hungary, Romania, Qatar, Kenya, Dubai UAE, and finally Seattle, WA. Whew! This week, I am visiting clients in Tennessee.)
Today, IBM launches a whole set of updated offerings based on the IBM Spectrum Virtualize software code base.
IBM Spectrum Virtualize v7.7.1 software-only offering
Like the rest of the IBM Spectrum Storage family of products, IBM Spectrum Virtualize can now be purchased as software only, allowing you to install it on your own x86 servers, rather than purchasing pre-built systems from IBM.
The software license comes in two flavors. The traditional "perpetual license" allows you to move the software from one x86 server to another. Say after 4 years, you have depreciated the server, or the hardware components fail, and you want to get a newer server. This is the same perpetual license that clients with IBM SAN Volume Controller and Storwize family have enjoyed since 2003.
The other is a "monthly license", which allows you to stand up your own "SVC" using your own x86 servers, for a period of months needed for a development/test project, disaster recovery, or some other purpose. After the project is over, you can discontinue the license, and re-purpose the x86 servers for something else. This is especially handy for Managed Service Providers (MSP) and Cloud Service Providers (CSP), but certainly can prove useful in traditional datacenters as well. The "monthly licensing" option is also available for IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) as well.
The software license is based on Tebibyte [TiB]. For those not familiar with international standards, here is a comparison table:
The v7.7.1 also provides new features for existing SVC, Storwize and FlashSystem V9000 products. Here are a few:
Manageability with CLI support for host groups
Scalability with support for up to 10,000 virtual disks, depending on the model; and up to 20 Expansion Enclosures on SVC 2145-DH8, Storwize 5639-SV1, FlashSystem V9000 models
RAS and performance enhancements for distributed RAID (DRAID)
Flexibility with iSCSI virtualization support for XIV® Gen 3, Spectrum Accelerate, FlashSystem A9000 and FlashSystem A9000R arrays.
The IBM SAN Volume Controller now offers "Enterprise Class Support" as an option. In the past, the SVC was a "customer setup" box, similar to midrange and entry-level products. Now, you can upgrade your support to match that of IBM DS8000 and XIV enterprise class offerings. This means that IBM experts will maintain your microcode levels for you.
The new 624 model is based on the 10-core [Intel Broadwell] processor, which IBM has clocked at up to 45 percent performance improvement. It also offers up to 128GB of cache memory per system, 64GB per node, double what came standard on the 524 model!
Why "Gen2+"? Moving from an 8-core Haswell to a 10-core Broadwell CPU, and doubling the cache memory didn't seem to be enough "architectural change" to justify calling in a "Gen3", so marketing decided on Gen2+ instead.
I refer to the IBM FlashSystem V9000 as my "Superman" product. When Superman dons on his glasses he becomes "Clark Kent", mild-mannered newspaper reporter. But behind the glasses, he is always Superman! Likewise, the FlashSystem V9000 is an all-flash array with an impressive set of features, but take off the fancy bezel, and you find that it is a pair of fully-loaded SAN Volume Controllers (which we call "Control Enclosures AC3") and a FlashSystem 900 drawer of the world's fastest flash storage.
The FlashSystem V9000 can attach up to 20 expansion enclosures over 12Gb SAS connections. Each expansion enclosure can hold either 24 of the smaller 2.5-inch drives, or 12 of the larger 3.5-inch drives. Of course, the FlashSystem V9000 can also virtualize any of almost 400 other storage arrays, similar to SAN Volume Controller. This provides tiering options that match well with the FlashSystem 900 inside using IBM's Easy Tier auto-tiering capability.
IBM Storwize V7000F and V5030F all-flash array models
The FlashSystem V9000 was originally going to be called the Storwize V9000, but the FlashSystem folks wanted to keep all of the "FlashCore" technology under one name. In perhaps a bit retaliation, or maybe sibling rivalry, the Storwize team added the letter "F" to refer to the All-flash models of the Storwize V7000F and V5030F.
The "flash" in the V7000F and V5030F are just Solid-state drives, not nearly as fast as the cards in the FlashSystem models. The drives come in 1.92TB and 3.84TB capacities. You might see these rounded up to 2TB and 4TB on some presentations, but IBM officially never likes to exaggerate.
This week, I presented at the "IBM TechU Comes to You" event in the beautiful [Kempinski hotel], part of the [Mall of the Emirates] on the famous Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 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 150 attendees. Louise Hemond-Wilson (IBM Distinguished Engineer) and Glenn Anderson (IBM Systems Lab services) presented similar to last week in Atlanta. See my blog post [Atlanta Day 1 Recap] for an overview.
Software Defined Storage - What is it, How can it help?
Mike Griese (IBM WW Spectrum Storage Software Evangelist) presented his viewpoint on Software Defined Storage. His focus was on what we call "software-based" or "software-deployed" storage solutions. These are solutions that are basically software deployed on industry-standard servers, such as x86 or OpenPower, that provide a choice of server vendor.
(In Atlanta, Clod Barrera, Jeff Barnett, and I presented back-to-back sessions on Software Defined Storage (SDS). See my blog post [Atlanta Day 1 Recap] for an overview of those three sessions.)
The key difference between "Software-Deployed" storage and "Software-Controlled" storage is that the former is ideal to reduce costs by using commodity, off-the-shelf servers, but may not have all of the OpenStack, VMware or Microsoft APIs needed to effectively manage the solution as part of a large data center or Cloud facility.
If, however, you are deploying Software-deployed storage in Remote Office/Branch Office locations, Test/Dev departments, or similar small deployments, that may not be an issue.
All Flash is not Equal -- Contrasting difference between IBM FlashSystem and SSD
This was a special request by the local UAE team, because many FlashSystem presentations focus on the product, but don't explain the underlying technology, specifically what differentiates IBM FlashSystem from substantially slower competitive alternatives like EMC XtremIO and PureStorage that are based instead on fallible commodity Solid State Drives (SSD).
By working closely with our chip vendor, Micron, IBM was able to improve the write endurance of these Multi-level cell (MLC) chips by 9.4x, and reduce write amplification by 45 percent.
I explained IBM's clever asymmetrical wear-level balancing, heat segregation, read disturb mitigation, voltage level shifting, and health binning, all of which contribute to the performance and reliability of this solution. IBM's innovative Error Correcting Code provides LDPC-like correction strength but at much faster BCH-like latency speed.
This was such a popular session that I have been asked to present again at the upcoming IBM TechU events in San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.
How to combine advantage of storage virtualization & Flash performance (Turbocompression effect)
Dominique Salomon (IBM Certified IT Specialist Storage from Montpelier, France) presented Turbocompression, the benefits of combining IBM Real-time Compression (RtC) with Easy Tier sub-volume automated tiering.
Sometimes two things just go well together. Chocolate and Peanut Butter, Bacon and Maple Syrup, Peaches and Cream, are just a few pairings that come to mind.
Initially, when IBM introduced RtC, it did not allow Easy Tier on the same compressed volumes, in an effort to avoid conflicts. Then in a later release, IBM lifted the restriction, allowing them to apply to the same volumes. The results were surprising, both benefit each other. IBM has taken this further, using Easy Tier information to enhance compression algorithms on an extent by extent basis.
The combination improves performance while reducing total cost of ownership, and is available on all of the latest Spectrum Virtualize products: SAN Volume Controller, Storwize V7000, Storwize V7000 Unified, Storwize V5000, FlashSystem V9000, as well as any of these in the VersaStack converged system from IBM and Cisco.
DS8880 IBM Newest Disk Storage System
Maurice "Mo" McCullough (IBM Lab Services and Training) presented the latest DS8000 models, the DS8884 and DS8886. IBM is number #1 in storage attached to the mainframe, with 42 percent marketshare, and this is because IBM's investment in this platform, beating out HDS, EMC and HPE.
Each country and culture is different, but in many of the Islamic countries, it is considered inappropriate to serve alcoholic drinks at the after-hours reception. Instead, we had our sponsors serve juice and coffee. IBM does business in over 170 countries, and I have been to nearly half of them, so we know how to adjust and adapt to each and every unique situation.
Was Dubai too far away for you to attend? 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 upcoming events in the United States for those who read this blog!
Step Right Up! Take your presentation skills to the next level
Glenn Anderson presented this session under the guise of "Professional Development". Whether you are new to public speaking and looking for some guidance, or are an experienced A-list celebrity looking to gain a few pointers, this session covered it all.
Some of my favorites:
Presentations are not Documentation! If a presentation had all the information to stand on its own, nobody would even bother to listen to the speaker. Many new presenters have 3-4 lines for titles, and too many words in small font to ensure they cover all the details to speak on. Don't do it. My rule of thumb is that 50 percent of the information is conveyed verbally, and the other 50 percent visually from the presentation.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. I couldn't agree more. I try to focus on my core message in my presetations. I am a big fan of the [KISS principle] which stands for "Keep it simple, stupid!"
VOICE - Victory over inconsistent conscious energy! There is nothing more painful than hearing a public speaker who talks to softly, too loudly, or in a monotone manner. Mix it up! If you want to capture someone's attention, whisper! Vary your volume for effect.
Presenting is like Pouring Wine. At cocktail parties, the hosts will walk around with the bottle, and refill the glasses of those who are actively drinking the wine, but leave alone those who haven't sipped a drop. Public speakers need to focus on the needs of those in the audience paying close attention, and ignore people who are asleep, paying attention to their laptops and smartphones, or otherwise distracted.
Don't memorize - Extemporize. Too often, new speakers try to memorize their entire presentation. This doesn't go well, and can end up looking like an actor on live stage forgetting his next line. Instead, focus on getting the general idea across in a more natural conversational tone.
Building Open Clouds on POWER Systems
Mandie Quartly presented the excitement of building a cloud using IBM's new Linux-only line of PowerLinux™ servers, KVM, virsh, virtio and OpenStack interfaces. Jeff Scheel was on hand to interject bits of wisdom throughout her session.
IBM is investing heavily into the Linux side of all of its servers, and the latest investments have been focused on the POWER systems.
Storage Clouds in the Big Blue Sky
Dick Vogelsang presented this session focused mostly on the "Self-service" aspect of Cloud Storage. While this sounded like it would be similar to my session from yesterday, it was actually quite different.
Vogelsang explained SmartCloud Storage Access, and compared this to how competitors are providing (or not providing) self-service provisioning of file spaces and LUNs. He gave examples based on VMware, Hyper-V, and OpenStack Foundation.
It is interesting the angle or spin that each speaker gave to each topic!
Next week, thousands will convene in Las Vegas for [IBM Pulse 2014], an IBM conference that will focus on Cloud, Service and Storage Management.
To lead up to this event, my colleague Steve Wojtowecz, or 'Woj' as we like to call him, IBM VP of Storage and Network Management Software Development, has a five part series that is worth a read. Here are some excerpts:
"Storage-as-a-utility will pick up momentum. Call it [storage-as-a-service], or a storage / back-up cloud, or whatever name you prefer, deployments of this capability will ramp up dramatically."
"Making something simple look complex is easy, making something complex look simple is hard. Like it or not, we all like things simple and easy to grasp."
"Any data that a company is willing to store should be important enough to (1) be protected and backed up as part of a disaster recovery (DR) plan and (2) used for analytics for new business opportunities."
"Hybrid (specifically hybrid storage and data protection clouds) is no longer hype. Nearly every IT shop speculated that hybrid cloud storage was the future of enterprise storage and in 2014 the future is here."
"... the industry will see accelerated adoption in enterprises (private cloud), as an off-premise managed service (public cloud), and across both (hybrid cloud) based on cost, compliance, security and criticality of data to the enterprise."
"IT teams used to thinking of enterprise data as “their baby” are going to have to get comfortable with the idea that the baby is now living somewhere else."
"Line of business organizations have been using analytics to uncover new revenue streams and business opportunities for years. Now, this technology is being turned inward and applied to the data center itself to drive operational efficiency."
"This level of insight and predictability starts to dabble into the notion of cognitive computing as applied to storage and the data it holds."
"Operational analytics will also be applied for productivity / performance gains for the infrastructure itself, like auto-tiering data for priority applications across heterogeneous hardware platforms."
For more insights into these predictions, attend [IBM Pulse 2014] in Las Vegas, next week, February 23-26.
Sadly, I won't be there in person. Although I helped launch the original IBM Pulse back in 2008, I have only been invited once to come back, and that was as a last minute replacement for another speaker in 2012. Unfortunately, I could not accept because of my [near-death experience].
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! There were lots of announcements today, so I have split this up into two posts. One for the Tape and Cloud announcements, and the other for the Spectrum Storage family.
IBM TS7700 Virtual Tape System
IBM TS7700 release 4.1.1 now supports seven- and eight-way grids with approved RPQs. Before this, grids could only have up to six TS7700 systems connected together.
IBM also plans to extend the capacity of the TS7760 base frame to over 600 TB, and to extend the capacity of a fully configured TS7760 system to over 2.45 PB, before compression, by supporting 8 TB disk drives. This is a huge increase over the 4TB and 6TB drives used today.
IBM offers the IBM Cloud Object Storage System in three ways: as software, as pre-built systems, and as a cloud server on IBM Bluemix (formerly known as SoftLayer).
For those not familiar with IBM Cloud Object Storage (IBM COS), consider it "Valet Parking" for your storage. In a valet parking environment, you have valet parking attendants that drive the cars, parking garages that hold the cars, and a manager that oversees the operation. With IBM COS, you have Accesser® nodes that receive and retrieve your data like valet parking attendants, you have Slicestor® nodes that store your objects like cars in a parking garage, and you have IBM COS Manager to oversee the operation.
Today, IBM announced new HDD options for their S01, S03 and S03 models of Slicestor nodes. These are all 7200 rpm, 3.5-inch Nearline drives, at capacities of 4 TB, 6 TB, 8 TB and 10 TB.
In addition, a short-range 40 GbE SFP+ transceiver is available for ordering on IBM Cloud Object Storage Accesser models A00, A01, and A02, and IBM Cloud Object Storage Slicestor models S01 and S02. This improves the performance of data transfer between the Accesser nodes and the Slicestor nodes. Think of it like shortening the distance valet parking attendants have to drive your car to the garage and run back.
I have been presenting Cloud Storage for nearly 10 years now. People are often shocked to learn that most of the major cloud providers -- including Amazon, Google, Microsoft -- do not offer "Data at Rest" encryption on their storage offerings.
Why not? Because it would mean investing in Self-Encrypting Drives, Key management software, and other related technology to make it happen. Instead, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) expect you to encrypt the data in software. Most users encrypt data before it lands on the cloud, but what if you create the data in the cloud?
IBM solved this by offering IBM Cloud Object Storage in its IBM Cloud (formerly known as SoftLayer). It has integrated encryption software that takes care of this for you.
This new product, IBM Multi-Cloud Data Encryption V1.0, enables you to encrypt files, folders, and volumes in any cloud while maintaining local control of encryption keys. It integrates with IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager (SKLM). This is designed to allow you to move cipher data between clouds that are running Multi-Cloud Data Encryption without decrypting and re-encrypting the data.
For example, you can use IBM Multi-Cloud Data Encryption to protect your data on Amazon, Google or Microsoft, then later realize that you can save a ton of money moving to IBM Cloud instead, and you are now able to move the data over seamlessly!
IBM Spectrum Scale was formerly called GPFS and has been around since 1998. I am glad it was renamed, as GPFS suffered from "guilt by association" with other file systems, AFS, DFS, XFS, ZFS, and so on.
Spectrum Scale does so much more, supports volume, file and object level access, supports POSIX standards for Windows, AIX and Linux, support Hadoop and Spark with 100 percent compatible HDFS Transparency Connector, support NFS, SMB and iSCSI protocols, as well as OpenStack Swift and Amazon S3 object based access.
Initially designed for video streaming and High Performance Computing (HPC), IBM has extended its reach to work in a variety of workloads across different industries. More than 5,000 production systems are running at client locations.
IBM Spectrum Protect solution design: Server, Deduplication and Disaster Recovery decisions
Dan Thompson, IBM Storage Software Technical Sales Specialist, presented this session.
To make it easier to deploy, IBM Spectrum Protect now has a set of tested "blueprints" that are organized into small, medium and large. Find the one that fits your needs, and it will tell you exactly how the server should be configured. Dan recommends having a "test system" to try out new releases of IBM Spectrum Protect.
For multiple server configurations, Dan recommends adopting a standard naming convention, and to make use of Enterprise Configuration and server-side Client Option Sets. You may want to consider discrete instances for special non-backup functions, like library manager or Operations Center hub server, which allows you to upgrade more aggressively without affecting your backup clients.
If you plan to run multiple Spectrum Protect instances on the same VMware host, set the DBmemPercent to avoid having DB2 consume all of the memory, which will interfere with out Spectrum Protect instances.
For clustered servers, IBM supports Active/Passive, Active/Active, Many/One, and Many/Few configurations. You can mix and match these as needed.
For data spill remediation, consider NIST 800-88 data shredding. This depends on the type of storage media used.
IBM Spectrum Protect for Data Retention, formerly called System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM), offers For Non-erasable, Non-Rewriteable (NENR) enforced Immutability protection. (This used to be called Write-Once-Read-Many or WORM for short, but since WORM applies only to tape and optical media, and IBM Spectrum Protect now supports Flash, Disk, Object Storage and Cloud repositories, IBM has adopted the term NENR instead). Third party KPMG has certified IBM Spectrum Protect for Data Retention meets to their satisfaction the requirements for SEC 17a-4 regulations.
When sizing your server, Dan recommends that you always "over-size" it and grow into it. Use the published "Performance Optimization Guide" to help. Monitor the server and storage using OS and device specific monitoring, in combination with IBM Spectrum Protect reports.
If you are still on BC Tiers 1 or 2, transmitting tapes to a remote vaulting facility or secondary data center, consider upgrading to BC Tier 3 at least. This can be done via electronic vaulting to an Automated Tape Library (ATL), Virtual Tape Library (VTL) or IBM Cloud Object Storage, or a Cloud service provider such as IBM Bluemix or Amazon Web Services. This can be supplemented using DB2 HADR for the IBM Spectrum Protect database.
While Spectrum Protect server can run bare-metal or as a VM, the VM instance will not have support for FCP-based tape or Virtual Tape Library. Many people are moving off tape, especially VTL, and using native Disk, Directory or Cloud container pools instead.
Lastly, take advantage that Operations Center can view all Spectrum Protect servers across all locations. This can be helpful.
Enabling Mission Critical NoSQL workloads using IBM trillions of operations technology
TJ Harris, from the IBM Storage CTO office, and Scott Brewer, FlashSystem Team Lead, co-presented this session.
They gave a background on NoSQL, the most popular being MongoDB. The IT industry estimates that NoSQL will grow 38 percent CAGR from 2015-2020.
The problem occurs when NoSQL applications go through a full file system stack to work with low-latency devices like Flash, especially when the writes are small, often just a few dozen bytes to 100 KB. Fortunately, IBM Research has created the "Trillions of Operations" project to explore ways to take reduce the software stack, and make use of NVMe protocol.
The top three challenges for NoSQL deployments are: (a) Cost, (b) Data management and retention, and (c) Data relevancy.
To enable innovation, MongoDB offers a "Storage Engine API" that allows others to compete at this space. Currently MMAP v1 and WiredTiger are supported. IBM Research implemented its "Trillion Operations" project as a plug-in to this API, optimized for high rates of ingest for data. Compared to Facebook's RocksDB, IBM was 14x faster write, and 2.1x faster read.
Another challenge is coordinate backups and disaster recovery when applications mix traditional RDBMS with these new NoSQL databases.
The week is nearly over, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone had a great time last night's event at the Universal City Walk and Blue Man Group.
Two years ago, the folks at University of Toronto asked me to help their graduate students build a "Watson" running entirely on IBM SoftLayer to see if this would be a worthwhile class project. Needless to say, it was more difficult than they expected, but we managed to pull it off during that summer, able to answer a handful of simple questions from a single page corpus.
Last month, [Industry Leaders Establish Partnership on AI], combining the talents from Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft, to form a non-profit to explore best practices and ethical questions related to Watson and other Artificial Intelligence applications.
Since data is at the core of any Artificial Intelligence, IBM is pleased to announce today that IBM Cloud Object Storage System is now available on IBM SoftLayer. This is based on the Cleversafe technology IBM acquired last year.
While other cloud service providers have offered data storage in the cloud, this new offering also allows hybrid configurations with geographically dispersed erasure coding. Unlike RAID which protects against the loss of one or two drives, erasure coding can protect against a larger number of concurrent failures. For example, using an Information Dispersal Algorithm of "7+5", where seven pieces of data are encoded on twelve independent disks, the system can lose up to five disk drives without losing any data.
Click graphic to view larger
Combining this with Geographically Dispersed Configuration across three or more sites means that you can lose an entire data center, four of the twelve disks, and still have instant full access to all of your data from eight drives at the other locations. In the graphic, you see two on-premise data centers combined with a third location in IBM SoftLayer.
This week, I was part of an all-day event called "Healthcare and Research Trends & Directions in a Cognitive World" at the IBM Executive Briefing Center (EBC) in Rochester, MN. I was one of many presenters covering Information Technology to improve healthcare outcomes. Todd Stacy, IBM Director Server Sales for US Public Market, served as our emcee.
This was a great day. Special thanks to Kathy Lehr, Trish Froeschle, and Scott Gass for organizing this event! We had clients from a variety of Health Care and Life Science industry backgrounds. I certainly learned a few things myself.
Dr. Michael Weiner, IBM Chief Medical Information Officer, Watson Health, covered some of the real challenges not just facing the United States, but also other countries. On average, healthcare in USA [costs over $10,000 USD per American citizen]! Compare that to only $3,700 USD for the folks in the United Kingdom! In fact, nearly all industrial nations spend between $2,000 and $5,000 per person. Where does all the U.S. money go?
A big challenge is our ever-aging population. Every day, there are 10,000 [Baby Boomers] reaching their 65th birthday, with fewer people in the 25-44 age group to work as nurses to take care of them. About 15 percent of the US population are elderly (over age 65) and this is expected to grow to 20 percent in year 2040. The situation is even worse in Japan, where 25 percent of the population today is elderly, and this is expected to be 40 percent by year 2060.
New Care Models
In some countries, like Australia and Japan, post office workers who spent their time delivering mail, now can stop in to check in on elderly people. As people ship less mail, using social media or email instead, this keeps the postal workers employed, in a manner that provides society value.
The USA enjoys one of the lowest costs for food, but then suffers from an epidemic of obesity, with over 34 percent of Americans are obese. When New York City eliminated Trans Fats, heart attacks dropped considerably.
In 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health [HITECH] Act required the digitization of medical information, known as "Meaningful Use", which has greatly influenced healthcare facilities. This was implemented by a combination of incentives and penalties. Now, more than than 92 percent of hospitals in the USA have digitized medical information! The rest are still using paper and Xray film images. Some places were initially exempted, such as Assisted Living Homes for example, so there is still more work to be done.
An advantage of using computer-based solutions like Artificial Intelligence is that it eliminates bias. When a woman walks into an Emergency Room complaining about chest pains, few health staff would consider this a sign of heart attack. When a man does same, health staff considers heart attack as the first diagnosis, at the risk of missing out on other possibilities.
Every year, over a million articles related to healthcare research are published. Who can read all this in a timely manner? IBM Watson! After [winning in Jeopardy], IBM Watson was "sent to medical school" to learn how to assist doctors in diagnosing patients.
Transforming Health Care Data Management with IBM Spectrum Storage
Greg Tevis, IBM Software Defined Storage Architect, and Raj Tandon, IBM Senior Strategist, co-presented this introduction to IBM Spectrum Storage family of products. They covered examples with IBM Spectrum Virtualize, IBM Spectrum Control, IBM Spectrum Protect, IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Cloud Object Storage, and IBM Copy Data Management. The latter having support directly for EPIC and Cache databases.
Cognitive Imaging Solutions for Healthcare Providers
Jason Crites, IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences Data Solutions Leader, and Wayland Vacek, Enterprise Sales Manager for Merge, presented IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review, from IBM's acquisition of the Merge company. The solution is based on IBM Spectrum Scale as the back-end storage repository.
Merge has been around for more than 20 years, with clinical workflow offerings in Cardiology, Radiology, Orthopedics and Eye care. Often, IBM Watson is able to identify things in medical images that escape the review or radiologists or other medical specialists.
At HIMSS conference earlier this year, The human radiologists were shown a collection of images used to train IBM Watson. The human radiologists only identified 20 percent of the images correctly, while IBM Watson got all of them, every time. In many cases, human radiologists have only a few seconds to look at an Xray image. Computers like IBM Watson are now fast enough to compete directly with human radiologists in the same number of seconds.
Building a Foundation for the Cognitive Era in Healthcare and Life Sciences
Dr. Jane Yu, IBM Systems Architect, Healthcare & Life Sciences, and Dr. Frank Lee, IBM Global Sales Leader, IBM Software Defined Infrastructure & Life Sciences, co-presented this topic. They present five challenges:
Growing data volumes are making it more difficult to manage, process and store this data.
Scientists find themselves spending more than 80 percent of their time manually integrating data from silos, and less than 20 percent of their time doing actual research and deriving insights from their analyses.
Compute- and data-intensive workflows may take days to complete on existing server and storage systems.
IT organizations must keep up with rapidly evolving applications, development frameworks, and databases for preferred. Health care Life Science (HCLS) applications. This includes SAS, Matlab, Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL databases, as well as Deep Learning and Machine Learning workloads.
Scientific integrity and government mandates increasingly require collaboration across organizational boundaries.
In one example, Sidra Medical and Research Center plans to map the genomes of all 250,000 citizens in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar. Imagine that processing each Qatari citizen will generate 200 GB of data for this project, resulting in 50 Petabytes (PB) of data!
Combining IBM Spectrum Compute products with IBM Spectrum Scale storage, can help address these challenges.
Modernize & Transform Helathcare with IBM Storage Solutions
Finally, I presented a 90-minute breakout session that covered three solution areas:
Flash storage to speed up medical records and research. Those who have already implemented Electronic Health Records (EHR) for "Meaningful Use" compliance recognize the value this provides to improving healthcare. Adding All-Flash Arrays such as IBM FlashSystem, Storwize V7000F or DS8000F can drastically improve application performance.
Spectrum Scale and IBM Cloud Object Storage for Vendor Neutral Archive. It seems silly that each PACS vendor has its own little island of storage. A better approach is to send all PACS data from various vendors into a "Vendor-Neutral" storage repository. Both IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM Cloud Object Storage System, either linked together or used separately, can be part of a VNA solution.
VersaStack to simplify deployments. VersaStack is a Converged System that combines best-of-breed Cisco servers and switches with best-of-breed IBM storage, pre-cabled, pre-configured, and pre-loaded with all the necessary software to manage the environment as a single entity. This can reduce the time it takes to deploy new medical applications from weeks to just hours.
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. Here is my recap of Day 2.
The Truth Behind Converged/Hyperconverged Solutions
Abilio De Oliveira, IBM Client Technical Specialist, presented his thoughts on Converged and Hyperconverged solutions.
I went to hear what Abilio had to say, as I was presenting a similar session later the same day. There is a lot of hype surrounding both Converged and Hyperconverged systems, and Abilio was not buying it. He cautioned that there were over 25 vendors in this space, and often what they claim does not match reality.
He ended with a hilarious comparison, using the Television shows "Finding Bigfoot" and "Monster Hunters" as analogies.
Cloud storage comes in four flavors: persistent, ephemeral, hosted, and reference. The first two I refer to as "Storage for the Computer Cloud" and the latter two I refer to as "Storage as the Storage Cloud".
I also explained the differences between block, file and object access, and why different Cloud storage types use different access methods.
Finally, I covered some of our new public cloud storage offerings, using OpenStack Swift and Amazon S3 protocols to access objects off premises, including the new Cold Vault and Flex pricing on IBM Cloud Object Storage System in IBM Bluemix Cloud.
A guide to assist you to build a business continuity solution
Alexis Giral, IBM Executive Storage Architect, presented business continuity and the various technologies IBM has to offer for disaster recovery.
I went to hear what Alexis had to say, as I was presenting a similar session later the same day. The first part of his presentation was nearly identical overview of basic concepts, such as recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO), but the rest of his talk focused on the technologies in the storage products to use for each Business Continuity tier.
Pendulum Swings Back -- Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
For Converged Infrastructure, IBM and Cisco have greatly expanded the offerings in VersaStack. IBM supports SVC, Storwize V7000, Storwize V5000, FlashSystem 900, FlashSystem V9000 and FlashSystem A9000. The Cisco UCS x86 servers can be configured for IBM Cloud Object Storage System. VersaStack also supports Cisco CloudCenter to provide Hybrid solution taking advantage of IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management.
For Hyperconverged Infrastructure, IBM offers both Spectrum Accelerate and Spectrum Scale software. Recently, IBM has partnered with Nutanix to provide pre-installed POWER8 servers that run a customized version of their Acropolis Hypervisor. This supports Little-Endian Linux distributions from Centos and Ubuntu to run as Virtual Machines.
Business Continuity - The seven tiers of Disaster Recovery
Back in 1983, a task force of IBM clients at a GUIDE conference developed "Seven Business Continuity Tiers for Disaster Recovery", which I refer to as "BC Tiers". I divided the presentation into three sections:
Backup and Restore: BC tiers 1 through 3 are based on backup and restore methodologies. I explained how to backup Hadoop analytics data, all of the various options for IBM Spectrum Protect software, and how to encrypt the tape data that gets sent off premises.
Rapid Data Recovery: BC tiers 4 and 5 reduce the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) with snapshots, database journal shadowing, and IBM Cloud Object Storage.
Continuous Operations BC tiers 6 and 7 provide data replication mirroring across locations. I covered 2-site, 3-site and 4-site configurations. I added details on IBM GDR for Power Systems which supports AIX, IBM i and Linux on POWER disaster recovery with DS8000 and Spectrum Virtualize storage.
While I was working, Mo took a city tour. Here she is taking a picture on the river walk along Melbourne's Yarra River.
Melbourne is a very clean city, people are friendly, and the architecture of the various buildings in the "Central Business District", or CBD as the locals call it, is stunning. Every building is unique!
Tonight we have a special "poster session" on the top floor of Melbourne's tallest building that is said to have excellent views of the city.
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!