This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to IBM Systems, storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.
(Short URL for this blog: ibm.co/Pearson )
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!
Safe Harbor Statement: The information on IBM products is intended to outline IBM's general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information on the new products is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract. The information on IBM products is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for IBM products remains at IBM's sole discretion.
Tony Pearson is a an active participant in local, regional, and industry-specific interests, and does not receive any special payments to mention them on this blog.
Tony Pearson receives part of the revenue proceeds from sales of books he has authored listed in the side panel.
Tony Pearson is not a medical doctor, and this blog does not reference any IBM product or service that is intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, prevention or monitoring of a disease or medical condition, unless otherwise specified on individual posts.
The developerWorks Connections Platform is now in read-only mode and content is only available for viewing. No new wiki pages, posts, or messages may be added. Please see our FAQ for more information. The developerWorks Connections platform will officially shut down on March 31, 2020 and content will no longer be available. More details available on our FAQ. (Read in Japanese.)
Now the Thanksgiving Holidays are over, its time to catch up on some Storage Announcements! These actually came out November 20, but many readers were busy with Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Give Back Tuesday, they might have been missed.
IBM DS8880/F Storage Systems
There were three items this time for the DS8880 family, for both Generation 1 and Generation 2 models.
The first is the expansion on the type of high capacity flash drives available for the system. With this announcement, IBM has added the high-capacity 15.3 TB flash drive set as an available option. With this, the maximum flash storage capacity supported per high performance flash enclosure (HPFE) pair is now 737 TB raw.
The second is the addition of write operations for zHyperLink. zHyperLink is a short distance, mainframe attach link that is intended to accelerate Db2 v12 for z/OS. Low I/O latencies deliver value through improved workload elapsed times and faster transactional response times, and contribute to lower scaling costs.
The third is the ability to leverage IBM Storage Insights cloud-based service for your DS8880 systems. It supports the next-generation Call Home infrastructure that enables continuous updates of the system's configuration and health. IBM Storage Insights simplifies uploading logs, speeds resolution with online configuration data, and provides an overview of open tickets, all in one place. Clients who have been using IBM Storage Insights with their their IBM Storwize and IBM FlashSystem A9000/R systems can now extend this to include their DS8880 systems.
The TS4500 library now supports IBM TS1080 tape drive model F8S. This is an LTO8 Ultrium tape drive enabled with single-mode fiber and designed for the heavy demands of backup and archive tape storage applications that require high bandwidth over long distances. TS1080 Model F8S can be installed in a TS4500 tape library and delivers maximum throughput with a native data transfer of up to 360 Mbps.
There were two other enhancements for the TS4500 were:
A new action "Export logs direct to IBM" on the web. The TS4500 will collect library logs and send via Call Home to IBM, eliminating download to the laptop or system. This improves how clients engage with IBM support teams.
A new intelligent Power Distribution Unit (PDU) with three-phase [wye] or single-phase input to provide power to the local frame control assembly. This new PDU will offer power and environmental monitoring features in the future. So stay tuned.
IBM continues its lead in tape innovation with the IBM TS1160 Enterprise Tape Drive model (60F)! Delivering a 100% increase over the TS1150 series of tape drives, the TS1160 comes in at 20TB of cartridge capacity on the new JE media type with a native data rate of 400 Mbps, or up to 900 Mbps compressed. The new TS1160 will be available for the TS4500, the TS3500 (Model 60G) as well as a stand alone design with Fibre Channel interfaces.
Of course, the new TS1160 will support the reuse of existing JD/JZ/JL media with the capability to read and write TS1150 and TS1155 formatted media, and format the same media with up to 15 TB uncompressed capacity. It will also support IBM Spectrum Archive with the LTFS format for tape. Leveraging these larger tape capacities for active archives, backups, and other long term retention requirements.
IBM Spectrum Archive can move data from Spectrum Scale flash and disk storage to less expensive tape. IBM Spectrum Archive is based on IBM Linear Tape File System (LTFS) and enables fast and easy data retention to reduce the total cost of ownership for active archive storage. Both the IBM Spectrum Archive Enterprise Edition (EE) V1.3, and the Library Edition (LE) V2.4.1, will support the new enterprise-class TS1160 tape drive.
The Data Management Edition (DME) of Spectrum Scale does not require you to separately purchase client, server, or FPO socket-based, MIPS-based, or PVU-based licenses. Instead, you can simply license the total storage capacity managed by IBM Spectrum Scale. DME is now available through IBM Shopz. Shopz is a web service to order z Systems software, manage software licenses, and view software inventory. It provides an easy way to plan and order your product ServerPac or CBPDO, running on z.
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! This week I am in San Francisco, California speaking to clients. A bit colder than Tucson, Arizona!
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM. Special thanks to Mark Larson (IBM SAN team), and both Craig Nelson and Peter Schmelter from Broadcom, for their assistance with this post. I have no personal financial interest in Broadcom. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement" of the IBM products mentioned below.)
Spectrum Control v5.3
Back in 2003, I was the chief architect of Spectrum Control v1, formerly called TotalStorage Productivity Center, and later Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. IBM Spectrum Control is part of the IBM Spectrum Storage Suite.
There are two editions: Standard Edition and Advanced Edition.
(What happened to the other editions? The "Base Edition" is now called IBM Spectrum Connect. The "Spectrum Control Storage Insights" service in the IBM Cloud is now just called IBM Storage Insights and Storage Insights Pro.)
The Standard Edition v5.3 offers the following:
Capacity visualization and management, Performance troubleshooting, Health and performance alerting, Application modeling, and support for VMware data sources
Create, save, and send reports directly in the web UI. The reports can be run now, or scheduled to be run later. When a report is run, it can be sent by email or exported and saved in different file types.
Support IBM FlashSystem 900 AE3 models using compression, and the new IBM FlashSystem 9100
Improved automation of counting the licenses for enclosure-based storage devices
The latest IBM Copy Services Manager (CSM) v6.2 for managing remote mirroring, replacing the previous IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center for Replication.
The Advanced Edition v5.3 provides all of the above, as well as the following.
Tiered storage optimization with intelligent analytics
Service catalog with policy-based provisioning
Self-service provisioning with restricted use logins
Analysis of reclaimable space
Showback and Chargeback reports
Application-based snapshot management using IBM Spectrum Protect Snapshot (formerly known as IBM FlashCopy Manager, FCM)
Clients with v5.2.x version of IBM Spectrum Control can upgrade to this new release.
Clients with IBM Spectrum Virtualize-based appliances can bundle Spectrum Control v5.3 with the latest Spectrum Virtualize v8 code. This bundle is referred to as "IBM Virtual Storage Center", or VSC for short. VSC supports SAN Volume Controller, FlashSystem 9100 and V9000, Storwize V7000 and V5000 models.
IBM's announcement of NVMe-capable FlashSystem 9100 has caused many to re-evaluate their SAN infrastructure. All IBM b-type Gen5 and Gen6 switches and directors are NVMe-ready!
(Last year, Broadcom completed its acquisition of Brocade. I am thankful both start with the letter "B", so we won't have to rename our B-type switches to another letter!)
There are two new products in this announcement. The SAN 128B-6 is a Gen6 switch in a 2U container. The other is a 64-port Blade that fits into existing Gen6 Directors, like the 256B-6 or 512B-6 models.
But the 128B-6 doesn't have 128 standard ports ! It actually has 96 standard ports, plus eight "Q-Flex" ports (that can be used to create a total of 128 ports) . Likewise, the 64-port blades have 16 Q-Flex ports (that can be used to create 64 ports).
What is going on? The Q-Flex ports can actually run four channels in different colors of light over the same fiber optic cable, reducing the wiring mess. These Q-Flex can be used for host or device traffic, but are often used as "Inter-Switch Links" or ISL for short.
All of the standard and Q-Flex ports are 32Gbps, but can are capable of autosensing 4, 8, 16, and 32 Gbps port speedsm depending on the SFPs used , for interoperability with existing servers and storage devices. In the case of Q-Flex, all four colors must be run at the same speed, so a Q-Flex represents either 4x32, 4x16, 4x8 or 4x4 Gbps links. You cannot mix different speeds on a single Q-Flex.
In addition, the 64-port blade also supports 10 GbE, 25 GbE, and 40 GbE using the appropriate QSFP transceivers.
I travel a lot. In the first six months of this year, I was on the road 17 of the 26 weeks. This week, I am visiting clients in beautiful Minneapolis, MN.
Several readers have asked me what mobile phone or web apps I find the most useful, and here are my top three. For each, I will explain how I use them, and why they are useful.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM, and have no financial connections to any of the companies mentioned below, and have not been compensated in any way to mention them on this post. IBM has selected Concur as its travel platform, which runs TripIt mentioned below. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement" for each of the three sites below.)
[Rome2Rio] is one I use long before I plan my trip, and works both on my mobile phone as well as web application. Many people use apps like "Google Maps" for driving directions from point A to point B. But Rome2Rio handles airlines, trains and other alternative modes of transportation. It also provides estimated prices for each mode of transportation.
Landing in Gatwick Airport, I used Rome2Rio to figure out the most cost-effective way to get to my hotel on Southampton Row. A taxi would have been $160-200, Ride-share like Uber or Lyft $75-95, and train $17-28. I chose the train and saved a lot of money!
Rome2Rio is a great app, both for advanced planning, as well as dealing with situations in the moment. I have it bookmarked on my browser, and the app installed on my phone.
Long before IBM signed on Concur as its travel expense and trip planning tool, I was using [TripIt]. It automatically enters all of my airfare, hotel and car rental reservations into a single chronological itinerary, but then lets me add everything in between, such as meetings, dinner restaurant plans, and other activities.
While I am planning my travels, TripIt ensures I have all the connections I need. If I land at this airport, do I have a rental car or other transportation to the hotel? This forces me to get in advance all of the times and locations of every client dinner, briefing, or other meeting, so that I can plan how to get from point A, to B, to C, accordingly.
A few days before my trip, I can print out my TripIt itinerary, to PDF format file to send to my family and co-workers.
While traveling, I have the TripIt app to have all the information I need close at hand, including hotel address locations, or confirmation numbers once I arrive to the hotel.
[FlightStats] will show you the status of all flights, on any airline. Just enter the 2-character airline code, like AA for American Airlines, or DL for Delta Airlines, then the flight number. Here are the different ways I find this useful:
When I land at an airport connection, but have not yet left the plane, I can use FlightStats to determine which gate I have arrived at, and which gate I need for my next flight. This will give me a good sense of how much time I have, do I need to hurry, can I stop for a snack, and so on.
FlightStats seems to be more up-to-date than computer screens at the airport. I have learned of flight delays from FlightStats sooner than I have from the computer screens or gate agents.
If my flight is canceled or delayed, FlightStats also can find flights from point A to B using real-time information.
Are there any apps or web sites you recommend? Please comment below!
Last week, I was in Hollywood Florida for the IBM Systems Technical University. Here is my recap of days 2 and 3.
Information Lifecycle Management: Why Archive is Different than Backup
Some companies keep backup copies for years and years. They think this is all they need to do to comply with government regulations for data retention. They could not be more wrong!
This session explained why keeping backups for more than a few months is a bad idea, and how to fix it with proper Information Lifecycle Management practices, the proper use of archive as an alternative to keeping backups to long, and the advantages of archives versus backup.
Storage for Rookies: Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage
My session on IBM COS was so popular, we repeated for the "Storage for Rookies" track. In this track, registrants attend specifically selected topics to complete a "degree". This is "University" after all!
My session was organized into three sections. First, a general overview of "Object Storage" that can be accessed via HTTP over TCP/IP networks, and how this is different from traditional block or file storage.
Second, a review of the architecture and features of IBM Cloud Object Storage, and how these can be deployed on-premises, in a hybrid cloud configuration, or use in the public IBM Cloud.
Third, how to use IBM Cloud Object Storage for various use cases, including programming languages that support object storage, NAS gateways, and backup software like IBM Spectrum Protect.
Managing Risks with Data Footprint Reduction
What happens when airlines sell more tickets than actual seats on the airplane? Travelers get upset, and sometimes the airline has to forcibly drag people off the plane.
Likewise, storage admins who over-provision storage run the risk of having application outages from out-of-space conditions. This session explained how thin provisioning, deduplication and compression can help, but at other times make things more complicated.
IBM Spectrum Scale Users Group
We had a great turn-out for this "Users Group". IBM Spectrum Scale and Elastic Storage Server grew substantially last year, and we are keeping up the momentum!
We had several presenters cover various updates, followed by cocktails!
After all that excitement, we went to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville for a "Storage Team" dinner. There were karaoke singers, accompanied by a live band. A fun time was had by all!
It is funny how an article or blog post can remind me of something long, long ago.
Back in 2005, my manager, Rich Lechner, was then the Executive Advocate for a client in Chicago. While visiting that client, he asked what the client wanted most. His answer, for IBM to come in and do an "Information Lifecycle Management" (ILM) study on his IT environment. He agreed to send me on-site for a week.
I had done disk and tape studies of this kind before, but this time, I was going to do an end-to-end to evaluate their growth, and where was the best storage media for different data types.
Joining me were three "observers" from IBM Lab Services: Barbara Read, Steve Bisel and Tom Moore. As if I did not have enough pressure from the client, now I had to be "watched" while I interviewed the storage administrators, generated and reviewed reports.
At the end of the week, I had provide the client's upper management with a list of short-term, mid-term and long-term recommendations. As a side benefit, the client decided to purchase two DS8000 storage systems, replacing their HDS equipment!
After that initial engagement, the four of us formed a team. We performed similar studies at other client locations. Barbara Read was the process expert who wrote the "Documents of Understanding". Steve was our financial expert, and used spreadsheets to show total cost of ownership comparisons. Tom was our infrastructure expert, and used Microsoft Visio to document the inventory of IT equipment, and how it was all interconnected.
I was the consultant and public speaker for the team. I was able to incorporate the work of the three others into a Powerpoint presentation. During the week, we would show initial findings to the client, and then follow it up a few weeks later with a full report.
A lot has changed in the past 13 years! First, ILM was renamed to "Storage Infrastructure Optimization" (SIO) studies. Our initial team trained dozens of other practitioners. Today, SIO studies are done all over the world.
IBM Master Inventor, Senior IT Architect, and Event Content Manager
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! We have a lot today, so I will just give you the quick highlights, and then Chris and Lloyd will follow-up with more detailed posts.
New IBM Storwize V5000 models
IBM introduces several new entry-level models.
The Storwize V5010E and V5030E are the "Express" models that allow for hybrid configurations, mixing Flash and spinning HDD disk. The Storwize V5010E is a single controller, two-canister model, with basic features. The Storwize V5030E adds more memory, more CPU power, and additional features like Data Reduction Pools and data-at-rest Encryption. Hosts can attach via SAS, 16Gb FCP or iSCSI.
The Storwize V5100 is the baby model of the FlashSystem 9100, supporting both FlashCore and industry-standard NVMe Flash drives, with the option to SAS-attach expansion drawers, mixing Flash and spinning HDD disk. The Storwize V5100F is the all-flash version. Hosts can attach via 32Gbps FCP, 25GbE RoCE, 25GbE iWarp, and iSCSI.
IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS)
The IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud, or what our young folks shorten unofficially to SV4PC, that has been available on IBM Cloud will now also be available on Amazon Web Services.
For those readers asking "What took so long?" Amazon was not going to put specialized equipment in their data centers, so IBM had to make Spectrum Virtualize software container-native. Yes, the SVC code now runs in its own Docker container.
Basically a 2-node cluster is represented as two AWS EC2 instances, virtualizing EBS storage. The Transparent Cloud Tiering (TCT) that let's you "FlashCopy-to-the-Cloud" can be used to go directly to Amazon's S3 object storage.
This conversion to container-native has worked so well, IBM now plans to offer container-native software-defined storage capability across the board, for object storage, block storage, and file storage.
Did you notice that the Storwize V5100/F models support 32Gbps FCP in the section above? If that raised your eyebrow, I am pleased to tell you that IBM will be supporting 32Gbps FCP on these new Storwize V5100/F, the Storwize V7000 Gen3 and the FlashSystem 9100 devices.
We have also added a new b-type SAN switch, the SAN18B-6 which is Broadcom's Gen6 technology in a sleek 1U configuration, sporting 12 FCP ports that support 32Gbps and auto-negotiate to slower speeds as needed for compatibility with 8Gbps and 16Gbps devices. The other six ports are Ethernet, and can be used for disaster recovery replication, either using native TCP/IP or FCIP protocols.
IBM has enhanced the alerting capabilities of both the on-premise IBM Spectrum Control and its "as-a-Service" sister offering IBM Storage Insights. This allows you to set up alerts for "device groups" across multiple storage devices, as well as setting up filters to make the alerts more meaningful, eliminating some of the noise.
When IBM first introduced IBM Storage Insights, it was intended as an alternative to the on-premise solution. Now, clients demand both, so now if you have one, we can offer you the other! The new [IBM Storage Insights for IBM Spectrum Control] is an IBM Cloud service that can help you predict and prevent storage problems before they impact your business.
It is complementary to IBM Spectrum Control and is available at no additional cost if you have an active license with a current subscription and support agreement for IBM Virtual Storage Center, IBM Spectrum Storage Suite, or any edition of IBM Spectrum Control.
As an on-premises application, IBM Spectrum Control doesn't send the metadata about monitored devices offsite, which is ideal for dark shops and sites that don't want to open ports to the cloud. However, if your organization allows for communication between its network and the cloud, you can use IBM Storage Insights for IBM Spectrum Control to transform your support experience for IBM block storage.
IBM Spectrum Scale has been certified to run with with Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) 3.1 release.
(Ha, I probably could have fit all that in the title of this section, but instead I just said "IBM Spectrum Scale" and you are thinking "Oh Boy!" and then you see something that could have fit in the title and feel all disappointed. It is kind of like when the local news asks "Was the restaurant you had lunch today contaminated with Salmonella?" and then follows up with the answer "Find out at 11:00pm evening news!" And then you wait until 11:00pm for then to say, "No, there was no salmonella found in any of the restaurants.".)
So, I would not have mentioned Spectrum Scale certification of HDP 3.1 unless there was at least something else worth mentioning. There is! IBM Spectrum Scale now also enhanced its performance for SMB and NFS, and has enhanced the scalability and resiliency of its Active File Management (AFM) feature.
The IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R are targeted to Cloud and Managed Service Providers (CSP/MSP). The 12.3.2 release now supports VLAN tagging for iSCSI deployments. This VLAN tagging allows multiple virtual networks and IP addresses to share iSCSI ports, making it ideal for multi-tenancy for CSP/MSP clients.
IBM manages over a hundred Blockchain networks for its clients. For those not familiar with Blockchain, it is a way to record transactions, whenever money or product changes hands, an entry is recorded into the blockchain ledger for all to see.
This has two drawbacks. Information stored in the ledger may contain information you do not want everyone to see. The other is scalability, storing photos, and other supporting documents may be nice to have, but takes up a lot of space, and slows down transaction rates.
The solution is "off-chain" data. These are supporting documents that aren't needed in the blockchain itself. To connect them, you store a checksum hash of the supporting document in the ledge, then store the supporting document as off-chain data on-premises. If you need to produce the document for an audit, its checksum hash will match what is in the ledger.
In the beginning, people thought Docker containers would just be used for microservices with no persistent storage. Then clients realized they needed persistent storage, and they needed to orchestrate that storage provisioning. The IT industry has a variety of different orchestrators like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and Mesos. All of these manage persistent storage differently. IBM has focused on Kubernetes, using Ubiquity open source project to manage FlexVolumes.
Container Standard Interface (CSI) is an effort to standardize the provisioning of persistent storage. Allowing containerized applications to have access to storage that persists, even after the container is shutdown or crashes. For the next few years, I suspect IBM will need to support both the old way (FlexVolumes) and the new way (CSI) until all the standards settle.
You can hear all about these exciting announcements at the upcoming IBM Systems Technical University (TechU) in Atlanta, GA (USA), April 29-May 3. Visit [ibm.biz/Atlanta2019] to learn more and register. The three of us all plan to be there! Stop by and say hello.
IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
Today I want to write about a very recent enhancement for IBM storage clients. This announcement was specific to all IBM Storage clients using IBM Spectrum Control.
IBM recently announced a new solution for existing Spectrum Control clients to obtain a cloud based version and get even more value from their Spectrum Control investment. Whether you have Spectrum Control Standard, Advanced, Select or Virtual Storage Center all versions are covered under this new solution.
In this new solution for existing clients of Spectrum Control, they are entitled to this new solution using existing Spectrum Control licensed capacity. This new solution which is a cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) offering is titled Storage Insights for Spectrum Control. For current Spectrum Control clients this new solution is provided with no additional costs.
Since the release of Storage Insights & Storage Insights Pro existing clients with Spectrum Control have asked for a similar cloud based option. Today we have that option.
Other devices: Non-IBM storage devices, VMWare, SAN Switches
On Premises / Cloud
Asset management (Type, model, serial number, firmware)
On Premises / Cloud
Support management: Ticket creation / log upload
On Premises / Cloud
Health (show status of entity) direct / call home
On Premises / Cloud
Alerting (send mesg to user) status / thresholds / eMail / SNMP / scripts
On Premises / Cloud
Storage / Fabric Performance and Error Reporting
On Premises / Cloud
Performance Interval, retention
5 min, 24 hour
5 min, 1 year
1 min, customizable
On premises / Cloud
Provisoning using Service Classes & Capacity Pools with automatic zoning
Reclamation analysis of unused volumes
On Premises / Cloud
Service Management (Chargeback & Consumer reports)
On Premises / Cloud
Custom Reporting: GUI / API
On Premises / Cloud
Tiering support across pools
Recommend and Implement
On Premises / Cloud
Balance workload across pools
User ManagementL Active DIrectory/LDAP integration
Cloud portal SLA
If your existing Spectrum Control instance is providing your requirements then consider Storage Insights for Spectrum Control for the added value of enhance IBM Storage Support, and constantly getting access to the latest features of Storage Insights for Spectrum Control without any of the maintenance or upgrade activities.
Whatever reason you may need to reach out to IBM Storage Support, with IBM Support having immediate access to your storage configuration details will reduce the time and your teams effort to get a resolution or recommendation from IBM on how to proceed.
Last week, September 11-13, I was in Johannesburg for the IBM Technical University! The event was held at the Hyatt Regency in the Rosebank section of town. This event was focused on IBM Systems, including storage, Power systems, and IBM Z mainframe servers. Here is my recap for the third and final day:
What else can you use that data for? Adventures in Data Reuse
Did you know that IBM invented "Copy Data Management" in 1998? I do, of course, since I was one of the inventors! Originally developed for DFSMS on z/OS, there are now copy data management solutions for a multitude of operating systems, databases and applications.
This session covered IBM Spectrum Protect Snapshot, IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, and IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management.
Copies of production data are not just for data protection and disaster recovery. The copies can be reused for other IT or business purposes:
Testing and DevOps - After a copy of production is made, columns of databases containing sensitive, personally-identifiable information (PII) can be masked, scrambled or obfuscated, to keep them out of the prying eyes of testers and developers. IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management offers data masking features.
Reporting and Analytics - Running reports or analytics against production data can drastically impact performance and cache hit rate on storage devices. Making copies to other systems, and running reports and analytics elsewhere makes a lot of sense.
Hybrid Cloud - Why limit your copies to just your own data center? Copies of data can be sent to off-premises to perform DevOps, Reporting and Analytics in the cloud.
Be Persistent in your Journey to Private Cloud
IBM offers persistent storage for IBM Cloud Private deployments. This includes IBM Spectrum Virtualize family of products, Spectrum Accelerate family of products, VersaStack converged systems, and DS8000 systems.
IBM Spectrum Access blueprints are available to deploy persistent storage for IBM Cloud Private software on VersaStack, POWER and IBM Z servers.
IBM Spectrum Connect provides the necessary interfaces for Kubernetes to claim persistent storage for Docker containers.
Is your data center ready for NVMe, NVMe-OF or FC-NVMe? Initiated in 2011, the NVMe standard is relatively young. I covered its short history, why zero-copy protocols like FCP and RDMA can drastically reduce latency, and all the components needed for a complete end-to-end solution.
Inside All-Flash Arrays, you can use standard 12Gbps SAS to connect to SCSI-based Solid-State Drives (SSD), or you can use the much faster PCiE bus at 32Gbps with NVMe-based drives.
NVMe provides for advanced parallelism, since flash is not mechanical, and does not rely on the position of a read/write head over a platter as spinning disks do. Traditional SSD pretend to be spinning disks, so often process one command at a time, to maintain the charade.
NVMe is designed to work only with flash devices, so it uses a streamlined 15 commands, versus the 34 commands in SCSI to handle other storage media.
But having an NVMe-inside All-Flash Array is not the end of the story. Rather than sending all of those SCSI commands across network, only for some to be disregarded when they arrive, you can send the streamlined NVMe commands instead. NVMe over the networks is available now. NVMe-OF offers support for Ethernet and InfiniBand, and FC-NVMe offers support for FCP.
The last stage is application exploitation from the host server. The industry still needs Operating System drivers, multipathing drivers, and applications that take advantage of NVMe. IBM anticipates this will occur later this year, and into 2019.
IBM Storage Infrastructure Optimization (SIO) assessment
Ishmail Shaik, IBM Lab Services, presented an interactive peek of what an SIO entails.
In 2005, I led a series of "Information Lifecycle Management" (ILM) studies for various clients, combining the methods from "disk studies" and "tape studies" that I had performed since the 1980s.
The ultimate win-win scenario, these ILM studies proved successful, not only saving the clients millions of dollars, but often resulting in follow-on sales of IBM storage hardware, software and services.
Over those 18 months, I trained several IBM Systems Lab Services colleagues in the process. These studies formed the basis of "Storage Infrastructure Optimization" assessments launched officially in 2011.
The SIO assessment process has evolved a lot since I was last involved with it. Here are a few of the changes I noticed from his presentation:
Core Modules - No longer just focused on Lifecycle Management, SIO studies offer four additional modules: Modernize & Transform, Business Resiliency, Manage & Control, and New Workloads.
Data Collection - The biggest challenge back then was collecting data to provide recommendations. I managed with in-person interviews and what little tools were available back then, collected into TCO spreadsheets, VISIO diagrams and PowerPoint slides. Today, we have sophisticated data collection tools, including IBM Spectrum Control, Storage Insights, Arxview, and Butterfly.
Engagement Workshop - SIO now has incorporated "Design Thinking" methodology to help clients prioritize findings into a set of short-term, medium-term and long-term recommendations.
The three-day event ended with a closing session, hosted by Mario Franzone.
It's September, and many students are going back to school. A friend had asked me for advice to give his son as he enters high school. Here were my thoughts.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM. I have not received any compensation from any third parties for the products or services mentioned in this post.)
I highly endorse David Allen's book [Getting Things Done]. Trying to remember all of the homework, tasks and assignments that you need to get done can add unnecessary stress.
The trick is to write these things down. Whether this is on paper, or electronically, David's GTD process works.
Students should learn to become "Search Ninjas" in finding information to complete their homework and tasks. To that end, I recommend using a site like "LastPass" to store unique passwords for each online service.
LastPass is short for "the last password you will ever need to remember", as it stores all of your passwords for banking, social media, and other online resources. One strong password gets you in. This is further strengthened by two-factor authorization, such as using "Google Authenticator". In this manner, to log into your LastPass account, you need both your strong password, as well as access to your smartphone for Google Authenticator to provide a six-digit code to validate your identity.
Writing your thoughts down sometimes requires different approaches. A [mind map] is a hierarchical diagram to help capture thoughts non-linearly. I have seen these used to capture thoughts generated during idea brainstorming sessions. I use them to help me create new PowerPoint presentations.
There are many mind mapping tools available. On my smartphone, I use the [SimpleMind] app. On my Linux laptop, I use [View Your Mind]. Try several out, and pick the one that works best for you.
The trick is to identify which general pattern a specific problem falls under, and use the general solution as the basis for solving it. Part of this approach is to identify all of the inherent contradictions and eliminating or addressing them one by one.
Whenever Rafael complains to me he has a problem to solve, like figuring out how to get the oil changed in his car, I ask him how he would solve it in a video game. He would reply that he would determine what "items" he needed, either to trade or gain entry into a realm, and what sequence of steps needed to happen in what order. I would then explain that life is just like that, except instead of jewels and swords, you are using cash or credit cards!
Not surprisingly, IBM technology can be found in certain models of Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft Xbox.
Imagine having homework in three different subjects. A student might spend all night on one topic, and never get around to the other two. The [Pomodoro Technique] is surprisingly simple. It focuses on two problems kids have these days: getting started, and staying focused.
The technique divides up the hours available into 25-minute slots, with 5-minute breaks in between. For example, the student might spend the first 25 minutes on math homework, then take 5-minute break playing video games, then 25 minutes reading History, then 5-minute break checking Facebook, then 25 minutes completing an essay for Spanish class. Each 5-minute break helps to clear the mind for the next task.
I use this method at work. Often, I have a variety of tasks facing me, booking flights for my next trip, updating PowerPoint presentations, and writing my next blog post. Breaking up the day into smaller 25-minute segments helps me stay focused.
In Italian, "pomodoro" means tomato, and the 25 minutes was inspired by a 25-minute kitchen timer shaped like a tomato. You certainly don't need a tomato-shaped timer to use this technique, as there are smartphone apps available to do this for you.
High school is a good time to start developing good habits in project management, time management, problem solving and password security.
Do you have any suggestions? Please feel free to contribute in the comment section below!
This session had four parts. First, an overview of "Data Footprint Reduction" technologies, like compression, data deduplication, space-efficient snapshots and thin provisioning.
Second, a look at how these technologies can get storage administrators in trouble. Much like airlines selling more tickets than seats on the airplane, storage administrators may over-provision based on data reduction estimates, and then suddenly run out of storage capacity.
Third, an overview of IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R products, often referred to as "A9000/R" to cover both as a family. These models offer data footprint reduction for all data.
Finally, I explain how the Hyper-Scale Manager GUI can help with reporting and analytics to avoid these risks. This GUI is available for the FlashSystem A9000/R, as well as XIV Gen3 and Spectrum Accelerate software clusters.
Special thanks to Rivka Matosevich for her help in preparing this presentation.
The Pendulum Swings: Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Integrated Systems
With IBM's partnership with Cisco for VersaStack, and Nutanix for the IBM Power systems, this has become a particularly popular topic.
I started with an overview of the last 50 years of storage evolution, from internal storage and external storage to NAS and SAN storage networks. An estimated 96 percent of the storage in corporate data centers are connected via NAS or SAN networks.
More recently, people have been willing to give up all those gains for something simpler, less powerful, less reliable, less expensive. Enter Converged and Hyperconverged Systems. IBM PureApplication and VersaStack lead the pack for Converged Systems, along with IBM Spectrum Scale, Spectrum Accelerate and Nutanix on IBM Power Systems for Hyperconverged Integrated Systems.
We had 1,600 attendees, much higher than expected. This is a good sign, when you consider IBM just had its "Think 2018" conference last March, and Dell EMC had their big conference the same week in Las Vegas.
When people asked me what was the main difference between "Think 2018" and "IBM Technical University", I explain it as follows:
Think 2018 is a big conference focused on uni-directional communication. IBM executives present the corporate line repeatedly to large audiences. Its size and scale means they can have big name bands and celebrity speakers.
IBM Technical University is a smaller conference focused on bi-directional communication. Audiences are small and encouraged to ask questions. Demos, Labs and Meetups allow for conversations with IBM technical experts. There are no crowds in the hallways to hamper ad-hoc side conversations. The IBM speakers listen to the clients concerns and bring that feedback to development.