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.
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This week, I am presenting at the IBM Systems Technical University in Orlando, Florida, May 22-26, 2017. Thursday evening, we had the "Meet The Experts" sessions. There were four: Storage, Power Systems, z/OS, and a fourth one focused on z/VM and Linux on z Systems. I was on the expert panel for Storage.
Mo McCullough was the emcee. Special thanks for Shelly Howrigon in her help with this event.
(Disclaimer: Do not shoot the messenger! We had a dozen or so experts on the panel, representing System Storage hardware, software and services. I took notes, trying to capture the essence of the questions, and the answers given by the various IBM experts. The answers from individual IBMers may not reflect the official position of IBM management. I leave out any references to unannounced plans or products. Where appropriate, my own commentary will be in italics.)
When will IBM offer a single pane of glass management for all of its IBM storage products?
IBM is working hard on this. Our strategy is to focus on IBM Spectrum Control as the primary answer. We have extended support across block, file and object, with support for IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM Cloud Object Storage System. We have also provided plug-ins for VMware, Cisco UCS Director, and OpenStack Horizon, for those who prefer those management systems instead.
What we really need are REST APIs!
Good point. IBM already has some REST APIs for the DS8000, XIV and Spectrum Protect, now that IBM has browser-based GUI across its entire product line, it is our strategy to offer REST API across our product line as well.
What is the next generation of ProtecTIER Data Deduplication going to look like?
IBM is focused on provided "data deduplication" for backup workloads directly through IBM Spectrum Protect backup software. IBM continues to sell IBM ProtecTIER.
(Virtual Tape Libraries like IBM ProtecTIER and Dell EMC Data Domain were created to handle the fact that many backup software back only were designed for tape drives and libraries. VTL was disk that pretended to be tape library. Now that IBM Spectrum Protect, NetBackup, Commvault, and all of the other modern backup products write natively to disk, object storage or Cloud services, there really isn't a need for VTL products any more.)
Why does IBM bother with all-Flash version of DS8000 when it already has IBM FlashSystem?
Different products for different workloads. IBM DS8000 offers unique support for z System mainframe FICON attachment and 520-byte block support for IBM i. IBM also offers all-Flash Elastic Storage Server, all-Flash SVC and Storwize products, that complement the IBM FlashSystem product line.
We like how XIV can hot-enable encryption, even with existing data on it. Why doesn't DS8000 offer this?
Two separate implementations. At the time IBM DS8000 encryption was designed, it was decided that the client needed to enable encryption before writing any data.
Will we see a spinning disk version of the FlashSystem A9000
Flash is now less expensive than spinning disk, I don't see why IBM would go backwards. The future is Flash.
We would like Spectrum Control to manage our Dell EMC Isilon
Yes, we have heard that from others. We are working on extending our third party support. Send in your cards and letters to help us prioritize. Or, better yet, submit a "Request For Enhancement" (RFE).
The difference between Tier 0 (Write Endurance) flash and Tier 1 (Read Intensive) flash is confusing, are there any plans in the IT industry to simplify this?
No, if anything it will get worse. Today, IBM's Tier 0 is 10 Drive Write Per Day (DWPD), and Tier 1 is 1 DWPD. Other SSD drives offer 2, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 25 DWPD. As people buy more Flash, and less disk, expect more differentiation in this area.
We would like to tune Easy Tier on the Storwize products
Understood. IBM typically implements new features on the DS8000 platform first, then rolls them over to Spectrum Virtualize. The ability to influence allocation order, pin or avoid tiers, and have application API to influence the placement are already in DS8000.
What will the future of Storwize look like?
We don't have enough time to cover that in this meeting.
Recently, you raised the maximum Storwize FlashCopy background copy rate from 64 MB/sec to 2 GB/sec, but is that realistic?
The setting provides the background task a target "grains per second" to try to achieve. It may not be possible depending on your configuration and the number of concurrent tasks. Your Storwize may be so busy with background activity that it won't take host I/O.
We have been giving you our wishlist, but are there any questions the IBM experts have for the audience
Yes, are there any clients being asked to secure storage against Ransomware and insider threats from disgruntled employees?
(Several hands went up, and we collected their names to have further discussions.)
How should we assign business value to data?
IBM Spectrum Virtualize allows you to assign metadata tags to files, so that these can be used to drive different policies.
(The process of assigning business value is often called "Data Rationalization" and is part of ILM, BC/DR, and Data Governance efforts.)
I am concerned that AES 256 encryption is not good enough now that there is Quantum Computing.
It will be decades before Quantum Computing will be good enough to break these codes.
Will Blockchain drive huge or unique storage requirements?
No. The entries are small. You are appending small transactions to the end of existing ledgers. Nothing unique or different.
Were there any topics not adequately covered at this conference?
IBM didn't have much to offer for Spectrum Compute family of software, the Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) that runs on both x86 and POWER systems. This should be done under the POWER brand, but many clients use Spectrum Compute with x86 servers. Ironically, Spectrum Compute products are managed under the Storage division, since Spectrum Compute and Spectrum Storage work well together.
We would like Storwize's clever NPIV to be implemented in all of the other IBM arrays, starting with DS8000.
That probably won't happen, as they are different architectures. Whereas Storwize and the rest of IBM Spectrum Virtualize family were designed for nodes to fail, and take their ports down with them, the DS8000 has independent I/O bays that continue to run independent of either POWER8 node. Likewise, FlashSystem 900 has similar separation between the FCP adapters and the processing nodes.
Can we have consistent licensing across the entire IBM Spectrum Virtualize set of products, please?
We have a task force to investigate this, and will gladly add your name to the list for input and feedback.
While the conference continues Friday morning, for many attendees, this was the last event.
It's official. We have changed our name! The Worldwide IBM Systems Executive Briefing Centers (EBC) are now being called the Worldwide IBM Systems Client Experience Centers!
I joined the Tucson EBC team in 2007. For the past 10 years, I have been running design workshops, consulting with clients and architecting solutions.
Why the name change? The term "Executive Briefing Center" implies one-way communication with [death by PowerPoint], which can be ineffective in today's dynamic and collaborative work environments.
Client expectations for two-way communications have given rise to immersive and interactive engagements where clients not only learn about IBM's solution offerings, they experience them.
Through hybrid briefing/workshop engagements, demonstrations, and active promotion of our ISV Ecosystem partners, we take clients on a journey where they envision utilizing our technology and solutions to achieve desired business outcomes. The new Client Experience Center moniker more accurately represents the work we do and the value we provide.
(Note: I realize that the new acronym for the Client Experience Center (CEC) is the same as the Central Electronic Complex (CEC) used in both storage and server products. I can assure you that the executives that decided to rename the centers had not chose this to be funny! Consider it a mere coincidence.)
Of course, changing the name is not cheap. We will have to update all of our websites, and order new signage, new water bottles, new coasters, new embroidered shirts, and new business cards, just to name a few!
The weather in Tucson is awesome these next few months, so come on down! Can't travel? We can come visit you, or do it over the phone via webinar.
Our Worldwide IBM Systems Client Experience Centers are located in:
Last month, I had the pleasure to help train Watson in its latest mission, to help answer questions from sellers, this are not just for the IBM feet on the street, but also for IBM distributors and IBM Business Partners as well.
"... [survey by SearchYourCloud] revealed 'workers took up to 8 searches to find the right document and information.' Here are a few other statistics that help tell the tale of information overload and wasted time spent searching for correct information -- either external or internal:
'According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day -- 9.3 hours per week, on average -- searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.' Source: [Time Searching for Information]
'19.8 percent of business time -- the equivalent of one day per working week -- is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively,' according to Interact. Source: [A Fifth of Business Time is Wasted]
IDC data shows that 'the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30 percent of the workday, searching for information ... 60 percent [of company executives] felt that time constraints and lack of understanding of how to find information were preventing their employees from finding the information they needed.' Source: [Information: The Lifeblood of the Enterprise]."
In the early days of the Internet, before search engines like Google or Bing, I competed in [Internet Scavenger Hunts]. A dozen or more contestants would be in a room, and would be given a list of 20 questions to find answers for. Each of us would then hunt down answers on the Internet. The person to find the most documented answers before time runs out wins. It was quite the challenge!
Over the years, I have honed my skills as a [Search Ninja]. With over 30 years of experience in IBM Storage, many sellers come to me for answers. Sometimes sellers are just too lazy to look for the answers themselves, too busy trying to meet client deadlines, or too green to know where to look.
A good portion of my 60-hour week is spent helping sellers find the answers they are looking for. Sometimes I dig into the [SSIC], product data sheets, or various IBM Redbooks.
Other times, I would confer with experts, engineers and architects in particular development teams. Often, I learn something new myself. In a few cases, I have turned some questions into ideas for blog posts!
It was no surprise when I was asked to help train Watson for the new "Systems SmartSeller" tool. This will be a tool that runs on smartphones or desktops to help answer questions that sellers might need to respond to RFP or other client queries.
The premise was simple. Treat Watson as a student at "Cognitive University" taking classes from dozens of IBM professors, in a series of semesters, or "phases".
Phase I involved building the "Corpus", the set of documents related to z Systems, POWER systems, Storage and SDI solutions; and a "Grading Tool" that would be used as the Graphical User Interface. I was not involved in phase I.
Phase II was where I came in. Hundreds of questions are categorized by product area. I worked on 500 questions for storage. For each question, Watson had up to eleven different responses, typically a paragraph from the Corpus. My job as a professor was to grade the responses to some 500 storage questions:
★ (one star)
Irrelevant, answer not even storage-related
★★ (two stars)
Relevant, at least it is storage-related, but does not answer the question, or answers it poorly
★★★ (three stars)
Relevant, adequately answers the question
★★★★ (four stars)
Relevant, answers the question well
Most of the answers were either 1-star (not storage related) or 2-star (mentioned storage, but poor response). I would search through the existing Corpus looking for a better answer, and at best found only 3-star responses, which I would add to the list and grade as a 3-star response.
I then searched the Internet for better answers. Once I found a good match, I would type up a 4-star response, add it to the list, and point it to the appropriate resources on the Web.
Other professors, who were also looking at these questions, would then get to grade my suggested responses as well. Watson would learn based on the consensus of how appropriate and accurate each response was graded.
I don't know where the Cognitive University team got some of the questions, but they were quite representative of the ones I get every week. In some cases, the seller didn't understand the question he heard from the client, making it difficult for me to figure out what they were actually asking for.
It reminds me of that parlor game ["Telephone" or "Chinese Whispers"], in which one person whispers a message to the ear of the next person through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. I have actually played this at an IBM event in China!
Watson needs to parse the question into nouns and verbs, and use that Natural Linguistic Programming (NLP) to then search the Corpus for appropriate answer. I determined three challenges for Watson in this case:
The questions are not always fully formed sentences. For example, "Object storage?" Is this asking what is object storage in general, or rather what does IBM offer in this area?
The questions often do not spell the names of products correctly, or use informal abbreviations. "Can Store-wise V7 do RtC?" is a typical example, short for "Can the IBM Storwize V7000 storage controller perform Real-time Compression?"
The questions ask what is planned in the future. "When will IBM offer feature x in product y?" I am sorry, but Watson is not [Zoltar, the fortune teller]!
I managed to grade the responses in the two weeks we were given. Part of my frustration was the grading tool itself was a bit buggy, and I spent some time trying to track down some of its flaws.
The next phase is in late January and February. This will give the Cognitive University team a chance to update the Corpus, improve the grading interface, and find more professors and different set of questions. I volunteered the most recent four years' worth of my blog posts to be added to the Corpus.
Maybe this tool will help me turn my 60-hour week back to the 40-hour week it should be!
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! I am here in New York for the exciting news!
(FCC Disclosure: I work for IBM. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement" for the IBM z14 mainframe and DS8880 Storage System.)
In support of the [IBM z14] mainframe announcement, IBM has also disclosed R8.3 enhancements for the DS8880 Storage System. Here is a quick recap:
New Tier-1 Flash Capacities available for HPFE Gen2 drawers
IBM introduces the new Tier-1 flash card capacity 3.84 TB flash card. In the past, IBM DS8880 only supported Tier-0 cards that support 10 Drive Writes per Day (10 DWPD), with capacities 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 GB. The Tier-1 flash card only handles 1 DWPD, often dubbed "Read-Intensive" devices, but can actually handle about 90 percent of most production workloads.
zHyperLink™ drastically reduces the latency between the IBM z14 mainframe and the DS8880 storage systems. Traditional FICON paths through SAN switches or directors introduced about 140 to 175 microseconds of latency between systems. This new system is a direct cable, with 20 microsecond latency.
The I/O bays on the DS8880 used for HPFE Gen2 already have zHyperLink ports on them. This direct cable is limited to 150 meters, however, so plan accordingly.
Transparent Cloud Tiering
IBM already announced Transparent Cloud Tiering to IBM Bluemix, IBM Cloud Object Storage and the IBM TS7760 virtualization engine in R8.2.3 release. The new Release 8.3 of DS8880 now adds support for Amazon S3, providing yet another choice for where to migrate data sets to. IBM also adds replication, allowing the data set to be migrated to two separate target locations, for added availability, much like writing to separate ML2 tape cartridges.
Cascading FlashCopy is a feature that has existing for awhile now on IBM XIV and SAN Volume Controller platforms, so this is just a port of that concept over to the DS8880 microcode. Now, if you FlashCopy target can become the source of a follow-on FlashCopy request. You can make copies of copies. This applies to both the volume and data set level functions.
Why would anyone do this? Well, you might suspend your application at midnight and create a clean FlashCopy of a 24-by-7 ever-changing database. Then in the following morning, workers who need a static "midnight version" of the database now can use this as their source and perform additional FlashCopy requests for their own needs.
IBM DS8880 MES Support
MES is an abbreviation for "Miscellaneous Equipment Specification", one of the many Three Letter Acronyms [TLA] that doesn't help knowing what the words stand for. In short, an MES is a formal supported option to upgrade a piece of hardware that is already installed and running at a client location. IBM will offer MES to upgrade existing DS8880 systems to have the additional HPFE Gen2 drawers, and to upgrade the I/O bays to support zHyperLink connections.
(Final note: you might notice the change in upper and lower case. The IBM z14 (lower case) refers to the specific mainframe model, consistent with its predecessors the z13 and z13s, but the family name "IBM z Systems" has been shortened to "IBM Z®" (upper case). IBM Storage Systems and IBM POWER Systems were already upper case, so the mainframe guys just wanted to follow suit. I suspect "IBM i" will remain lower case, however.)
With over 2,000 technical sessions and 500 client testimonials, the event can be intimidating. For those of you attending this conference for the first time, I have some advice:
Review all the sessions you want to attend.
Don't limit yourself to just sessions in your area of job responsibility. Venture out. Look for adjacent spaces. Attend a session of two that you might learn something completely new and different.
Build your schedule in advance. The mobile app [IBM Events] can help you plan out your week.
Select one to five sessions per time slot, this gives you the choice to make a final selection, if there are last minute cancellations, or you discover a room is completely full.
Be mindful that some sessions are at the MGM Grand hotel, and others at the Mandalay Bay Resort, so you may need to account for travel time. This [Week-at-a-Glance] can help. I will be focusing my efforts at the Mandalay Bay.
Here's my first cut at my schedule. Maybe this will help you organize your own.
Sunday, Feb 21
7152A IBM Research Day: Cognitive IoT -- Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
7176A IBM Research Day Demo: Cognitive IoT Analytics Enable Connected Vehicle Service Innovations
7108A IBM Research Day: Blockchain and the Future of Finance
7234A IBM Research Day: Building Cloud Infrastructure for Next-Generation Workloads
7135A IBM Research Day: Storing and Using Data in the Cloud -- Putting Together the Puzzle Pieces
7085A Discover InterConnect: Discover the Value of IBM Systems for Your Business
7291A IBM Research Day Demo: Event-Driven, Serverless Cloud Compute and Storage
7112A IBM Research Day: Cloud Programming Models
7144A Open Technology Summit
Networking Reception -- Mandalay Bay South Convention Center Ballroom
Monday, Feb 22
7030A General Session Day 1: Digital Business Transformation
1581A University of Chicago Taps into IBM Cloud Object Storage for More Effective Patient Treatments
7221A Is Your Data Infrastructure Designed for Cloud, Analytics and Cognitive? Get Ready with IBM Storage!
1441A Data Resiliency: Data-Driven Analytics and Beyond
6488A Blockchain for Dummies
1267A Prudential and IBM: Integrating Application and Storage Management to Drive Cloud Service Levels
7433A Special Session: Open for Data -- An Open Invitation to Help You Solve Your Greatest Data Challenges
3050A IBM Cloud Architecture Center: A Story of 1001 Client Implementations and How You Can Leverage Them
6285A Data Management from the Cloud: Introduction to IBM Storage Insights
7215A Software Defined Storage: How Data Growth and Analytics are Driving New Innovation in Cloud Storage
3690A Meet the Experts on IBM Cloud Storage Services
7171A Solution EXPO Reception - Monday
Tuesday, Feb 23
6139A Manulife's Transformation to Agility with a Hybrid Cloud
4852A The Weather Company: How Insurers Can Differentiate with Weather Data
4955A IBM and Box: Delivering Hybrid Solutions for Enterprise Content Management
7032A General Session Day 2: IT Transformation
6524A The Role of Tape in a Cloud-Based World for Economical and Secure Data Retention
7253A Blogging 201: Plan, Maintain, and Optimize Your Blog
1013A Trends in Encryption of Data at Rest: On-Premise and in the Cloud
3757A Moving from Enterprise Premises to the Cloud in Gradual Steps
2131A Enabling Cloud Business with IBM FlashSystem
1709A Big Data—Beyond the Hype
3318A System of Systems Transformation at the Boeing Company
7408A IBM + Box: Transforming Work in the Cloud
1885A Enterprise IT "as-a-Service": A Hybrid Model for the Digital Enterprise
2692A In Wine There is Wisdom, in Beer There is Freedom, in IBM There is Digital Transformation...
5602A Successfully Architecting the Enterprise Edge: Insight from ADP
1234A Ubuntu -- Make It Your Choice for Cloud and Scale-Out Linux Workloads on POWER8
2154A Expert Panel on Hybrid Cloud Data Protection: Who Is the Service Provider?
7172A Solution EXPO Cocktail Reception
7175A InterConnect ROCKS with Elton John
Thursday, Feb 25
2419A Enhance the Agility of Your Cloud with IBM FlashSystem
7398A Cybersecurity Jeopardy! Are We Putting the Answers before the Question?
4331A Leverage zOS and Cloud Storage for Backup/Archive Efficiency and Cost Reduction
7341A IBM Storage and Catalogic: Software Defined Solutions for Hybrid Cloud and DevOps
2027A Get the Best From Your Storage: Why IBM Spectrum Virtualize Makes Sense for Your Cloud
4921A Radical Storage Simplicity for Your Cloud and How it Can Impact Your Customers
If you use Twitter, follow @IBMInterConnect, @IBMSystems and @IBMStorage for updates, and my own tweets @az990tony. If you take a photo at the event, tag it with #ileadIT to enter into the social-photo contest!
I will be there all week! Contact me if you want to get together.
Continuing my coverage of the IBM Systems Technical University in Orlando, here are the sessions that I presented or attended on Day 1 (Monday).
Storage Keynote Session
This was a three-part kick-off keynote session. Mo McCullough, IBM Systems Lab Services and Training, coordinated the storage track of this event and provided some details on how to use the website portal and smartphone app.
Clod Barrera, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technical Strategist for Storage, presented the future of the storage industry, including trends in storage media technologies, data plane and control plane level enhancements, and broader system-wide considerations.
Tony Pearson, IBM Master Inventor and Senior Software Engineer, wrapped up the session with an overview of IBM's Smarter Storage strategy.
IBM Software Defined Storage Overview, Concepts and IBM SDS Family
Brian Sherman, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Client Technical Specialist for Advanced Technical Skills in the Americas, provided an overview of Software Defined Environments and how storage fits in that view, especially IBM's Spectrum Storage family.
IBM Cloud Storage Options
Tony Pearson presented on IBM's various Cloud Storage options.
While my original focus was on-premise storage solutions for use by Data Centers and Cloud Service providers, there was a lot of interest in IBM's storage available from SoftLayer and other Cloud providers. During this week, IBM announced its acquisition of CleverSafe, which I had not incorporated into the deck.
What's New in IBM Spectrum Protect v7.1.3
Tricia Jiang, IBM Technical Enablement Specialist for IBM Spectrum Storage, presented the latest release of IBM Spectrum Protect. That's an inside joke--this is the first release, but since it was based on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) v7.1.2, it was easier just to continue the same numbering scheme.
The main features of v7.1.3 is the new in-line dedupe capability, the new "deduplication containers" concept, and support for backing up to object storage either on-premise or in the cloud
IBM Spectrum Scale v4.1 Overview
Glen Corneau, IBM Client Technical Specialist for Power Systems, presented the latest features of IBM Spectrum Scale, formerly known as IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS). It was interesting to hear this from a Power Systems perspective, as IBM Spectrum Scale supports both AIX and Linux on POWER.
The day ended with a Welcome Reception at the IBM Solution Center that had various z System, Power System and System Storage solutions, as well as solutions from various IBM Business Partners and other third parties.
Over the past ten years, my co-workers have asked to write a "guest post" on this blog. This time, Moshe Weiss, IBM Senior Manager, Development and Design, has offered the following post, not in his own voice, but in the voice of his "baby", the Hyper-Scale Manager software.
You might think this is a strange approach, but today we have robots that can dance, and cars that can drive themselves! If software could talk, this is what IBM Hyper-Scale Manager would say:
"I was born a year ago.
It wasn't an easy birth… there were many complications. In fact, so many, that I was almost prematurely born!
Most of my development, in preparation for labor and delivery, was done within the last 6 months of the overall 18 months. I was shaped and designed, and sometimes re-shaped, three times. Lots of assumptions had to be made in hopes to ease a successful delivery and help bring me to full term of the birthing process.
During my first year of maturity, I focused on learning how customers used me; what frustrated them the most, and what they loved or 'almost' loved, while still needing refinement and redesign.
The number of customers adopting me grew higher and higher, as did the number of complaints and bugs that I had to deal with, and my users’ frustrations and dislikes because I wasn't yet a complete solution and still had some missing features.
I was renewed four times! Each time of which improved me and made my senses better, faster, adding new capabilities that helped make me more approachable, intuitive and delightful.
Choosing how to renew, and what to add to each renewal, is not an easy task. Basically, it was about prioritizing user experience versus gaps that were deferred from my birth, versus differentiators to make me unique and sell more, versus features in my roadmap, versus investing huge efforts in my quality.
Each renewal was a complex process with lots of features and behaviors to add, while trying to make my customers’ life a bit easier, since features that were important to them were sometimes considered low priority.
But, there were also good times during my first year:
Huge customer adoption rate
100 new customers in two months!
Growing was a great thing and my parents were and are still so proud! But, like with most things, it came with a price - a lot of sustain issues from the field, requests for changes and bad feedback that I am hard to use and missing core elements.
Being a new baby in the Storage world is not a simple thing, as expectations are huge (mainly because of my successful elder brother, the XIV GUI) and I must quickly keep up with all of them.
Although, I am getting tons of good feedback for being revolutionary and unique. People are emotionally engaged with me, and being that I’m a baby, I love to see emotions!
Huge marketing efforts to put me center stage
However, because of some initial problems at the start -- I am a new product, remember? -- I was thrown out of multiple customer sites, and some sales/marketing guys just stopped believing in me. That made me sad.
My parents did a great job, though, in talking, explaining and demonstrating what I can do, together with what I can’t do now, but will do soon. This really helped in some areas, and customers began to see what my parents saw in me for so many years.
I’m really enthusiastic to hear what people will think of me when I’m two years old!
As part of the renewal I had four times during my first year, design elements were reconsidered, redesigned and rewritten to find the best solutions ever. No product has come even close to what I suggest to the world… I am so proud of myself!
Additionally, my parents wrote approximately 20 patents on my User Interface (UI) elements and User Experience (UX) concepts, which makes me extremely unique.
Prioritization of what goes in and what doesn't, especially during a time when fewer and fewer babysitters handled me during that year. It was a real challenge. Read my parent's post [How to drive forward an exhausted team?] for more details.
But my parents did it! They succeeded to add cool features like:
Filter analytics and free text, making the filter a great experience that everyone is using.
Great UX improvements like redesigning the tabs, adding right click menus, and adding more on-boarding enablers
Improving the dashboard.
Improving my core business, capacity management (four different times!), and still working on it.
Adding features that were initially deferred in my birth. Deferring features back then was the way to make my birth go smoother. Now, these missing features annoy people.
Improving quality dramatically, adding automation to the way people test me.
Adding differentiators, like the health widget, with more than 20 best practices that provide helpful tips to the customer when there’s a need to change something in their environment, to avoid future issues.
Continue to bring added values for the 'A-family'. I am monitoring: FlashSystem A9000/R, XIV and Spectrum Accelerate, both on and off premises. This added value makes for a family with the most powerful management solutions and experience."
If you are planning to attend the upcoming IBM Systems Technical University, Orlando Florida, May 22-26, There will also be a variety of hands-on labs. I recommend participating in the hands-on session to feel and witness the next release of IBM Hyper-Scale Manager.
Are you looking for new storage for 2014? Time to replace that old gear on your IT floor?
The decisions you make about your IT infrastructure affect everything -- from database and business analytics to cloud and virtualization. That's why it's more important than ever to choose wisely.
If you are currently running on storage from HP, HDS, EMC or one of IBM's many other competitors, you might want to take a fresh new look at IBM storage which...
performs faster with greater throughput and lower latency,...
and is easier to use, ...
AND costs less over the next three to five years!
Next week, on January 16, senior IBM executives will share news about breakthrough technologies, featuring Intel® processors, that enhance Smarter Computing servers and storage.
(This webcast will be available worldwide. I, myself, will be in Winnipeg, Canada, freezing my [tuque] off!)
In this webcast, you will learn how to improve decision support and data processing for your mission-critical applications, drive higher performance on analytics and increase agility and flexibility through scalable solutions.
This week, I was in beautiful Melbourne, Australia for IBM Systems Technical University. On Wednesday evening, we had a poster session. This was the first time I presented a poster session, so I was understandably very excited.
(I have so many photos that I will split this post up into topics. This post will focus on storage posters. See my other posts for IBM Power and Z systems.)
The venue was Eureka Skydeck 89, the top floor of the Eureka Tower. This tower is 297 meters tall (974 feet), and the views it afforded of the city of Melbourne were stunning.
Mo and I arrived early as I was one of the 11 finalists that got selected to present a poster. While it is a hot summer back in Arizona, it is cold here in Australia. I am glad we brought our heavy coats for the brisk 8-minute walk from our hotel, the Crown Promenade, to the Eureka Tower.
Posters are designed to present specific topics in a concise and interactive way to appeal to peers and colleagues at conferences and/or public displays. Everyone would be given an "A0" poster size foam board on which to tape on their poster, 841mm wide, and 1189 mm tall (roughly three feet by four feet).
Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
My design was simple. I took my summary chart from one of my presentations, and enlarged it to fit the "A0" poster size. I chose my "Pendulum Swings" presentation that explains the history of storage infrastructure, and the rise in interest in Converged and Hyperconverged Infrastructure.
In the early days of IT, storage was internal to its server, over time, storage outgrew its container, and we started having externally attached storage, and benefits like RAID and clustered servers for high availability. Then, SANs, LANs and WANs took the main stage, allowing for greater connectivity and distance.
But now, it seems the pendulum is swinging back with converged and hyperconverged systems. Converged Systems like IBM PureSystems, or VersaStack from IBM and Cisco, provide best-of-breed hardware for servers, storage and networks in a pre-cabled, pre-configured rack. With everything in a single rack, port count and cable distance limits are no longer a major concern.
Hyperconverged Systems, such as IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Accelerate, Nutanix or Simplivity, focus instead on offering commodity servers with internal flash and disk storage. Software-Defined Storage software is then used to glue together multiple units over a LAN infrastruture. With the huge increase in Flash and Disk capacities, a server with internal storage can hold many TB of data.
My poster included a "QR Code" that pointed to a link on BOX so that people could use their smartphones to access all of my presentations.
IBM Spectrum Scale with focus on Active File Management
A poster presents not all the details but the most important information.
Trishali Nayar, IBM AFM/Spectrum Scale Development from Pune India, had a poster on IBM Spectrum Scale with focus on Active File Management (AFM). She had a clean, simple design, basically two presentation slides enlarged to fill the poster size.
Active File Management (AFM) enables sharing of data across clusters, even if the networks are unreliable or have high latency. AFM allows you to create associations between IBM Spectrum Scale™ clusters or between IBM Spectrum Scale clusters and NFS data source. With AFM, you can implement a single name space view across sites around the world making your global name space truly global. You can also duplicate data for disaster recovery purposes without suffering from WAN latencies.
IBM Ubiquity Storage Service for Container Ecosystems
Your audience isn't trying to replicate your solution or case -- they are simply after the basics. Take for example, this poster on IBM's Ubiquity Storage Services.
Ashutosh Mate, IBM WW Senior Solutions Architect, created this poster on storage for Containers. Not to be confused with the Containers used in Spectrum Protect container pools, or the Containers supported by IBM Cloud Object Storage!
The poster had six enlarged presentation slides. Two at the top under "Abstract" covered business need and technology overview. The two in the middle under "Ubiquity Architecture" had a connection diagram and a list of supported environments. The last two under "IBM Vision" covered customer value, use cases, and additional resources.
As people transition from monolithic applications to microservices, IT is shifting from heavy Virtual Machines to lightweight Docker containers.
The Ubiquity project enables persistent storage for the Kubernetes and Docker container frameworks. It is a pluggable framework available for different storage systems. The framework interfaces with the storage systems, using their plugins. Different container frameworks can use Ubiquity concurrently, allowing access to different storage systems.
IBM has support for Spectrum Scale, all of the Spectrum Accelerate offerings (including XIV, FlashSystem A9000/R) and all of the Spectrum Virtualize offerings (including SVC, Storwize and FlashSystem V9000).
Single page handouts as "take-aways" was a nice extra touch.
Last week, I was in Atlanta for the "IBM TechU Comes to You" event at the beautiful Marriott Marquis hotel. This was a three-day event, so here is my recap of Day 1.
Marlin Maddy (IBM Systems Lab Services) acted as emcee to kick off this event. We had about 300 attendees.
Louise Hemond-Wilson (IBM Distinguished Engineer) presented IBM's transition from being a "Systems, Software and Services" company to one that focuses on "Cognitive Solutions and Hybrid Cloud". IBM offerings help clients to accelerate innovation, to analyze their data in context with other public sources of information, and ensure service predictability.
Glenn Anderson (IBM Systems Lab services) presented "Thinking outside the Cubicle". While many of the people in the room are administrators focused on their day-to-day jobs, Glenn argued it would be good to learn what others in the industry are doing, including DevOps, Agile programming, and AlwaysOn approaches.
Marlin came back on stage to give a brief overview of the latest IBM Global Technology Outlook 2015 report. The GTO is IBM Research's vision of the future for IT. It highlights emerging technology trends that will impact the industry in the next 3-10 years. GTO 2015 is dedicated entirely to the historic changes occurring around data.This talk provides an overview of the GTO 2015 topics: data at the edge, data gravity, data-centric enterprises, and brain-inspired systems for processing all that data.
Here are some of the predictions and findings:
By 2017, data stored on off-premise clouds may equal as much as three-quarters of all data in traditional data centers
Smartphones already possess more storage capacity than all servers combined.
Curating data to generate meaningful insights easily can consume 70-80 percent of the time-to-value
In a lifetime, an average human in the developed world will generate 0.4 TB of clinical data, 6 TB of genomic data, and 1100 TB of exogenous "lifestyle" data
About 85 percent of consumer transactions and 10% of government and business transactions are in cash, which largely is invisible to analytics today
90% of data created over the last 10 years was ABANDONED
60% of valuable sensory data loses value in milliseconds
Having data accessible "at the edge" increases business opportunities, speed and value of business decisions.
IBM Spectrum Protect - Roadmap and Futures
Mike Hedden presented this session on what the latest features of IBM Spectrum Protect v7.1.5, and various directions that our development teams are pursuing for upcoming quarterly releases. By a show of hands, most attendees were still using IBM Tivoli Storage Manager v5 or v6.
Introduction to Object Storage and its Applications - Cleversafe
A few years ago, IBM invested over $1B to be the #1 vendor in All-Flash Arrays, led by our IBM FlashSystem product line. A year ago, IBM invested over $1B to be the #1 vendor for Software Defined Storage solutions, including Spectrum Storage family of products. Last October, IBM invested another $1.3B to become #1 in Object Storage, with the acquisition of Cleversafe, a Chicago-based company.
I presented the basics of object store, a radical new way of storing information and how it is different from block or file-based storage alternatives. I then covered the features of our Cleversafe solutions, available as software, pre-built appliances, and in the Cloud. I wrapped up with practical use cases for Content Repository, Enterprise Collaboration, Active Archive, Storage as a Service and Backup.
Software Defined Storage
At this event, we put all three Software Defined Storage sessions back to back, giving attendees the option to choose the time slot that best fits their schedule. Clod Barrera did the first one, then I did mine, and then Jeff Barnett did his.
Clod focused on "Software Defined Environment" which is a broader category that includes Compute, Storage and Network. While Software-Defined Networking has been around for four years now, IBM has invested heavily in Software Defined Compute with the acquisition of Platform Company.
My presentation "Software Defined Storage--Why? What? How?" was more technical than the other two, focusing on key features of each of the six products in the Spectrum Storage family. I explained the new Spectrum Storage Suite licensing that drastically simplifies how TB are counted for an all-encompassing TB-based price.
Jeff focused more on the business value obtained by deploying Software Defined Storage, with practical use cases and client references that had amazing results.
(There were some attendees who attended two or three. If that sounds repetitive, consider Penn & Teller made an entire movie in 2005 called [The Aristocrats] that basically has dozens of stand-up comedians tell the same joke, but each gives a unique spin on it. It's not the song itself, they argue in the movie, but the singer that makes performances memorable. I highly recommend it.)
Integration between IBM Spectrum Scale and Cleversafe
This was a fun session. First, I presented an overview of IBM Spectrum Scale which provides volume, file and object-level storage interfaces on data that can span various flash, hybrid and spinning disk storage devices. Second, I presented Cleversafe for those who missed my earlier session. Finally, I then showed how files can be migrated from IBM Spectrum Scale to either Cleversafe on-premises, Cleversafe in the Cloud on IBM SoftLayer, or LTFS-enabled tape using IBM Spectrum Archive, or to any combination of disk, tape, object storage, Cleversafe and Cloud through IBM Spectrum Protect HSM and Space Management features.
The day concluded with a reception serving food and drinks. There were several booths from our sponsors, including Rocket Software, Catalogix, Storix and others.
Did you miss Atlanta? Want to hear the latest technical information about IBM Storage, but not willing to wait until the big [IBM Edge Conference] this September? We will have several more "IBM TechU Comes to You" events in May and June. To learn more, or to register for one of these, check out the [IBM Technical Events in 2016] landing page. I have negotiated [special discounts] for those who read this blog!
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.
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.
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.
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].
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!
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.
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!