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Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor, Senior IT Architect and Event Content Manager for [IBM Systems for IBM Systems Technical University] events. With over 30 years with IBM Systems, Tony is frequent traveler, speaking to clients at events throughout the world.
Lloyd Dean is an IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect in Infrastructure Architecture. Lloyd has held numerous senior technical roles at IBM during his 19 plus years at IBM. Lloyd most recently has been leading efforts across the Communication/CSI Market as a senior Storage Solution Architect/CTS covering the Kansas City territory. In prior years Lloyd supported the industry accounts as a Storage Solution architect and prior to that as a Storage Software Solutions specialist during his time in the ATS organization.
Lloyd currently supports North America storage sales teams in his Storage Software Solution Architecture SME role in the Washington Systems Center team. His current focus is with IBM Cloud Private and he will be delivering and supporting sessions at Think2019, and Storage Technical University on the Value of IBM storage in this high value IBM solution a part of the IBM Cloud strategy. Lloyd maintains a Subject Matter Expert status across the IBM Spectrum Storage Software solutions. You can follow Lloyd on Twitter @ldean0558 and LinkedIn Lloyd Dean.
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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 was in Hollywood Florida for the IBM Systems Technical University. Here is my recap of the final two days, day 4 and 5.
The Pendulum Swings Back: Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
Once again, I presented my popular session on converged and hyperconverged systems. For converged, IBM offers IBM PureApplication systems with Power and x86 servers, as well as partnership with Cisco called VersaStack. Both support IBM Cloud Private as a platform for running applications.
For Hyperconverged, IBM offers Spectrum Accelerate and Spectrum Scale, as well as partnerships with SuperMicro that combines Spectrum Accelerate on SuperMicro x86 servers, and partnership with Nutanix for CS-models of Power servers pre-installed with Nutanix software.
Unlike other converged and hyperconverged solutions that act as isolated islands of compute and storage, IBM's solutions can be incorporated into an existing datacenter with IBM Cloud Private for orchestration, and IBM Spectrum Scale to provide common access to data.
The Seven Tiers of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
With all the natural disasters that happened last year in the USA, and the more recent ones all over the world, this session continues to draw a crowd.
The seven tiers range from the least expensive to most expensive. The least expensive involves restoring data from tapes stored in an offsite vault. Tape continues to be the least expensive storage medium, and can be used to bring up a company in a few days.
For faster recovery, there are options like electronic vaulting to virtual tape libraries, and now the use of Cloud storage for ubiquitous access to data from different locations.
Snapshots of entire volumes, virtual machines or databases are also quite popular. IBM offers IBM Spectrum Protect Snapshot, Spectrum Protect Plus, and Spectrum Copy Data Management for this.
Faster recovery is possible with remote mirroring. This involves sending all of the updates to a secondary location. In the event of a disaster, clients can switch processing with the data already there. IBM has over 800 clients able to do just that in less than 30 minutes.
Event Night by the Pool
Photography by Mo Reyes
While Hurricane Michael raged in upper Florida the week prior, the event coordinators were a bit nervous to offer an evening dinner event by the pool, but the weather cooperated!
Photography by Mo Reyes
I was a social butterfly, moving from table to table to talk to all of the various attendees. A light breeze and excellent food and music made for an enjoyable night!
The pool reception went on to about 10:00pm at night. IBM had lit up its logo into the pools for a great view from above. Perhaps just 30 minutes after arriving back to my hotel room, we had quite the thunderstorm! How incredibly lucky this did not happen during the event!
The following day, I presented my session on "Managing Risk with Data Footprint Reduction, a repeat of the session I did earlier that week.
This was a pleasant way to end the week! Aside from the heat and humidity being above average for October, it was a beautiful hotel in a lovely city.
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.
Several readers have asked me what is the difference between Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud. The two phrases are used in various contexts, not just by IBM, but also by our competitors, as well as the press and industry analysts.
A hybrid cloud attempts to develop a single platform to run a specific Cloud workload. This single platform combines two or more of the following resources:
on-premise private Cloud
off-premise private Cloud
off-premise public Cloud
A Hybrid Cloud is like the United Nations peacekeeping force. A single force, with a single mission, representing the combined resources of many countries.
A Hybrid Cloud is a deployment model that might offer advantages over just using a Private Cloud, or just using a Public Cloud.
A practical example is Tennis Australia. For three weeks every January, they run the Australian Open, a tennis tournament, with over 4,000 employees, and millions of views to their website each day. For the rest of the year, they have only about 300 employees, and manage quite well to run smaller tournaments for high-school and college students, as well as plan for next year's event.
In this case, a Hybrid Cloud that combines perhaps two racks of an on-premise private Cloud, combined with the incredible power of IBM Cloud, gives them the variability and agility needed to run smoothly without wasting CAPEX on equipment they don't need.
Many "Hybrid Cloud" products focus on being the "glue" that combines two different resources together. This can be at the management layer, the data layer, the application layer, or the infrastructure layer.
In contrast, a Multi-Cloud represents a deployment strategy for different Cloud workloads. One workload might be better served on a Private Cloud, another workload might be better served on a Public Cloud, and a third workload, as we saw above, might benefit from the combined resources of a Hybrid Cloud.
In the past, people felt that all Cloud Service Providers were the same. Just as people buy gasoline from which ever gas station offers the lowest prices, many just chose their Cloud Service Provider based entirely on the costs involved. Loyalty can change the minute new price tables are published.
But today, Cloud Service Providers have made an effort to provide differentiation. For example, your Multi-Cloud might have three Hybrid Clouds. One cloud platform combines your on-premise Private Cloud with IBM Cloud, another combines your on-premise Private Cloud with Amazon Web Services, and a third combines your on-premise Cloud with Microsoft Azure.
In this case, a Multi-Cloud is like the various armed forces. You might deploy the Army for one mission, the Navy for another, and the Air Force or Marines for a third.
Many "Multi-Cloud" products focus on being versatile and multi-purpose. For example, the same FlashSystem 9100 that you deploy in your "Analytics Cloud" platform could also be useful for your "Docker Container Cloud" platform, or your "DevOPS Cloud" platform. IBM's various Multi-Cloud Solutions provide the additional software and services needed to complement the FlashSystem 9100 to pull this off.
Deciding to use a Multi-Cloud strategy is mostly a business decision. Deploying a Hybrid Cloud as one of your Multi-Cloud platforms could be a combination of business and technical decision.
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!
Last week, I was in Hollywood Florida for the IBM Systems Technical University. Here is my recap of day 1.
Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage (powered by CleverSafe)
For the first session of the week, at 8:30am in the morning, this was a surprisingly interactive session. I had lots of questions from the attendees.
This 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.
Opening Session: Storage Panel of Experts
The opening session started out with an introduction of Calline Sanchez, the new Vice President for IBM Systems Lab Services.
This was followed by something completely different. Mo McCullough acted asked a panel of experts a series of questions, combined with recommended sessions that support each solution. We had the following experts, shown here sitting from left to right in the photo:
Clod Barrera, IBM CTO for Storage
Kelly Groff, Senior offering manager for FlashSystem
Jack Arnold, Security Specialist for U.S. Federal Systems
Brian Sherman, IBM Washington Systems Center
Tony Pearson (yes that is me on the far right)
The session was then wrapped up by Mario Franzone, manager of Technical Events, showing off the latest features of the "IBM TechU" mobile app, which provides the agenda, maps, and other useful information to navigate the conference smoothly.
IBM Hybrid Cloud and Multicloud Storage Solutions
This was previously called IBM Hybrid Cloud Storage Solutions, but now that many clients choose to have multiple different cloud configurations, I added "Multicloud" to the mix.
I organized this talk into five sections:
Archiving less active storage to the Cloud
Hybrid Cloud configurations for backups and snapshots
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Daily Operations, Reporting and Analytics
Production applications in the Hybrid Cloud
I added some slides near the end of my talk about IBM Cloud Private. IBM Spectrum Access blueprints with IBM Spectrum Connect provide interfaces for persistent storage for VMware, Microsoft, Cloud Foundry and Docker Containers.
This was a good way to start the week! Attendees were thankful that they had missed Hurricane Michael that swept through Florida the week before. The red tide had abated, and wind speeds were back to normal levels.
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 second day:
Nutanix 101: Intro to Hyperconverged Infrastructure and Private Cloud on IBM Power Systems
I attended this based on the abstract for this session:
"Learn in this session why IBM has partnered with Nutanix around hyperconvergence, how this architecture can help drive simplicity, performance and cost efficiency into your IT landscape. You will get both a high level overview on Nutanix, as well as how IBM CS Series is using the Nutanix software to deliver a worldclass application platform, followed by a live demo to show you how Nutanix works."
Sadly, I felt the title and abstract were partially misleading.
Rui Gonclaves from Nutanix gave a nice overview of how Nutanix software can help drive simplicity and cost efficiency to x86 server deployments. It supports VMware, Hyper-V and its own version of Linux KVM called the Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV). Its PRISM software helps to provide one-click management convenience for a cluster of x86 servers.
Nutanix considers its software to be the value of the solution, and treats the servers it runs on as mere commodities. By partnering with IBM, Nutanix adds another concubine to its harem. The only subtle reference to the new CS models was an IBM logo among the logos of Lenovo, HP, DellEMC, and Cisco UCS. Rui failed to cover any details of the CS models, nor their advantages over x86 servers.
(IBM, on the other hand, considers its hardware to be the value of the solution, and treats the applications as commodities. IBM Power servers are able to run open source databases like MongoDB and EnterpriseDB better. For example, a 3-node cluster of IBM CS822 servers (22-core models) was able to run more than twice the transactions per second (tps) per dollar than a comparable cluster of 24-core Dell CX630-10 machines.)
Rui finished his presentation 25 minutes early, so there would have been enough time to cover the CS models, or show a live demo, but that didn't happen either.
Save the World! Save your IT Budget with IBM Cloud Object Storage
All of the presenters at this conference were asked to come up with fun and quirky titles for their sessions. Since clients use IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS) to save large repositories of active archives, the phrase "Save the World!" has a double meaning.
IBM has clients with more than 100 PB deployments of IBM Cloud Object Storage, so the idea that you can "Save the world's amount of data" was not too outrageous.
IBM COS is relatively inexpensive, at a total cost of ownership that is up to 70 percent less expensive than traditional disk-based solutions. A lot of your data is probably static, stable, unstructured content ideal for low-cost storage with IBM COS, so the idea that you can save your IT budget wasn't outlandish either.
Discover advanced features & last announcements with IBM Spectrum Virtualize
When I saw this title, I was afraid it might overlap too much with my session "Dip your TOE in our Pool". Instead, Dominique Salomon from the IBM Client Experience Center in Montpelier France, presented a great overview of the basic and advanced features of Spectrum Virtualize family of products.
He cover automated tiering with IBM Easy Tier, data footprint reduction with Thin Provisioning, Compression and Deduplication, as well as Copy Services like FlashCopy and remote mirroring.
How big is your NAS? Sizing, Management, and Deployment
While I had fun coming up with fun and quirky titles for their sessions, their drawback is that it forces people to read the abstracts to understand what will be covered in each session.
In this session, I covered IBM's three main NAS offerings: Spectrum Scale, Spectrum NAS, and IBM Cloud Object Storage with NAS gateways from Ctera Networks, Avere, Panzura, and Nasuni.
The rest of the session was IBM's new File and Object Storage Design Engine (FOS-DE) studio, an online tool to help decide which of the three NAS solutions is the best fit, and rough sketch configuration that meets a client's specific capacity and performance requirements.
The FOS-DE tool is available at no charge to all IBM employees, IBM Business Partners, and prospective clients.
I wasn't planning to give a live demo, but I ended ten minutes early, and had decent Wi-Fi connection, so I was able to demonstrate the FOS-DE studio with the remainder of my time slot.
Nightmares and Dreams: Manage your entire Storage Infrastructure with IBM Spectrum Control and Storage Insights
What keeps you up at night? That was the question that motivated the title of this session. I organized this topic into three segments:
Visibility - Can you even understand your storage infrastructure? IBM Storage Insights is available at no additional charge for IBM block storage devices, and can greatly enhance your visibility into your capacity growth, performance bottlenecks, and other vital insights.
Control - Reporting is not enough, you need to take action? IBM Spectrum Control Standard Edition, Spectrum Connect, and Copy Services Manager can help configure, provision and perform other actions needed to your storage infrastructure.
Automation - As data centers grow, the actions required often overwhelm existing IT staff. IBM Spectrum Control Advanced Edition adds analytics and automation.
Johannesburg is nine hours ahead of my home town in Tucson, Arizona. Jet lag hit me hard this second day, so I opted out of the evening activities, and got some much needed rest.
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!
This week, IBM clients, Business Partners and executives get together for the inaugural IBM [Think 2018] conference. There are over 30,000 attendees.
This is a combination of last year's three events: Edge, InterConnect, and World of Watson (WoW). The combined event is divided into four "campuses":
Cloud and Data -- formerly covered at InterConnect
Modern Infrastructure -- formerly covered at Edge
Business and AI -- formerly covered at World of Watson
Security and Resiliency -- covered in the other three events
(I am not in Las Vegas! In my first post in this series, [Science Slam], I forgot to mention that I was not physically there, and have since been flooded with invitations and requests for one-on-one meetings with clients and cocktail parties. Sorry folks! I am in Tucson writing these blog posts by watching the live stream videos of the event.)
Putting Smart to Work
Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and CEO, kicked off the event. In the opening video, we realize that "smart" is just a placeholder, translated to "Putting Cloud to Work", "Putting AI to work", and so on.
An "interesting moment" that happens every 25 years, when business and technology change at the same time. Those who learn exponentially are disruptors, not victims of disruption.
[Moore's law]: Double the number of transistors on a chip every 18-24 months.
[Metcalfe's law]: The value of a network is related to the square of the number of nodes involved.
[Watson's law]: Ginni would like to coin this new law to refer to exponential learning from data using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
How much of the world's data is searchable? only about 20 percent. The other 80 percent is proprietary that provides competitive advantage. IBM is helping clients be the "incumbent disruptor".
Ginni covered three inflection points: your business, society, and IBM itself
Companies must go on the offense, leverage multiple digital platforms (plural), and empower people by enable "man+machine" learning in every process they have. What are better decisions worth? Over $2 Trillion US dollars!
Man+Machine better than man-alone and machine-alone. At [Credit Mutuel], a leading European bank, Watson technology is used to answer 60 percent of customer emails, and 95 percent of the employees there are happier about this.
IT technology represents both the greatest opportunity and the biggest issue of our time.
Trust and responsibility. We must be data stewards, with focus on privacy and security. Only 4 percent of data is encrypted.
Jobs and skills. Man+Machine augments man alone. 100 percent of jobs will change. Ginni coined the term "new collar jobs" a few years ago.
Inclusion is important. IBM is one of the leaders in this area with its 400,000 employees spanning all races, genders, and sexual orientations. IBM was awarded [Catalyst award] for companies making real change for women in the workplace. IBM is the only tech company to be ever awarded this, and this will be the fourth time IBM is honored with this award.
IBM has revamped its own HR with [Workday]. In 2016, Workday partnered with IBM on 7-year deal to use IBM Cloud for its platform. IBM in turn has switched its HR to using Workday applications.
Mainframe technologies and POWER9 are now on the IBM Cloud. IBM is also expanding IBM Cloud Private to include "IBM Cloud Private for Data".
To date, IBM has completed 16,000 Watson engagements to-date. Watson Oncology now in 150 hospitals analyzing 13 different types of cancer.
The big system Watson used to play Jeopardy in 2011 have been broken down to micro-services and APIs that are more easily consumable by applications.
IBM and Apple have announced integration with Watson. Apple [CoreML] natively goes to Watson. IBM can now go straight to Apple Swift code. A new "Watson Studio" allows you to develop AI models in the cloud, then deploy them in private on-premises.
IBM will also offer "Watson Assistant". In the past, buying Watson was like buying a puppy, you needed to train it yourself. If you wanted a vicious guard dog, or a seeing-eye dog, that was up to you. Now, IBM offers "Watson Assistant" which is pre-trained.
Secure to the core
IBM is obsessed with security and trust, from Blockchain to Pervasive Encryption.
In the past, IBM often tried to do this all on its own, but in today's business climate, IBM now has strategic partnerships in these many areas.
Lowell McAdam, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Verizon Communications was the first guest speaker.
April 2017, Verizon launched Oath, formed from the company’s acquisition of AOL and Yahoo, which houses more than 50 digital and technology brands that together engage more than 1 billion people worldwide.
(I personally have been working with Verizon for decades, back when they were just NyNEX, BellAtlantic, and GTE, before they acquired Vodaphone, MCI, AOL and Yahoo! I use FlickR, one of the Yahoo brands.)
With the acquisition of AOL and Yahoo, Verizon formed "Oath", with over 1.2 billion consumers. The name came from the promise to customers for giving them to get what they want, when they want them.
Largest fiber provider for the USA. We have enough fiber on hand to stretch to Mars.
They invest $18 billion per year, but often payoffs not for another 5 years. [5G Wireless network technology] is an example. Lowell feels that 5G will usher the "fourth" industrial revolution:
Speeds over 1Gbps for consumers, 25Gbps for commercial, compared to 10 Mbps typical today.
5G will support 1,000 more devices per cell site, enabling IoT like intelligent lighting, video surveillance, face recognition.
5G has short latency, 1 msec compared to 200 msec today to cell site and back. This shorter latency will enable Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR).
5G also reduces battery consumption, imagine only charging your cell phone once per month!
Verizon delivers value three ways:
Provide connectivity only. Verizon will continue to do this for some markets
Like IBM, Verizon promises it will not use customer data in any manner that the customer did not "opt in" for. Business is based on trust. Those business that lose trust have difficult time to regain it.
Shipping, Supply Chain and Global Trade
Michael J. White manages the Global Trade Digitization organization for Maersk. He was recently named CEO-designate of the IBM-Maersk Joint Venture.
Shipping products is $4 Trillion US Dollar business. As much as 80 percent of what we consume came over the ocean. On average, 20 percent of the shipping cost is administrative paperwork, however, in some cases, the administrative costs exceed the physical transport costs.
State of industry, over the last 5 years, has been 3.7 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). This is expected to increase to 4 percent as economies bounce back. Many companies run lean, expecting their supply chains to provide supplies "just in time".
Unfortunately, shipping is hugely inefficient, paper-based. This impedes growth of local trade. Take for example the shipment of a container of Avocados from Kenya to Netherlands: 30 entities involved, over 100 individuals, over 200 transactions.
Why did IBM-Maersk joint venture pick blockchain? Blockchain is not a solution searching for a problem. The problems are well known, and blockchain addresses them. Smart contracts and decentralized authority provides immutable trust, critical in an industry where many parties do not know each other.
IBM Maersk Joint venture was formed over the past 18 months to create the world's best global trading platform.. There are 25 companies on-boarding now, with another 40 companies have expressed interest to join soon.
Unlike the anonymity of Bitcoin that enables terrorists and murders for hire, IBM is focused on transparency that all parties identify each other.
Blockchain benefits all the key parties involved. Carriers benefit, customers benefit, and ports and terminals get information earlier upstream for better planning during peak periods, and this results in better utilization of resources available.
(Not everyone benefits - counterfeiters and corrupt government officials will not be happy with Blockchain used in this manner!)
Paperless transactions reduces re-keying information by 80 percent. Less re-keying means fewer mistakes, fewer typos.
This new global trade platform offers opportunities in adjacent blockchain networks for financial services, insurance, and food safety. To ensure food safety, Blockchain is used by Walmart, Kroger, Unilever and 20 others. One third of food grown is wasted.
Dave McKay, President & Chief Executive Officer, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was the next speaker. Dave graduated from the University of Waterloo, a COBOL computer programmer at heart. RBC still use COBOL programs in their banking applications!
RBC is the top bank in Canada, and would be #5 bank if it was based in the USA. It will be celebrating its upcoming 150th anniversary in 2019. Highest customer sat for multiple years running. RBC has 13 million customers. RBC is also Canada's #1 broker/dealer for investment banking.
Back in the 1980s, banks were only open 10am-3pm, and treated it as a privilege for clients to work with the bank. Account holders came in several times per week, and relationships were built with local branches. Today, account holders are not coming into branch offices, using ATMs and mobile phones instead.
In the past, consumers used their RBC Credit Cards, and this provided brand recognition for RBC. Today, traditional banking services are now being embedded into other value chains. With Apple Wallet, for example, you enter your RBC credit card once, and then nobody knows what bank you are using to pay for coffee.
Like any bank, RBC is focused on three areas: moving money, storing money, and lending money. AI is needed to evaluate these transactions into knowledge, to provide business value and insight. However, RBC has only 40 Applied and Pure data science researchers on staff. This was deemed not enough, so RBC partnered with IBM.
Cloud, the computer power and speed needed, RBC has 60 apps in development in the IBM Cloud. While silicon valley start-ups might "let the app fail faster in the hands of clients", that approach doesn't work with money transactions.
RBC has invested heavily in blockchain. It will transform how we work with others. Digital transformation not just technology, but also cultural change. Is RBC in the mortgage business or the "Housing enablement business"? Is it in the car loan business or "transportation enablement business"?
Working with small business, they want to focus on their own clients, not bookkeeping and accounting. RBC has deployed AI in the Cloud to create the Advisor's Virtual Assistant [AVA] application. There have been over 48 million interactions in the first four months!
RBC is also investing $500 million this year to build the IT skills of their employees.
RBC is also focused on the stewardship of data. The strength and trust of financial institutions is the core to a strong economy. RBC policies are based on "opt in" to provide value relevant to both clients and the bank. Banks that breach that trust will struggle.
Ginni (and the rest of the company) has re-invented IBM to achieve exponential change. The change impacts all industries, not just the three we saw on the stage during this keynote session.
To follow along with the rest of Think2018 conference, watch the live stream on [www.ibm.com/events/think/watch] or follow the twitter hashtag #Think2018
While Sal Khan was a hedge fund manager in Nor then California, he was also a math tutor to his cousin Nadia over the Internet in the evenings. This extended to 15 other family members. In November 2006, Sal started to record his teachings on a YouTube channel. His cousins liked the YouTube recordings better, as they could go at their own pace.
In 2007, Sal realized that many people who were not family-related were watching his educational videos on YouTube. Sal quit his job and set up [Khan Academy] as a non-profit organization. Unfortunately, the donations he received from students and parents were not enough to support his monthly expenses. However, he received a generous $10,000 US dollar donation from a parent who used the site with her kids.
Word got around. Bill Gates from Microsoft mentioned Khan Academy in an on-stage interview. Mr. Gates admired Sal's wife for letting him quit his job to pursue his interests.
(Later, Mr. Gates invited Sal to visit the Microsoft campus in Seattle, WA, asking him "What could Khan Academy achieve if you had more resources?" A question folks in public education, or the IT industry for that matter, rarely hear! )
By Fall 2010, the Gates Foundation, Google, [and other supporters] helped make this a fully funded organization, he was able to hire engineers and educators.
Sal gave an interesting analogy. Imagine building a house, the first step is to pour the concrete foundation, instructing the builders to "do what you can in two weeks". The inspection indicates problems, but you go ahead and build first floor with the same approach "do what you can in two weeks", then build second floor. Eventually, the house collapses.
Sal organized Khan Academy similar to [Kung Fu belt colors], rather than the manner students are grouped by age in traditional American schools, promoted lock-step, regardless of their readiness. Many students have gaps, and being moved to next grade just results in more gaps. The solution is to fill the gaps in a timely manner.
Sal gave three inspiring stories of some of his students:
Charlie dropped out of high school his freshman year. When he came back to school, he was put in remedial math and science classes. Charlie was able to catch up using Khan Academy, graduated as high school valedictorian, and went on to major in Computer Science at Princeton. Hearing this testimonial, Sal offered him an internship during his Junior year at Princetom. Charlie is now fully employed at Khan Academy.
Some engineers from Silicon Valley went to Mongolia to setup computer labs for kids in an orphanage. One orphan, Zaya, sent an [email with video] to Sal about how much she appreciated learning through Khan Academy. Zaya is now 19 years old, and one of the top contributors to Khan Academy in the Mongolian language, helping to educate her own people.
Seven years ago, a girl named Sultana living in Afghanistan. The Taliban took over her town, and physically prevented girls from attending school. Sultana had Internet access at home, and taught herself English. She asked her uncle to bring back any reading materials in English he could find. He brought back a Time magazine with an article on Khan Academy.
Between her ten hours' worth of household chores every day, Sultana taught herself math, chemistry, biology and physics using Khan Academy. She illegally crossed into Pakistan, a dangerous 30-hour journey, just to take the SAT exam and did surprisingly well.
Nicolas Kristof from the New York Times wrote an article [Meet Sultana, the Taliban's worst fear]. Sultana was able to get assylum into the United States, and is now doing research with a top physicist at MIT.
But how effective is Khan Academy overall? Working with the college test board, Sal was able to do efficacy studies. With 250,000 students using Khan Academy for PSAT/SAT prep for just 20 hours produced 100 percent extra gain. A similar study in Idaho found 80 percent extra gain with 10,500 students. In Brazil, a 7,000 student study found that one hour of Khan academy per week resulted in 30 percent more learning.
The videos on Khan Academy favor being simple and authentic, rather than high production value. The software and equipment used to make the first videos only cost a few hundred dollars. The costs are just 30 US cents per hour of learning.
Today, the free online learning resources cover preschool through early college education, including K-12 math, grammar, biology, chemistry, physics, economics, finance, history, and SAT prep. Khan Academy also provides teachers with tools and data so they can help their students develop the skills, habits, and mindsets they need to succeed in school and beyond.
The concept scales well. Khan Academy has over 150 employees, with another 14,000 volunteers helping with translations. Over 59 million students have registered across 190 countries. Every year, about 300,000 people send in donations. The webiste has had over 1.4 billion views.
Sal finished his talk with a thought experiment: Go back 400 years ago to Western Europe, a time when only about 10 percent of men, and 5 percent of women, could read. If you asked someone, back then, what percentage of people could be taught to read, they would estimate only 20 to 30 percent.
Today we know that nearly 100 percent of people can be taught to read. However, if you asked people today what percentage of people could become a software engineer, start a business, or write a novel, people respond only one to five percent.
IBM Watson is also helping out in the area of education. Register today at [Teacher Advisor]!
This week, I am in Orlando, Florida for the [IBM Technical University], with focus on IBM storage, IBM Z mainframes and IBM Power servers. This is my recap for Day 3 breakout sessions.
VersaStack for Containers: IBM Cloud Private and Spectrum Access
Chris Vollmar, IBM Canada, presented all day today. In this session, he explained how "Spectrum Access" was not a product, but rather a blueprint of best practices on how to install the IBM Cloud Private and Spectrum Connect software on the VersaStack solution.
Leveraging IBM Cloud Object Storage for z/OS
Louis Hanna, IBM Z Software, presented this session. I was expecting it to either cover the DS8000 Transparent Cloud Tiering, or direct access to IBM Cloud Object Storage, but it turns out neither!
Instead, Louis talked about [IBM Cloud Tape Connector for z/OS], which mimics tape drive interfaces that can be used to move disk and tape data to a public cloud, or to IBM Cloud Object Storage on premises.
Information Lifecycle Management: Why Archive is Different than Backup
Can you believe there are still companies out there keeping backup tapes for seven years and pretending that this meets their long-term retention requirements?
What happens when you try to recover those tapes, and you need the right server, the right operating system, and the right application software to make sense of it all?
Backups should not be used in this manner. Rather, backups are to recover from recent hardware failure or data corruption only. If you have are keeping backups longer than 90 days, you are probably doing something wrong.
Archiving, on the other hand, is an intelligent process for managing inactive or infrequently accessed data, that still has value, while providing the ability to preserve, search and retrieve the information during a specified retention period.
However, some of the product names have changed, so I thought it would be good to do a fresh update on this topic for this conference.
Becoming the person you published on LinkedIn
Frank Degilio, IBM Distinguished Engineer, presented this "Career Development" session. IBM Technical University is not just for technical education, it also offers sessions of general interest to help round out personal skills.
Frank explained that to rise the corporate ranks, you need to learn to communicate, to collaborate, and to network with others. Technical workers should be "T-shaped", with the top part of the letter "T" representing broad, general skills, and the lower part representing deep technical skills in a specific area.
You can follow along with Twitter hashtag #IBMtechU, or follow me at @az990tony.
GDPR is the IT industry's next "Y2K crisis." Effective May 25, 2018, it ensures that any citizen of the European Union can review, rectify, and even erase any personal data from corporate datacenters. Companies that fail to respond to requests can be heavily fined. See Bob Yelland's quick 13-page guidebook on this, titled [GDPR - How it Works].
His team also developed the Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness (NORA) software for the casinos, combining the records of 15 million customers, 20,000 employees, and 18 different watch lists. If a casino did business with people on certain watch lists, they could be put out of business or heavily fined.
NORA alerts identified 24 active VIP players as known cheaters, 12 employees were active gamblers against company policy, 192 employees had possible relationships with casino vendors, and in seven cases the players were the vendor. One casino discovered they were paying to have one of these cheaters flown to Las Vegas to play at their tables!
(IBM acquired Jeff's company Systems Research and Development (SRD) back in 2005. I had the pleasure of working with Jeff during his 11 year stint at IBM, and participated in his G2 project that was later spun off in 2016 to form his newest company, Senzing. See my 2011 blog post [Storage Innovation Executive Summit] of Jeff's thoughts back then.)
Jeff identifies four challenges in complying with GDPR regulation. Suppose an EU citizen comes to your company and asks just to review all information that you have on them. How would you do that?
So this is Challenge #1: There are lot's of places to look. You have a customer database, loyalty club, marketing programs, vendor and supplier databases, and customer service. But wait, the person might have also been an employee! Does your employee database let you search for information on former employees?
Challenge #2 is that the data occurs in variations. Liz Reston could be stored as Elizabeth or Beth. Her last name might have changed from various marriages and divorces. Can you generate all of the variations to search on?
(I know this personally. I am not the only famous "Tony Pearson" out there. There is Tony Pearson, a cricket player in England. There is Tony Pearson, Chief of Staff in the Australian government. And finally, there is 61-year-old "Mr. Universe" Tony Pearson, the "Michael Jackson" of Bodybuilding. Needless to say, women who showed up at my house unannounced looking for him instead were sometimes disappointed!)
Challenge #3 is that existing systems have search limitations. Imagine going to a library that doesn't have a card catalog or computerized index. Rather, you need to go floor by floor, row by row, book by book, looking for the information you are looking for.
Human Resources software might only offer search options for name, date of birth or employee serial number. Hotel systems don't offer you search capabilities of billing or home addresses.
Small typos can result in incomplete search results. Home addresses, for example, are often written in different ways, suite or apartment numbers may be represented differently as well, and abbreviations may be used to represent fully-qualified names.
What are you going to do, ask the IT department to write custom SQL queries for you? One of the unexpected benefits of Jeff's NORA system was that it could match entities between databases by street address, a trick that normally isn't designed into most applications.
Challenge #4 is that not all things that look alike are alike. For example, Liz Reston and her co-dependent husband Bob might [share the same email address].
Family members might have the same home address and phone number. Sons are often named after their fathers, but don't always write "Senior" or Junior" or "III" at the end of their names.
In other cases, roommates in college, who are not related in any other way, might share the same home address. The same apartment number or home address could be used by different people as the house is sold or apartment is rented from one family to another.
It took Jeff decades to appreciate the results of these entity relationships, and then GDPR happened in 2016. When a citizen asks to review their personal data, which they can after May 25 for free, a company must deliver within 30 days. The person can then ask to rectify certain information, or have it erased altogether.
So what seems like a simple enough question, "What do we know about Liz Reston?" turns out to be challenging to answer for a variety of reasons. Jeff did a survey of over 1,000 European companies, here were the results:
Most companies are not ready, and are concerned about their ability to comply with this GDPR regulation.
Company expect an average of 246 requests per month.
The search will require accessing, on average, 43 different system databases.
Each database search will take seven minutes.
Companies will need to dedicate seven to eight full time employees to complete these search requests.
Having access to powerful enterprise-wide "single subject search" discovery tools, however, can also lead to search abuse. For example, a famous celebrity is admitted to a hospital, and suddenly sensitive information is leaked to the tabloids or paparazzi. Someone asks their friend, a police officer, to search the license plate on someone's vehicle. A father searches his corporate database for information on his daughter's new boyfriend.
To address this privacy concern, Jeff suggests a tamper-proof audit log that shows who searched for whom. Where are we going to get technology to do this? We already have it: Blockchain! That's right, the technology that enables Bitcoin to operate without government controls already includes a tamper-proof audit log for transactions.
Jeff's plans for his new company Senzing is to deliver software for different use cases, with APIs for popular programming languages like Java and Python, and a workbench that runs on Windows. He is also considering a "Community Edition" that could be affordable for even the smallest of businesses, with a challenge to the audience to please contribute to this as an open source project.
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 first day:
Opening Keynote Session
The conference was opened by a warm welcome from Ronnie Moodley, IBM Executive for Systems Hardware. He explained that we live in a VUCA world. For those who have not heard this term before, it is a four-letter acronym that conflates four different business challenges: [Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity].
Ronnie also mentioned the shifts in marketing, from the "four P's" to the "four E's":
Clients are no longer evaluating individual products, but also services that come with it, the context on how it is used, the identify of users, and other characteristics that provide a complete experience.
With so many free, open-source alternatives, the question is not comparing the prices of competing products, but what do you exchange for choosing one option for another. Often referred to as the total cost of ownership (TCO) or "opportunity cost" in economic terms.
The Internet and cloud technologies now allow people to buy and use products practically anywhere. Having a bricks-and-mortal location on a busy street corner may no longer be a competitive advantage.
Old marketing methods relied on uni-directional promotion from corporate marketing teams. Today, social media, blogs, and word-of-mouth evangelism are providing greater influences on purchase decision.
The second segment was "The World is our Lab", by Kugendran Naidoo, IBM Research South Africa. Unlike some companies that consolidate all of their research to one location, IBM does research across the globe, with two locations in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya and here in Johannesburg, South Africa).
Dr. Naidoo explained that often research leads us into areas we weren't expecting. For example, an algorithm developed to detect black holes in space failed, but it turned out to be useful for detecting Wi-Fi hot spots.
This begins back in 1974, when Stephen Hawking theorized that under certain circumstances, small black holes might "evaporate" — and simultaneously emit radio signals. These hypothesized black holes were about the mass of Mount Everest, and smaller than an atom. Soon after, the physicist and engineer John O'Sullivan tried to find these signals.
If these small black holes were evaporating, they would emit radio signals as they vanished. But because of their great distance from us, these signals would be hard to identify because they would be tiny by the time they arrived, as well being buried in a background of louder 'noise'. Furthermore, this tiny signal would be 'smeared' (turned from a sharp spike into a rounded shape). So he and his colleagues came up with a wonderful mathematical tool to detect these tiny, smeared signals.
As it turned out, they never did find these small black holes.
In 1992, John O'Sullivan was at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia, trying to develop computer networks that communicated without wires.
But there was a big problem. The signals he wanted to detect were tiny, smeared and buried in a background of louder 'noise'. Just like the black hole signals.
By a wonderful coincidence, his black hole mathematics turned out to be the key to Wi-Fi. CSIRO took out patents in Australia in 1992, and in the US in 1996. By 2000, they had some working chips.
Improve your NAS environment in One Day! Introducing IBM Spectrum NAS
IBM has been in the NAS storage business for decades. IBM Spectrum NAS is our most recent software defined storage. This session gave an overview on how Spectrum NAS is designed. This software can be deployed on as few as four nodes in less than an hour, leaving you the rest of the day to migrate your data from other NAS solutions.
IBM Spectrum NAS fills the gap between a single file server and expensive dual-controller models available commercially. A single file server, running perhaps Windows Storage Server or Linux with NFS and Samba, represents a single point of failure (SPOF). Lose the one server, and your department or team loses access to all of those shared files!
At the other extreme, commercial dual-controller NAS devices, such as those from NetApp or DellEMC, are loaded with advanced features and application-specific capabilities. Some people take advantage of these, others don't.
IBM Spectrum NAS is software defined storage that runs on four or more nodes, is highly available, and provides many of the advanced features offered by commercial dual-controller models at roughly half the total cost of ownership.
Dip your TOE in our Pool! iSER and Data Reduction with IBM Spectrum Virtualize
All of the presenters at this conference were asked to come up with fun and quirky titles for their sessions. The title is a bit of wordplay.
When IBM launched its SAN Volume Controller in 2003, I was one of the "Technical Evangelists" that traveled around the world to explain how it works. Today, 15 years later, I am still talking about how great this technology is.
Ethernet network interface cards that have co-processors to offload some of the TCP/IP processing are called TCP-Offload-Engines, or "TOE" cards.
IBM recently announced two new flavors of 25GbE cards, one that supports RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), and another that supports Internet Wide Area RDMA protocol (iWARP).
To implement data deduplication, the Spectrum Virtualize team refactored the code that handled pools of managed space. The original pools are now referred to as "Legacy Storage Pools", and the new pools are referred to as "Data Reduction Pools".
Fahima Zair, Tony Pearson, and Maria Lancaster
After the sessions, we had a nice evening reception to celebrate the General Availability of the IBM FlashSystem 9100. At events like these, many attendees are local and commute to the event, so I was happy to see many stuck around to have conversations with the experts.
I was able to reconnect with many of my colleagues, including Fahima Zair in charge of our VersaStack relationship with Cisco, and Maria Lancaster from our Storage Marketing team.
Confused yet? Fortunately, the speaker Mark Rader, IBM Z, focused entirely on the z/OS platform version of these tools.
Storage Meetup: Cloud and Object Storage
In past years, the conference would organize three huge rooms, one for IBM Z, one for IBM POWER, and the last for IBM Storage. These would be Q&A panels, with a dozen experts at the front of the room, and a large audience asking questions.
This year, these were all split up into smaller "Meetup" sessions. There were Meetups for Spectrum Protect, Spectrum Scale, Encryption, IBM i, z/OS, Power, FlashSystem, TS7700, DS8000, Blockchain, DevOPS, Machine Learning, Spectrum Virtualize.
Andy Kutner and I led the Storage Meetup for "Cloud and Object Storage". Andy and I had both done several presentations on these topics during the week, and we were able to handle the questions that came from the audience. Here is a sample:
Is IBM Spectrum Virtualize Transparent Cloud Tiering mature enough to use now?
It is unfortunate that IBM chose "Transparent Cloud Tiering" (TCT) to describe four implementations on four different product families. The one thing they have in common is that they send data to the Cloud or IBM Cloud Object Storage. The TCT feature of Spectrum Virtualize, including SAN Volume Controller (SVC), Storwize and FlashSystem V9000 was made generally available for use last year.
Our use of S3FS does not perform well?
S3FS was developed to allow file system access through the FUSE driver for Linux and MacOS operating systems. It was not optimized for performance, and was meant as a convenience instead.
Does Spectrum Copy Data Management support the Cloud?
Yes, Spectrum CDM works with a variety of IBM and non-IBM storage to take volume snapshots that can be used for DevOPS, dev/test, and other purposes. These snapshots can be moved to the cloud to make them more broadly accessible to developers.
How do we size backup configurations to the Cloud
Several backup software support IBM Cloud and IBM Cloud Object Storage, including Veritas NetBackup and Commvault Simpana. For IBM Spectrum Protect, IBM has published "blueprints" now that include Cloud configurations that have done all the sizing work for you.
When should we consider using a Co-location facility instead of Public Cloud
There are pros and cons for each, and there are also options in between. IBM Cloud offers "Dedicated" bare-metal servers, giving you complete control, but still publicly accessible. IBM Cloud also offers "Private" bare-metal behind your firewall.
Can IBM COS Vault Mirroring employ the Aspera file transfer protocol?
Andy and I were stumped on this one. Andy agreed to get back to the attendee on this.
Can IBM COS support Spark Analytic workloads
Yes, IBM COS supports [Stocator], a high performing connector to object storage for Apache Spark, achieving performance by leveraging object storage semantics.
We are currently using IBM FileNet to Centera, can the data be moved to IBM COS?
Absolutely, not only does FileNet offer utilities to make this possible, IBM has partnered with service providers that offer fast data movement from Centera to IBM COS for a variety of specific applications, including FileNet.
What are the key selling points over Dell EMC Centera?
Basically, IBM COS is more scalable, performs faster, at a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Contact your local storage seller or IBM Business Partner for a full presentation!
Is there a database to quickly search through all of the valuable metadata stored in IBM COS and other repositories?
Great idea! I will pass this on to development.
How does IBM COS protect against disk failure or data corruption?
IBM COS slowly rolls through all the data checking the integrity. Checksums are validated, and any corrupted or missing slices are reconstructed using Erasure Coding.
Who competes with IBM COS?
IBM ranks #1 in Object Storage. There are several competitors. Established storage companies like Dell EMC, NetApp, Hitachi Vantara, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Simplivity have object storage offerings. Companies also have attempted to build object stores from open source code, OpenStack Swift and Ceph.
How can IBM Business Partners demonstrate IBM COS to clients?
The IBM Systems Client Experience Portal [ISCEP] provides a list of demos available for all IBM storage products, including IBM COS.
Event Night: Universal Studios
IBM rented out a section of Universal Studios! We were welcomed by various characters to take pictures with! Here are Scooby Doo and Shaggy!
There were several rides to chose from. While waiting for the "Race through New York with Jimmy Fallon" ride, we were entertained by these five acapella singers doing popular rap songs. Laura poses for a picture with two Minions.
The other two rides were "Transformers" and "The Mummy". After Transformers ride, we could take pictures with Bumblebee, one of the auto-bots. I posed with Ahmanet, the mummy played by Sofia Boutella in the 2017 movie.
There was also plenty of food, representing Italian, Mexican, Greek, Chinese and American fare.
You can follow along with Twitter hashtag #IBMtechU, or follow me at @az990tony.
This week, I am in Orlando, Florida for the [IBM Technical University], with focus on IBM storage, IBM Z mainframes and IBM Power servers. This is my recap of afternoon breakout sessions on Day 2.
Spectrum NAS 101 and key use cases
Chris Maestas presented IBM's latest addition to the Spectrum Storage family of Software-Defined Storage. Spectrum NAS was written from scratch in C/C++ language, instead of using open source code like SAMBA. It supports both NFS and SMB protocols.
Like IBM Cloud Object Storage, the Spectrum NAS software is shipped with the operating system, so you have a single ISO to run everything. You start with four nodes and can grow capacity and performance as needed by adding more nodes. All nodes have identical roles.
All of the storage is internal. Spectrum NAS uses DRAM memory, NVMe-based Solid State Drives (SSD), and spinning disk HDD. The NVMe drives must support at least five Drive Writes per Day (DWPD).
Each Spectrum NAS node can handle 2,000 connections, and up to 4,000 connections during fail-over processing. With 10GbE bandwidth, you can migrate 100 TB/day from other NAS devices to Spectrum NAS. If you want to try out Spectrum NAS yourself, there is a 60-day free trial offer now available. There are a collection of videos on the [Spectrum NAS YouTube channel] to walk you through the installation process.
Clients are Hyper for Hyperconverged
Marc Richardson and Bruce Jones, both from IBM Cognitive Systems, presented this client case study on successful deployment of IBM Hyperconverged Systems powered by Nutanix, often referred to as the "IBM CS" models of the POWER server line. The covered three use cases:
Modernize to Private Cloud
IBM CS models use the Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) to run Ubuntu and CentOS little-Endian virtual machines on POWER. The speakers claimed that they can run 50 percent faster, and 88 percent more workloads per core, than traditional x86 methods. IBM has made statement of direction that IBM CS models will support AIX 7.2 virtual machines later this year.
The IBM CS models can also run IBM Cloud Private, a collection of software that supports Docker and Kubernetes.
Simplify the Data Center
The client was not happy with the high prices of their external, high-end storage systems. When you add another IBM CS models to the cluster, you get more storage capacity and CPU capability at the same time, in lock step. What could be simpler?
Infrastructure for Modern Data Workloads
IBM CS models can run traditional Db2 and WebSphere applications. The client also reduced their costs by switching from expensive Oracle databases to open source databases like MongoDB and EnterpriseDB Postgres.
I was honored with being selected for this week's poster session. I was poster 16, explaining the What, Why and How of IBM Cloud Object Storage. Here is am posting with my colleague Heather Allen, IBM.
Kelly Groff, IBM FlashSystem, had poster 15 on how the embedded compression on the latest FlashSystem 900 models have almost no performance impact. Jeff Barnett, IBM, had poster 14 for IBM's Pay-as-you-grow Storage Utility Pricing.
Barry Whyte drew large crowds with his poster 13 on NVMe. Andy Kutner, IBM, had poster 11 on IBM Cloud Object Storage.
Fahima Zamir, IBM, had poster 29 on VersaStack solution, which combines best-of-breed x86 servers and switches from Cisco with IBM storage into a converged system. Sharie Mims from VSS is an IBM Business Partner.
You can follow along with Twitter hashtag #IBMtechU, or follow me at @az990tony.
Last week, IBM clients, Business Partners and executives got together for the inaugural IBM [Think 2018] conference. There were over 30,000 attendees.
In an age of exponentially more data, connected devices and computing power, there are more ways for attackers to breach an organization than ever before. Teams are challenged to manage these threats as they deal with too many disparate tools from too many vendors, an enormous security and IT skills shortage, and a growing number of compliance mandates.
Marc van Zadelhoff, General Manager, IBM Security, kicked off the session "Ready For Anything: Build a Cyber Resilient Organization". The year 2017 was a tough year for security. People can relate to the number of security breaches that happened.
Why do companies struggle in this area? It is not just because hackers have become more sophisticated. IBM Security has over 8,000 security experts to help clients. When IBM is called in, we find 90 percent lack basic fundamentals from firewall rules and patch management. It takes on average 200 days for companies to detect breaches. Sadly, 77 percent do not have a response plan after the breach happens.
To help this, IBM has come up with new terminology. At a certain point, [the shit hits the fan], a Canadian phrase meaning "messy consequences are brought about by a previously secret situation becoming public." Marc explained that it often is accompanied by FBI agents showing up at the front door.
Marc referred to this event as "the Boom". All of the preparation and prevention happen "left of Boom". The clean-up, salvaging your brand reputation, and remediating the damage was called "right of Boom". Here are some examples of a Boom event:
Compromised Cloud app
Left of Boom is our domain of choice. We are surrounded with just security and IT problems, problems we have studied our entire careers, involving daily activities we complete with a sense of certainty.
Right of Boom is a completely different matter. Others get involved, including Legal, HR, and sometimes even the Board of Directors. These are distant, hazy problems that don't occur every day, and more uncertainty.
The Boom is not the initial breach, but when the breach becomes public, an average of 200 days later. Hackers can do quite a lot of damage during these 200 days. What might have started as phishing emails, might continue with access to sensitive databases, stolen credentials to other servers, access to internal networks, and additional compromises.
Likewise, companies should not expect to clean up the mess in just a few days either. IT forensics are used to determine the scope of the breach. Regulators and auditors are notified, press conferences and legal dispositions are scheduled to address the public concerns, and social media sentiment might fall.
Back in 2016, [IBM acquired Resilient] a security software company. Ted Julian, IBM VP Product Management and Co-Founder of Resilient, performed a live demo of this software. Basically, it is a dashboard that automates gathering incident data, determines the tasks required, and then orchestrates appropriate responses. This allows the security administrator to launch remediation directly in context.
Last year, over 1,400 customers have taken advantage of IBM's security breach simulator lab, the IBM X-Force Command Center. On the right side of the boom, time matters. What might take 90 minutes manually can be done in two minutes with IBM Resilient dashboard and the right amount of practice and training.
Next on stage were Wendi Whitmore, IBM Security Services, and Mike Errity, Vice President IBM Resiliency Services. While Wendi's team is handling the situation from afar, Mike's team lives in the data center. Mike explained Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which applies to recovery after cyberattack, similar to Disaster Recovery after a hurricane.
Wendi indicates that executives need visibility into what is going on after a breach, and to have retainers involved in PR firms and other industry experts to be called on a short notice as needed right of boom.
Richard Puckett, Vice President Security Operations, Strategy and Architecture, at Thomson Reuters, was the final speaker. Richard spent the first six months of his job uplifting the security protocols at Thomson Reuters. They partnered with IBM to build up their talent for their Security Operation Center (SOC).
Threats are asymmetric. Unlike traditional physical threats from mobs of people, or trucks parked at the front door, cyber threats go undetected. Once they are detected, it can be difficult to identify the perpetrator. Richard suggests that good security requires good management. Patch management is not the sexiest, but is critical. Don't focus on shiny new objects, but rather fixing weak passwords and poor patch management procedures.
In the struggle to keep up, organizations are not doing a good job of mastering the security fundamentals. IBM believes that with the right approach, technologies and experts, our clients can fight back. IBM can deliver security and resiliency at the scale and speed necessary to protect businesses against the challenges of today, and tomorrow.
I have returned safely from the IBM Technical University in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now preparing for my next events. IBM plans to have back-to-back Technical University events in Hollywood Florida.
October 8-12, will focus on [IBM Z mainframe, and a subset of IBM Storage] that offer synergy for IBM Z, such as DS8880 storage system, and the TS7760 Virtual Tape Engine. There will be 28 sessions on storage related to IBM Z.
This week, I am in Orlando, Florida for the [IBM Technical University], with focus on IBM storage, IBM Z mainframes and IBM Power servers. Here is my recap for morning break out sessions on Day 2.
A Survey of Deep Learning Techniques
Nin Lei, IBM Distinguished Engineer, presented a sample of Deep Learning techniques used today. CNN, RNN, and GAN.
Basic decision making: gather data, reviewed by subject matter expert, have an outcome. This is done for a variety of situations: fraudulent vs. legitimate credit card transaction, approve or reject loan application, tumor is benign or malignant. Machine Learning effectively replaces SME with a mathematical function.
Various tools are available for this: Tensorflow, SnapML, SAS, SPSS, are just a few.
Deep Learning is based on "Neural Networks", a subset of Machine Learning. There are input layer, one or more hidden layers, and then an output layer. For example, for a photo, each pixel could be an input feature. A 200x200 pixel photo represents 40,000 input values. In the past, there weren't more than three hidden layers. Today, we can have 20 to 50 layers, because we now have more computational power, with 95-97 percent accuracy.
For each connection between input layers and hidden layers, and output layers, you identify weights and biases. A research paper by Hornik 1989 posits that any machine learning can be performed by a sufficiently large neural network.
Convolution Neural Network (CNN) is often used for image recognition, for object classification or detection.
Some features are invariant. Location invariant means it doesn't matter where it is located within the photo. Color invariant means it does not matter what color it is, and can work with black-and-white or grayscale photos.
For example, for facial recognition, earlier layers are focused on identifying edges, and later layers identify facial features like eyes, nose and mouth.
Image recognition is used with self-driving cars, drones to determine power line maintenance or crop inspection, social media, video surveillance, medical image diagnosis, car racing, and ripeness of fruits and vegetables.
CNN is used for auto-encoding. This takes detailed photos, compresses them, and then can be used to decode back to something similar. It can takes weeks to train a model with a million photo images.
Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) is focused on time sequence.
This is useful for predicting sequences of letters or words. However, since mathematics are involved, a long sequence of multiplications will either get to zero or infinity, this is known as the "vanishing gradient problem".
The solution is "Long Short Term Memory" (LSTM) cells. Basically, the model selectively remembers information from previous steps, which reduces the number of multiplications.
RNN need to know related words. For example, men-women, king-queen, walking-walked, swimming-swam, Spain-Madrid. These are referred to as "embeddings", which are stored in the hidden layers for quick lookup.
Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) are used to generate fake photos to train other models.
Sometimes, you do not have enough photos in each category for training, so you can generate fake images to help with the training system. Noise is fed into a "Generator" model, and then the results are evaluated by a "Discriminator" model, comparing the fake with real photos. Repetition allows each model to improve so that the fake photos become more realistic for training purposes.
The death of the one-size-fits-all cloud: The mainstreaming of multi-arch
Elise Spence and Drew Thorstensen, IBM Power Systems for Software Defined Cloud Infrastructure, presented this topic. The session was on IBM Cloud Private, and the multiple architectures supported by Docker and Kubernetes.
There are actually six different architectures supported for Docker containers:
While containers are "portable" between systems, the binaries are typically only written for a single architecture, typically Linux-x86 or Windows-x86, and won't run on POWER or IBM Z.
The solution is to create a multi-arch manifest file, and port all the binaries to all of these different architectures. This way, when the containerized application is run on POWER, the manifest will identify the POWER-based binaries.
Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage (powered by Cleversafe)
Before 2015, IBM offered two "Object Storage" products: IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM Spectrum Archive, and I was constantly having to compare and contrast IBM products to Cleversafe.
Not any more! With the IBM acquisition of Cleversafe, IBM now offers all three!
This session explained all of the features and functions of IBM Cloud Object Storage System, available as software, as pre-built systems, including a VersaStack CVD, and as Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) in the IBM Cloud.
(IBM renamed Cleversafe DSnet to "IBM Cloud Object Storage System". I joked that if IBM ever acquired Coca-Cola, they would probably rename their signature soft drink as the "Brown Carbonated Sugar Liquid", or BroCarb SugarLiq for short!)
I provided a general overview, as well as the latest features of Concentrated Dispersal Mode and Compliance Enabled Vaults.
You can follow along with Twitter hashtag #IBMtechU, or follow me at @az990tony.
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement" of the IBM Z and IBM storage products mentioned below.)
DS8880 R8.3.3 Enhancements
Back in 2015, IBM [DS8880 models] of the DS8000 family. Sales drastically increased, in part because IBM re-designed the systems to be a standard 19-inch wide rack, rather than the 33-inch wide custom sizes used before. Many cloud service providers (CSP) and managed service providers (MSP) require 19-inch standard rack configurations.
To meet client requirements, the newest IBM mainframes, including Z14 model ZR1 and LinuxONE Rockhopper II, are now following the same 19-inch rack size!
IBM DS8880 models now have enhanced support for zHyperlink connections. Clients with existing 6-core DS8884/F or 8-core DS8886/F models can upgrade to add more cores for zHyperlink connectivity.
Cores per CEC
Maximum zHyperlink connections
The zHyperlink supports both 40-meter and 150-meter cables. This allows applications like DB2 to read data with substantially lower latency than traditional FICON attachment.
For IBM z/OS clients, the Transparent Cloud Tiering feature allows migration of data directly from DS8000 storage systems to the cloud. This eliminates migrating data through the IBM Z, consuming MIPS and FICON traffic, back out to a tape or virtual tape system. IBM now offers 10GbE cards for the DS8880, providing faster throughput than the existing 1GbE cards previously available.
IBM Spectrum Scale v5.0 for IBM Elastic Storage Server
IBM Spectrum Scale v5.0 was available as software last year, and now is available as a Software PID for Elastic Storage Server hardware.
The new version introduces per-drive editions for licensing: Data Access edition, and Data Management edition. Here are highlights of some of the features:
Enhancements to GUI usability, including managing file systems between ESS and non-ESS storage
Audit File Logging (Data Management Edition only) for Open, Close, Destroy (Delete), Rename, Unlink, Remove Directory, Extended Attributed change, Access Control List (ACL) change
Enhancements to Active File Management, providing WAN-caching for multi-site deployments
Independent KPMG certification will be done for Spectrum Scale v5.0 on ESS for the "Immutability" feature. Some people refer to this as WORM, Government Compliance, Tamperproof, or Non-Erasable, Non-Rewriteable (NENR) enforcement protection
Enhancements to Transparent Cloud Tiering, providing archive of less-active data to IBM Cloud Object Storage, IBM Cloud, or Amazon S3.
Certification for analytics on both x86 and POWER platforms: Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) v2.6, and Ambari v2.5
Improved I/O performance for many small and large block size workloads simultaneously, including a 4 MB default block size with variable sub-block size based on block size choice
Spectrum Scale 5.0 is incorporated into "Elastic Storage Server Solution Release 5.3". It is unfortunate the numbering is different. Existing ESS clients can download this new ESS 5.3 code from IBM FixCentral today. Going forward, starting next week or so, new Elastic Storage Servers will ship with ESS solution release 5.3 pre-installed.
The TS4500 tape library supports both TS1100 and LTO tape drives.
This feature supports mixed media in a TS4500 tape library. If you are using Library-Managed Encryption (LME), then IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager is required as the key manager with LTO drives and cartridges.
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.