This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to IBM Systems, storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.
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Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor, Senior IT Architect and Event Content Manager for [IBM Systems for IBM Systems Technical University] events. With over 30 years with IBM Systems, Tony is frequent traveler, speaking to clients at events throughout the world.
Lloyd Dean is an IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect in Infrastructure Architecture. Lloyd has held numerous senior technical roles at IBM during his 19 plus years at IBM. Lloyd most recently has been leading efforts across the Communication/CSI Market as a senior Storage Solution Architect/CTS covering the Kansas City territory. In prior years Lloyd supported the industry accounts as a Storage Solution architect and prior to that as a Storage Software Solutions specialist during his time in the ATS organization.
Lloyd currently supports North America storage sales teams in his Storage Software Solution Architecture SME role in the Washington Systems Center team. His current focus is with IBM Cloud Private and he will be delivering and supporting sessions at Think2019, and Storage Technical University on the Value of IBM storage in this high value IBM solution a part of the IBM Cloud strategy. Lloyd maintains a Subject Matter Expert status across the IBM Spectrum Storage Software solutions. You can follow Lloyd on Twitter @ldean0558 and LinkedIn Lloyd Dean.
Tony Pearson's books are available on Lulu.com! Order your copies today!
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How do you define success? For some, it is based on their salary, or perhaps revenue they helped close for their company.
For others, their family life and the flexibility to handle work/life issues might be more important.
Still others look for certifications and awards from official agencies.
As a side gig, I sometimes do bartending on the weekends. Typically, these are for weddings or corporate parties.
I took weeks of bartender training and passed a three-hour exam to become state-certified to do so in Arizona. We Arizonans take our liquor seriously! If you think about it, bartending is just a notch below being a Pharmacist dispensing other drugs.
Surprisingly, some of my patrons will be condescending, "Don't you wish you can do more with your life than be a bartender?"
I am also certified "Laughter Yoga" instructor, and am called in at times to substitue for other instructors. Again, I took formal training and was certified to do so.
Again, some of my students will ask, "Don't you wish you could do more with your life than be a yoga instructor?"
In both cases, I would respond, "Dude, I earn six figures, and am happy to meet new people every week, how about you?" This usually shuts them up!
(For those interested, here are [my top 10 posts] which served as the basis of the interview!)
I am happy to be recognized externally and within IBM for my success as a blogger. Since I started blogging over 10 years ago, I have helped close over $4 Billion USD in revenue for IBM, written five books on IBM Storage, mentored dozens of other successful bloggers, and presented to thousands of clients at conferences, workshops and briefings.
Last month, I presented at the "IBM Technical University" event in beautiful Atibaia, Brazil. Here is my recap of the event.
Marcelo Porto, IBM General Manager for Brazil and Client Unit Executive for Retail
What a great way to start a conference! Marcelo asked if everyone was comfortable? Everyone cheered in the affirmative.
He then said "Well, not for long. We will take you out of your comfort zone! You will disrupt yourself, and disrupt your companies. You will learn about new technologies and solutions that will make you very uncomfortable."
He explained how everything is virtual, specifically the three companies Airbnb, Waze, Uber. All of these three have new transformational business models, and he suggested all companies should follow suit.
He then said people need to be focused on four things:
Adopting an "agile attitude"
Act like you own the company
Don't cling to the past
Have the courage to re-invent yourself and your company
Frank Koja, IBM Vice President for Sales, Enterprise Systems Hardware
(Managers and business leaders could probably raise this percentage considerably if they talked to their employees before making decisions, but that's another blog post!)
Frank showed a video of an IBM client, Plenty of Fish (POF). This is a worldwide dating site with three million POF members in Brazil. They now process over 30,000 requests and/or messages per minute. FlashSystem connected to 30 servers makes that possible.
OpenPower consortium started with just 5 companies in 2014 for technology collaboration. Today, 250 members across 26 countries in six continents collaborate to make POWER technology as ubiquitous a commodity as Intel x86.
Frank then switched to "Business models" innovation. Out of the audience of about 800 people, only 10 raised their hands that have heard of Blockchain (he asked IBMers not to raise their hands, as all IBMers have heard of Blockchain!).
Frank feels that Blockchain is the most disruptive innovation since Internet banking. Blockchain affects supply chain, finance, insurance, shipping logistics, customs inspections, and government registrations.
A video showed a woman from Everledger, which uses Blockchain for shipping diamonds. IBM offers Blockchain on LinuxOne mainframe servers.
Hybrid Cloud is point of no return, including Local, Dedicated and Public clouds. Frank feels we need to cloudify all business processes.
Mauro Angelo, IBM Enterprise Strategy & Industry Solutions Director
Mauro explained that ideas are turned into inventions, and inventions are put to good use to bring forth innovations.
If your business is not cognitive you are a full era behind. Machine learning is not knew. IBM DeepBlue beat Grandmaster in Chess tournament back in 1997.
Mauro then focused on eight specific trends:
Systems of Engagement (SoE)
This is the combination of Mobile applications and Social business. IBM invited the first smartphone, the Simon, back in 1994. Apple's iPhone came later in 2007. Pokemon Go is example of augmented reality.
Cloud offers new service and location models. IBM [SoftLayer], [Bluemix], and [Kenexa] are a few examples.
There have been a lot of enhancements in this space, including Natural Language Processing (NLP), visual recognition, even smell recognition. Cognitive solutions can also identify the appropriate context, such as GPS location. And Cognitive solutions can interact with users to ask for clarifications. It can process "Big Data", the collection of non-structured data that normal Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) do not touch. Finally, they can learn, something often referred to as "Machine Learning".
In 2011, IBM Watson beat two humans at the TV show game Jeopardy! Today, [Dino, a toy from CogniToys] provides Watson-like capabilities to children.
Mauro got one for his daughter. She naturally interacts with toy. "How much does an elephant weigh?" she asks. "It depends on the elephant, but a fully grown elephant weighs more than 2,000 kilos" it responds. That's cool.
Wearables like Fitbit can track blood pressure, minutes of exercise, total steps walked. IBM helped Under Armour company develop an app in this space.
Eliminates middlemen or trusted third party (TTP). The hotel chain, Hilton, is testing out a robot called Pepper, which can use Blockchain to book tennis courts.
These are technologies thinner than a strand of hair, measured in nanometers. The focus is to develop stronger, lighter materials, and macromolecules for life sciences for medicine delivery.
Mass customization meets personalization and fast design prototypes. This is not just limited to plastic, but also metal, paper, wood, biomaterials, ceramics, food, and even cement.
Cement? That's right. A Chinese company prints houses using a cement 3D printer. In a country of over one billion people, this company has figured out how to build houses without human laborers.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Olli, a 12-person self-driving bus, is the brainchild of Local Motors. They are testing it out in National Harbor, and hope to roll it out to cities like Copenhagen, Miami, and Las Vegas.
Luis Liguori, IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO for IBM Brazil
What does IBM mean by "Digital transformation?" What separates success from failure? Developed countries from less developed countries?
Is it culture? Whether people focus on the long term, or just the short term? Does the culture encourage you to foresee the future, and adapt accordingly? Does the culture encourage you to be brave and bold? Do you hide behind Business case return on investments (ROI)? Does your culture consider conflict to be good or bad? The answer: Good!
Does your company have a purpose? When humans no longer serve purpose, they die. The same is true for companies. He said the secret to success is the four "R's" -- Relevant, Resources, Reputation and Rigor.
For example, in 1996, the Kodak was ranked the 4th largest, it filed bankruptcy in 2012 because it was no longer relevant.
Consider Samsung. Samsung has lost its reputation with the latest "Samsung Galaxy Note7" fiasco of exploding batteries!
Airbnb is an example of Digital Transformation. Who knew that there were lots of people who wanted to rent out their bedrooms and bathrooms to strangers!
Luis feels that successful companies are either born digital, or transforming to digital. Industries are merging. Lines are blurring between industries. The latest acquisition between AT&T and Time Warner is an example.
Cognitive brings intelligence to decision making. For example, Watson health has been put to task to focus on Leukemia. In one case, Watson was able to [pinpoint a rare form of Leukemia] that had misdiagnosed and being treated incorrectly with little effect.
Why cognitive? Because human beings cannot read or remember as well as computers. There are thousands of peer-reviewed articles published every day. People are afraid to act to avoid mistakes. Computers are fearless.
Did you know that Brazil celebrates "Black Friday"? There is no "Thanksgiving" in Brazil, but retailers liked the idea of having people stand outside in the middle of the night to start their Christmas shopping! A few years ago, there were [a few problems], but in most recent years, it has shown to help [boost retail sales.] Based on these initial purchases, Watson can be used to help drive the rest of the Christmas retail season.
Watson can analyze personality based on social media writings. The world will be taken over by digital natives. The last century was focused inward, or "ego-centric", but in this 21st century, we will be focused outward, towards a complete "ecosystem".
Who are your competitors? Are they the companies that make products and services similar to yours? No! They are the companies that are competing for your customer's time and attention.
While I speak English and Spanish fluently, my Brazilian Portuguese is terribly rusty. We had several rooms with a pair of real-time translators. I presented the following:
Software Defined Storage -- Why? What? How?
The Pendulum Swings Back -- Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Environments
IBM Spectrum Scale for File and Object Storage
IBM Storage integration with OpenStack
Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage System and its Applications (powered by Cleversafe)
IBM's Cloud Storage Options
All of my sessions were well received, and well attended!
Photo by Dominique Salomon,
IBM Certified IT Specialist
On Wednesday night, we had a nice pool-side reception. Beers, Caiparinhas, and Caiparoskies. Caiparinhas combine a sugarcane juice-based distilled alcohol called cachaça with muddled limes and added sugar. Caiparoskies combined vodka with muddled kiwi fruit.
(Many of the IBMers from United States skipped this event to get dinner early, so they could then come back in time to watch the third and final US Presidential Debate. Because of the time zone changes, this didn't start til 11:00pm, so they could have easily attended the event and had dinner, with plenty of time to spare!)
There was also a live band! This three part band had two guitarists and one lead singer. The lead singer also did maracas and drums while singing. They covered both English and Portuguese language songs.
Rodrigo Giaffredo, IBM Engagement Catalyst
Rodrigo gave the closing session. Wearing jeans and sneakers, he reminded me of the casual storytelling style of Jeff Jonas. He organized his stories around four points:
Consider the battle between Twitter vs. Pownce in 2007. Twitter won because it offered better ways to limit what you read, or who you communicate to, through methods like Hashtags, groups, etc.
Henry Ford disrupted transportation. He realized that Time and space is money. However, as he famously said "If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses!"
Today the challenge is processing data faster. The company that is able to process faster has economic advantage.
Strong ideas focus on user needs. Weak ideas are tactical and features. Consider the [Hippo Roller]. For centuries, African women and children carried water from far away wells either on their hands on or their heads. Much of it would fall out during the long walks. The Hippo Roller holds 90 liters (about 24 gallons) and rolls easily over rough terrain.
Rodrigo showed an graph. On the y-axis was "Importance" and the x-axis "Feasibility". Solutions in the upper right corner are obvious choices. Solutions in the upper left, important but not very feasible, are considered "big bets". Solutions in the lower right, feasible but not very important, he labeled "amenities".
Most designers, architects and developers know that the later the error is found, the more expensive it is to fix. A prototype is worth a thousand meetings.
Take the company Zappos, which sells shoes online over the Internet. The founder, Nick Swinmurn, tried to get investors, getting a typical response: "What are you drinking?" (In USA, we would ask what are you smoking, but this is the way the Brazilians say it.)
With no investors, Nick built a simple website, took pictures of shoes, and fulfilled orders by purchasing the shoes from local San Francisco retailers and shipping them to the clients.
Nick started this in 1999, and finally got some $20 Million USD in funding in 2004. His simple prototype allowed him to focus on post sales support. Zappos was recognized as having the best call center, moving his operations to Las vegas, NV.
Consider the challenges of urban mobility.
Both methods eventually result in a car, but the agile prototypes allow for more effective experimental milestones.
As for Zappos, its prototype proved successful. Amazon acquired them for $1.2 Billion USD in 2009.
It is that simple: Understand, explore, prototype, and evaluate. IBM has adopted "Design Thinking" across its development organizations to better meet the needs of the marketplace.
Overall, it was a delightful event. It is nearly summer down in the Southern hemisphere, so a bit warm and humid. The attendees were all looking forward to a turn-around in the Brazilian economy, and the business opportunities that brings.
Last week, I was in São Paulo, Brazil for IBM Systems Technical University.
Instead of separate physical rooms for each breakout session, this event had "virtual rooms". One speaker called it the "Software Defined Stage". Basically, there were five "rooms" in the main ballroom, and another eight rooms in a second ballroom.
Rather than blasting out each speaker's voice over loudspeakers, each speaker spoke softly into a headset microphone. All attendees wore headsets. Rooms 1 through 4 offered real-time translation, so attendees could chose to hear in English or Brazilian Portuguese.
In the other 13 "rooms", local speakers spoke in Brazilian Portuguese, but you still had to wear headsets to avoid speaking louder than the speaker next to you. For many of these, the charts were written in English.
My translators, Luciana and Marilia, explained to me the advantage of this approach. When speakers use English language, those who prefer must hear the real-time translation wore the "headphone of shame" which advertised to all others that an attendee's English proficiency was poor.
Sometimes, those who did not understand English well would not wear their headsets, nod or laugh with other attendees, but fail to understand the message. By forcing everyone to wear headsets, there is no stigma associated, and everyone can discreetly select the language they prefer to listen in.
Here is my recap for the breakout sessions on Day 2:
In this presentation, I gave an overview of interest in Cloud technologies, including OpenStack and RESTful APIs to manage server and storage resources. I then covered IBM Hybrid Cloud Storage configurations in five categories:
Cold storage for data infrequently accessed
Backup and Snapshot storage
Disaster Recovery storage
Daily Operations and Reporting
Special thanks to Chris Vollmar and Brian Sherman for their help in preparing this presentation.
Data Optimization: How to verify your data is being used efficiently
It is hard to believe that it was over 15 years ago that I was the chief architect for the software we now call IBM Spectrum Control. There are a variety of editions and bundles for this product, but my focus on this talk was on the advanced storage analytics found in IBM Virtual Storage Center and IBM Spectrum Control Advanced Edition.
I covered three use cases:
What storage tier to put your workload in, and how to move existing data into a faster or slower tier to meet business requirements and IT budgets.
For steady state environments, how to re-balance storage pools within a single tier to keep things even for optimal performance.
When it is time to decommission storage, how to transform volumes from one storage pool to another without downtime or outages.
Special thanks to Bryan Odom for his help in preparing this presentation.
IBM Hyperconverged Systems powered by Nutanix: Technical Overview
Ricardo Matinata, IBM Senior Technical Staff Member for Linux, KVM and Cloud on POWER, presented the latest IBM CS models for POWER systems that are pre-installed with Nutanix software running their Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) to run Linux on POWER application virtual machines.
Managing Risks with Thin Provisioning, Compression, and Data Deduplication
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 Right Flash for the Right Workload
Fabiano Gomes, IBM Client Technical Specialist, presented IBM's portfolio of All-Flash Arrays, from FlashSystem and DS8000F to Elastic Storage Server and Storwize V7000F and V5000F models. Each of these have their own characteristics, which might favor one over the others for particular workloads and use cases.
The day was capped off with a nice evening reception at the pool bar. Bartenders were serving Caiparinhas, a Brazilian cocktail traditionally made sugar cane liquor, sugar and lime, but in this case offered in other flavors, such as pineapple or passion fruit.
This week, May 14-18, is Business Continuity Awareness Week!
This worldwide event, sponsored by the [Business Continuity Institute], promotes education and awareness designed to increase our understanding of business continuity, teach clients on ways to understand and manage IT and business risks, and introduce new techniques and technologies designed to minimize and even to eliminate business and personal disruption.
IBM is actively involved. Monday starts off with opening statements by Andrea Sayles, IBM General Manager of Resiliency Services, and Michael Puldy, IBM Director of Global Business Continuity Management.
The event offers a variety of online webinars, as well as a wealth of educational resources.
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
Here is a quick recap of the October 9, 2018 announcements this week.
IBM Elastic Storage Server V5.3.2
The new IBM Elastic Storage Server v5.3.2 offers support for new drawers, non-disruptive upgrades of older models, and an optional 100GbE switch.
When the ESS was first announced, we had GSx models and GLx models, where x represented the number of storage drawers. The "S" stood for small 2U-24 drive drawers, so for example the GS4 had two Power8 servers combined with four 2U-size flash SSD drawers. The "L" stood for large 4U-60 drive nearline HDD drawers.
The second generation models append "S" for Second, so we had GS4S and GL6S. The large models changed to larger 5U-84 drive drawers. As with the previous "L" models, two slots per system contain Solid State Drives for internal use and caching, leaving the rest for slower spinning HDD disk.
Before this week, to upgrade from one model to another meant moving the data off, installing and configuring the additional drawers, and then move the data back. With today's announcements, you can now non-disruptively upgrade GS1S to GS2S to GS4S models, and GL1S to GL2S to GL4S to GL6S.
While you can federate as many GS and GL models together, that may mean having to spend more for Power8 servers than you are comfortable with, so IBM added "GHxy" Hybrid models, with x 2U-24 drive drawers, and y 5U-84 drive drawers. Initial models included the GH14 and GH24, which had one or two flash drawers, and four large drawers. This week, IBM announced a new GH12 model. The SSD flash in the 2U drawer can be 3.84TB or 15.36TB, and the nearline drives in the 5U drawers can be 4TB, 8TB or 10TB capacities.
What did IBM call the third generation GL models? Instead of using "T" which is both the next letter in the alphabet after "S", and the initial letter of the word "third", IBM instead decided to use "C" to designate CORAL project, the Collaboration of Oakridge, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore national labs. Since the change applied only to the GL models, not the GS models, this makes sense.
To meet the requirements to build the world's fastest supercomputer for the CORAL project, IBM created a modified Elastic Storage Server model with 4U drawers that contained 106 drives. Now, these are available to the general public! IBM announced GL1C, GL2C, GL4C and GL6C models. In these, there are 2 SSD drives, and the rest are 10TB nearline drives.
The new optional 100GbE switch has 32 ports with a total of 6.4 Tbps. These can support 10, 40, 50 and 100GbE data rates, with 300 nsec latency for 100 GbE port to port
Spectrum Scale is licensed two ways: Standard Edition based on the number of sockets, with different prices for NSD servers, FPO servers and NSD clients; and the "Data Management" edition which offered advanced features, and was based on capacity of NSD, independent of the number of servers and clients attached.
Clients liked the capacity-based license model, but did not necessarily need the advanced features. In response, IBM now offers the "Data Access" edition, which offers the same features and functions of Standard Edition, but with capacity-based licensing.
For ESS models, you can chose to license by disk as before, or by capacity in combination with Spectrum Scale capacity-based deployments.
Hortonworks Data Platform v3.0.1 has followed suit. With the merger between Hortonworks and Cloudera, Hortonworks now offers capacity-based licensing for shared storage, like the IBM Elastic Storage Server.
IBM FlashSystem A9000/A9000R software version 12.3
There are three enhancements in this release: Three-site replication, a new model of A9000R, and raising a previous pool size limit.
For three-site replication, you can now combine HyperSwap which maintains two identical copies at distance, with a third asynchronous mirroring. The first two are typically within 100 km, but the third copy can be a much greater distance, across the continent if you like.
The A9000 "Pod" had three x86-based controller and one FlashCore drawer. The A9000R "Rack" had four, six or eight x86-based controllers and two, three or four FlashCore drawers, respectively, as well as a Power Distribution Unit (PDU) and pair of InfiniBand switches to connect everything together. The new "Grid Starter" model is very much like the "Pod" with three controllers and one FlashCore drawer, but adds the PDU and IB switches. The idea is that you can start with a "Grid Starter", then later upgrade to the larger A9000R models as you grow.
Back in XIV days, the architectural limit per pool of 1PB was plenty big. But with the new capacities on the A9000 and A9000R, the 1PB limit was starting to draw complaints. This limit was lifted, so that now a single pool can be made with the entire capacity of the box.
In the mainframe world, IBM Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex, now just GDPS, provide the highest BC-7 business continuity tier, providing end-to-end coordination with servers, networks and storage devices. For IBM Power Systems, similar BC-7 support is provided by IBM Geographically Dispersed Resiliency.
In this week's announcement, IBM Geographically Dispersed Resiliency (GDR) for Power Systems has been renamed and now offered in two editions: VM Recovery Manager HA and VM Recovery Manager DR. The "HA" edition provides high availability using Power Systems Live Partition Mobility for AIX, IBM i and Linux operating systems.
The "DR" edition provides both High Availability and Disaster Recovery capabilities, supporting mirrored storage systems like IBM DS8000, SAN Volume Controller, FlashSystem 9100 and V9000, and Storwize systems, as well as competitive storage from Dell EMC and Hitachi.
Next week, I will be in Hollywood, Florida for IBM Technical University (Oct 15-19), and then Rome for the IBM Technical University (Oct 22-26). I will be covering many of these announcements above, and more!
We have a new member of the ever-growing IBM Spectrum Storage family! IBM Spectrum Discover is modern metadata management software that delivers data insight for petabyte-scale, unstructured data.
IBM Spectrum Discover easily connects to IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS) and IBM Spectrum Scale and Elastic Storage Server (ESS) to rapidly ingest, consolidate, and index metadata for billions of files and objects, providing a rich layer of metadata on top of these storage sources. IBM plans to extend support to other platforms next year.
This metadata enables data scientists, storage administrators, and data stewards to efficiently manage, classify, and gain insights from massive amounts of unstructured data. The insights gained accelerate large-scale analytics, improve storage economics, and help with governance to create competitive advantage, speed critical research, and mitigate risk.
This initial release is labeled v2.0 as IBM has deployed this in beta form already at various client locations. Here are some key highlights:
Event-notifications and policy-based workflows to automate metadata ingestion and metadata indexing at a petabyte scale
Fine-grained views of storage consumption based on a wide range of system and custom metadata
Fast, efficient search through petabytes of data, resulting in highly relevant results for large-scale analytics
Ability to quickly differentiate mission-critical business data from data that can either be deleted or moved to a cheaper, colder tier
Policy-based custom tagging that enables organizations to classify and categorize data, and align this data with the needs of the business
A software developers kit (SDK) to build action agents that extract metadata from file headers and content, automate data movement, and provide integration to open source software, such as Apache Spark, Apache Tika, PyTorch, Caffe and TensorFlow, to facilitate data identification and speed large-scale data processing
The latest IBM FlashSystem 900 comes in two models, the AE3 "full purchase" model, and the UF3 "storage utility pricing" model where you pay less initially, and then more as you consume more of the capacity. They are the same hardware, just licensed differently.
Currently, IBM offers FCP or InfiniBand host attachment, with up to twelve 3.6TB, 8.5TB or 18TB modules (PCiE card). A full 2U drawer would be configured as 10+P+S RAID5 for high availability and data protection.
Each module offers embedded compression chip, but modules only had enough DRAM cache to allow a maximum of compressed 22TB effective data, so while the 3.6TB and 8.5TB could compress data up to 2.5x, the 18TB card was somewhat limited at 1.2x, which might be fine for some already-compressed data like MP3 audio, or JPEG photos.
This month, IBM offers new XL MicroLatency Modules, 18TB cards with enough DRAM cache to support 44TB compressed data, up to an effective 2.4x compression ratio. A full twelve-module drawer could hold up to 440TB of effective capacity.
IBM also now offers a quad-port 16Gb FCP card that supports both SCSI and NVMe commands over fabric. This is often denoted as either FC-NVMe or NVMe/FC. The FlashSystem 900 already supported NVMe-OF for InfiniBand (see my blog post [IBM February 2018 Announcements])
IBM Cloud Tape Connector for z/OS is a software-defined storage solution that provides an alternative to virtual tape libraries like the TS7760. Here are some highlights:
Robust virtual tape emulation solution with e-vaulting to cloud-based offsite storage for cold, archival, or backup data. Virtual tape emulation simulates IBM compatible tape controllers, tape drives, and tape volumes, maintained on any IBM z/OS-compatible disk system, such as IBM DS8000. IBM Cloud Tape Connector for z/OS provides several vault, transfer, and recovery options to support business continuity and resiliency.
Sequential z/OS data set cloud storage and retrieval. Sequential data sets stored on disk or flash storage can be moved to the cloud by IBM Cloud Tape Connector for z/OS without the requirement of performing a tape-write operation.
Automatic application recall of data from cloud, whether e-vaulted through virtual tape emulation or copied directly to the cloud.
Pervasive encryption support. This feature enables enterprises to ensure that any data copied to the cloud is encrypted before it is transmitted, automatically protecting and handling the encryption keys.
Support for IBM Cloud Object Storage using S3 protocol, as well as Amazon S3, Hitachi HCP protocol, and EMC Elastic Cloud Service Protocol.
This week, IBM clients, Business Partners and executives get together for the new IBM [Think 2018] conference. This is a combination of last year's three events: Edge, InterConnect, and World of Watson (WoW).
(The theme this week is "Putting smart to work." Some might feel that this is a grammatically-incorrect use of the adjective [smart], referring to having quick-witted intelligence or being neat and well-dressed. Many words in the English language have multiple meanings and uses. The word smart is also a noun, referring to either business acumen, technical skills, or "a sharp stinging pain")
The keynote session today was "Science Slam: Unveiling 5 Breakthrough Technologies That Will Change the World!" by Arvind Krishna, IBM Research Director. IBM has over 3,000 researchers, in 12 labs, across six continents.
This talk was based on IBM's annual five-in-five, five predictions that might change the world in the next five years. For amusement, read my 10-year-old blog post [Five in five for 2008], including predictions for smart thermostats that can be controlled remotely, and self-driving cars.
("Science Slam" is IBM Research version of [Pecha Kucha], but instead of art students having 20 minutes to show 20 PowerPoint slides, each IBM research scientist has 5-7 minutes to explain the research project they are exploring. These are done both internally, as well as to audiences outside the company.)
Jamie Garcia served as emcee, introducing each of the five experts. Each spent 5-7 minutes, Science Slam style, on what projects they were working on.
1. Crypto-anchors and blockchain technology
‘Everything you don’t understand about money
combined with everything you don’t understand
about computers’ [25-minute video]
Andreas Kind presented first. Blockchain is not just a provenance system that enables Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it can be used for other goods.
(The best layman explanation of blockchain and cryptocurrencies I saw was John Oliver's humorous take on his HBO show [Last Week Tonight]!)
Counterfeit goods, from cinnamon to footwear, to medicine and automotive parts, is estimated over $1.8 trillion US dollars. IBM is working on how to use blockchain for other things, such as to restore trust into global supply chain. IBM hopes to reduce the number of counterfeit goods in half or more.
Andreas explained tamper-proof technologies called "crypto-anchors" -- from indelible ink on pharmaceuticals to computers smaller than a grain of salt -- that can be used to track products as they travel from one country to the next.
2. Lattice Cryptography and Fully Homomorphic Encryption
Cecilia Boschini from IBM Zurich presented next. As quantum computers get more powerful, the basic math involving prime numbers that most current encryption models are based on become vulnerable.
(Don't worry, she assured the audience, hackers would need a 1000-Qubit quantum computer to break today's encryption codes, which don't exist yet!)
What we need are post-quantum or quantum-resistant mathematical models. Lattice Cryptography aims to use more difficult math equations to make it more difficult for hackers to break the code, even when armed with quantum computers.
Another challenge with existing encrypted data is that we must decrypt the data to perform computations on it. Fully Homomorphic Encryption, or [FHE] for short, allows computations to be done in its encrypted state. For example, if I had a list of names with credit card or social security numbers encrypted, I could sort this list alphabetically without decrypting any of the data.
3. AI-enabled robotic microscopes to monitor ocean water
Tom Zimmerman is known as IBM Almaden's [McGyver], able to use common technologies in new and innovative ways.
By 2025, over half of the world's population will be living in water-stressed locations. IBM is working on robotic microscopes that can be deployed across the oceans, connected to the Cloud, monitoring the state of plankton.
Why plankton? Plankton produces two-thirds of all oxygen we breathe, and serves as the "baby food" for all oceanic species. Tom has re-programmed "face recognition" in smartphone cameras to recognize plankton, identifying what they are doing and eating.
Monitoring plankton provides an "early warning system", the proverbial [canaries in the coal mine] for impending water problems.
4. Eliminating Bias from Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Information overload! Overwhelmed by too much, our brains sort it out by either looking only for differences, or focusing on what we are already familiar with that confirm our beliefs.
Not enough meaning. Lacking complete information, our brains fill the gaps and connect the dots to find patterns that aren't patterns at all. Racism, prejudice, and stereotypes are examples of this.
The need to act fast! Survival in some cases demands acting fast, to avoid being eaten by an animal, for example. Unfortunately, our brains favor the quick and simple, over the more important but often delayed, distant or complicated response.
What should we remember? We decide what to remember, and what to forget. Our brains often favor generalities over specifics, as they take up less space. The details we remember when we experience it, or often edited or reinforced after the fact.
IBM is collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] to reduce bias in Artificial Intelligence by rating different AI models on fairness.
The AI models that will win in the future are those where the biases are tamed or eliminated altogether.
5. Quantum Computing
Talia Gershon was the last speaker.
Many problems become exponentially more difficult to solve with classical computers. For example, simulating protein molecular bonding gets more difficult the larger the molecules are, because you have more electron interactions.
Quantum Computers run at a temperature of 15 millikelvin (mK), which is 460 degrees below zero. The computation unit is called a [Qubit], and a 5-Qubit quantum computer can solve problems that your laptop can solve classically. IBM now has "IBM Q" with 50-Qubit computers available.
The IT industry is still in the early stages, but IBM Quantum Information Software development kit (QISkit) allows programmers to experiment and develop algorithms for this new computational model.
Over the next five years, IBM predicts that Quantum Computing will transition from the lab, to the mainstream, to solve problems that were previously too difficult or time-consuming to solve.
(Actually, the [XIV Model 314] was announced on Nov 10, 2015 last year, but announcements made in November and December are often overlooked between distractions like holidays and year-end processing. Today's announcement was to eliminate the "not available in some countries" restriction. The last time I mentioned on this blog that a product was not available in some countries, I had tons of questions of "why". Hopefully, waiting until a product is available in all countries eliminates that concern.)
What does the XIV model 314 offer? IBM doubled the processors, up to 180 cores, and doubled the DRAM cache, up to 1440 GB. Both of these changes were done to improve the Real-time compression capability.
To reduce test effort cycle time, IBM simplified the configuration options:
Instead of ranging from 6 to 15 modules, the model 314 is limited to 9-15 modules.
The drive sizes are reduced to just 4TB and 6TB capacities.
If you want a Solid-State drive (SSD) for cache boost, only the 800GB option is available.
Through a combination of thin provisioning and compression, you can define up to 2 PB of soft capacity per rack.
The firmware v11.6.1 reduces the minimum volume size for compression from 103GB to 51GB. Firmware perpetually licensed for Spectrum Accelerate can be used with the XIV Model 314.
Demonstrate that IBM technologies in areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are relevant in solving the world's biggest challenges
Encourage developers to contribute their time and talent to open source projects that benefit the greater good
Generate fresh ideas on how to tackle age-old problems that plague society
Each year will have a different focus. This year, the focus is in preventing, responding to and recovering from natural disasters, especially important with 2017 ranked as one of the worst years on record for catastrophic events, including fires, floods, earthquakes and storms.
Call for Code invites developers to create new applications to help communities and people better prepare for natural disasters. For example, developers may create an app that uses weather data and supply chain information to alert pharmacies to increase supplies of medicine, bottled water and other items based on predicted weather-related disruption. Or it could be an app that predicts when and where the disaster will be most severe, so emergency crews can be dispatched ahead of time in proper numbers to treat those in need.
Can't think of any ideas for an app? Here are some TED videos that might inspire you:
IBM's $30 million USD investment over five years will fund access to developer tools, technologies, free code and training with experts. To raise awareness and interest in Call for Code, IBM is coordinating interactive educational events, hackathons and community support for developers around the world in more than 50 cities, including Amsterdam, Bengaluru, Berlin, Delhi, Dubai, London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv.
(My earliest memory of using a contest for fresh ideas was back in 1975, after the city of Tucson purchased the Tucson Rapid Transit Company. Rather than hiring an expensive marketing agency to run focus groups or surveys, the City of Tucson published in the local newspaper a "Name that Bus" contest. The winning entry was [Sun Tran], submitted by 25-year-old college student [Benjamin Rios]. He won the grand prize: $150 portable television!)
The winning Call for Cloud team will receive a financial prize and access to long-term support to help move their idea from prototype to real-world application.
Developers can register today at the [Callforcode.org] website. Projects can be submitted by individuals – or teams of up to five people – between June 18, 2018 and August 31, 2018. If you would like me on your team, as an honorary member, technical adviser or mentor, please let me know!
Thirty semi-finalists will be selected in September. A prominent jury, including some of the most iconic technologists in the world, will choose the winning solution from three finalists. The winner will be announced in October 2018 during a live-streamed concert and award event coordinated by David Clark Cause.
Additional details, a full schedule of in-person and virtual events, and training and enablement for Call for Code are available at [www.developer.ibm.com/callforcode] website.
Last year, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria, ravaged various parts of North America and the Caribbean. My topic on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) was well attended. I have been working in BC/DR for most of my career, including the "High Availability Center of Competency" or HACOC, for short.
However, natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires and floods represent less than 20 percent of all disasters. The majority of disasters, nearly 75 percent, arise from electrical power outages, human error, system failure and ransomware.
The seven tiers were developed by a group of IBM customers back in the 1980s, and have stood the test of time. I recently published an article in IBM Systems Magazine (January/February 2018) based on this presentation.
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 Hybrid Cloud Storage configurations, showing how a combination of Traditional IT, on-premise local private cloud, off-premise dedicated private cloud and public cloud, and be combined to provide added value.
Reporting and Monitoring: How to Verify your Storage is Being Used Efficiently
It is hard to believe that it was over 15 years ago that I was the chief architect for the software we now call IBM Spectrum Connect, Spectrum Control and Storage Insights. There are a variety of editions and bundles for this product, but my focus on this talk was on the advanced storage analytics found in IBM Virtual Storage Center and IBM Spectrum Control Advanced Edition.
I covered three use cases:
What storage tier to put your workload in, and how to move existing data into a faster or slower tier to meet business requirements and IT budgets.
For steady state environments, how to re-balance storage pools within a single tier to keep things even for optimal performance.
When it is time to decommission storage, how to transform volumes from one storage pool to another without downtime or outages.
Special thanks to Bryan Odom for his help in updating this presentation.
Spectrum Virtualization Data Reduction Pools 101
Barry Whyte, IBM Master Inventor and ATS for Storage Virtualization for Asia Pacific region, presented on how Data Reduction Pools were implemented in version 8.1.2 of Spectrum Virtualize. The software in the latest IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC), IBM Storwize products, and IBM FlashSystem V9000.
Basically, rather than say we "re-wrote" the code, we prefer softer euphemisms like the code was "re-imagined" or, my favorite lately, "re-factored". Legacy Storage Pools will continue to be supported, but IBM anticipates that people over time will transition to the new Data Reduction Pools (DR Pools).
Like Legacy Storage Pools, the new DR Pools also support a mix of Fully-allocated, Thin-Provisioned, and Compressed-Thin volumes. IBM has made a statement of direction that it will offer Data Deduplication feature in the future, but these will only be on the new DR Pools.
While DR Pools are available today with version 8.1.2, there are a few restrictions. There is a limit of four DR Pools per cluster, and the amount of total capacity of each pool depends on the extent size and number of I/O groups configured. Some of the migration methods developed for Legacy Storage Pools are not available, and in reality don't make sense in the new DR pool scheme. Child Pools are not supported either.
One of the big improvements that DR Pools offer is in the area of compression. With Legacy Storage Pools, CPU cores were dedicated for compression, so they were either under-utilized or overwhelmed. With DR pools, all CPU cores can be used for either I/O or compression, which potentially can increase performance by up to 40 percent!
After the sessions, IBM had its "Solution Center Reception". This is a chance to relax and unwind after a long day, with food and drink, and various sponsors in booths to explain their latest offerings.
This is Katie Thacker from [FIT]. In March 2018, FIT was recognized as IBM’s Top Strategic Service Provider of the year!
These are Elizabeth Krivan and Kelly Bouchard, two recently-hired IBM storage sellers. They attended my sessions at the IBM Technical University in New Orleans last October, so it was good to see them again at my sessions here in Orlando.
You can follow along with Twitter hashtag #IBMtechU, or follow me at @az990tony.