I was excited to get my Amazon box this week with fresh books to read!!! First up is Social Networking for Business
by Rawn Shah who happens to blog here at My developerWorks
. I've been looking forward to checking this book out and picking up useful ideas. And then I've got Crochet Adorned
by Linda Permann, an indulgence in a newly acquired hobby of mine.
These will keep me busy for awhile... I like to mix a little business with pleasure. Not that business isn't often a pleasure too.
Why tell you about my crochet book? Not because I expect many of the geeks here in My developerWorks to be into crochet. Although, who knows, maybe some of you are crocheting up the entire cast of Star Wars
in your free time:
The reason I share this is because I find these little things I enjoy that are not directly work-related help energize my creativity, giving me fresh perspective when I return to work the next day. I was motivated to share this by a post by Behind the Pixels on My developerWorks. I think brain power and creativity grows with stimulation from many different places.
This is why I ask the people I interview on my blog about their passions outside of work. I like discovering interesting things about people that I never would've guessed. I've gotten to meet people like Andrew Larmour, who wants to build his own car; Rawn Shah, who teaches Japanese swordfighting; Jakub Gaj who loves surfing and capoeira; Alan Harris whose interests range from Krav Maga to bowling; and Chris Walden who channels his open source passion into volunteer work.
All of these people are passionate about technology, but they have whole other sides of their lives too - and it all works together. It's inspiring to me!
This week I'm bringing you a fun interview with Ankita Nanwani
, an ambitious software developer at the IBM India Software Labs.
Learn more about Ankita and invite her to your network on her My developerWorks profile
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well, I will very soon be tagged a "2 year old IBMer". Just trying to carve my niche in this "Big Blue".
When I used to read about IBM in my text books related to various innovations, I always aspired to work here. I completed my graduation in Information Technology in the year 2008 and it was just 10 days later after my final semester exams, that I joined IBM India Software Labs(ISL). I started my career with IBM Tivoli Directory Server(TDS). By the time, I could actually deep dive into that legacy product, I moved to Virtual Member Manager(also known as Federated Repository) which is a component of WebSphere Application Server(WAS). So, putting my feet into a developer's shoes, I am trying to gain expertise in various Java technologies mainly J2EE.
I am also pursuing MS in Software Systems from Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani which I will completing in Dec 2011.What's it like working in the IBM Software Lab in India?
IBM India Software Labs is,indeed, a great place to work.The aura here, created by geeks around, inspires me to excel not only in my assignments but, also to turn my vague techy ideas into working solutions That eventually helps me to groom my technical skills and also learn innumerable technologies around. You name it and you can find a peer, just next door, to guide you. So, on whole, its a "just-cannot-be-missed" opportunity to be part of this lab.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
Well, as I am into very early years of my career in IT, my main role as a developer helps me to gain insights into "Why the architect designed this feature so?" I guess, "Why" is something which always bombards my mind and hence, I try to analyze the existing designs of my product and understand the various hidden design patterns.So, I feel, understanding the complex design and then actually turning that design into working code, is what I like the most.Because, sooner than later, I aspire to be a Product Architect.Is there anything unique about working as a developer because you are a woman?
As we all know, IBM has been acknowledged as a world leader in its commitment to women. And I have personally experienced it. If I take work into account, I have always had an equal share with the male
colleagues. But, when it came to staying back late for work or things like that, I was always ensured safety. So, I think, I did not realize any unique thing just because I am a woman working as developer.What was the transition like from school to work as a developer?
In school, I had counted number of hours to spend on the ideas which I had in my mind which was main the reason I always wanted to have a be as a full time developer soon.Here in IBM, I got ample amount time to work on varied technologies of my interest which fascinates me the most.How do you use developerWorks?
For professionals like me who have just stepped into this technology world, developerWorks is a valuable knowledge repository which helps us to learn almost any technology under the sun and that too, from IBMers,who have worked extensively on them. So, most of the time I try to gain as much knowledge as I can from developerWorks but I also promise to give back to developerWorks community, once I have gained enough expertise in my area of work. I have recently started blogging on My developerWorks
and will surely shoot up the number of my blogs soon.What new products or technologies do you want to learn about next?
Well, the list is endless here and I am sure it will grow by leaps and bounds as time passes because every minute we have some new upcoming technology. But, to be specific, I want to be an expert in J2EE and web technologies. I also want to learn Web2.0, SOA and Cloud Computing.Do you have any big dreams for your career?
I always dream of things which seem unrealistic to me because that motivates me to achieve very near to those big goals. Being in IBM, I want to increase the count of IBM Fellows by one :) I am aware that this will take years together but the journey towards it is surely going to teach me abundantly.When you're not working, is there anything special that you enjoy doing?
I am a voracious reader, whether its technical or non-technical. I also enjoy blogging. Apart from that,I play guitar and like experimenting with varied food.- Thanks Ankita!
This week I'm bringing you an interview with Jason Clark
, a software engineer at IBM developerWorks. Jason's passionate about many topics in technology and I was excited when I saw him start a new blog recently because I know he's got a lot to bring to the table.
Find out more about Jason Clark: My developerWorks profile
- Geek and Penguin Blog
- @geekandpenguin Twitter
- Jason T Clark Blog
- @jasontclarknet on TwitterTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well, I'm a software engineer for the IBM developerWorks Advanced Design team, and currently I'm working on improving the My developerWorks experience for international users. Since My developerWorks is a community for developers across the globe, we want to make sure that our site is accessible by developers worldwide. I'm also a strong player in the developerWorks Twitter
strategy, and have offered thought leadership on how we leverage social tools like Twitter to convey what we have to offer.Describe a normal day for you.
At developerWorks, I wear several hats- a jack of all trades in a sense. I'm a software engineer, but my systems engineering and network engineering skills play a significant role here at dW. My typical day starts with a morning meeting, followed by bugs to squash (code bugs that is), keeping our development systems safe and secure from a security stand point, and making sure that our team's daily development processes flow smoothly.What led you to pursuing a career in technology?
Video Games. I'm a HUGE video gamer, and the technology behind them has always fascinated me. My father is a private pilot, and uses flight simulator software on his PC. When I was younger, it was my job to make sure that his computer was adequate to run the software, and to fix any problems that came up. That's really how this whole thing began for me.Do you have any strategies for keeping up with what's new in technology?
I read RSS feeds, a lot. I use a RSS reader to give me the news in technology across a number of industries, and typically I blog or write about those that are most interesting to me. These two tips typically give me plenty to talk about on my blog, and discuss those findings with others.How do you use developerWorks?
Articles and Blogs are what I use the most. They say that people come to developerWorks looking for an aspirin on a vitamin. For me, there are lots of 'vitamins' on LINUX technology at IBM developerWorks. The blogs are always nice to read up on as well.Tell me about your new blog that you've started called The Geek and Penguin... What inspired you to start it?
Well, I've used LINUX and opensource tech for years. Many of those in my circle always cringe at the idea of using LINUX. I thought that starting a blog about the coolness of LINUX, and all of the really 'geeky' things that you can do with it would give people a different idea about it.
As a connoisseur of LINUX and opensource, I thought that starting a blog that speaks to those like me- The Geek is the user and The Penguin is the product; similar to auto enthusiasts magazine Car and Driver. How are you using social networking today?
Social networking is important for me. I use social networking tools to interact, collaborate, and syndicate things around the Internet. I like having those 'at the water cooler' discussions over the web where you discover news and interesting ideas, then share them with other people. Not only that, but it's great to also share what you're up to with those who are interested. My social tool of the moment is Twitter. There has been plenty of times where I've heard things on Twitter before anywhere else- I think it's a great way of keeping your ears to the ground.The biggest problem with social networking is...
The signal to noise ratio. Many times you have to filter out a lot of noise just to get to the real content that you are looking for. However, things like hashtags have helped the situation.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
As far as twitter goes, I like to follow @guykawasaki
. I also keep up with the gaming industry by following @gamasutra
and the Industry Gamer RSS feed.When you're not working, what interests or activities do you enjoy?
I play lots of video games, and I make music. I DJ, play piano, and make dance tracks in my spare time.Email or text messaging?
Email. More words, less finger soreness.
- Thanks Jason!
That sassy looking girl over to the left with the strange hairdo looks like she thinks she's pretty cool, eh?
That little 11 year old girl actually happens to be me. A friend posted this photo in Facebook and looking at my past self triggered memories that inspired this blog post.
When I was eleven, I actually didn't think I was that cool. But I desperately wanted to be cool and popular, like many grade school kids. Unfortunately I was painfully shy, always waiting for others to come to me. My perception of the cool, popular kids was that they were popular because they were prettier than me, wore nicer clothes, were on the cheerleading team, etc.
It was only a few years out of high school that I realized that wasn't the case at all. For the most part, the popular people were the most friendly, fun, outgoing, confident people. They were the people that welcomed others, invited them out to lunch, and said hi in the hallway. It mattered not what their socio-economic status was, or how genetically gifted they were in sports or attractiveness. What mattered is that they made other people feel comfortable and wanted.
I've often wished I could go back in time and whisper this secret to my 11 year old self.
But I can benefit from it now, and I often do in the world of social networking, which isn't much different than grade school. Many people sit and wait for others to reach out to them, to be discovered, to be found. But the people who reach out to others, welcoming, sharing info, connecting groups of people, and championing people, miraculously find themselves in a world of friendly faces.
If you're willing to make the first move, to say hello, to make contacts, friends and allies, it's a world of opportunity. So... don't be shy!
This week's interview with Naveen Balani
- a software architect and developerWorks Master Author
- is especially timely, given the start of the 2010 Devolothon, a 14 city tour in India
. developerWorks India is often on the cutting edge, trying unique things - connect with fellow IT professionals in India by joining the developerWorks India group
And now, onto my interview with Naveen Balani. You can learn more about him in his My developerWorks profile
. And in Naveen's blogs
on My developerWorks. And in his many articles on developerWorks
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I work as a Software Architect with India Software Labs, Mumbai. I am part of WebSphere Business Services product development team and currently working towards our next release of the product.What has your IT career journey been like? How did you get started? Did you choose a specialty or did it evolve?
I started my IT career in year 2000. I have always been keen to learn about new technologies and wanted to specialize on software design and architecture. Early in my career, I used to spend most of my time researching on various technologies and contributing articles, white papers on it.
I started off with a services organization where I was involved in designing and developing solutions for banking and insurance firms primarily on Java and J2EE stack. I was always looking out for opportunities where I could work on challenging assignments and get to design and architect solutions and products. Over these years, I have played various roles right from a developer to an architect and have worked on product development as well as designing and architecting solutions. What IT project are you most proud of?
I would say all projects that I have worked on have helped me in my career in some way or the other. Early in the career, I worked on various services engagement projects where I was implementing solutions for US Banking an Insurance firms. One particular implementation of a security algorithm that I did seem to be still being used in there various banking solution.
Next, I would like to mention about a BPM workflow implementation project, where I was involved in architecting and realizing an end to end BPM work flow solution, where we wanted to replace customer’s exiting process and fully automate it. Being in startup firm, you handle lot of responsibilities and I owned the entire business process solution and database design. There were various design challenges, integration challenges and various strategies that were required in terms of planning and execution to make it successful. An interesting thing about this project was this was the first BPM work flow implementation for a particular environment and stack which had it own challenges.
The other project that would always remain special is Business Service Fabric, which I have been working on since its inception, which got acquired by IBM in 2006. Product development is completely different from software services engagements and working with this product has immensely helped me to increase my technical knowledge over these years.
I love your blog post where you share about your philosophy of "Just go for it", as a technical author of over 50 articles. Do you have any personal techniques you use like goal setting that help you succeed?
I always try to keep myself updated on new ongoing trends and technology. I usually try to learn something new every year and then come up with a blog, white paper, book or an article or some medium which I can share with the community.
When I started, I never had set any personal goals about the number of articles I need to publish. I simply have a passion for writing and I feel publishing your work in some medium is best form of sharing your technical work and giving back to the community and collaborating with them. Obviously you need technical acumen, but what are the other important skills to be a good technical author?
I feel you should have a deep understanding about the subject you want to write about. When you write about topics, you must know your target audience and target it to the right audience level, beginners, intermediate or advance levels. A good technical author should aim at simplifying existing technology information or write about topics in simplified terms. What new technologies or products are you learning about this year?
I am planning to get myself updated on Spring framework 3.0 release and update my article on Spring series which was widely appreciated by the readers. Last year, I wrote a book on Apache CXF
, this year. I am planning to write a book on advance web services development. I also plan to write learn about Apache Incubation projects - Apache Shiro framework and Apache Aries.How do you use developerWorks?
I think, this is best answered on my blog
. Apart from publishing articles and tutorials, I use developerWorks to read blogs and articles, look for the resolution of issues in forums or respond to forums whenever I can. I haven’t utilized much of the My developerWorks capabilities as I intended, but have created blogs on dynamic BPM and semantic web, created groups on BPM to form a community group around BPM to share their experiences and knowledge and to stay connected with the developerWorks community. What publications / websites do you read / visit?
Apart from developerWorks, I visit Infoq.com
, The Server side
and read community blogs on various technologies.When you're not working, what interests or passions do you enjoy?
When I am not working, I like to read about any topics that interest me, watching movies, listening to music, catching up with friends. At some point, I would like to write a movie script and direct it. :)
Martin Packer's got an interesting job as an IBM Mainframe Performance Consultant. Luckily he shares his insights on his blog and with us here in this interview.
Discover more about Martin in his My developerWorks profile
, his Mainframe Performance Topics blog
, and Twitter
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a mainframe performance guy who's been building skill over the past 25 years to the point where this year I've "gone global". That is, I work with customers around the world, dealing with the thorniest performance issues. It's interesting and varied work: encompassing conference presentations, customer troubleshooting, supporting the implementation of new applications on System z, developing analysis tools, and writing Redbooks.
I'm also interested, as it happens, in web infrastructure (as well, of course, as Social Networking).How did you get started working in the IT industry?
I think it was inevitable I'd do SOMETHING with IT: My Father spent most of his career working at various levels with computers - so there were always technical computer books around the house. And so I got a master's degree in Information Technology and joined IBM in a Technical Marketing role. (I was a Systems Engineer in the 1980's, for anyone who remembers SE's.) And, while lots of IBMers were "upmarketing" themselves I took a turn for the technical... :-)Would you have any advice to share with students or IT professionals just starting out?
I'd say the same to them as to anyone starting their career: Follow your heart in what you choose to do. It's probably more sustainable in the long term, you'll sleep better at night, and have a lot more fun doing it! The standard careers advice, I gather, is to think and act in business terms. I'd put it a little differently: While technology is important and fun you have to think of people (and what technology enables people to do) as well.
What do you think is the most under-appreciated aspect of Mainframe?
Because mainframes have been around for a long time, in one form or another, I think people have a "set in concrete" view of what a mainframe is and what it can do. (By the way I like to use the "throw back" term "mainframe" instead of something more modern sounding because I'm actually very proud of our heritage.) So, it's evolved an awful lot, and keeps evolving. Now I'm closer to where the Development action is I can tell you it's going to keep evolving and fast: There's no chance of getting bored of it. So, the most under-appreciated aspect is its continuing evolution, relevance and modernity.How do you see Mainframe changing - either right now or in the future?
I obviously can't talk about unannounced products but mainframe folks would have to have been living under a rock not to know about some of the stuff on the horizon, to do with enabling hybrid applications to be run more effectively, with the mainframe as the centrepiece.
I also think we're going to see more emphasis on demonstrating all the modern technologies that run on the mainframe (and run well).
In my neck of the woods I'm going to be working on making the instrumentation (the entrails performance people like to pore over) even better. I seem to have an "unofficial evangelist" role for this, and I'm constantly in discussions with Development on how we can improve things. And I'll be sure to blog
about it on developerWorks, too. :-)How do you use developerWorks?
I started a few years ago with developerWorks as the host for my blog
: I wanted an external blog, hosted by IBM, having blogged internally a while before that. I'll admit I've not been a heavy user of the social aspects of developerWorks, but that's really because I've been so active elsewhere - for example on Twitter. And, if I was going to have an external blog I really wanted it to be an IBM-hosted one: Most of what I want to talk about at length is work related so I think that's the right venue.What are you planning on learning about next?
I'm looking forward to learning more about the shape of mainframes to come, and also about the next version of DB2 on z/OS. And, from what I already know, there's tons of it to learn about.
Away from the day job I'm doing a lot of "learning by doing" with web technologies: I have a "personal automation" webserver or two on my (now Linux) laptop so I'm starting to get competent with things like PHP, Dojo and jQuery. Up next is Python (thanks to one of my mentees, Stephane Rodet, who suggested I might like it) :-) and some stuff with SVG that I hope will lead to some nice visualisation tooling.
But I'm easily distracted by new technology, so who knows? :-)What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Well you'd expect me to say something mainframe-related, wouldn't you? But, while the news I've heard IS very cool, it's not sharable. But actually I think the DB2 for z/OS and Smart Analytics Optimizer Previews are pretty cool.Why did you decide to start a blog? Does blogging have any hidden benefits for you that you didn't expect?
As anyone who's ever come across me will agree, I like to talk. They might not spot I also like to listen. :-) So, for me, I can reach many more people by blogging (actually by tweeting now) than I could if I had to meet them in person or pick up the phone to them. And I hear all sorts of interesting stuff, too. Actually the decision to blog was a natural evolution (as is my use of Twitter): I'd been using the IBM Internal VM-based FORUMs since 1986, and the Social Networking stuff is just a natural extension of that, for me.You have a pretty large, active Twitter following - what role does Twitter play for you in work and personal life?
Yes, it seems like a lot of people - around 900 at the time of writing - and the question of what the relationship with each and every one of these is. At one end of the spectrum some of my family now use Twitter. At the other end are almost total strangers. But there are lots of people in between whom I'm really glad to know (and judging by the discourse some of them seem glad to know me). :-)
Working remotely a lot of the time it's a great channel for chatting with people - albeit in a "broadcast" sense. It keeps me thinking - sometimes about aspects of work, sometimes other technical stuff, and sometimes about the human condition. :-) There's stuff I plain need to believe I have an audience for - most notably the bad jokes. :-) And the "distraction" aspect adds A LITTLE :-) seasoning to my day.
I'm also finding Twitter is a great Instant Messaging medium for staying touch, using Direct Messages (or DM'ing for short). As I have twitter clients on almost everything with an (electronic) pulse it has the pervasiveness for staying in touch (especially when travelling) that I want. This IM aspect has surprised me recently - as I was tweeting for almost 3 years before I really got to use DM'ing this much.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
This week get to know John Pape
, a member of the IBM WebSphere Application Server SWAT team, blogging on My developerWorks and using social networking to connect and share his experience. Learn more about John in the interview below and connect with him on: My developerWorks ProfileJohn's Random Musings blogFollow John on TwitterTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a member of the IBM WebSphere Application Server SWAT team. My team focuses on acute product defect support, mainly focusing on crit-sits. My job entails me traveling to customer locations as helping them get through the tough times they are having with WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Virtual Enterprise, and WebSphere eXtreme Scale. We also do remote engagements as well. What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?
I'd like to think that I've always had a talent for working with computers. Technology has always fascinated me, whether it's a new smartphone, operating system, or browser. New technology is a bright and shiny toy for me!What are you doing to make the planet smarter? How do you personally relate to IBM's Smarter Planet story?
My personal efforts to make a smarter plant are two-fold: 1. I'm working with other IBMers to help make more technical content available to our customers via social media like Twitter
and My developerWorks
and 2. I am part of an internal effort at IBM called BlueIQ which aims to promote social software adoption inside IBM. I see the effective use of social software as a means to work smarter and thus produce a smarter planet. You seem to be a pretty prolific author, not only are you blogging, but you've also written articles and Redbooks. What inspires you to write so much, and how do you make find the time or make it a priority?
Writing is a big thing for me. I see authoring as a great way to give back to the technical community that brought me up, so to speak. In my job at IBM, I see lots of different types of problems and to be able to take these experiences and share them with other colleagues and customers to help them avoid them seems like such a small thing to do but, the benefit can be enormous!From your perspective, what's the most exciting thing happening related to WebSphere software right now?
Personally, I'm excited about grid computing and distributed caching. I think more and more customers and perspective customers are realizing the value of using a product like WebSphere eXtreme Scale to help save their company money. Since grid computing can be done complementary to cloud computer technologies like CloudBurst, I think it's a very relevant topic in the enterprise today. Besides WebSphere, what other technologies are you fanatical about and why?
As I mentioned before, grid computing concepts like distributed caching and data grid applications are my current interest. There are lots of new innovations in this area right now. Additionally, I've taken a great interest in the use of social networking in the enterprise. I think there are many lessons to be learned around the concept of Enterprise 2.0 and business collaboration technology. Your article about how to get an answer in forums is great! Do you spend a lot of time in developerWorks forums?
Less than I'd like to but, yes. I try to regularly contribute to the forums on developerWorks. I hate to see a question go unanswered!How are you using social networking today?
Internally, I make _HUGE_ use of our Lotus Connections deployment. I also use an internal Twitter-like clone called BlueTwit. Externally, I break up my work and personal life by using Twitter
for technology and IBM-related stuff and Facebook for my family and friends. I also use LinkedIn to keep track of my professional network. Lastly, I try to blog regularly on the My developerWorks site. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I keep track of the WebSphere support RSS feeds
so I can stay on top of current fix availability. I also watch the developerWorks RSS feeds
for new content. On Twitter
, I follow various IBMers related to WebSphere and Lotus products, Blackberry tech blogs, and my favorite NHL team - the Carolina Hurricanes!
Do you have a must-have gadget - something you can't live without?
My Blackberry. It's always glued to me. When you're not working, what hobbies or activities grab your attention?
Outside of work I enjoy watching hockey, coaching soccer, and inline skating. - Thanks John!
It might not surprise you that developerWorks
has an active team of developers too! This week I'm turning the spotlight onto Roosevelt Bynum
, who manages a team responsible for infrastructure web applications supporting developerWorks.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm the west coast development manager for developerWorks. My team is responsible for the infrastructure web applications that support developerWorks and My developerWorks.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
I really like the ever evolving web technology and how we impact the software developers of the world. What tips do you have for leading a team of software engineers?
I have a BS and MS in Computer Science 32 years of experience in software development experience. As a former developer myself, I suggest these tips:
1) Software Engineers are creative and use different approaches to solve problems, as a manager I believe developers are more productive if you give them the freedom to use that creativity to solve problems.
2) I believe development processes are necessary and valuable, but should be only used as a tool to enhance quality, while not inhibiting progress.
3) Since we use object technology in our development, the use of established design patterns and code reuse libraries make our software engineers more concise and productive.
4) Utilize the efficiencies of the tools in our software stack, like DB2
.How do you deal with the challenges of working with a remote team?
Regular communication and building strong relationships are the key to solving the challenges of a remote team. Tools like IBM Lotus Sametime
are key in the success of managing remote teams, but sometimes nothing beats a simple phone call.What's your approach to keeping your skills current?
I'm very curious and I love technology. I read lots of articles, talk to people and sometimes I take classes.Do you think it's more important to go broad or deep with your IT skills?
There are advantages of both. One needs a certain amount of depth to become a effective developer, while the broad skills give you flexibility to do different things.What challenges are ahead for you in 2010?
We need to continue to drive growth in the local sites around the world. Additionally, we need to enhance our site security to prevent malicious attacks, SPAM, and denial of service.What new ground do you think developerWorks should break next?
I think the next phase of developerWorks growth is an interactive community experience which makes our site security most important.How do you use developerWorks?
I mostly use developerWorks to test and validate our new applications and I read blogs and articles. I plan to start my own blog as well.Can you share something about yourself that most people don't know about you?
I am #2 of six kids and I have 5 sisters.
- Thanks Roosevelt!
This week I'm pleased to bring you a look into the mind of one of IBM's Master Inventors, Barry Whyte, who's been driving innovation in the area of Storage and shares his insights in a blog on My developerWorks.
Connect with Barry: Barry Whyte's profile on My developerWorks Barry Whyte's blog Barry Whyte on Twitter Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on
I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and studied Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. I joined IBM the year I graduated and have been working in the now Systems and Technology Group (under many different names) since 1996. During my 14 years I have worked solely in the area of Storage, having various development, test and field support roles on the Serial Storage Architecture (SSA) products, the IBM DS8000 range and since 2000 on the industry leading Storage Virtualization appliance, the SAN Volume Controller (SVC)
. I am currently a product architect for SVC, specialising in performance. Day to day this can mean tuning code, writing new code, of course benchmarking the product and guiding storage strategy.What projects have you worked on that were exceptionally exciting for you?
SVC itself is a great product, as it allows us to sell our vision to customers using other vendors products, and keep them... 18 months ago I proposed and developed a backroom project to demonstrate the ability of a scale-out architecture like SVC when it comes to very high performance Solid State Disks.What do you think is the next revolution in storage?
In the Storage domain we've always had a battle with application administrators, especially database admins. Going back 15 years DB admins would ask for their volumes to be placed on the inner, or outer edge of the disk - i.e. they wanted the best performance and had to know how the storage was laid out. As we moved to RAID technologies this became less important, and with virtualized storage there is a whole new abstraction layer between application and spindle. This is going to change again, as storage adds smart tiering functions - basically analyse the data workload for given "chunks" of storage, and then move that to the correct tier. This becomes more important with the performance (and price) differential between SSD and traditional HDD. This is coming in 2010, but looking further out, maybe 5-10 years, the next revolution will be whatever fundamental technology replaced NAND as a storage block. Todays SSDs are NAND flash based, but this is far from ideal as a low level storage technology. I see a few things coming through research that are going to displace NAND as the SSD technology of choice.How do you think innovations in storage will change life for an everyday person?
It's difficult to relate enterprise Storage innovation back to everyday people. You could say SSD innovation has already come to everyday users with our Blackberry's, iPhones, MP3 players and digital video recording - all to NAND based SSD. But storage at an enterprise level is just "assumed" - i.e. you wouldn't be happy if your bank forgot your account details - 24x7 reliable storage is just taken for granted. I guess inovations in storage, such as SVC and smart tiering will free up money within enterprises, so they can spend it on innovation elsewhere?Do you have any particular methods or approaches you like to use when trying to come up with creative solutions to problems?
I read a great book "The Medici Effect" by Frans Johansson
- the basic idea is that the most innovative solutions come from combining ideas from very different disciplines. For example IT and say Biology.How do you use developerWorks?
My main uses of developerWorks are for my blog, and other blogs, but we are working on a new Group for SVC users, so its likely I'll be spending more time in the Groups and discussion boards.How are you using social networking today?My blogging
is obviously trying to provide a "voice from inside development" out to our end users. Not a typical marketing or sales person, but someone who works with and uses the products day to day. Someone they can hopefully connect with on the same level. I've been using Twitter
for a couple of years, mainly storage related, but its a great information source, and to find new people with similar interests and new views. Facebook is great for keeping touch with old friends.What inspired you to start blogging? And what is it about blogging that you find rewarding enough to keep doing it?
Other vendor FUD slinging. (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) I found I was replying to other peoples blogs, correcting their mistakes and basically standing up for IBM and SVC. One of them suggested I get my own blog, and that was that. I also found it frustrating when other people moderated your reply - presumably they didn't like what I was saying, so somewhere I could get my voice heard seemed a great idea. I've kept blogging as I've been amazed at how many people are interested in what I want to say - almost 1000 people a day visit one or other of my blog posts, which I find amazing. I must be saying something interesting, and I've found it a great way to solicit feedback about our products - both bad and good.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Sad to say, but the power of the next generation of Intel Xeons (yet to be released).What publications / websites do you read / visit?
Other than the storage bloggers, in my regular read list are various Formula 1 websites (I know its not a huge sport in the US, but oval racing doesn't do it for me!) Magazine wise I have a subscription to Custom PC.When you're not working, what hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
The family takes up most of my time these days (7 and 5 year olds) and when I can I get out with my son to play golf. I used to play a lot and got down to a handicap of 10, but these days its creeping back up. My son is obsessed with Lego, and we spend a lot of time building things. My home PC is always getting some tuning work too.- Thanks Barry!
This week, take a peek into a day in the life of Sebastian Fratini
, an IT specialist in Argentina working with IBM DB2 and IBM Lotus Domino. Learn more about Sebastian in the interview below and visit his profile
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well I currently live in Argentina and I am 24 years old. I started working with IBM products four and a half years ago in a Business Partner. I started in the Development and Research area and that gave me a lot of knowledge from different software, technologies and solutions. I didn't spend too much time with one product. I just documented what it was needed and then, move to another project, which gave me a great base. I have most of my experience with Domino and WebSphere Portal and WCM but I used almost every Lotus Software, plus Java, TDI, DB2, SQL Server, etc. Personally, I like music. A lot. I enjoy playing guitar and going to the movies, series like House MD and Friends, travel.
Currently I am working in several projects. Two of them are Domino migrations. One from a different version. The other from a different mail solution. I am also integrating DB2 with Domino and migrating some applications. There is another project involving TDI and Domino 8.5.1 to make MSAD the center of the user deployment and administration (This one is quite fun) and also a couple of WebSphere Portal Demos for some projects around the year. So yes, I am somehow busy. It could be worse. Describe a normal day for you.
A normal day would be a work day! I get up and travel in a Mercedes-Benz with a driver. I call it 'The Bus'. Then I usually need to check that all the servers are working. If the day was bad, I like to go to Burger King. The flavor of the onion rings makes my day better. After I came home I feed my hamster and then watch movies or series. And the whole day connected to the Internet of course. Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
Mmm I don't think I have a hero like that. I just like to take the good things of each one of the people around me. I think I would like to follow Kevin Spacey. I think that is a great actor. If you were talking about the IT world, that would be Steve Jobs. Is there anything you think is unique or interesting about working in IT in Argentina?
The more I speak with people around the globe, the more I realized that in Latin America we usually work on the edge. Normally people don't try new technologies until it's settled and tested. Or don't go outside what's out of the box. Here most of the projects require you to dig, integrate, modify, develop, etc. And they are usually very fun projects. At least for me. I believe it has to be that all the canned solutions are out of reach for most LA companies so we need to rely on our creativity and skills. You have an impressive number of certifications in IBM software - how do certifications help you with your career and skills?
Definitely. I had many projects where the customer specifically asked for a IT guy with certifications. One that could prove that he knew the solution. And I watched the same customers turned down providers for lack of skills. But besides that it gives you a lot of confidence. What do you plan on learning next?
At this moment I am learning a lot of Tivoli Directory Integrator
(TDI) which I've never used before. I always like to keep updated on each solution and the new versions that come out. Whenever that happens, I have to install it and test it. I need to use it. I can't just read the 'What's new in..' but I also like to learn Java, Open Source Solutions, Linux, etc. How do you use developerWorks?
It would be easier to ask me how I DON'T use developerWorks =). Let's see. I use the Knowledge Base of course because I can't possible know everything. Although sometimes I just read technotes I don't need to be prepared for those crazy errors you might some day encounter. I use the forums
. Each day. I am usually around the Domino 6/7/8/.8.5/Sametime/Portal forums. The last two, I only enter when I have spare time. The first 4, I dedicate some time to answer because when I started the guys from those forums helped me a lot, so I am returning the favor. You can actually see me answering each day. I even recognize the name of several 'casual posters'. I also managed a Space which sadly I cannot no longer maintain the way I'd like, but as you saw, I am quite busy at this time. But I keep my developerWorks profile
and I found several interesting people from around the globe. It's nice to be part of a network of IT guys which are willing to share their knowledge and help. How are you using social networking today?Facebook
. All of them on my cell phone. Facebook every time I open the browser. Most of my friends are there and with those three sites I can be connected to all of them. It's hard to keep in touch after you move or graduate so that helped me to keep talking to several friends. I am one of those guys that say "Oh, that's is going into facebook" when something interesting happens. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I always open the next sites: Facebook, developerWorks Forums, Gmail, ItMadeMyDay.com, Clarin.com (Local newspaper) and Google. After that, I can go anywhere I need. But that's how I start my day. Are you a gadget junkie? Any new gadget you'd love to try?
I love gadgets. And I started hating the cell phones when I first got one. Now I cannot live without it. I have the cell phone, the iTouch, the WD Live, PSP and I love many more that I don't have because I want to control myself. I think I would like to test the Kindle. I am just not sure yet. Star Wars or Star Trek?
- Thanks Sebastian!