Speaking of PCI, 11 people were charged yesterday with stealing more than 41 million credit and debit card numbers, cracking what appearedto be the largest hacking and identity theft ring ever exposed. Businesses affected included:DSW, OfficeMax, Barnes & Noble, BJs Wholesale Club, the Sports Authority and TJMaxx. Sound familiar?
Theyused a technique called "wardriving", which involves the simple act of cruising through shopping strips with a laptop looking for accessible wireless internet signals. When a vulnerable network is found, a"sniffer program" is deployed and bingo - credit and debit card numbers are captured as they move through the retailer's processing network.
Some say those born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. One such trait is loyalty and one way we exhibit loyalty to ourselves and others is in making new year resolutions to improve personally and professionally. Weight loss programs are a common theme. For my part, I am back to hitting the machines(arghh) at the fitness center in the hopes of burning fat and hopefully not muscle.
In a special 'forecast 2006' issue of Computerworld one of their predictions deals with cost-cutting myths. IT cost cutting by itself as a new year resolution will only be a short term fix with limited value like so many of the crash diet programs you see advertised. The article continues: 'IT cost reduction is greatest when it supports a strategy for more cost-effective IT. In other words, cut the fat and strengthen the muscles and nervous system. Use improvements in technology outsourcing and IT operations to shift the portfolio toward inititives contributing to competitive advantage.'
Enter: Self-Managing Autonomic technologies. the IT diet that 'cuts the fat' with the right exercise program that will 'build muscle and nervous system with increased capability.'
Example: Perhaps one of the largest IT cost challenges companies face today is dealing with downtime. In our 24x7 global culture, any delays are detrimental. Leading the IT industry in taking measures to meet this challenge head-on, Self-Managing Autonomic Technology for problem determination enables self-healing systems that can prevent problems from occurring and accelerate repair time dramatically, thereby minimizing overall IT manageability while keeping businesses up and running. Introduced in 2001, this technology has garnered widespread attention from customers who regard it as a real provider of business value.
Take action! If a more cost-effective IT is part of your new year resolution help is available with a new roadmap of products and services that are designed to evolve complex IT infrastructures, end-to-end, to a more self-managing environment beginning with Self-Managing Autonomic Technology for problem determination today![Read More
One of our industry solutions is around better oil field visibility and more efficient extraction that according to the
reference article can actually help offset global warming.
Real-time monitoring of oil reservoirs helps companies see how effective flooding is and whether there are still pockets of oil that engineers can go after. The technique is often called 4D, because it not only shows what the reservoir looks like in three dimensions but illustrates how it changes over time. One company noted for its successful use of 4D is Norway's StatoilHydro ASA. At its Norne field under the North Sea it has carried out repeated seismic surveys to discover changes in subsurface structures and to monitor flow rates of water, gas and oil in real time. Such techniques have helped lift the recovery factor at Norne to 52% from 40% and extend the field's life past 2015.
Advanced sensors that indicate pressure, temperature and flow rates in real time are increasingly being installed on equipment. This gives engineers a live view of how an oil well is performing, and more timely information about how productivity can be improved.
International Business Machines Corp. is one company at the forefront of such techniques. It integrates sensors, accesses and analyzes the information they provide and makes recommendations based on the data.The advanced sensors allow engineers to communicate with the reservoir in real time...so they can make the right decisions...One technique that can be applied based on realtime guidance, involves pumping carbon dioxide into reservoirs to flush more oil out of the ground. The technique could become increasingly attractive as the world seeks to reduce greenhouse gases.
Hannaford, the large grocery chain based in Maine(where we often shop) had 4,200,000 credit card numbersintercepted as they were being transmitted last month from store point-of-sale systems to their payments systems. The credit and debit numbers were intercepted and then transmitted in batches to a location overseas.
Hannaford claims to be PCI(Payment Card security standard) compliant, although, that has not been independently validated. For sure, PCI is critically important and goes a long way to protect card details but to insure protection of transit and payment systems, where hackers apparently are now focusing, you have to go beyond PCI! To Hannaford's credit they are now doing just that!
I was with a number of large banks in a financial security conference in Milan, Italy this month to study this issue. Our Tivoli architects have teamed with IBM ISS (internet security) to cover the 12 major areas of PCI compliance. More importantly we have products that go beyond PCI to provide more holistic protection. We are also developing this capability with companies such as ACI that providebanking applications.
After all, a supermarket 'chain' is only as strong as its weakest link, and it only takes one unmonitored port, for example, to destroy the credibility and trust of an enterprise.
What weighs 35,000 lbs, rests 55 ft off the ground, and is can prevent 18 tons of carbon from being released into the air? A very green dragon that can hold it's breath?
Kind of...Ricoh has launched an eco-friendly billboard in Times Square. Instead of being connected to the electric grid, the 47x126 foot board is powered by 16 wind turbines and 64 solar panels. The billboard, will generate its own electricity, a first for Times Square.
When it comes to leadership by example, Ricoh is the real deal. Spend some time on their web site http://www.ricoh.com/environment/ to appreciate the extent of their commitment.
Competition often fuels advancements in technology, but paradoxically vendor cooperation can also create greater customer value. And in today's multi-platform heterogeneous IT environments, business value is more dependent than ever on vendors working together. The IBM Service Management Partner Ecosystem
is a new initiative that enables partner companies to drive innovation together around a common platform that delivers greater holistic value to customers.
Networking companies, independent software vendors (ISVs), system integrators, consultants, resellers and distributors can take advantage of the open standards, superior technology and marketing collaboration supported by the IBM Service Management Partner Ecosystem to offer competitive differentiation, better integration and faster return on customer IT investments.
Inspired by Moore's idea of a business ecosystem, the IBM Service Management Partner Ecosystem members have embarked on a great opportunity for both customers and the IT industry. As the members of this ecosystem co-evolve their offerings, a more valuable set of goods and services will ultimately emerge for our customers. Click on the link above to read the full text of this article, or watch these videos on the video player(choose episode: partner ecosystem) from the main ISM Launch page where you can find many other resources as well.
Verizon Wireless announced last year that it would open up its network for any company to leverage!
Industry watchers anticipated market leading, high profile features around low cost international calls and Google applications.
It it interesting to note that the first to take advantage of the open network was a machine-to-machine device and automated system. Is this the next evolutionary phase of devices on the open network?
What was this device and who made it?
A wireless device from SupplyNet Communications, a 21-employee firm in Schaumburg, Ill., which certified under Verizon's Open Development Initiative.
Their battery-powered modem connects to a sensor that dips into large storage containers, like construction-site diesel tanks or tanks of shortening at a food factory. When a tank runs low, the modem zips off a text message to SupplyNet, which alerts the customer that it needs a refill.
A roomful of relatives can mean something different depending on who you talk to. Personally, there are times that I am grateful for relatives, but right now a room with an oceanview without the relatives in it - that would work well for me.
Customer IT infrastructures without Autonomic Computing? "Its like a roomful of relatives all talking about the same set of problems at the same time, but in different languages with no one listening, and no structure for finding solutions to their common afflictions.", according to a recently published Red Herring article entitled, Anticipating Autonomics
Combining IBM's autonomic self-managing technologies with business partner Singlestep's Unity product was, in the author's words 'like getting all the chattering neurotic relatives to take turns talking to a group therapist in a common language.'
There is a growing momentum within a number of hot startups like Singlestep to deliver value with Autonomic Computing. Venture capital investors see opportunity in these companies with autonomic computing as a theme according to Red Herring. Another excellent example cited of such a company is Network Physics in Mountain View, California that offers a product that incorporates IBM autonomic technology compatible with autonomic computing architecture.
hmmm - maybe a little more unity and some applied network physics would work with my relatives...[Read More
The rapidly accelerating pervasive instrumentation and interconnection of the world’s infrastructure and the emergence of entirely new ways for businesses to organize, operate and differentiate, is transforming the competitive landscape. This is why I am on a plane to meet with the top technical team of a utility company to discuss how we can work with them to accelerate their business forward.
Sam Palmisano in his speech to the council on foreign relations last week, talked about A smarter planet, the next leadership agenda. Reference the New York Times article , by STEVE LOHRPublished: November 6, 2008. Sam Palmisano's call to action was a compelling one citing reasons like how much energy is needlessly wasted. For example: Did you know significant electrical energy is lost because of inefficient power generation and grid management? The inefficiencies in our current grids are systemic. With little or no intelligence to balance loads and monitor power flows, every year, grids around the world lose enough electricity to power India, Germany and Canada!
Hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted generating energy that never reaches a single light bulb.
400B kWh are wasted by consumers each year due to insufficient consumption information.
Sam also cited examples including: How gridlocked our cities are, How inefficient our supply chains are, How antiquated our healthcare system is:, How our planet's water supply is drying up…And, of course, the crisis in our financial markets…need I continue? Technology(in part) got us here and technology can get us out! Smarter industry based solutions are possible today.
You may have noticed that The Tivoli portfolio has been expanding to provide what is needed to manage the world’s infrastructure(beyond IT) Leveraging the breadth and depth of IBM’s products and services, Tivoli is uniquely positioned now to manage the world’s infrastructure, to deliver a smarter planet, to deliver IBM Service Management for Industries around the world….
Managing the World's Infrastructure
Let me elaborate on what I have stated - we leverage the full suite of Tivoli products as the building blocks of our solution work. The main focus of our work is on making service management more relevant for each industry, with easy to begin,entry points based on unique needs of that industry.
Today, SOA is at the heart of business transformation( in that SOA, for eg. provides greater flexibility to compose new business services ) and so Tivoli Industry Solutions largely uses SOA as a foundational architecture.
We also base our solution architecture on IBM’s Industry Frameworks which are software-based platforms based on business specific usage patterns including industry-specific extensions, business and technology standards and an ecosystem of independent partner assets, guided by industry and subject matter expertise, and a global delivery model that leverages Service, Software, Hardware from IBM and business partners.Putting Service Management in an industry context has been a significant amount of work but absolutely critical for the solution required for today’s challenges.
We do it by enabling better VCA (Vision, Control , and Automation) Isn’t there a saying that goes something like, if you can’t see it or you can't measure it, then you can’t manage it(or something like that anyways)… let me give a specific example: Recall how much energy is lost because of inefficient power generation and grid management. The impact of making the grid just 5% more efficient would be equal to removing the carbon footprint of 53 million automobiles! Better visibility and real time control of the grid is clearly needed and a great place to start. We are working with utilities on a solution to drive Visibility that will extend from IT Networks across the electric grid that will ultimately transform the transmission and distribution system into an intelligent (or smart) grid. We are working to improve control to pinpoint problems with event correlation across the grid and IT infrastructure and drive more automated problem resolution and, for example, provisioning of advanced meters that will provide better visibility to utility customers. There is huge potential here as well. One study shows that as much as 170 billion kw are wasted due to lack of visibility to residential customers.
Tivoli Industry solutions is rapidly evolving. Our first phase was focused on increasing our utility industry understanding and credibility, build out the Tivoli assets for the initial plays and complete initial validation. We are now advancing to real implementations and this is where it will get very exciting. Exciting not only for the impact that our work will have but also exciting in the part we are playing in the next leadership agenda - a smarter planet.
Playing dodge with 50,000 foot cumulonimbus thunderheads is not really my idea of fun but
that pretty much sums up my flight into Houston today. Texas has had so much rain lately!
There have been a lot of stories published on the weather in Texas but
here is a story(probably one of many) that has gone largely untold.
It was 1:00 AM in the morning when a neighborhood in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was hammered
by 60 MPH wind gusts, severe lightening strikes, and over 4 inches of rain during a one hour
period. Just when the weather was easing up a bit, two loud explosions were heard that
shook one house like an earthquake, terrifying the occupants. A quick search within the
house did not reveal any damage.
Later that night the doorbell rang. An electric company technician, standing in the driving
rain, explained that half of the community was without power and that they suspected that
the problem was in the backyard of this particular house.
As it turns out, the explosions were caused by a tree falling into the utility power pole.
Most power company monitoring systems are unable to pinpoint exactly where problems
originate, but can only narrow it down to a probable area. Good old fashion footwork and
visual inspection of poles is how the source of the problem is often determined. The power
was restored by 6AM but not with out a few more explosions and some very dangerous repairs
in the pouring rain by a crew of four men up on the poles.
There is no shortage of appreciation from me for those utility technicians that are dispatched in
the middle of the night during storms to restore power. We are currently working with energy
and utility companies to improve distribution monitoring systems, exploring how realtime
event monitoring and automation can speed discovery and repair. Intelligent Utility Networks (IUN)
enable ‘on-demand’ access to information on customers, assets and the power transmission and ditribution grid which are used to continuously optimize operations and planning. It is built on an SOA framework and leverages the latest Tivoli technology for end to end monitoring and management.
There is nothing more exciting then winning a trifecta at
the race track unless you live in the world of smarter buildings( like me )and are
celebrating today’s triumvirate of IWMS, EAM and ITAM. See today's press release ( IBM to acquire Tririga )
This pioneering move to bring together these three worlds is
the digital convergence of buildings and their associated equipment, end-to-end,
that are required to deliver the services that differentiate each company. It
is the new definition of smarter buildings.
And that is really good news for our customers as this will
help them get the most from their infrastructure, an increasing area of
Today, companies struggle with visibility into the
operations of their building portfolio. Buildings
and their assets are the second-largest expense on the balance sheet. Today most
organizations rely on point products from different vendors to address areas
such as: facility and datacenter infrastructure, lease obligations, energy and
sustainability management, space and occupancy, and facility-condition
assessment. Each product used by different departments maintains silos of
information, making it difficult, if not impossible, to share across different
operational functions locations. Similarly, business processes that span
multiple groups cannot easily be supported when those groups are using
TRIRIGA’s leadership in IWMS, coupled with IBM’s leadership
in EAM and ITAM represents the perfect trifecta. And it is not just about the technology. Both companies combine deep services skills
to help customers not only implement their software but transform process and
policies, roles and responsibilities,
and org structures to take smarter buildings to a new level.
The implementation of these systems is no longer possible by
IT alone but by new alliances being formed from Personnel, facilities
management and the CIO’s office. By
working together, new strategic insight will emerge that will drive down
portfolio cost and drive up operational efficiency.
IBM has been working over the last year to form new
alliances with partners such as Johnson Controls, Inc., Honeywell, Eaton, and Autodesk
to create new smarter building offerings that manage facilities, space, and energy.
This welcome addition will extend and enhance our current joint offerings by
adding enterprise-class management for real estate contracts, construction
projects, occupancy, and environmental sustainability.
Helping companies become more efficient, reduce costs, and save energy is what makes
Smarter Buildings a triple winner.
This morning I walked along a stone wall circling a hill as
far as I could see. To my right was an
expanse of green fields, bordered by forests that framed the horizon. The path I took this morning was well traveled. It was, in fact, along an aisle of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Many famous scientists,
dignitaries, and world leaders have walked these halls of local field stone and uninterrupted
Architected by Eero Saarinen over a half century ago, this
iconic structure is still the vibrant epicenter of the world’s largest
industrial research organization. Throughout the last five decades, this
building has facilitated famous achievements and longstanding worldwide patent
leadership. Saarinen believed that some
of our best thinking is done with nature as our inspiration. His design embraces the forested landscape and
natural stone with bold and sweeping lines that infer the endless possibilities
of the human mind. I settled into one of his womb chairs in the library looking
across a floating stone table into the green pasture to capture my thoughts for
this article on paper.
The TJ Watson Research Center is located in Yorktown
Heights, New York. It has played a lead pioneering
role in the evolution of IBM, but, like its location, maintains some distance
from the day-to-day operational units. Its shepherding, however, is felt around
the world with extended research facilities that have embraced the growing
global nature of our business.
The building and much of its furnishing, including the chair
I am sitting on, have remained relatively intact for the last five decades,
which is significant given the transformation of the IBM corporation since this
building’s capstone was put in place on April 25th, 1961.
That transformation has affected everything within and
without the structure itself while the foundational beliefs of IBM, like the
very foundation of this building, remain intact.
The building houses a vast collection of tools and
laboratories for close to six hundred PhD’s who work here. A formidable supply
of electrical power as well as over 15,000 different chemicals and toxic gases
are available. There is also an on-site nitrogen-generation
plant, a helium-delivery system, an oxygen system, and a wastewater-treatment plant.
How does a building, designed before the IBM 360 system, keep
up with the demands of bleeding edge science?
I took a trip into the almost Harry Potter-like world of this building to
Between the numbered corridors and hidden behind almost-invisible
locked doors, another surprise awaited – the utility cores that efficiently
provide water and gases to the building’s many laboratories. This core is a
long and narrow alley with all manner of conduits and supply feeds. Who could
possibly work in such a space? Apparently there is a wizard called ‘the
plumber’ who has been tinkering in these spaces for longer than anyone in the
building can remember.
Behind the back of the building, I went through an accordion-style
access gate and down a set of steel steps into multiple large rooms that were filled
with massive equipment. The vibrations,
temperature, and sounds of these rooms let you know you are in the heart of the
It’s hard to appreciate boilers, chillers, condensers, fuel
tanks, and electric stations until you stand next to (or under) them. Back in the days of punched cards and
magnetic core memory, the chillers in this building were powered by steam and
massive amounts of air exhaust were drawn out of the building by belt fans. The
speed of the fans was adjusted by using different belts, each of which was
changed by hand. Waste was pulled from the building from large skips on a daily
Today the science and tools, which IBM is using for smarter planet
offerings, are also transforming buildings like this that we live and work in. Manual controls and gauges have largely been
replaced with digital switches and smart sensors. Energy management, sustainability,
grey water applications, and carbon foot printing have supplanted prior
practices that were based on the idea of unlimited resource. Recycling at this
site has reduced waste to the point that only one container for two weeks is
all that’s needed.
It takes good architectural “bones” to accommodate such
change with only minor surgery. Today boilers are run far more efficiently and
chiller towers are able to operate 3000 hours a year on free-air cooling. Research staff are working to further increase
the efficiency of free-air usage by using the BlueGene supercomputer for
weather prediction, while solar experiments are conducted on the building
grounds. Facility engineers have developed and acquired software to run every
aspect of the building inside control rooms that resemble computer-driven
IBM’s new smarter building
solution leverages the experience gained from managing buildings like this
one. Coupled with the IBM software
stack, building management business partners, and global services, IBM is well
poised to continue this advance for the next 100 years. Operations, space, and
energy management are combining into one holistic, highly automated system. Building
data feeds are being aggregated, filtered, and correlated to produce work
orders and actions based on policies and rules that are programmed into the
system. Data from the buildings is being
captured in databases for analytics and mash-ups for different role-based
Smarter buildings will be holistically
managed and optimized to integrate well with other buildings, and with smarter systems like smart grid and smart water. They leverage technology and processes to
create a safer, more productive, operationally efficient building that is also environmentally
responsible for the planet.
The very science and research that the TJ Watson Research
Center was designed to inspire and faithfully deliver over the last 50 years is
now being leveraged to make this building smarter. In turn, the smarter this building becomes,
the better job it will do facilitating the pioneering work which is conducted that
has been a hallmark of the IBM Corporation.
Just as the leading video game consoles - xBox, Nintendo, and Playstation - leverage the latest IBM
technology for competitive edge, IT solution providers and outsourcing companies are turning to
IBM autonomic self-managing technology to advance the state of automation of the data center to reduce cost
and manage complexity.
This week in Bangalore, India we announced 12 India-Based Solution Providers that will incoporate IBM's self-managing autonomic
technology, based on open standards, into their software and solutions. This is the latest in a series of
announcements around the world that now include close to 100 business partners.
On September 13th in Tokyo, Japan we held the 2nd annual Japan Autonomic Computing Day where partners announced
their latest products and services based on Autnomic Computing standards and IBM self-managing technologies. Lots of real code demos (not chart-ware), numerous company presentations, and standing room only!
For those who read Japanese(or those who just want to see a picture of Holly and I in the interview in Tokyo) here is an example of some of the press generated: Self-Healing Software Diagnoses IT Problems Based on Symptoms The Next Wave of Smart Problem Determination Software Uses Historical Knowledge to Prescribe Solutions for Problems…
After Japan, I made my first personal visit to Seoul,September 14-15. I met with a number of companies there and I was so impressed with the collaboration and innovative work around autonomic standards and technology that went beyond IT infrastructure to appliance applications. I did have the chance to enjoy some of the local food - an experience that took me beyond food to ancient chinese medicine. Most memorable was a black chicken ginseng soup - It is believed that Ginseng improves the body's resistance to stress and to increase vitality...kind of like autonomic self-managing technology...
And I am learning a new language: Korean! Annyong-haseyo![Read More
Today ACI announced that the latest version of their software for online payments processing offers standard support for IBM's database, middleware and security capabilities on the IBM System z platform.
It also features enhanced security and a more flexible infrastructure to easily accommodate future updates and compliance regulations such as the latest Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS)- an area our team has been focused on.
The strategic alliance announced by ACI and IBM in December 2007 is focused on technology solutions to help financial institutions. IBM's flagship mainframe capabilities together with ACI's payment engine enable complex and disparate networks for the industry's most powerful virtualization, security and scalability. This is key to the growth and security of Financial institutions.
Some observations that lead me to believe that the airlines can do a better job managing the lifecycle, maintenance, and engineering changes...something our industry solutions addresses. I blogged about this in the past... Remember American Airlines (and others) having to ground their fleet to rush changes or risk compliance penalties?
Let's start with 2 observations:
1) Air France and Airbus apparently couldn't agree on what the maintenance changes should be
2) Airbus was forced to make changes to the pilots manual
Other data points:
The agency said the A330 had sent out 24 error messages in four minutes including one indicating a discrepancy in speed data. It said similar problems had happened before.
Air France said it had first noticed in May 2008 that ice in the sensors was causing lost data in planes like the A330, but that it failed to agree with Airbus on steps to take.
According to Air France, Airbus offered to carry out an in-flight test on new sensors this year but the airline decided to go ahead and started changing them anyway from April 27. It did not say whether the crashed plane had the new sensors but its last maintenance hangar visit was on April 16.
Some of the A330s 50 or so other operators defended the plane's safety record at an airlines meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, saying the crash was an isolated incident.
Airbus has faced problems with the speed sensors dating to at least 2001, forcing changes in equipment as well as the pilot's flight manual, according to online filings.
In 2001, France reported several cases of sudden fluctuation of A330 or A340 airspeed data during severe icing conditions and Airbus was ordered to change the cockpit manual, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
It is still early days, and we have to wait for final analysis but I believe there is room for improvement, given the data we have and the airlines should make steps towards improvement immediately to address these problems.
I just love it when everything falls into place, don't you? The planets are in alignment. We have a black belt team of architects in place, and we are on a new industry solution mission! This has motivated me to start a new blog focused on Industry Solutions and the critical role Tivoli plays for the industry... So why Tivoli and why now? How can software that has traditionally managed IT, be not only relevant, but essential to Industry based solutions? In case you have not been watching Tivoli lately, there are a number of galatically important events that have prominently positioned Planet Tivoli for this new role. They include the following:
Tivoli's successful evolution to IBM service management (ISM) which elevates Tivoli from IT management to the management of critical business applications
Tivoli's successful acquistions of key industry management software like Micromuse, MRO, Consul, and Vallent which really make the connection to industry-specific management
Tivoli's alignment with industry standards and the ISM open platform and ecosystem as an enabler to build out industry solutions from numerous technologies
And last but certainly not least, the evolution of SOA based industry frameworks that require a holistic and systematic approach to management.
I will be outlining which industry plays we are starting with and exactly how Tivoli will play a role in each play. so... watch this 'space!' We are in orbit![Read More
I am a fan of the Die Hard series (and that genre of movies.) The last film in the series Live Free or Die Hard did not disappoint. It was a worst case scenario security breach, that drives home the point that we cannot spend too much time thinking about security of the systems we are continually evolving.
While touring an energy company’s distribution center a few weeks ago, questions arose about how the company secures its SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) and process control systems. Of course this particular energy company goes to great lengths to isolate the distribution control systems from the corporate network, to diligently perform intrusion detection, and to rigidly enforce identity life cycle management.
The United States government is also very interested in how the owners and operators of bulk-power systems have either taken or are taking appropriate steps to protect against cyber-security vulnerabilities. Energy and utility companies are evolving to intelligent grids with integrated business and control systems that require access by a greater number of users. The concern is that as the utility grids become more interconnected to the Internet, run of the mill hackers and even terrorist groups will have greater opportunity to attack power generation, transmission, and distribution centers. A succession of minor disruptions to the flow of electricity flowing across power lines and transformers into homes and business has the potential to greatly impact the profit margins of energy and utility companies.
The problem has gained the attention of the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Federal regulators have issued a directive which:
'…requires all generator owners, generator operators, transmission owners and transmission operators that are registered by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. and located in the United States to provide to NERC certain information related to actions they have taken or intend to take to protect against' similar cyber vulnerabilities, according to the notice...'
While this is good step in the right direction, I think American energy and utility companies will need to take a good hard look at how they can better thwart future cyber attacks of the energy infrastructure.
I recently had the opportunity to attend an Autonomic Computing(AC) summit with customers and business partners at the IBM Amagi Homestead
in Naka-Izu-cho, Japan. I was looking forward to the weekend retreat, not just because of the great sashimi (and the chance to wear a yukata
;), but because a number of business partners would be presenting how IBM AC technologies are helping to differentiate their products. Bright and early Saturday morning before the meeting began , we had the customary group photo
in front of one of the putting greens with Fuji, which was unfortunately obscured in the process of scanning this picture, as a backdrop. (I am seated in the center, front row)
We arrived at Amagi early Friday afternoon after taking a train down the coast from Tokyo followed by a bus ride up the mountain where the business retreat would take place. As our bus emerged from mandarin groves along the narrow coastal plains and began the steep climb to the Amagi homestead 2500 feet in elevation we all strained to see the first glimpse of Mount Fuji through the mist and forest...
Suddenly to searching eyes
Startling like the first chord struck from celestial amps
Proudly peaked with white
Humbly hushing all
Inspired by Fuji and inspired to be on a mission in Amagi, a mission with a grand challenge! The challenge? To truly work together as an industry, setting a new precedent of cooperation, in the battle to reduce IT complexity. Its all about finding new common ground as the way to move forward...and Amagi was all about demonstrating how we are finally beginning to take that journey together.
The Manifesto of Autonomic Computing
maintains that the information technology boom can only expand for so long before it collapses under the weight of its own complexity. A complexity fueled by the ever increasing availability of disparate technologies coupled with global expansion, mergers and acquisitions. We need a different model if we are to move to the next generation of business enabled by information technology. The human body's autonomic nervous system presents a very interesting model. The autonomic nervous system is a part of the peripheral nervous system that functions to regulate the basic visceral processes needed for the maintenance of normal bodily functions. It operates independently of voluntary control, freeing humans from complex management tasks that could distract from higher physical or intellectual tasks. Let's face it - if we approached the management of our body the way we approach the management of IT, everyone on our bus would have missed that first poetry inspiring view of Fuji! We would have been so distracted with consulting manuals and contacting experts (to reconfigure breathing, heart rate, skin temperature and pupil dilation to insure optimum performance in an environment that was undergoing a rapid altitude change) that we would have missed the more important view.
So what is Autonomic Computing? It's an enabler for focusing on the higher level business view without the distraction of managing the technology. AC is also all about a challenge to the IT industry to work together to reduce complexity and create self managing systems. The ability to cross technology barriers imposed by complexity is critical if we are to advance to the next generation of business.(ie: on demand)
The Amagi retreat was a deep dive into Japanese culture for me. The meetings and activities had a sincere openness and inclusiveness to them which I greatly appreciated. It was also an honest immersion into how Japanese companies are making significant progress with the challenge of AC. There is a lot of momentum in Japan led by IBM-J and a number of innovative business partners.
In Amagi, companies such as Toshiba, a true autonomic leader, described how the incorporation of AC technologies from the AC Toolkit
such as the Autonomic Management Engine(AME) and the Log Trace Analyzer(L/TA) as well as the Common Base Event (CBE) XML schema have helped to deliver real value. The autonomic architecture, standards, and technologies have provided a common ground for business partners to start to work together on this shared journey towards self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing, and self-protecting systems.
I have been working with a number of business partners who will be joining me at PartnerWorld
in Las Vegas in the beginning of March to demonstrate how they are moving forward with Autonomic Computing technologies. I am really excited about this years event and can already feel the AC spirit. But more on that later... (My autonomic system is telling me to take a break and watch some autonomic nervous system in action - AC-C basketball.)
This has been quite an exciting week at Partnerworld(PW) in Las Vegas. (And not just because I had beginners luck at the slots last night!) There is a level of excitement and enthusiasm this year with our business partners that I did not feel last year. It certainly helped to have the PW Solution showcase open Sunday night with Singlestep winning CRN Best of Show for the work they did incorporating and shipping AC technology in their products for the small and mid-sized enterprise markets. I have seen some very impressive technology from our partners on the showcase floor and in face to face meetings. I have also witnessed a new level of collaboration between our AC partners that is generating a number of new ideas and business opportunties to the extent that we are now thinking about forming the first AC business partner user group![Read More
I spent some time recently with Tim Bradshaw, Infoconomy on my last trip to Europe. His article, Autonomic for the people
, based on our conversation and interviews with other vendors and analyst Donna Scott of Gartner hit the web this past week. Tim does a very good job of capturing some of the major initiatives and thinking around today's autonomic movement. After reading his report I must agree with Tim that the data center is indeed overwhelmed today with a proliferation of applications and IT tools that require manually intensive efforts that 'wastes talent, ...strangles innovation, and is inordinately inefficient."
Will IBM's autonomic computing revolutionize system management? Actually, the strategy is not to create a revolution but to facilitate an evolution of current infrastructures towards a more autonomically mature state. For sure it is a grand challenge to get the industry to work together on a new set of unifying standards and technologies that will make this possible but it is happening. In fact, it is happening faster than anyone predicted. OASIS just ratified one such standard called WSDM that includes the XML SCHEMA based Common Base Event that is critical to delivering self-healing heterogeneous multi-vendored systems. This coupled with other autonomic integrating technologies, that are appearing for the first time in the industry's history, are having a profound impact in the most complex and challenging customer scenarios. These are the very scenarios that are requiring manually intensive efforts today that are inordinately inefficient. We are identifying these scenarios one by one and driving technology proof of concepts that represent the first emergence of self-healing systems. This in turn allows people to shift their focus and talents to the more interesting challenges of innovation for the business and this is exciting for talented IT professionals. Autonomic for the people! Write on Tim!