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.
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Lots of changes in the latest releases of IBM Spectrum Protect and Spectrum Protect Plus, respectively. Enough perhaps to save for a future post. I will point out a few key changes that I think are quite significant:
Cloud-based protection for currently supported databases hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) including IBM Db2, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and MongoDB databases
Tier from disk-based storage pools to tape. Tape is less expensive than disk-based SAN, NAS or object storage. This features moves older backup copies that are not likely to be recovered to lower cost storage.
Internationalization: User Interface (UI) translations for Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, German, and Chinese languages.
IBM's FlashSystem products are recognized by the industry as the "World's Fastest Storage™" Here are some of the enhancements:
FlashSystem 900 now supports Remote Code Load and Remote Code Update. This is a feature we have already for the IBM DS8000 Storage System, and it has been wildly popular, eliminating the need to send a human being from IBM to your data center to update your firmware.
VersaStack™ Cisco Validated Design (CVD) for IBM FlashSystem 9100. This provides a converged system, a single rack with the leading-edge x86 servers and switches from Cisco, with IBM FlashSystem 9100 all-flash arrays.
(Note: We'll go back to storage tomorrow, but for today, I will talk only about the IBM Red Hat acquisition)
Back in 2007, my blog post [Double Happy Wedding] compared IBM's acquisition for a company that produced data migration software to the practice in Japan of waiting until the bride is five to seven months pregnant to have a wedding.
In business, the best acquisitions are the ones where both parties have been working together already. IBM and Red Hat have been working together for the past 20 years!
From 1999-2002, I was part of the team that help port Linux to the mainframe, based on Red Hat components. I was the first person to install Linux on a mainframe in Arizona, on a z800 machine, if you can remember that far back. My involvement with Linux was three-fold:
Back then, I was the chief architect of DFSMS on the MVS operating system (now called z/OS). We needed a way to backup Linux data on the mainframe, so I helped develop the "Compatible Disk Layout" (CDL) which made the disk volume compatible between MVS, z/OS and Linux operating systems. Linux would read and write data on the volume, and then the Linux volume could be backed up or dumped to tape using existing DFSMS utilities.
I led a team to test and debug all of the disk and tape storage drivers for Linux on the mainframe. One of my colleagues, who worked with Tom West, gave me a copy of Tracy Kidder's book [The Soul of a New Machine] as it seemed similar to our efforts. I highly recommend this book!
I ran a series of roadshows, traveling to promote Linux. At each event we had two speakers. I was the key speaker, and one of my teammates would be working the keyboard to run all of the live demos. I played the role of a reporter, hot on the story of Linux, and my teammate would play the role of my newspaper editor/boss who would ask me questions from a script. I would then answer the question by showing off a Linux demo, while my teammate hit the appropriate keys to make it happen.
At the time, many in IBM did not understand the concept of "open source", or the idea of an operating system written by people on the Internet. I saw that Linux and Open Source was the future, but not everybody I worked with at that time shared that vision. Today, open source is the default choice for business.
On the surface, the deal appears fairly straightforward. IBM paid $34 Billion, and in return gets 13,000 new employees and $3.4 Billion in new annual revenues. But this deal is more than that. This acquisition redefines the cloud market for business. Here are some excerpts from the press release:
"Red Hat's open hybrid cloud technologies are now paired with the unmatched scale and depth of IBM's innovation and industry expertise, and sales leadership in more than 175 countries. Together, IBM and Red Hat will accelerate innovation by offering a next-generation hybrid multicloud platform. Based on open source technologies, such as Linux and Kubernetes, the platform will allow businesses to securely deploy, run and manage data and applications on-premises and on private and multiple public clouds.
Red Hat will continue to be led by Jim Whitehurst and its current management team. Whitehurst is joining IBM's senior management team, reporting to Ginni Rometty. IBM will maintain Red Hat's headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, its facilities, brands and practices. Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM and will be reported as part of IBM's Cloud and Cognitive Software segment.
Most enterprises today are approximately 20 percent into their transition to the cloud. In this first chapter of their cloud journey, businesses made great strides in reducing costs, boosting productivity and revitalizing their customer-facing innovation programs.
The collective ability of IBM and Red Hat to unlock the true value of hybrid cloud for businesses is already resonating among customers moving to the next chapter of digital reinvention.
With Red Hat, IBM has acquired one of the most important software companies in the IT industry. Red Hat's pioneering business model helped bring open source – including technologies like Linux, Kubernetes, Ansible, Java, Ceph and many more – into the mainstream for enterprises. Today, Linux is the most used platform for development. Red Hat Enterprise Linux alone is expected to contribute to more than $10 trillion worth of global business revenues in 2019. By 2023, an additional 640,000 people are expected to work in Red Hat-related jobs.
IBM has committed to scaling and accelerating open source and hybrid cloud for businesses across industries, as well as preserving the independence and neutrality of Red Hat's open source heritage. This includes its open source community leadership, contributions and development model; product portfolio, services, and go-to-market strategy; robust developer and partner ecosystems, and unique culture."
This independence and neutrality works both ways: Red Hat will continue to work with other hardware manufacturers and IBM Power, Z and LinuxONE servers will continue to support all of the same distributions of Linux it did before, including Canonical Ubuntu Linux, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES).
To this day, I still run Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) on my work laptop. This blog post was written using "gedit", a text-based editor that is part of the GNOME platform.
IBM Storage Architect supporting customers in Canada and the Caribbean
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! Lloyd and Tony are enjoying 4th of July, so its up to me now that I'm back from Canada Day!
IBM Storage Solutions for blockchain
This week IBM Storage announced an expansion of the IBM reference architecture for on-premise blockchain solutions. This announcements centers around being able to leverage cloud-based and on-premises storage solutions for off-chain data. An example of this would be IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS), which can expand your on-premises off-chain data store for your blockchain peer, regardless where your blockchain peer resides.
For all of us just starting to look at Blockchain, there's a couple things to keep in mind, the environment must provide a reliable platform-as-a-service for its users, it leverages IBM Cloud Private, and the IBM Blockchain Platform for IBM Cloud Private. If you want a good place to start looking into Blockchain there is a good place to start, with the [IBM Blockchain for Dummies] publication that gives a good overview of the general technology. Data for a blockchain solution can either be stored on-chain as part of the core ledger managed by the blockchain protocol, or off-chain, using more traditional data stores. Off-chain data is any non-transactional data that is too large to be stored in the blockchain efficiently, or, requires the ability to be changed or deleted.
What's new in this annoucement which is part of the latest version of the [IBM Storage Solutions for Blockchain Platform Version 1.2], is the ability to leverage IBM Cloud Object Storage as an on-prem storage option and the ability to use the IBM Blockchain cloud peer for test and validation. It leverages the IBM Blockchain Document Store that allows secure sharing of documents across multiple participants on a permissioned-blockchain network. It provides an abstraction for handling documents or unstructured data like text, PDF, JPG files and JSON that uses APIs. It also maintains proof of the existence of the documents by using the immutable property of the blockchain and supports verification and secure sharing of the files.
IBM Storage Solutions for blockchain incorporates elements from across the IBM Storage portfolio, including hardware and software components, ordering and installation instructions and support, and several different expansion options. Pretested blueprints tie each solution together with a set of instructions defining each component and providing configuration details. Plus, IBM subject matter experts (SMEs) are available to help clients through their journey. IBM is also deeply involved in developing and offering IT infrastructure solutions designed to enable enterprises of all types and sizes to implement individualized blockchains that leverage both existing data centers systems as well as new technologies and multicloud architectures. One example of this is leveraging the [IBM LinuxONE] for these deployments
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
IBM Cloud Object Storage Gen2
Today, I want to look at a recent announcement around IBM Cloud Object Storage. On May 14th, IBM announced the [IBM Cloud Object Storage Gen2] hardware offerings, with a planned General Availability of June 7th so the timing is perfect to look at them. This announcement has benefits around performance, capacity and cost for the platform.
This enhancement to the platform takes the best of the current Cloud Object Storage architecture and extends it to allow for newer technologies, components, and approaches. These modifications incorporate new features, functionalities, and capabilities in an easily manageable manner. The same Cloud Object Storage software runs the same on both existing and new generation hardware. Clients can intermix past and present generations of hardware in the same storage pool and cluster.
As a part of this announcement, the IBM Cloud Object Storage Gen2 hardware brings with it a new COS Manager (Model M10), a new Accessor node (model A10) and a new SliceStor Controller Node (Model C10) which are all provided using the same physical 1U server that can be configured to suit as fit for purpose.
The Gen2 hardware leverages the latest Intel Xeon processors, new SAS controllers, and more options around high speed memory RDIMMs. Interestingly, provides the ability to implement an architecture that has a higher capacity in fewer rack units (RUs).
Previously, the SliceStor node was a single server with both controller and internal storage capacity. Now, a SliceStor is a new controller node, with externally-attached disk enclosures. This new approach is more elegant, in that the new server node becomes a common building block and now there are options around the disk enclosure. The disk enclosure options, small, medium and large, are listed in the table below to highlights the differences in capacity, density and drive options.
Disk enclosures (models J10, J11, and J12
Capacity enclosures (rack space/disks)
Slicestore Total Rack Space (Controller + Capacity Rack)
Drive sizes (TB)
4, 8, 12
4, 8, 12
4, 8, 12
Node raw capacity (min/max TB)
The combination of the new architecture with industry standard components results in an initial system that achieves up to 15% more GETs and PUTs per second as the previous generation of hardware.
The new Cloud Object Storage Gen2 hardware can also reduce CAPEX expenditures on new hardware models up to 25%-50% compared to the prior generation.
For more information on that see your IBM Business Partner or IBM Specialist.
IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
Today I want to write about the latest IBM Flash Storage for the IBM DS8880.
IBM Supports three types of Flash Drives in the DS8880 Storage Servers. The first is the High-Performance Flash (HPF) drives and the second the High-Capacity Flash (HCF) drives. Both of these reside in the High Performance Flash Enclosure (HPFE) for low latency access. The third are regular Solid-State Drives (SSD) that can be intermixed with the 10K and 15K drives attached via Device Adapater (DA) loop pairs.
Last week, IBM announced a new smaller high-capacity drive size, the 1.92TB High-Capacity flash drive. This flash drive is available for the DS8882F or DS8884/F models.
The expected use case is clients seeking smaller high performing solutions below the 20 to 40 TB capacity level, while still providing the full enterprise capabilities in the IBM DS8882 and DS8884/F storage solutions. For example, if you need a small configuration to keep certain sensitive data in specific countries to comply with government regulations.
The new drive is fully supported as part of the DS8880 Easy Tier solution as a Tier-2 drive, because the performance numbers on the 1.92TB HCF drives are expected to be similar to the 7.6/15.3 TB HCF drives.