Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Architect for the IBM Storage product line at the
IBM Systems Client Experience Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor
to IBM's developerWorks. In 2016, Tony celebrates his 30th year anniversary with IBM Storage. He is
author of the Inside System Storage series of books. This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.
(Short URL for this blog: ibm.co/Pearson )
My books are available on Lulu.com! Order your copies today!
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Tony Pearson receives part of the revenue proceeds from sales of books he has authored listed in the side panel.
Tony Pearson is not a medical doctor, and this blog does not reference any IBM product or service that is intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, prevention or monitoring of a disease or medical condition, unless otherwise specified on individual posts.
Continuing on my theme of storage area networking, today I thought I would coverstorage networking at home.
Before the PC, corporate end-users had dumb terminals (displays) connected to mainframes (servers) thatwere then connected to external disk and tape (storage devices). This was all done with direct cable connections,then later through networks. The PC solved this by putting the display, server and storage into one unit, makingit more accessible to smaller businesses and individuals.
Many years ago, Microsoft started out with the vision "A PC on every desktop".The primary reason we even have networks is while everyone might have had their own PC, not everyone had their own printer. (Printers used to be part of IBM's storage division, which we explained as "storage on PAPER"!)Maybe if Microsoft's vision was "A PC and printer on every desktop", history might have turned up different.
Disclaimer: IBM has close business relationships with both Apple and Microsoft and others,providing the chips inside some of their products. I discuss them here not only becauseI am trying to get you to buy their products, and let IBM benefit indirectly from their success, but because they are newsworthy, and relevant to the topic at hand.
The "Apple TV" is not a TV at all, but rather a server, one that lets your television (your dumb terminal)access the video, audio and photos stored on your Mac or iPod (the storage device), all through a home network.(Sound familiar?)
Bill Gates from Microsoft gave the keynote, and this is probably his last appearance, as he is retiring in 2008,as we are reminded by thisfunny video, to move on to bigger, and better things. It is perhaps fitting that his retirement aligns with the end of the era for the PC.
Microsoft unveiled their Microsoft Windows Home Server, again a server that connects your television (dumb terminal) with your PC or Zune (storage device)all through your home network. (Sound familiar, again?)
Whereas Apple above pretty much shunned the gaming community, Microsoft embraced it with their internet-enabled Xbox360.Microsoft sold 10.4 million of these last year, which was 400 million more than they projected.
Our SAN technology partner Cisco wants to get in on this "home networking craze", as written about inInfoWorld andCnet.
My take on all this...the consumer electronics industry is taking clues from IBM's mainframe business. Not the first time this has happened, and probably not the last.
I already access photos and audio with my Tivo, from both my Mac AND my PC,so not much new here for me. Getting my home network connected was one of mytech highlights of 2006 and organizing my audio content was done withILM for my iPod.
Bypassing the PC, by being able to have your television, handheld or phone access data directly will greatlyincrease the demand for storage from businesses that provide information and content, and for storage networking technology in the home. It will be interesting how this all plays out in 2007.
The gondolier propels the boat with an oar, and stopped rowing a few times to belt out beautiful Italian songs.
Truly impressed, I asked the gondolier how long was the training for this job. "Six weeks!" he answered. Wow! Where can I learn to sing like that in six weeks?
He clarified. No, the Venetian hotel hires competent singers, and then spends six weeks to teach them to row the gondola. Duh!
I asked Vasfi Gucer, our ITSO project leader for this residency, why there were so many Cloud topics on the agenda for this social media training. He explained it was just as important to emphasize "why" people need to be passionate about Cloud, in addition to the "what" and "how" of blogging.
This reminded me of this quote from fellow author Hugh MacLeod. I highly recommend his series of books.
"Blogging requires passion and authority. Which leaves out most people."
--- Hugh MacLeod.
Vasfi had invited Cloud experts who already have the authority to blog, and the point of this residency is for the residents to become passionate in sharing their expertise.
Here are some of the people that spoke on Cloud:
Ric Telford, IBM VP of Cloud Services
Ric Telford shared with us IBM's point of view of where the Cloud industry is going. He has been in this job position since 2009, and shared with us the history of how the IBM Cloud business has evolved in the past four years.
Jane Munn, IBM VP Business Line Executive for Cloud hardware
As the Center of Competency on Cloud for all 12 IBM Executive Briefing Centers in my group, I had to report to Jane Munn on a frequent basis. I was pretty candid on those calls on what we should change, and I am glad to see that many of my suggestions have been implemented, or being considered for 2014.
Michael Fork, IBM Lead Architect for Hosted Private Cloud
Michael Fork gave two great presentations, one on [IBM SoftLayer] Cloud services, and the second on IBM's support of open standards, such as [OpenStack] and Cloud Foundry.
Hans Zai, IBM Cloud Service Line Leader; and Odilon Magroski Goulart Junior, IBM Technical Solution Architect
All the residents had to present in front of the class on their expertise. Hans and Odilon presented their work on [IBM SmartCloud for SAP Applications]. Hans is from Sweden, and Odilon from Brazil, so their perspectives on this was quite interesting.
When IBM renamed LotusLive to [SmartCloud for Social Business], I thought this would be the naming convention for all of our Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings.
But SmartCloud for SAP Applications is a Platform-as-a-Service, providing the SAP environment as a platform, which allows clients to then deploy their customized SAP applications on this platform.
What did I present on for my "Share your expertise" session? IBM System Storage, of course! Storage is a critical part of Cloud!
So, my gentle readers, what topics do you want me to write about that combines Storage and Cloud? Enter your suggestions in the comments below.
This is an interesting development. To understand it better, we need to go back to the 1930s. Malcolm McLean invented the shipping container in the 1930s in New Jersey, and later founded Sea-Land corporation. Rather than unpacking products from a ship, load onto a truck, then move those products onto a train, his innovation was to create a container that could be packed full of products, carried from ship, to truck, to train, without loading and unloading individual products as transportation means change. He named the size of his container "TEU".
TEU = 20 ft x 8.5 ft x 8.5 ft (twenty-foot equivalent unit)
In 1966, the standard shape and size was adopted by International Organization for Standardization (ISO).Today, over 90% of freight containers are 1 or 2 TEU
Sun's announcement is that they have packed up to 240 UNIX servers into a single TEU container. This can be dropped off at your facility, hook up your power and cooling, and start running. An alternative version is a disk-farm-in-a-can, having the TEU container filled with up to 2 PB of disk storage capacity.
Today, IBM announced its latest [BladeCenter S] with integratedredundant SAN fabric and disk storage inside the chassis. The tag line is "Data Center Capability, without the Data Center!"
I've gotten a few calls on this today, so I thought it would be good to blog about. To understand what is new,you need to understand what we had in other BladeCenter chassis. In those other chassis, there were up to 14 bladeservers on the front, and switch modules for FCP and Ethernet on the back. The entire chassis was rack-mountedto be connected to external devices.
The BladeCenter S was announced a year ago.With the new "BladeCenter S" chassis, the storage can be included inside the chassis, as well as connecting tothe outside world. It is designed to be stand-alone, rather than rack-mounted, plugs into a standard 100v-240v office power outlet,and includes a dust filter in caseyou keep it close to the floor, under your desk for example.
Click graphic at left for 4-minute video introduction.
(Here's also a more detailed[7-minute video] with fellow IBM colleague Alex Yost.)
Here's what you can get with the BladeCenter S:
Up to six(6) server blades that can do the work of 25-45 traditional servers.
Up to two(2) storage blades, each can have six(6) SAS or SATA disk drive modules (DDMs)
Up to four(4) switch modules, with a variety to choose from
Shared KVM, DVD/CD burner, and USB port. You can designate which blade has access to these, useful forinstalling software, attaching external devices, and so on.
The blades use either Intel, AMD or POWER processors, so you can run Windows, Linux, AIX, and [IBM i] (the newname for i5/OS V6R1).
Back 20 years ago, I worked with people with System/36 and System/38 systems. They loved it. Everything inone package. This grew into the AS/400 server. Having everything in one package was such an advantage thatIBM extended this to include a few "x86 blades" to run Windows applications but share the storage and networkresources.
Now IBM has taken this one step further. The older models assumed the majority of applications run underIBM's OS/400 or i5/OS operating system, but this new BladeCenter S does not make that assumption. You canmix and match different blade servers as needed, and run the operating systems you need.
This is an ideal packaging for Small and Medium sized Business (SMB), remote branch offices, and retail stores.In fact, more than 4,000 retail stores plan to run their operations using BladeCenter S this holiday season! For moreon this announcement, see the [IBM Press Release].
I figured I need to say something about "green" on this special holiday (and yes, I am partially Irish, andthe majority of my siblings have bright red hair and freckles as it runs through my family)
Last week, I had the pleasure to meet [Dr. Jia Chen]. She has a PhDin nanotechnology and works in IBM's Watson Research Center. She is recognized as one of the top 35 scientistsunder 35 years of age by MIT, top 15 of the "Nano 50", and one of the top 80 in the National Academy of Engineering.
The two of us presented to clients at the BMW Performance Center in Greenville, SC, on the topic of the "Green" IT data center. She covered all of the advancements IBM is making on the server side, and I coveredall the things on the storage side.
The BMW Performance center is part "briefing conference location" and part "driving school". Everyone had a greattime watching the crazy stunts of the professional drivers skidding and spinning on a closed course. Some hadthe opportunity to actually drive or ride in the cars themselves.
BMW is introducing its own "energy efficiency initiative" with their [X3 Hybrid] vehicle,which will be manufactured in Greenville, SC plant.
Wrapping up my week teaching Top Gun class in Sydney, Australia, I could not resist taking a photo of the cityscape.
Sydney is a beautiful city, and the view from the 13th floor of the IBM Centre at St. Leonards in North Sydney is always worth a picture!
Vic, Scott and I all have engineering backgrounds, so it is easy for us to drop down into the technical weeds in discussing each product and solution. However, the student feedback from both Auckland and Sydney was that some of our material was just too technical.
Do they plan to store and process their data in house? IBM's [focus on Cloud is paying off], and IBM SmartCloud offerings might make a lot of sense for many clients.
Do they plan to centralize their IT? Some companies centralize all of their IT, and others distribute the decision-making to departments, remote office and branch office locations. For the latter, use the ROBO approach to selling.
Do they prefer one-stop shopping? In my now infamous post [Supermarkets and Specialty Shops], I mentioned research that found our clients fall into two camps. Those that favor one-stop shopping from IBM, HP, Cisco, Dell or Oracle, versus those that prefer to buy from the many IT equivalent of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers like EMC, HDS, or NetApp. For those clients that fall in the latter camp, focus on IBM's best-of-breed products.
IT Supermarket competition? The final group are clients that prefer one-stop shopping, but have not yet made up their mind between IBM versus the [IBM wannabees]. Focus on IBM's synergy between storage, servers, software, switches and services.
Last week, we celebrated Joe's birthday in Auckland. This week, it was Vic's turn, so we went to the Garfish restaurant at Manly beach. Here we are with bacon-enhanced oysters.
The four-day class finished Thursday afternoon, and I went out with some of the students to celebrate their graduation. I started with beers at the Cabana, then wine at [the Ivy Room], and finally dinner at Uccello on the rooftop [Pool Club]. Dinner was awesome: pork sausage-stuffed olives to start, roasted chicken with polenta, and finally a capuccino to finish the meal.
I would have never found these places on my own, and the students provided me some interesting feedback about the class and how to improve it.
I was in Raleigh this week, in business meetings, and had dinner last night at a Japanese Tepanyaki restaurant. The man next to me was dining alone, and said he worked for Cisco, a big company, "Had you heard of it?" he asked. Of course, I told him, I work for IBM, and IBM and Cisco have a strong working relationship, using each others products in both directions. He said he understood why they would use IBM, but why would IBM buy anything from them, and then he said, "Oh yes, your cafeteria".
At this point we realized he was talking about SYSCO, the food company, not Cisco, the storage networking technology partner. We both had a good laugh.
Which brings me to think of other "mis-heard" or "mis-interpreted" items that might have caught people off guard because they sounded similarly.
zFS versus ZFS
Some things are case-sensitive. Lower case zFS is the hierarchical file system for the z/OS mainframe environment, which was originally called "episode" file system that IBM acquired from TransArc. z/OS supports two file systems, HFS and zFS. Meanwhile, ZFS is one of the file systems available for Sun Solaris. Apple Mac OS is switching from its own HFS, different than the z/OS version, over the Sun's ZFS.
packs versus PACS
Older mainframers call disk volumes "packs". This started in the days where disks were "removable" and you can pack and unpack them into the drive unit.
PACS on the other hand refers to the "Picture Archive and Communication System" application environment used by hospitals and medical facilities to storage and share X-ray, Cardiology and Radiology images. Today, modern medical equipment are called "modalities" and directly connect to NAS storage via NFS or CIFS protocols. The images are immediately digitized and sent to disk, then tape, for long-term archive storage. IBM's Grid Medical Archive Solution (GMAS) is designed specifically for this environment.
rack versus RAC
Perhaps my favorite was when someone asked a high-level executive at a conference if their storage product supported Oracle RAC, and the response was that it supported anyone's rack, so long as it met the 19 inch standard. Everyone burst out laughing, and he probably had to be explained what was going on afterward.
Oracle RAC refers to Real Application Cluster, allowing multiple Oracle servers to work together as a system. A "rack" is just the powered shelf, typically 19" wide, and typically 25U or 42U tall, that allows modular servers, storage or network gear be placed together in a data center. A "U" is 1.75 inches, the thickness of a "two-by-four" piece of lumber. If you have ever used a 3.5 inch or 5.25 inch floppy diskette, then you already know the 2U and 3U sizes.
I am sure there are many other examples of similar sounding terms and phrases. If you have any to contribute, post a comment below!
Last Friday,The "Greater IBM Connection" team held a "red carpet" event, showcasing the winners of the Second Life "machinima".It is best explained on the Linden Lab website:
Machinima is the art of making real movies in virtual worlds.
Movies made in Second Life use the world's building, scripting, and avatar customization tools, working in real-time collaboration with people around the globe. You can use Second Life as your own virtual back lot, soundstage, choreography studio, costume and prop repository, and special effects house.
Welcome back everyone! Were you the IT Support for your friends and family during the holidays?
Last year, in my infamous "Laptop for Grandma" blog post series, I discussed my week exploring various Linux distributions (aka "distros") to find one that would re-purpose Grandma's laptop into an MP3 player. Here is the entire series for your reference.
So what happens to the old machines? They come to me, of course, with three requests:
If possible, rescue existing documents and photos from the old PC
Wipe the hard drive clean, what we in the IT storage industry call a "Secure Erase"
Give the old PC to charity or appropriate recycling facility
I had six old machines to work on this year. Generally, I only get the towers, as most people keep their mouse, keyboard and monitor for their next machine.
For five of them, the process was fairly straightforward. First, I would boot up the system to see what it was running, typically Windows XP or Windows Vista, and simply transfer the "My Documents" folder to an external USB drive.
If the system doesn't boot on its own, perhaps because the OS is corrupted on the hard drive or infected by a virus, then I would boot a Linux-based LiveCD, such as my favorite [SystemRescueCD], and copy the data over to USB external drive that way.
Second, from the SystemRescueCD, I would run [fdisk] to delete all the existing partitions and create a new partition, and then run [shred] or [scrub] to perform a secure erase.
(The shred tool is more thorough, but I prefer scrub for its ease-of-use. Its default National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) method writes over the entire disk four times with different random patterns of data.)
Third, I would do a fresh install of the now out-dated Linux Mint 12 LXDE from CD. Why Linux Mint 12 LXDE? I don't have to worry about any licensing issues with Linux. Linux Mint is the [fourth most widely used home operating system] in the world.
The latest version of Linux Mint is 16, and version 13 has Long Term Support through 2017, but version 12 is the last release small enough to fit on a 700MB CD for the old machines that cannot read the higher capacity DVD media.
Linux Mint comes with various graphical interfaces, but the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment [LXDE] edition runs in as low as 256MB of memory, the minimum that Windows XP requires. Many newer operating systems expect 1GB or more. The machine is then ready to give to charity. Whomever gets it can certainly install a different OS if they prefer.
So, the process went smoothly for the first five, but the sixth machine gave me an interesting challenge. Here are the specs:
Operating System: Windows 98
Processor: AMD-K6 (Pentium II-class) 150 MHz
Hard disk: 10GB
Removable media: 3.5-inch floppy and CD-ROM drive
Keyboard port: standard PS/2
mouse port: 6-pin DIN
Ethernet NIC: 10Mb
USB ports: none
Yikes! Windows 98? 32MB of RAM? Even a [Raspberry Pi] has more than this!
My keyboard fits, but my mouse doesn't, so I had to look up Windows 98 keyboard shortcuts to navigate the system. The age of the files indicates this machine was actively used from 1999 to 2005. While most people only keep a PC for 3-5 years, this hardware is 14 years old! It has been sitting in Judy's closet collecting dust the rest of the time.
Without USB port or CD burner, there were only two ways to get data off this system. First, was the 1.44MB floppy disk, and the second was through the Ethernet card. I was able to configure TCP/IP and connect via FTP back to my FTP server, allowing me to copy the files over.
Most of my LiveCDs that I tried just froze mid-boot without sufficient memory. Not even my SystemRescueCD would boot. I was able to use [Basic Linux BL3 version 3.5] which boots from two floppy diskettes and requires only 12MB of RAM.
Basic Linux has neither shred nor scrub utilities, so I used old school "dd" command, which was painfully slow.
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda1
While this was not as secure as NNSA, Department of Defense (DoD), or Guttman methods of erasure, I figured it was good enough for a 14-year old machine that had not been used since 2005.
While BL3 includes an install-to-hd script to copy the files over to the hard drive, I could not get LILO to boot natively from /dev/hda1. So, I switched to booting from Damn Small Linux [DSL] LiveCD. Using the "dsl 2" boot cheat code, I was able to boot directly to a superuser text-based prompt, allowing me to create two partitions, a 128MB swap and the rest for an ext2 file system.
DSL only requires 8MB of RAM, but having the extra 128MB swap ensures success. I was able to install DSL on the hard drive, fix up lilo.conf, and boot directly from it.
What a great way to start a new year! Happy New Year everyone!
Marking the occasion, here is an important letter from our Vice President, Laura Guio:
May 6, 2014
To Whom it may concern
Subject: ProtecTIER Development Update:
This year marks the sixth anniversary of IBM's acquisition of Diligent Technology. Over the past six years IBM has emerged as a leader in enterprise class data deduplication. Our highly scalable, dual node hardware redundancy and gateway design are unique characteristics in the industry. IBM fundamentally believes in the importance of cost saving data deduplication technology and continues to enhance our solution, improve value and increase investment protection for our installed base.
First, it is important to note what IBM has done most recently. IBM is among the first to integrate flash technology along with deduplication to boost performance and lower cost. Integration of the IBM FlashSystem 840 for metadata was completed the day the system was publically announced. The speed of technology integration is a result of our flexible gateway design which simplifies technology adoption. It also is enabled by our global development team providing a 24x7 system design, product test and integration environment.
Secondly, IBM has recently released ProtecTIER Mainframe Edition which enables the same enterprise class deduplication capability now for IBM System z. Another distinctive feature of ProtecTIER is its ability to sustain high throughput for both read and write operations. Most deduplication methodologies have an inherent read performance penalty. Since mainframe tape operations are much more read intensive than distributed systems, we were one of the first to market with a practical deduplication offering for all mainframe tape applications.
That's just what we've done getting out of the starting blocks in 2014. Our development team continues to enhance ProtecTIER. We're also working on refreshing the entire ProtecTIER product line with new model enhancements. A new gateway design is underway which will improve performance of the existing DD5. We expect this to be available as an upgrade, providing investment protection for existing ProtecTIER clients. The SM2 product family is also being redesigned to extend its capacity range. Along with hardware changes, we will widen the disk support matrix offering enhanced flexibility and new levels of price performance.*1*
We expect 2014 to be a busy year for IBM deduplication. We have development facilities around the world in Europe, North America, Central America and Asia, working on ProtecTIER. IBM continues to market, sell, and support ProtecTIER as our strategic offering for cost-reducing deduplication technology. Any suggestion that ProtecTIER is fading away is wishful thinking by our competitors. We are working to expand our markets as we have demonstrated by our recent introduction of ProtecTIER into the mainframe. Furthermore, we are looking to expand the use cases for ProtecTIER, which can now be attached as a NAS file system, to other areas besides pure backup. We're excited about what we are delivering today and where we can provide leadership by leveraging deduplication for customer storage environments.
Vice President, Business Line Executive Storage Systems
IBM Systems and Technology Group
*1*: IBM's statements regarding its plans, directions, and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice at IBM's sole discretion. The development, release, and timing of any future features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion.
To learn more about IBM ProtecTIER, consider attending the [IBM Edge conference], May 19-23, 2014 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. I'll be there to explain Data Deplication technology as part of my "Data Footprint Reduction" presentation!
This week I am in Maryland, teaching at our Top Gun sales training class.
Of course, often it is the students teaching me something new. Bringing up freshnew ways at looking at things.
Take for example this new online video game called Capacity Crisis. In it, you are the storage administrator tryingto get additional storage capacity to all the different departmentmanagers that need more space.
(Frequent readers of my blog may remember that I had been to Istanbul for a similar conference last year. I arrived a day earlier to do some sightseeing, which I documented in my April 2014 blog post [Arrived Safely to Istanbul].)
Like IBM Edge conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, this conference will not just be for Storage, but also include z Systems and POWER Systems content. Here are the sessions I will be presenting:
Software Defined Storage: IBM Vision and Strategy
Software Defined Storage: Technical Overview
IBM's Cloud Storage Options
What is Big Data? Architectures and Practical use Cases
IBM Spectrum Storage Integration with OpenStack
New Generation of Storage Tiering: Less Management, Lower Costs and Increased Performance
If you are attending next week in Istanbul, I will see you there!
Yesterday, I went to the Bodyworlds exhibition. Here the anatomy of real human cadavers are on display, in full detail, thanks to a process calledPlastination.This was a great way to present anatomy in a 3-D visual way that can be easily understood and appreciated.I was glad to see so many children were there, although I warn parents that some sections of the exhibit maybe a bit shocking. I heard people speaking French and German, and it was great that anyone can be fascinatedby the human body, without having to read or understand English.
In the exhibit, you got to see the bones, nerves, muscles, digestive tract and other organs.Some in action poses, like swinging a baseball bat or ice skating, while others were stretched into specific poses to help emphasize one part or another.
In some cases, they would show side by side healthy and unhealthy organs, for example, the lungs of someone that smokes tobacco cigarettes, compared to the lungs of a normal person. Quite a difference!
Visualization can be an effective way to understand and gain insight from information. Presenting information in a visually stunning manner can be challenging, but often worth the effort. It reminded me of Edward Tufte, who has written several books on this subject.
This week, I am attending the [InterConnect Conference] in Las Vegas, Feb 21-25, 2016. This is IBM's premier Cloud & Mobile conference for the year.
Monday afternoon, I attended various break-out sessions.
1441A Data Resiliency: Data-Driven Analytics and Beyond
Ramani Routray (IBM) and B.J. Klingenberg, IBM, co-presented. Aggressive and differentiated Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) create data protection silos. Resiliency for an enterprise data center is often achieved via redundant components, periodic backup, continuous replication and/or highly available architectures. With the emergence of cloud delivery models, Backup-as-a-Service and DR-as-a-Service have gained wide acceptance. This uniquely challenges service providers to quickly analyze all the metadata from these environments to enable problem determination, fault isolation, capacity management, SLA violation, etc. Learn about a big data analytics framework that analyzes millions of resiliency metadata tuples in near real-time to generate actionable insights.
1267A Prudential and IBM: Integrating Application and Storage Management to Drive Cloud Service Levels
This was a 50/50 presentation, with the first half covered by clients OJ Dua, supported by his boss, Scott Singerline, both from Prudential Financial.
Prudential explored their successful approach for optimizing storage and improving service. First, experts from Prudential Financial will describe their experiences integrating IBM Spectrum Control v5.2 (formerly IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center) inventory, availability, and performance data with Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager (TADDM) and Netcool OMNIbus to improve services for core business applications.
(Over 10 years ago, I was the chief architect for IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center v1. The clients from Prudential could not emphasize enough how much better Spectrum Control v5.2 was compared to their experiences with the prior versions. It has come a long way, baby!)
The second half was covered by Brian Sherman, IBM Distinguished Engineer. He described how related IBM Spectrum Storage solutions are transforming storage. IBM Spectrum Storage solutions deliver reliable, flexible service levels at a significantly lower cost than traditional storage.
6523A VersaStack: Because Time and Cost are of the Essence for Cloud Service Providers
This was more of a 25/75 presentation. Ian Shave, IBM Business Line Executive for Spectrum Virtualize and VersaStack, kicked off the session with a quick overview of VersaStack, which combines Cisco UCS x86 blade servers and Cisco network switches with IBM Spectrum Virtualize storage solutions. This is often referred to as "Integrated Infrastructure" or "Converged Systems". While the growth of Integrated Infrastructure adoption is growing 15 percent, storage within Integrated Infrastructure solutions is growing faster at 44 percent.
VersaStack can be implemented as follows:
Cisco UCS Mini with Storwize V5000, either iSCSI or FCP
Cisco UCS with Storwize V7000 (block-only) or V7000 Unified (file and block access)
Cisco UCS with FlashSystem V9000, for high-speed, low-latency application requirements
John Buskermolen and Dan Simunic, both from i-Virtualize, covered their experiences with VersaStack. Founded in 2009, i-Virtualize is a Managed Services Provider (MSP), Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and value-added reseller, for clients in both USA and Canada, growing 41 percent year over year.
They reduced the time to market from weeks to days, cut new environment provisioning time from days to minutes, and simplified management when it implemented VersaStack, an integrated infrastructure solution that combines Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure with IBM storage solutions built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize to deliver extraordinary levels of performance and efficiency.
Why did i-Virtualize choose VersaStack?
79 percent reduced provisioning time
60 percent lower costs
10x performance acceleration
Higher flexibility, with clustered systems that scale up and out
Let's i-Virtualize administrators and management sleep at night
47 percent capacity savings with Real-time Compression
IBM Spectrum Virtualize HyperSwap for high availability
Storage-based replication across multiple datacenters
Cisco UCS director provides single-pane-of-glass management
Their latest project is called VIXO, a Cloud Managed Services Console which stacks Cloud Foundry, Docker, OpenStack, VMware and other 3rd party services on top of their VersaStack. This is a collaboration with Oxbury Group.
VersaStack is an ideal solution for Cloud Service Providers (CSP) or for any client interested in "cloud-in-a-box."
3690A Meet the Experts on IBM Cloud Storage Services
Ann Corrao and Mike Fork, both from IBM, presented IBM's various storage capabilities on SoftLayer and Cloud Managed Services (CMS). Of IBM's 43 Cloud datacenters, 28 are SoftLayer, and the other 15 are CMS.
For block-based volume storage, SoftLayer offers "Endurance" and "Performance". These are backed by multi-pathed iSCSI volumes.
With "Endurance" option, you purchase a fixed I/O density, either 0.5 IOPS/GB, 1 IOPS/GB or 4 IOPS/GB. If you choose a 100 GB volume, you are guaranteed 400 IOPS. Typical business applications like database or email consume about 0.7 IOPS/GB.
With the "Performance" option, you pick the IOPS for your volume, up to 6,000 IOPS, and then pick the size to match your needs, say 100 GB. This is best suited for clients who know their application well enough to specify this.
IBM Bluemix also has a block service, based on OpenStack Cinder drivers. These are backed by internal disk on storage-rich servers. IBM SoftLayer can pack 4 drives into a 1U server, 12 drives into a 2U server and 36 drives into a 3U server.
For object store, IBM SoftLayer supports OpenStack Swift. They support content expiration, versioning and metadata search.
(When asked if this was Cleversafe or something else, Mike was quick to point out that IBM SoftLayer focuses on the "Service Level Agreement (SLA), the client experience, and the APIs" so however they chose to back this storage is internally determined. The client should not have to specify product xyz in their contract.)
An extra feature for object store is "Content Delivery Network" (CDN) which uses EdgeCast to cache content at the edges of the network to improve performance delivery. You designate which object containers you want to accelerate performance, and you pay for the amount of bandwidth consumed.
For file space, IBM SoftLayer supports NFS and SFTP only. Supporting CIFS, or rather its replacement SMB, is a known requirement. In the meantime, there are a variety of 3rd party "Cloud Gateway" solutions, like NetApp AltaVault, Panzura global namespace, or CTERA.
For file sync-and-share, IBM has partnered with Box to provide Enterprise-class service.
How do clients ingest data into their IBM SoftLayer account? One option is to use Aspera, a recent IBM acquisition that is 3x faster than traditional SCP. Another option is to ship disk or tape cartridges to IBM SoftLayer facility.
The Magic Quadrant is copyrighted concept by Gartner, representing a two-by-two grid that ranks various offerings from different vendors. Ideally, vendors want their products in the upper right "Leaders" quadrant. Yahoo Finance reports:
According to Gartner, Inc., "Leaders have the highest combined measures of an ability to execute and a completeness of vision. They have the most comprehensive and scalable products. They have a proven track record of financial performance and an established market presence. In terms of vision, they are perceived as thought leaders, having well-articulated plans for ease of use, how to address scalability and product breadth. For vendors to have long-term success, they must plan to address the expanded market requirements for change management and root-cause and performance analysis. Leaders must not only deliver to the current market requirements, which continue to change, but they also need to anticipate and deliver on future requirements. A cornerstone for leaders is the ability to articulate how these requirements will be addressed as part of their vision for resource management. As a group, leaders can be considered a part of most new purchase proposals, and they have high success rates in winning new business."
IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center is a strategic part of IBM Service Management, and a foundational component of the IBM Systems Director family. IBM is making a concerted effort across servers, networks, software and storage to help manage the IT infrastructure in a coordinated way.
When I was a kid, we didn't have online access to anything. Either yourparents were rich and generous and bought you the latest set of encyclopedias, or they were poor or cheap, and you hoofed it to thenearest library.
Now, I rely heavily on Wikipedia, and other wikis, to find information I need.The key here is the ability to find stuff. With the old 27-volume set ofencyclopedias, you had to know what word something would be filed under, andhow to spell it, so that you could find it. Today's search facilities are much moreforgiving. If you guess wrong, you are only a few clicks away from what youwere really looking for, in a Kevin Bacon six-degrees-of-separation kind of way.
Wikipedia is now looked at more often than CNN.com or the New York Times website.Why? It is amazingly good at summarizing a situation in succinct terms, even fornews "as it happens". The recent episode at Heathrow airport a few weeks agoserves as a good example. I was in Washington DC that week, on my way to Miami and Sao Paulo,Brazil, so it is good to have the news I needed, when I needed it.[Read More]
The site is filled with information. One item I found particularly interesting was Science Debate 2008's[14 Questions about Science] where the top two U.S. presidential candidates answer questions about science. Barack Obama's answers inDemocratic blue, and John McCain's answers in Republican red.
This is just one of the ways IBM is trying to reach out and help our next generation.
This week, I am attending the [InterConnect Conference] in Las Vegas, Feb 21-25, 2016. This is IBM's premier Cloud & Mobile conference for the year.
Here is my recap of the sessions Wednesday afternoon.
1013A Trends in Encryption of Data at Rest: On-Premise and in the Cloud
Rick Robinson and Walid Rjaibi, both from IBM, co-presented. As the storage of data across seamless on-premise, mobile, and cloud systems platforms becomes ubiquitous, the need for protecting the data, regardless of its location, also needs to be maintained through the use of encryption—and that means centralized key management.
How has industry adopted encryption, especially in the cloud? What applications have adopted centralized key management in the cloud? What are the standards?
There are two types of encryption: Symmetric and Asymmetric. Symmetric like AES or 3DES use the same key for both encryption and decryption. It is faster and designed for large amounts of data. The Symmetric key must be kept private and secure.
Asymmetric like RSA, ECC and Diffie-Hellman use two keys, a public key for encryption, and a private key for decryption. This is slower and intended for smaller amounts of data. However, you can freely share the public key with anyone, publish on your website or print it on your business cards. That is because it cannot be used to decrypt any data!
Don't let the size of the key fool you. AES 256-bit has more security strength than RSA-2048 or ECC-384.
Initial implementations used Electronic Code Block (ECB), which uses just the information in the block of data. Two identical plain-text blocks would be encrypted to identical encrypted blocks. Good for deduplication, but bad for security as hackers love to find patterns.
To solve this, Cyber Block Chain (CBC) uses a bit of the previous block to randomize the data so that even identical plain-text blocks would be encrypted to different results. This is like making sourdough bread, a piece of yesterday's dough is saved and used to rise the yeast for today. To get the sequence started, you need an "Initialization Vector" which is either randomly generated, or a "nonce" (which is short for a number-only-used-once).
For handshake sessions, the TLS protocol generates a Symmetric key that both the sender and recipient will use for bulk data transfer. Then, the sender uses the receiver's public key to send the Symmetric key to the receiver. The receiver uses the sender's public key to acknowledge. Once the handshake is complete, both sender and receiver use the shared Symmetric key to transfer the rest of the data.
This notion of wrapping the Symmetric key with an Asymmetric key is also used on tape and disk. The Symmetric key is often randomly assigned per disk drive or tape cartridge, and the Asymmetric key is referred to as the Key-Encrypting-Key (KEK) or "Master Key".
(The best way to explain this is a Real Estate agent that shows different houses to prospective buyers. Rather than having the agent carry 50 different house keys, she carries a single "master key". At each house, there is a locked box hanging on the door knob that can be opened with the master key, and inside this box is the key that opens that particular house.)
The other challenge to encryption is managing the keys. If you lose the key, you lose access to the data. If the keys are divulged to the wrong parties, you may need to re-encrypt your data to avoid inadvertent exposure. Master keys can be rotated every 90 days, just like passwords.
Where do you store your keys. There are several options:
Public Key Cryptography Standard (PKCS) #12 -- defines a method to store keys in a password-protect file, such as a USB thumb drive. IBM GSKit is available to assist with this.
Enterprise Key Manager (EKM) refers to a set of software packages that manage and distribute encryption keys. IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager (SKLM), Safenet KeySecure, and Thales EKM are three popular examples.
Hardware Security Module (HSM) is hardware designed to securely store keys. IBM z13 Crypto and Safenet Luna are two examples.
Cloud-KMS are key management systems for Cloud providers. IBM Key Protect, Amazon Web Services KMS, and Microsoft Azure Key Vault are three examples.
In a survey done by Thales, the statistics are scary: Only 36 percent of companies have consistent encryption policy. Nearly half (49 percent) of companies use encryption, but inconsistently across their organization. The remaining 15 percent have no encryption strategy whatsoever.
Here is what IBM offers for zSystems, as well as Linux, UNIX and Windows (collectively referred to as LUW):
For zSystems data-at-rest
For z and LUW data-at-rest
Enterprise Key Management Foundation (EKMF)
IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager (SKLM)
Guardium Data Encryption (GDE)
IBM Key Protect (backed by a Safenet Luna HSM)
3318A System of Systems Transformation at the Boeing Company
Thomas Kelley and Mahendra Velchuru, both from Boeing, co-presented. The Boeing Company celebrates its 100th year in business in 2016. During this time we have traced the history of computing systems within the industry and have utilized IBM as a strategic partner for many decades.
Boeing found themselves with a large inventory of computing systems and technologies that are required to support their business and drive innovation. As they begin their second century, they are launching several critical systems modernizations and technology initiatives in order to maintain our role as the world's leading aerospace provider.
(While other rooms at this conference packed 80 people in a room with only 50 chairs, this session was scheduled in a room that could hold two Boeing 747 airplanes and hundreds of chairs.)
Over the years, Boeing transition from Remote Procedure Call (RPC), to Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), to Integration Brokers, to Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
(At this point, I could have gotten up and left the room, as obviously the "Systems" referred to in the title were not referring to IBM Systems, like server, network or storage systems, as I had anticipated. However, I decided to stay and learn more.)
Boeing explained their "Six Pillars" of SOA transformation, starting with a Maturity Assessment of where they were, then a four-year roadmap of transformation, and adopting a Bi-Modal SOA method, and adopting the right level of SOA Governance to keep it running correctly.
2154A Expert Panel on Hybrid Cloud Data Protection: Who Is the Service Provider?
David "Greg" Van Hise, IBM, served as emcee for this expert panel. Experts on our panel perform over five million backups per month. Who better to ask about what's new in cloud data protection? The experts were:
Richard Spurlock, Cobalt Iron -- which provides Cloud Backup for Business Data Protection
Thomas Bak, Front-safe A/S -- a third party that provides Backup-as-a-Service using IBM Spectrum Protect
Daniel Witteveen, IBM Resiliency Services for Cloud Managed Backup -- Formerly known as SmartCloud Managed Backup (SCMB), this is IBM's version of Backup-as-a-Service, also using IBM Spectrum Protect
This session was for people interested in enhancing your own backup capability or understanding how cloud providers can provide data protection services. The panel offered new insights on how hybrid solutions can help you take advantage of the cloud without losing sight of your data. IBM Spectrum Protect can help you keep pace with the flexibility, improved service levels and low cost available from cloud backup providers.
The evening wrapped up with a 2-hour long concert of Sir Elton John! There were 23,000 attendees at this conference, but the MGM Grand Garden Arena only holds 16,800 people, so the rest were directed to MGM's Hakkasan Night Club. Next to my hotel at the Monte Carlo, they are constructing a new "Las Vegas Arena" that will hold 20,000 people for events such as these.
This week, I am attending the [InterConnect Conference] in Las Vegas, Feb 21-25, 2016. This is IBM's premier Cloud & Mobile conference for the year.
Here is my recap of the lunch-time sessions Wednesday afternoon.
5663A Beyond Hyperconvergence to a Hyperscale Converged Infrastructure
Bernard "Bernie" Spang, IBM, presented. Organizations continue to face challenges with efficiently managing unprecedented volumes and varieties of data. Meanwhile, new frameworks such as Spark and Hadoop are emerging to efficiently exploit that data. These offerings have the potential to deliver significant benefits, but they can also increase data center complexity and cluster sprawl.
Bernie covered the evolution of Hyperconvergence to a Hyperscale converged technology. By extending software-defined infrastructure concepts to a converged application- and data-optimized fabric, IBM is enabling organizations to reduce costs and accelerate time to insight by efficiently storing, analyzing and protecting their data.
Hyperconvergence is the concept of running hypervisor software on storage-rich servers. Software-only versions include IBM Spectrum Accelerate and VMware VSAN, whereas pre-built systems are available from Nutanix, Simplivity and others.
But not everything is x86 or Hypervisor based. Some applications are better served on bare metal, while others might be better served on containers like Docker or LXC. IBM Spectrum Scale provides for all of these additional platforms, works on both x86 and POWER systems, and can handle storage tiering from flash to disk to tape. It can work across locations, representing any mix of on-premises and off-premises facilities.
1841A IBM Cloud Storage Options
I was pleased to have a standing-room only crowd attend my session!
The term "Cloud Storage" can be misleading. I spell out four unique types of storage:
Ephemeral Storage - storage that exists only as long as the Virtual Machine using it is running. This is ideal for boot volumes and temporary work space.
Persistent Storage - typically block/transactional/high-speed storage that continues to live beyond the life of the Virtual Machine.
Hosted Storage - files, documents and backup copies that are read/written in the Cloud
Reference Storage - files and objects that are written once, and never modified thereafter, such as archives, financial records, and photographs. Since the term Write-Once-Read-Many (WORM) applies only to tape and optical media, the IT Industry now uses Non-Erasable-Non-Rewriteable (NENR) to include flash and disk media protected in some manner through software to avoid tampering.
The first two I refer to as "Storage for the Computer Cloud" and the latter two I refer to as "Storage as the Storage Cloud".
I also discuss the differences between block, file and object access, and why different Cloud storage types use different access methods.
I wrapped up the session covering the various IBM storage solutions that we offer for all four Cloud Storage types.