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Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Specialist for the IBM System Storage product line at the
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A client complained that their tape drives were not compressing data as well as it used to. Investigating further reminded me of a scene from the 1970's television show "All in the family", summarized well inAmerican Scientist:
... in one episode of All in the Family, Archie Bunker's son-in-law, Mike, watches Archie put on his shoes and socks. Mike goes into a conniption when Archie puts the sock and shoe completely on one foot first, tying a bow to complete the action, while the other foot remains bare. To Mike, if I remember correctly, the right way to put on shoes and socks is first to put a sock on each foot and only then put the shoes on over them, and only in the same order as the socks. In an ironic development in his character, the politically liberal Mike shows himself to be intolerant of differences in how people do common little things, unaccepting of the fact that there is more than one way to skin a cat or put on one's shoes.
Both agreed that socks go first, then shoes, but the actual deployment was different.
In the case of this customer, a recent change was the use of "encryption" before the data reached the tape drive. In regards to compression and encryption, you should always compress first, then encrypt. Compression algorithms rely on frequency of data, for example the letter "E" appears more often in the English language than the letter "Z". However, once you encrypt data, those data patterns are randomized, and any attempt to compress the data afterwards is wasted effort.
With IBM tape encryption on either the TS1120 or LTO4 tape drives, we compress, then encrypt, the data when it arrives to the tape drive, so that the compression has some chance of getting up to 3:1 reduction. This compress-then-encrypt process can be done at the host as well, either from the application software or feature of the operating system.
So, just as the case between Archie Bunker and his son-in-law, there are many ways to deploy compression and encryption, just make sure you do them in the right order to get the most benefit.
This week I am off to Budapest, Hungary, for business meetings. It is the closest major city to IBM'smanufacturing plant in a small town called Vac (rhymes with "knots") where the IBM System Storage DS8000 seriesand SAN Volume Controller are assembled.
Last week, I opined that Monday's IDC announcement "IBM #1 in combined disk and tape storage hardwaresales for 2006" was in part because of a resurgence of interest in tape, with four specific examples. There was a lot of reaction and reflection fromboth sides.
On the one side...
EMC blogger Mark Twomey at Storagezilla admits that perhapsTape Isn't Dead after all,is perhaps the best place to put long-term archive data, but not for backup? EMC's "creative marketing types" put out this Fun With Tape video that I found amusing. (It asks for a first name,last name, and e-mail address, which are then embedded into the resulting video itself, and perhaps forwarded to your nearest EMC sales rep, so answer according to your wishes for privacy).
The "mummy wrapped in tape media" seems to be a common theme, and shows up again in LiveVault'svideo with John Cleese, which makes the same argument asthe EMC video above, namely: switch your backups from tape to disk because we are a disk-only vendor.
... and on the other side
JWT over at DrunkenData asks Which is greener, disk or tape?Tape is, of course, by a long shot, and an essential part of IBM's Big Green initiative, a project to invest$1US Billion dollars per year for data centers to be more efficient for power and cooling.
Sun/StorageTek blogger Randy Chalfant questions the Death of Tape, and argues thatdisk-only solutions suffer from atrophy.The results he posts from a survey of 200 customers are similar to those we've seen with customers using IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center, our software to help evaluate data usage, and identify misuse, in your data center.
To my readers in the USA, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, China and Japan, and a few other countries, Happy Father's Day!
One of the differences between IBM and the other storage vendors is that IBM is also in the business of middleware, application-aware backup software, and advanced copy services. This allows IBM to put togethersolutions that work to address specific challenges for our clients.
IBM has written a whitepaper on a cleverVSS Snapshot Backup for Exchange using IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and the point-in-time copy capabilities of IBM System Storage disk systems.
A problem in the past was that each vendor's point-in-time copy method had its own unique proprietary interface.Microsoft Developed Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) as a common interface front-end to resolve this concern.IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Mail can invoke standard VSS interfaces, and this in turn can invoke FlashCopyon the IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller, DS8000 series, or DS6000 series disk system.
You might be thinking: Wouldn't it have been less effort to just have TSM for Mail invoke IBM proprietary interfaces,rather than having to put full VSS support into TSM for mail, and then full VSS support into IBM's various disksystems? Perhaps, but IBM doesn't decide to do things because it is the cheapest way, we focus on what is theright way, and in this case, customers now have more choices, then can use TSM for Mail with IBM or non-IBM disksystems that support the VSS interface, and IBM disk systems can be employed into other uses for VSS snapshot.
Of course, we would like our clients to consider both TSM and IBM System Storage disk systems for a combined solution,not because they are required to make the solution work, but because both are best-of-breed, and whitepapers likethis show how they can provide synergy working together.
(Chris doesn't actually name who is his source making such a claim, whether thatsomeone was employed by any of the parties involved at the time the events occurred,or is currently employed by a competitor like EMC bitterly jealous of the success IBM and HDScurrently enjoy with their offerings.)
As I already posted before about IBM'slong history of storage virtualization, SAN Volume Controller was really part of a sequence of major product in this area, after the successful 3850 MSS and 3494 VTS block virtualization products.
In the late 1990's, our research teams in Almaden, California and Hursley, UK were exploring storagetechnologies that could take advantage of commodity hardware parts and the industry-leadingLinux operating system.
As is often the case, while IBM was working on "the perfect product", small start-ups announce "not-yet-perfect" products into the marketplace. Tactical moves like partneringwith DataCore was a smart move, for the following reasons:
Helps identify market segments. Identify which subset of customers would most benefit fromdisk virtualization. While our 3850 MSS and 3494 VTS were focused on mainframe customers, this newtechnology was focused on distributed Unix, Windows and Linux servers.
Helps prioritize market requirements. What are the most appealing features?What drives clients to buy disk virtualization for distributed systems platforms?
Helps evaluate packaging options. Should we deliver pure software and expect customersto purchase their own servers? Should we offer this as a "service offering" with installation anddeployment services included? Should we offer this as hardware with software pre-installed?
The partnership proved worthwhile, not just to prove to IBM that this was a worthwhile market to enter, but also how "NOT" to package a solution. Specifically, DataCore SANsymphony was software that you had to install on your own Windows-based server. The client was left with the task of orderinga suitable Intel-based server, with the right amount of CPU cycles, RAM and host bus adapter ports,and configure the Windows operating system and DataCore software.
It didn't go well. Basically, customers were expected to be their own "hardware engineers", having to knowway too much about storage hardware and software to design a combination that worked for theirworkloads. Most clients were disappointed with the amount of effort involved, and the resulting poor performance.
To fix this, IBM delivered the SAN Volume Controller, with an optimized Linux operating system and internally-writtensoftware that runs on IBM System x(tm) server hardware optimized for performance.
I can't speak for HDS, but I suspect they came to similar conclusions that resulted in a similar decisionto build their product in-house. I welcome Hu Yoshida to correct me if I am wrong on this.
I hope everyone enjoyed the French Open in Second Life! Here are some upcoming events:
Rational Software Development Conference comes to Second Life
As part of its commitment to the developer community, IBM is broadening the experience for conference visitors and avatars visiting IBM CODESTATION, in the virtual world of Second Life. During RSDC this year, visitors can view the General Sessions, catch Rational product demonstrations, interact with Rational experts, and learn about the first CODESTATION "Coder's Challenge" kicking off in July.
For Rational Software Development Conference (RSDC) information and registration, running June 10-14:here
Virtual Technical Briefing in Second Life: Web 2.0
Join IBM developerWorks in Second Life for a virtual Web 2.0 Briefing on June 21, 2007 at 12:30 pm EDT/ 9:30 am PDT. During this briefing from IBM developerWorks you'll see presentations on Web 2.0 technologies, a flash demo of associated hot technologies and have a chance to have your questions answered by IBM experts.
In the last two years Web 2.0 has created one of the most remarkable growth surges in Web application history. The transition of consumer Web sites from isolated information silos to sources of shared content and functionality, make the Web a true computing platform serving web applications to end-users. Now it's time to take the lessons learned from that success and see how it can bring value to you and your business.
Based on our success for our April 26 event, we decided to have the next event in September. More details to follow,but we plan to have it open to customers, analysts and business partners. If you are interested in participating, now is a good time to get your avatar in second life up and running. If you need "System Storage", "IBM Business Partner" logo clothing for your avatar, send me a note.
This week I was in Palm Springs in meetings with clients, prospects, business partners and IBM sales reps.
Tuesday consisted of "outdoor meetings", but the high winds caused some people to arrive late, and others to land in the various sand traps and water hazards. A "welcome reception" event allowed everyone to socialize and get to know the IBM experts and executives. Two of my colleagues, Mike Stanek and Dave Wyatt, were with me also in Australia last week, and so the three of us were discussing recovery from jet lag.
Wednesday was organized as a main tent event, where everyone met into one large room to hear our strategy,latest set of offerings, and customer testimonials. This was done indoors, of course, which was a good thing as the winds were now gusting up to 50 miles per hour, knocking over windmills and making the local news.
Here's a quick sample from the testimonials:
An insurance company virtualized their IBM DS8000, DS4000, ESS 800 and EMC DMX3 high-end disk with theIBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller and got higher availability and performance. Data migrationefforts that used to take six(6) hours of admin time now took less than one hour, and with no system downtime.They have a total of 350TB virtualized under SVC now, but plan to extend this for a variety of other projects.
A bank presented their success using "Global Mirror" (IBM's asynchronous two-site replication disk mirroring capability).Their previous "business continuity" plan was called 2-20-24 for 2 sites that were 20 miles apart and recovery time objective (RTO) of 24 hours. With the events of Hurricane Katrina, this was considered inadequate, and a new2-200-6 plan was requested, across 200 miles with a recovery time objective of only 6 hours. The chose to deploythis one application at a time, to learn and grow by experience in each phase. They started with Microsoft Exchange e-mail application running under VMware on BladeCenter servers, and wereable to recover remotely within 1 hour. They are now looking to refine and automate the recovery process, perhapswith IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center for Replication and Geographically Dispersed Open Clusters (GDOC).
A healthcare provider presented their success with tiered storage, managing a 475TB mix of IBM DS8000, DS6000,DS4000 and HP EVA disk arrays. The key was having centralized storage management from IBM, which allowedthem to shrink provisioning time from 3 weeks average, to now 96% of their storage provisioning requests are completedin less than 1 week. Moving data between storage tiers was non-disruptive, and the significantcosts savings greatly justified the change in "mindset" that required some training on the new environment.
Thursday we offered a series of "workshops" on specific topics. These were interactive sessions to discuss installation, design and deployment of various solutions. The event ended early enough so that people couldreturn home, or go to the practice range, which reminded me of this inspiring video on How to play golf as well as Tiger Woods.
The event got great reviews, and I look forward to the next one. Until then, enjoy the weekend!
IDC announced that IBM was number #1 in storage hardware (disk and tape combined)for 2006. Here are some excerpts from the IBM press release:
The newly released May 2007 report  by leading industry analyst firm IDC, "Worldwide Combined Disk and Tape Storage 2006 Market Share Update," shows IBM in the #1 overall position for all disk and tape storage hardware for the full year 2006.
In a total disk and tape storage hardware segment that increased to $28.2 billion in 2006, IBM captured 22.2 percent of the combined revenue for full year 2006, besting HP's 20.9 percent and EMC's 13.2 percent.
Five years ago, IBM was only #3 in this area, butis this new standing from IBM doing things better, or HP and EMC doing things poorly? Probably a little of both, but since it's not polite to point out the flaws of others in a blog, I will focus on what IBM is doing right, and I think our leadership in tape accounts for a good measure of this.
The resurgence of tape comes from a variety of factors:
The focus on being "green", to conserve energy power and cooling costs. Tape is the cheapest storage in this regard, as the tape cartridges only consume power when read or written.
Government regulations where more data must be stored for longer periods of time, such as theFederal Rules of Civil Procedures (FRCP), Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC regulations, and so on.
The widening gap in dollars per MB. Advancements in tape are outpacing disk. Disk is slowing down to about 25% improvement year on year, but tape continues its 30-40% improvement curve. A solution like Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) that moves older less valuable data from disk to tape can result in excellent cost savings.
Exciting "combined storage" solutions like the IBM System Storage DR550 and the IBM Grid Medical Archive Solution (GMAS) that combine disk and tape with internal hierarchy storage management of data, based on policies.
Many often associate CAS with EMC's Centera offering, but with IBM's comprehensive set of compliance storageofferings, EMC doesn't talk about CAS or Centera much anymore.I covered the confusion around CAS in a previous post. When clients ask for "CAS" what they really are looking for is storage designed forfixed content, unstructured data that doesn't change once written. A lot of data falls under this category, such as scanned documents, audio and video recordings, medical images, and so on. Some laws and regulations further require enforcement that the data is not deleted or tampered with, until some time after an event or expiration date is met.
In the past, clients used write-once read-many (WORM) optical media, but today we have disk and tape offerings instead. Since the term "WORM" is inappropriate fordisk-based solutions, IBM has standardized to the use of the term "non-erasable, non-rewriteable" (NENR) to discusstoday's solutions and offerings.
Let's recap what IBM has to offer:
IBM System Storage DR550
This comes in both large version (DR550) andsmall version (DR550 Express).Both offerings provide NENR protection of fixed content data with your choice of a disk-only or disk-and-tape configuration. IBM also announced a DR550 file system gateway, extending the number of applications that can take advantage of this offering.
IBM System Storage N series with SnapLock(tm)
IBM has seen great success with the N series disk systems. A specificfeature called SnapLock allows some of the data stored to be NENR protected until an expiration date is met. As partof IBM's emphasis for "unified storage", a single N series appliance or gateway can manage both regular (erasable/modifiable) data with NENR data. Combining this with our recently announced Advanced Single InstanceStorage (A-SIS) de-duplication feature, and you get a very cost-effective offering!
IBM System Storage Multilevel Grid Access Manager Software
A fourth option for NENR data is WORM tape. IBM supports WORM cartridge media in both the enterprise TS1120 drive as well as LTO3 and LTO4 drives. The advantage is that you don't need unique tape drives for WORM support. IBM drives can read and write both regular and WORM cartridges, and provide a cost-effective alternative to optical media.
As you see, IBM doesn't limit itself to disk-only offerings. Our leadership in tape allows us to innovate tape and disk-and-tape offerings that can provide more cost-effective solutions to store fixed content, retention managed data.The next time you have a conversation with a storage vendor, don't ask for CAS, ask instead for archive and compliance storage. Broaden your mind, and broaden the set of options and choices that might provide a better fit for your requirements.
Well it's already Tuesday here in Australia. Many people here have asked me what my secrets are for dealing withJet Lag, as many Aussies (and Kiwis) travel across time zones for business. While Sydney is 17 hours "ahead" of Arizona right now, my body feels like it is 7 hours of time zones "behind". If you do nothing, your body will naturally adjust, about one time zone per day, which is completely unacceptable for most week-long business trips.Since I have been traveling for IBM since 1989, I have read a lot on this, and tried a lot of things, and here's what works for me.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, consult a doctor if you have any questions
Before the Trip
People are normally on a 24-hour circadian rhythm. Change this to 48-hours by alternating light-eating and heavy-eating days. Why? a 7-hour shift to a 48-hour cycle is not as bad as for a 24-hour cycle. A Light-eating day may involve a light breakfast, light lunch and either no dinner or just appetizers. A heavy-eating day involves bigger meals, and perhaps snacks between meals. Plan to have the day you step on the plane as your last light-eating day. I normally start this 5 days before the trip.
Adjust your drinking schedule.
Before noon, drink water and juice only, no caffeine, no alcohol, no shots of tequila as morning mouthwash. My drink of choice in the mornings on airplanes is spicy tomato juice, which some people call "Bloody Mary Mix" without the alcohol.
Noon to 4pm, drink caffeinated products, like coffee, tea or soft drinks. If you normally don't drink caffeine at all, here's your reason to start. It will "center" your day.
After 4pm, drink alcohol, like red wine which is good for your for the health of your heart and lungs, but no caffeine, cola-based mixed drinks or late night cappuccinos. If you normally don't drink alcohol, drink water or juice instead.
This revised drinking schedule is good advice year round, wherever you are, but you can start this 5 days before the trip also.
During the Flight
Immediately upon getting seated, adjust your watch to the destination time. This will help you determine when you should be awake or asleep on the flight. For example, I left 10pm Los Angeles, and arrived 6am into Sydney. I reset my watch to 3pm had my first meal, stayed awake to watch a few movies, slept for 6 hours, and then was awake the last two hours before landing for breakfast.
Sometimes, this time adjustment might mean sleeping through dinner or breakfast served on the plane. Survivalists indicate that people cansurvive on several weeks without food, and most American businessmen carry enough body fat to hibernate through winter, so don't feel bad skipping a meal. Some airlines provide "don't wake me up" stickers you can attach to your seat or shoulder. I also tell the people around me "If I am asleep DON'T wake me up for drinks or meals." Despite this, people will wake you up anyways, and if this happens, be pleasant, indicate again that you are not hungry, and prefer to sleep instead.
The drink schedule applies to the new time zone on the plane. Depending on when you are served, drink water, juice, caffeine, or alcohol, based on the destination time zone.
Once you arrive
Focus on being awake from 9am to 5pm in the new local time zone. You can then work to adjust your hours from there.
For at least the first three days at your new location, eat high-protein breakfasts and lunches, like eggs and meats, which will keep you more awake. The drinking schedule still applies, so no coffee or tea in the morning, but some during lunch is fine, again to "center" your day. Eat high-carbohydrate dinners, like salads, vegetables and pasta. No caffeine, have alcohol, juice or water instead.
Many say that it is best to be in bright sunlight during the day, and darkness at night, to reset your circadian rhythm. Scientists have suggested your sensor is in the popliteal region (backs of your knees) and is discussed by The Straight Dope. While I have never strapped aflashlight to my legs, I do find wearing shorts or bathing suits and being outdoors during the day, and wearing long pants and being indoors in dark conditions during the night to be helpful. If you take a nap during the day, make sure your drapes are wide open and sleep on your belly, letting the backs of your knees to get plenty of sunlight, to remind your body you are taking a "day-time" nap. If you find yourself awake at night, keep your legs covered under the bed, wear long-legged pajamas or sweat pants, use minimal lighting like a bedside night lamp, to remind your body you are "reverse napping" (being awake for a short time during a sleep period).
Exercise in the morning. I do this in Tucson, so it is routine and habit to continue at the new location. Sometimes just walking around your new surroundings can be enough to help you adjust to the new time zone, and is a good excuse for wearing shorts or your bathing suit.
About 3-5 days before returning, go back to the "Before the Trip" process and start alternating meals again. Follow the process and act as if returning home is a new trip to deal with jet lag in the reverse direction.