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Well I have returned safely from Istanbul, Turkey. What a great event we had last week, with over 200 attendees. The weather was quite cold, snowing on some days. Here are the highlights:

Conquering Computing’s Next Strategic Initiatives
Ian Jarman, IBM Lab Services BUE, kicked off with the keynote speech, covering how we have gone from landing on the moon 50 years ago, to where we are today.
Brand opening session: IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE
Roger Bales, IBM Lab Services BUE, and Mike Fulton, IBM Distinguished Engineer, co-presented our kick-off. Roger covered IBM’s strategic initiatives for the IBM Z and LinuxONE platforms, and Mike presented the latest on DevOps, and how to earn the IBM Digital Badge for the DevOps Fast Start track.
Protect and reuse your data with IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management
I presented how to use IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management (CDM) to both protect your data, as well as make the copy data available for re-use, such as for reporting, analytics, or Dev/Test activities.
Storage Insights: Effective ways to make storage administration easier
Over 15 years ago, I was the chief architect of what we now call IBM Spectrum Control. The cloud-based version is called IBM Spectrum Storage Insights. I presented how Storage Insights can be used either in combination with Spectrum Control, or stand-alone, to help evaluate your environment, troubleshoot problems, and interact with IBM Support to resolve any problems.
Deliver your message! Organizing your PowerPoint and presenting to audiences
This is one of our “Shaping the Future” sessions that focus on IT Leadership and Professional Development. While most of TechU is focused on deep technical skills training, we offer a few sessions on “People Skills”. In this session, I explained how to prepare, practice, and present PowerPoint presentations effectively.
New IBM Storage announcement on February 11: Pre-announcement
Mo McCullough, IBM TechU Content Manager, kicked off this NDA session on the Feb 11 storage announcements. I presented the new “Storage Simplification” strategy. Andrew Greenfield, IBM Global Storage & Network Engineer, the new SAN Volume Controller and FlashSystem models. Chris Maestas, IBM Executive IT Architect, covered the updates to the IBM Spectrum Software line.

This was the first of a series of TechU events IBM will offer this year. Coming up are events in Dubai, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Orlando, and Amsterdam. Check out the [IBM Skills Gateway] for more details.

[T] technorati tags:  Ian Jarman, Roger Bales, Mo McCullough, Andrew Greenfield, Chris Maestas, FlashSystem, SAN Volume Controller

Happy New Year 2020

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Hello everyone! Happy New Year!

I am excited that I will be speaking at our first TechU event of 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey, Feb 5-7.

(For those who don’t know me, I am the content manager for IBM Z and LinuxONE sessions since December 2018, but my first event in this new role was last year in Istanbul, Februrary 2019, so this upcoming week is in effect my “Anniversary event”!)

Here are the sessions I will be speaking (in green) at:

  Wednesday Thursday Friday
09:00 Registration and Keynote Elective Elective
10:30 Elective Elective
11:45 IBM Z and LinuxONE opening Elective Elective
14:00 Protect and reuse your data with IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management Elective Deliver your message! Organizing your PowerPoint and presenting to audiences
15:30 Storage Insights: Effective ways to make storage administration easier Elective IBM Storage announcements for February 2020
16:45 Elective Elective Closing Session

We packed a lot of excellent training sessions in just three days! To see all of the IBM Power, IBM Storage, IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE, and Red Hat sessions, check out the [Istanbul2020 Agenda]

Want to learn more about TechU? My colleague Sharon Kent wrote an excellent article on IBM Systems Magazine titled [IBM TechU: An Investment That Always Pays Off].

To register for this or other IBM Technical events, go to the
IBM Skills Gateway] landing page.

Storage Announcements for DS8880 and TS1160

Now the Thanksgiving Holidays are over, its time to catch up on some Storage Announcements! These actually came out November 20, but many readers were busy with Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Give Back Tuesday, they might have been missed.

IBM DS8880/F Storage Systems

There were three items this time for the DS8880 family, for both Generation 1 and Generation 2 models.

  • The first is the expansion on the type of high capacity flash drives available for the system. With this announcement, IBM has added the high-capacity 15.3 TB flash drive set as an available option. With this, the maximum flash storage capacity supported per high performance flash enclosure (HPFE) pair is now 737 TB raw.

  • The second is the addition of write operations for zHyperLink. zHyperLink is a short distance, mainframe attach link that is intended to accelerate Db2 v12 for z/OS. Low I/O latencies deliver value through improved workload elapsed times and faster transactional response times, and contribute to lower scaling costs.

  • The third is the ability to leverage IBM Storage Insights cloud-based service for your DS8880 systems. It supports the next-generation Call Home infrastructure that enables continuous updates of the system's configuration and health. IBM Storage Insights simplifies uploading logs, speeds resolution with online configuration data, and provides an overview of open tickets, all in one place. Clients who have been using IBM Storage Insights with their their IBM Storwize and IBM FlashSystem A9000/R systems can now extend this to include their DS8880 systems.

To learn more, see [DS8880F], [DS8880 Gen1], and [DS8880 Gen2] announcement letters.

IBM TS4500 Tape Library

The TS4500 library now supports IBM TS1080 tape drive model F8S. This is an LTO8 Ultrium tape drive enabled with single-mode fiber and designed for the heavy demands of backup and archive tape storage applications that require high bandwidth over long distances. TS1080 Model F8S can be installed in a TS4500 tape library and delivers maximum throughput with a native data transfer of up to 360 Mbps.

There were two other enhancements for the TS4500 were:

 

  • A new action "Export logs direct to IBM" on the web. The TS4500 will collect library logs and send via Call Home to IBM, eliminating download to the laptop or system. This improves how clients engage with IBM support teams.

  • A new intelligent Power Distribution Unit (PDU) with three-phase [wye] or single-phase input to provide power to the local frame control assembly. This new PDU will offer power and environmental monitoring features in the future. So stay tuned.

To learn more, see [TS4500 and LTO-8 Single-Mode Fiber] and [TS1160 for TS4500] announcement letters.

IBM TS1160 Enterprise Tape

IBM continues its lead in tape innovation with the IBM TS1160 Enterprise Tape Drive model (60F)! Delivering a 100% increase over the TS1150 series of tape drives, the TS1160 comes in at 20TB of cartridge capacity on the new JE media type with a native data rate of 400 Mbps, or up to 900 Mbps compressed. The new TS1160 will be available for the TS4500, the TS3500 (Model 60G) as well as a stand alone design with Fibre Channel interfaces.

Of course, the new TS1160 will support the reuse of existing JD/JZ/JL media with the capability to read and write TS1150 and TS1155 formatted media, and format the same media with up to 15 TB uncompressed capacity. It will also support IBM Spectrum Archive with the LTFS format for tape. Leveraging these larger tape capacities for active archives, backups, and other long term retention requirements.

To learn more, see [TS1160 for TS3500] and [TS1160 for TS4500] announcement letters.

IBM Spectrum Archive

IBM Spectrum Archive can move data from Spectrum Scale flash and disk storage to less expensive tape. IBM Spectrum Archive is based on IBM Linear Tape File System (LTFS) and enables fast and easy data retention to reduce the total cost of ownership for active archive storage. Both the IBM Spectrum Archive Enterprise Edition (EE) V1.3, and the Library Edition (LE) V2.4.1, will support the new enterprise-class TS1160 tape drive.

To learn more, see [IBM Spectrum Archive support for TS1160] announcement letter.

IBM Spectrum Scale

The Data Management Edition (DME) of Spectrum Scale does not require you to separately purchase client, server, or FPO socket-based, MIPS-based, or PVU-based licenses. Instead, you can simply license the total storage capacity managed by IBM Spectrum Scale. DME is now available through IBM Shopz. Shopz is a web service to order z Systems software, manage software licenses, and view software inventory. It provides an easy way to plan and order your product ServerPac or CBPDO, running on z.

To learn more, see [IBM Spectrum Scale on IBM Shopz] announcement letter.

IBM Storage has made many exciting announcements in 2018, and it was good to wrap up this year with these!

Originally published: 2018-12-03

IBM TechU Power Storage Hollywood2018 Day4 and 5

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I was in Hollywood Florida for the IBM Systems Technical University. Here is my recap of the final two days, day 4 and 5.

The Pendulum Swings Back: Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
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Once again, I presented my popular session on converged and hyperconverged systems. For converged, IBM offers IBM PureApplication systems with Power and x86 servers, as well as partnership with Cisco called VersaStack. Both support IBM Cloud Private as a platform for running applications.

For Hyperconverged, IBM offers Spectrum Accelerate and Spectrum Scale, as well as partnerships with SuperMicro that combines Spectrum Accelerate on SuperMicro x86 servers, and partnership with Nutanix for CS-models of Power servers pre-installed with Nutanix software.

Unlike other converged and hyperconverged solutions that act as isolated islands of compute and storage, IBM's solutions can be incorporated into an existing datacenter with IBM Cloud Private for orchestration, and IBM Spectrum Scale to provide common access to data.

 

The Seven Tiers of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
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With all the natural disasters that happened last year in the USA, and the more recent ones all over the world, this session continues to draw a crowd.

The seven tiers range from the least expensive to most expensive. The least expensive involves restoring data from tapes stored in an offsite vault. Tape continues to be the least expensive storage medium, and can be used to bring up a company in a few days.

For faster recovery, there are options like electronic vaulting to virtual tape libraries, and now the use of Cloud storage for ubiquitous access to data from different locations.

Snapshots of entire volumes, virtual machines or databases are also quite popular. IBM offers IBM Spectrum Protect Snapshot, Spectrum Protect Plus, and Spectrum Copy Data Management for this.

Faster recovery is possible with remote mirroring. This involves sending all of the updates to a secondary location. In the event of a disaster, clients can switch processing with the data already there. IBM has over 800 clients able to do just that in less than 30 minutes.

 

Event Night by the Pool
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Photography by Mo Reyes

While Hurricane Michael raged in upper Florida the week prior, the event coordinators were a bit nervous to offer an evening dinner event by the pool, but the weather cooperated!

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Photography by Mo Reyes

I was a social butterfly, moving from table to table to talk to all of the various attendees. A light breeze and excellent food and music made for an enjoyable night!

The pool reception went on to about 10:00pm at night. IBM had lit up its logo into the pools for a great view from above. Perhaps just 30 minutes after arriving back to my hotel room, we had quite the thunderstorm! How incredibly lucky this did not happen during the event!

The following day, I presented my session on "Managing Risk with Data Footprint Reduction, a repeat of the session I did earlier that week.

This was a pleasant way to end the week! Aside from the heat and humidity being above average for October, it was a beautiful hotel in a lovely city.

Originally published: 2018-10-30

IBM TechU Power Storage Hollywood2018 Day2 and 3

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Last week, I was in Hollywood Florida for the IBM Systems Technical University. Here is my recap of days 2 and 3.

Information Lifecycle Management: Why Archive is Different than Backup
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Some companies keep backup copies for years and years. They think this is all they need to do to comply with government regulations for data retention. They could not be more wrong!

This session explained why keeping backups for more than a few months is a bad idea, and how to fix it with proper Information Lifecycle Management practices, the proper use of archive as an alternative to keeping backups to long, and the advantages of archives versus backup.

 

Storage for Rookies: Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage
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My session on IBM COS was so popular, we repeated for the "Storage for Rookies" track. In this track, registrants attend specifically selected topics to complete a "degree". This is "University" after all!

My session was organized into three sections. First, a general overview of "Object Storage" that can be accessed via HTTP over TCP/IP networks, and how this is different from traditional block or file storage.

Second, a review of the architecture and features of IBM Cloud Object Storage, and how these can be deployed on-premises, in a hybrid cloud configuration, or use in the public IBM Cloud.

Third, how to use IBM Cloud Object Storage for various use cases, including programming languages that support object storage, NAS gateways, and backup software like IBM Spectrum Protect.

 

Managing Risks with Data Footprint Reduction
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What happens when airlines sell more tickets than actual seats on the airplane? Travelers get upset, and sometimes the airline has to forcibly drag people off the plane.

Likewise, storage admins who over-provision storage run the risk of having application outages from out-of-space conditions. This session explained how thin provisioning, deduplication and compression can help, but at other times make things more complicated.

IBM Spectrum Scale Users Group

We had a great turn-out for this "Users Group". IBM Spectrum Scale and Elastic Storage Server grew substantially last year, and we are keeping up the momentum!

We had several presenters cover various updates, followed by cocktails!

After all that excitement, we went to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville for a "Storage Team" dinner. There were karaoke singers, accompanied by a live band. A fun time was had by all!

Originally published: 2018-10-24

IBM TechU Power Storage Hollywood2018 Day1

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Last week, I was in Hollywood Florida for the IBM Systems Technical University. Here is my recap of day 1.

Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage (powered by CleverSafe)
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For the first session of the week, at 8:30am in the morning, this was a surprisingly interactive session. I had lots of questions from the attendees.

This session was organized into three sections. First, a general overview of "Object Storage" that can be accessed via HTTP over TCP/IP networks, and how this is different from traditional block or file storage.

Second, a review of the architecture and features of IBM Cloud Object Storage, and how these can be deployed on-premises, in a hybrid cloud configuration, or use in the public IBM Cloud.

Third, how to use IBM Cloud Object Storage for various use cases, including programming languages that support object storage, NAS gateways, and backup software like IBM Spectrum Protect.

 

Opening Session: Storage Panel of Experts
Keynote-Hollywood

The opening session started out with an introduction of Calline Sanchez, the new Vice President for IBM Systems Lab Services.

This was followed by something completely different. Mo McCullough acted asked a panel of experts a series of questions, combined with recommended sessions that support each solution. We had the following experts, shown here sitting from left to right in the photo:

  • Clod Barrera, IBM CTO for Storage
  • Kelly Groff, Senior offering manager for FlashSystem
  • Jack Arnold, Security Specialist for U.S. Federal Systems
  • Brian Sherman, IBM Washington Systems Center
  • Tony Pearson (yes that is me on the far right)

The session was then wrapped up by Mario Franzone, manager of Technical Events, showing off the latest features of the "IBM TechU" mobile app, which provides the agenda, maps, and other useful information to navigate the conference smoothly.

 

IBM Hybrid Cloud and Multicloud Storage Solutions
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This was previously called IBM Hybrid Cloud Storage Solutions, but now that many clients choose to have multiple different cloud configurations, I added "Multicloud" to the mix.

I organized this talk into five sections:

  • Archiving less active storage to the Cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud configurations for backups and snapshots
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
  • Daily Operations, Reporting and Analytics
  • Production applications in the Hybrid Cloud

I added some slides near the end of my talk about IBM Cloud Private. IBM Spectrum Access blueprints with IBM Spectrum Connect provide interfaces for persistent storage for VMware, Microsoft, Cloud Foundry and Docker Containers.

This was a good way to start the week! Attendees were thankful that they had missed Hurricane Michael that swept through Florida the week before. The red tide had abated, and wind speeds were back to normal levels.

Originally published: 2018-10-22

IBM TechU Rome2018

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It's official! I will be presenting at the IBM Technical University in Rome, Italy. I am told that October is a good month to be in Italy.

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Here is my schedule of topics:

Date Time Title
Monday 15:30 Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage, powered by CleverSafe
16:45 IBM Hybrid and Multicloud Storage Solutions
Tuesday 14:00 The Pendulum Swings Back: Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Systems
Thursday 14:00 Managing Risks with Data Footprint Reduction
15:30 The Seven Tiers of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Friday 8:30 Build your Personal Brand! Social Media tips from an experienced Blogger
9:45 Information Lifecycle Management: Why Archive is Different than Backup!

I look forward to a great event! If you plan to attend, let me know! Stop by and say Hello!

Originally published: 2018-09-26

IBM TechU Power Storage Hollywood2018 New Storage Tracks

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I have returned safely from the IBM Technical University in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now preparing for my next events. IBM plans to have back-to-back Technical University events in Hollywood Florida.

I will be attending the second week. Here are three new tracks that will be offered:

IBM Storage Certification Boot Camp
Scattered across Monday to Wednesday (Oct 15-17) will be the following boot camp sessions:

  • IBM Spectrum Storage Solution Architect V1
  • IBM Visualized Storage V2
  • IBM Technical Storage V1
  • Traditional Workload Sales V2
Maximizing the Business Value of your Storage
Targeted towards executives and IT leaders, IBM offers a full-day program on Tuesday, October 16, from 9:00am to 5:30pm:

  • Driven by Data: IBM Storage Strategic Overview
  • The Right Flash for the Right Workload
  • Overview of IBM Spectrum Family
  • Storage Directions for IBM & the Industry
  • What’s New with IBM Storage & SDI
  • How to Store a Zetabyte

IBM executives and subject matter experts will be on-hand for this event.

Storage for Rookies
In Johannesburg, we had an “IBM Z for Rookies” track. In Hollywood, we will have a “Storage for Rookies” track. Here are the sessions:

  • Storage for Rookies Kickoff
  • IBM Spectrum Archive Basics: Taming big data with LTFS standard
  • Spectrum Archive EE and Spectrum Scale – 101 Basics
  • Introduction to IBM Cloud Object Storage System
  • IBM FlashSystem 9100: Intro and deep dive
  • Storage directions for IBM and the industry
  • Introduction to IBM block storage replication
  • Storage encryption overview and the big picture, why do I want to do this?
  • Intro to IBM Spectrum Protect family of products
  • Spectrum NAS 101 and key use cases
  • IBM Spectrum Protect 101
  • IBM Spectrum Protect Plus: A technical introduction
  • Software Defined Storage: Storage for Software Defined Environments
  • Spectrum Virtualize 101
  • Enterprise Tape Storage product announcements
  • Is LTO really the new enterprise drive?

I will be presenting the session on IBM Cloud Object Storage for this track.

If you will be in Hollywood from Oct 15-19, please stop by and say Hello! For a list of all my topics, see my previous blog post [IBM Technical University upcoming topics].

Originally published: 2018-09-24

Advice for new students 2018

It's September, and many students are going back to school. A friend had asked me for advice to give his son as he enters high school. Here were my thoughts.

(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM. I have not received any compensation from any third parties for the products or services mentioned in this post.)

GTD
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I highly endorse David Allen's book [Getting Things Done]. Trying to remember all of the homework, tasks and assignments that you need to get done can add unnecessary stress.

The trick is to write these things down. Whether this is on paper, or electronically, David's GTD process works.

 

LastPass

Students should learn to become "Search Ninjas" in finding information to complete their homework and tasks. To that end, I recommend using a site like "LastPass" to store unique passwords for each online service.

LastPass is short for "the last password you will ever need to remember", as it stores all of your passwords for banking, social media, and other online resources. One strong password gets you in. This is further strengthened by two-factor authorization, such as using "Google Authenticator". In this manner, to log into your LastPass account, you need both your strong password, as well as access to your smartphone for Google Authenticator to provide a six-digit code to validate your identity.

 

Mind map
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Writing your thoughts down sometimes requires different approaches. A [mind map] is a hierarchical diagram to help capture thoughts non-linearly. I have seen these used to capture thoughts generated during idea brainstorming sessions. I use them to help me create new PowerPoint presentations.

There are many mind mapping tools available. On my smartphone, I use the [SimpleMind] app. On my Linux laptop, I use [View Your Mind]. Try several out, and pick the one that works best for you.

 

TRIZ

TRIZ, [a Russian acronym for "teoriya resheniya izobretatelskikh zadatch"], translates to the "theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks" in English. The idea here is to identify patterns to help with inventive problem solving.

The trick is to identify which general pattern a specific problem falls under, and use the general solution as the basis for solving it. Part of this approach is to identify all of the inherent contradictions and eliminating or addressing them one by one.

 

Video Games

Using patterns to solve problem is not new. Many video gamers use this approach in getting past obstacles and on to higher levels in their game. In 2013, IBM Global Technology Outlook determined that [video games make better employees!] A four-page PDF titled [Serious Games: An Innovative Way to Accelerate Deep Skills] explains why IBM emphasizes the importance of video games in education.

Whenever Rafael complains to me he has a problem to solve, like figuring out how to get the oil changed in his car, I ask him how he would solve it in a video game. He would reply that he would determine what "items" he needed, either to trade or gain entry into a realm, and what sequence of steps needed to happen in what order. I would then explain that life is just like that, except instead of jewels and swords, you are using cash or credit cards!

Not surprisingly, IBM technology can be found in certain models of Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft Xbox.

 

Pomodoro

Imagine having homework in three different subjects. A student might spend all night on one topic, and never get around to the other two. The [Pomodoro Technique] is surprisingly simple. It focuses on two problems kids have these days: getting started, and staying focused.

The technique divides up the hours available into 25-minute slots, with 5-minute breaks in between. For example, the student might spend the first 25 minutes on math homework, then take 5-minute break playing video games, then 25 minutes reading History, then 5-minute break checking Facebook, then 25 minutes completing an essay for Spanish class. Each 5-minute break helps to clear the mind for the next task.

I use this method at work. Often, I have a variety of tasks facing me, booking flights for my next trip, updating PowerPoint presentations, and writing my next blog post. Breaking up the day into smaller 25-minute segments helps me stay focused.

In Italian, "pomodoro" means tomato, and the 25 minutes was inspired by a 25-minute kitchen timer shaped like a tomato. You certainly don't need a tomato-shaped timer to use this technique, as there are smartphone apps available to do this for you.

High school is a good time to start developing good habits in project management, time management, problem solving and password security.

Do you have any suggestions? Please feel free to contribute in the comment section below!

Originally published: 2018-09-24

IBM TechU Joburg2018 Day3

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Last week, September 11-13, I was in Johannesburg for the IBM Technical University! The event was held at the Hyatt Regency in the Rosebank section of town. This event was focused on IBM Systems, including storage, Power systems, and IBM Z mainframe servers. Here is my recap for the third and final day:

What else can you use that data for? Adventures in Data Reuse
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Slides available at [IBM Expert Network]

Did you know that IBM invented "Copy Data Management" in 1998? I do, of course, since I was one of the inventors! Originally developed for DFSMS on z/OS, there are now copy data management solutions for a multitude of operating systems, databases and applications.

This session covered IBM Spectrum Protect Snapshot, IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, and IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management.

Copies of production data are not just for data protection and disaster recovery. The copies can be reused for other IT or business purposes:

  • Testing and DevOps – After a copy of production is made, columns of databases containing sensitive, personally-identifiable information (PII) can be masked, scrambled or obfuscated, to keep them out of the prying eyes of testers and developers. IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management offers data masking features.
     
  • Reporting and Analytics – Running reports or analytics against production data can drastically impact performance and cache hit rate on storage devices. Making copies to other systems, and running reports and analytics elsewhere makes a lot of sense.
     
  • Hybrid Cloud – Why limit your copies to just your own data center? Copies of data can be sent to off-premises to perform DevOps, Reporting and Analytics in the cloud.

 

Be Persistent in your Journey to Private Cloud
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IBM offers persistent storage for IBM Cloud Private deployments. This includes IBM Spectrum Virtualize family of products, Spectrum Accelerate family of products, VersaStack converged systems, and DS8000 systems.

 

IBM Spectrum Access blueprints are available to deploy persistent storage for IBM Cloud Private software on VersaStack, POWER and IBM Z servers.

IBM Spectrum Connect provides the necessary interfaces for Kubernetes to claim persistent storage for Docker containers.

 

Get ready for the NVMe revolution!
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Slides available at [IBM Expert Network]

Is your data center ready for NVMe, NVMe-OF or FC-NVMe? Initiated in 2011, the NVMe standard is relatively young. I covered its short history, why zero-copy protocols like FCP and RDMA can drastically reduce latency, and all the components needed for a complete end-to-end solution.

Inside All-Flash Arrays, you can use standard 12Gbps SAS to connect to SCSI-based Solid-State Drives (SSD), or you can use the much faster PCiE bus at 32Gbps with NVMe-based drives.

NVMe provides for advanced parallelism, since flash is not mechanical, and does not rely on the position of a read/write head over a platter as spinning disks do. Traditional SSD pretend to be spinning disks, so often process one command at a time, to maintain the charade.

NVMe is designed to work only with flash devices, so it uses a streamlined 15 commands, versus the 34 commands in SCSI to handle other storage media.

But having an NVMe-inside All-Flash Array is not the end of the story. Rather than sending all of those SCSI commands across network, only for some to be disregarded when they arrive, you can send the streamlined NVMe commands instead. NVMe over the networks is available now. NVMe-OF offers support for Ethernet and InfiniBand, and FC-NVMe offers support for FCP.

The last stage is application exploitation from the host server. The industry still needs Operating System drivers, multipathing drivers, and applications that take advantage of NVMe. IBM anticipates this will occur later this year, and into 2019.

 

IBM Storage Infrastructure Optimization (SIO) assessment

Ishmail Shaik, IBM Lab Services, presented an interactive peek of what an SIO entails.

In 2005, I led a series of "Information Lifecycle Management" (ILM) studies for various clients, combining the methods from "disk studies" and "tape studies" that I had performed since the 1980s.

The ultimate win-win scenario, these ILM studies proved successful, not only saving the clients millions of dollars, but often resulting in follow-on sales of IBM storage hardware, software and services.

Over those 18 months, I trained several IBM Systems Lab Services colleagues in the process. These studies formed the basis of "Storage Infrastructure Optimization" assessments launched officially in 2011.

The SIO assessment process has evolved a lot since I was last involved with it. Here are a few of the changes I noticed from his presentation:

  • Core Modules – No longer just focused on Lifecycle Management, SIO studies offer four additional modules: Modernize & Transform, Business Resiliency, Manage & Control, and New Workloads.
     
  • Data Collection – The biggest challenge back then was collecting data to provide recommendations. I managed with in-person interviews and what little tools were available back then, collected into TCO spreadsheets, VISIO diagrams and PowerPoint slides. Today, we have sophisticated data collection tools, including IBM Spectrum Control, Storage Insights, Arxview, and Butterfly.
     
  • Engagement Workshop – SIO now has incorporated "Design Thinking" methodology to help clients prioritize findings into a set of short-term, medium-term and long-term recommendations.

The three-day event ended with a closing session, hosted by Mario Franzone.

Originally published: 2018-09-20