Living On The EDGE: Hardware Matters, Tape Lives, CAMS Gap

LAS VEGAS: As one would expect at an IBM Edge conference, there are a number of products — mainly hardware products (including tape… TAPE!!!) — being announced here, but this week’s other Big Blue Bulletin might provide a better preview of what lies ahead for enterprise IT. Having recently replaced the SoMoClo (social-mobile-cloud) concept with CAMS (cloud-analytics-mobile-social), IBM is announcing a new study that finds the overwhelming majority of organizations — over 90% — are not ‘fully prepared’ (whatever that means) to address the proliferation of cloud computing, analytics, mobile devices, and social media.

IBM first unveiled CAMS in February at Pulse, and then fleshed it out somewhat in April at its Impact conference. While infrastructure and are the main attractions at Edge, CAMS is still a key part of the messaging.

“What is interesting about IBM and CAMS is that IBM now has products in each of the areas compromising a solution including a large cloud service,” said Rob Enderle, Principal Analyst, Enderle Group. “They recognized that firms often use the cloud for Dev/test but still rarely use it for production and have optimized their solutions to handle this unique dynamic on a global scale.”

By overlaying and interleaving their social communications solutions “they can more effectively create a comprehensive solution for their clients,” he said. And with an “near unmatched reputation of staying on the job until the job is done (as opposed to vendors who do drive by solutions abandoning the company after the purchase) IBM is able to now demonstrate customer after customer, at enterprise scale, that has successfully deployed this comprehensive IBM solution.”

Enderle said this conference is mostly about showcasing these successes and helping other companies achieve similar results. “To get to this point IBM has been undergoing one of the most massive structure and organizational changes in its entire life but the benefits, according to the cases they are presenting, indicate these changes are starting to pay big dividends.”

Mark Peters, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group, said it seems clear that the neat virtuous circle that existed for decades between IT supply abilities and the capabilities demanded of it has been/is being broken by CAMS. “In other words IT was – generally – in balance, but now it is not. This is why there’s so much talk of ‘next generation IT’ or the like….something has to give/change; and it sure as heck isn’t going to be user expectations and needs! IBM’s focus is therefore both logical and encouraging as its overall systems capabilities have the potential to support CAMS better and faster than many other vendors.”

Peters added that an ESG study, its 2014 Spending Intentions Survey, found only 7% of IT respondents rated their IT group as a competitive differentiator for their organization. “Both pieces of research suggest IT has a long way to go to [re]achieve full contemporary business relevance.”

So, not only is the world apparently not ready for CAMS, but the IBV (Institute of Business Value) Infrastructure Matters study of 750 global organizations also found that 70% of organizations recognize that ‘IT infrastructure plays a significant role in enabling competitive advantage and generating revenue.’ No doubt the other 30% either didn’t understand the question or were lying for competitive purposes.

The final results won’t be released until July, but Tom Rosamilia, SVP, IBM Systems & Technology Group, said the initial results indicate a huge gap between demand and supply, during the press conference about the announcements. He said 70% believe in the importance of CAMS but less than 10% are ready for it.

IBM has plenty of company as it accelerates its CAMS initiatives, especially cloud, with a number of other IT giants — Cisco, EMC/VMware, Microsoft, HP and Dell — making big investments recently. Then there is the cloud incumbent, , and has also joined the fray. They all want carve out a bigger slice of the cloud cash cow:

-94% of end-users survey have cloud adoption of some kind going on;

-10% of software spending will have moved to the cloud by the end of 2014, while Infrastructure as a Service will represent 15% of all spending on servers and ;

-spending on cloud-related technologies and services will be up 20% this year, to $174.2 billion;

-the public cloud market will surge from last year’s $58 billion to $191 billion by 2020; and,

-the cloud market – the combination of public and private cloud computing – will grow at a CAGR of 30.16% over the 2013-2018 period.

It’s still early days, but IBM appears to have a comfortable lead on its enterprise cloud competitors, having just been named “overall top preference among providers they (enterprise cloud buyer) believe can most effectively provision IaaS, whether private or public.” Along with , , and AT&T they are the preferred IaaS providers, topping the likes of Amazon Web Services, , and Rackspace, according to the new IDC survey.

The Edge conference is all about the importance of infrastructure, according to IBM. “The fundamental message I want to leave you with is ,” said Rosamilia. “It takes hardware to run software… and the hardware matters. I believe the right infrastructure is essential to capture value.”

When it comes to cloud infrastructure, Amazon Web Services leads the pack, according to Technology Business Research. Last quarter AWS grew its revenues 74% year-over-year to an estimated $1.12B, with Microsoft and Google both generating around $30M in IaaS revenue in the quarter, and IBM took in an estimated $350M.

In addition to the tape announcements — the TS4500 Tape Library and a new world record in density, 85.9 billion bits per square inch — IBM also announced: Storwize V7000, , DS8870 Flash enclosures, IBM Flex System X6 compute nodes, IBM System x3100 M5, and .

The tape breakthrough is big news, said Dr. Mark Lantz, Manager Exploratory Tape, IBM Research
, and indicates that the future of tape is assured for at last the next decade. The new density is the equivalent of a 164Tb cartridge, which should prove quite useful in the emerging Big Data era, he said.

The massive growth in data, 48% a year, is almost 5X the annual growth in areal scaling (10%). Tape costs 1/10th as much as disk, has a much longer shelf life — 30 years versus 5 years for disk — and its available recording area is orders of magnitude greater, said Lantz. Throw in the fact that 80% of enterprise data hasn’t been accessed in the last three months and tape continues to be the most cost-effective archiving solution, he stated.

“It really shows that tape is here to stay.” He said tape can keep scaling, doubling the storage capacity of cartridges every two years for at least the next 10 years.

The Fiddly Bits (& Bytes)

Available this quarter, the new storage solutions include:

-Storwize V7000 Unified has been enhanced with new clustering capabilities, Real-time Compression, and Active Cloud Engine, and now supports two times the storage capacity of previous models, or 4 pettabytes;

-XIV Cloud Storage for Service Providers delivers a cost-efficient infrastructure and pay-per-use pricing model for Business Partners that reduces the initial cost of the system by as much as 40%; IBM also previewed new features such as XIV multi-tenancy, enhanced data security and improved cloud economics through the partition of XIV storage into logical domains assigned to distinct tenants;

-TS4500 Tape Library enables large-scale cloud deployments with a data architecture that maintains high utilization and can back up three times more cloud data in the same footprint; and,

-DS8870 Flash enclosure offers up to three and one-half times faster flash performance requiring 50% less space and 12% less energy.

On the systems side, IBM announced:

-Flex System x880 X6 eight-socket, x480 X6 four-socket, and x280 X6 two-socket compute nodes include modular blade design that enables seamless scalability without “rip and replace” as analytic workloads increase; nearly 300% faster performance; and resiliency features and virtualization tools to help reduce the cost and complexity of system operation and administration; GA is June 13, and start at $15,700 or $388 per month for 36 months;

-System x3100 M5, a new, compact tower server equipped with the Intel Xeon E3-1200v3 processors, and four levels of RAID, is generally available on June 18, 2014 and starts at $755; and,

-PureFlex Solution for Parallels – MSP, designed to allow managed service providers to flexibly integrate Web, IaaS, SaaS, and core services on the Parallels Automation software platform, is available today.

Author: Steve Wexler

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