IBM Storage Insights: Here’s To Your Storage’s Health…

Storage systems are inherently complex and IT users need to manage their storage environment’s performance, capacity utilization, and health constantly. Vendors have long helped with Call Home capabilities where a storage system sends storage usage data to a vendor. Now IBM has turbocharged Call Home with Storage Insights where more data is collected, where users are able to better self-service their needs through using a feature-rich dashboard, and where IBM can provide deeper and broader technical support when the user needs that extra level of storage management support. Let’s look more deeply into IBM Storage Insights. IBM Storage Insights Delivers a Turbocharged Call Home Capability Call Home has long been a standard and well-accepted feature for many block-based storage systems whereby metadata (such as on performance and capacity utilization) is transmitted from a customer datacenter to a vendor site for storage monitoring purposes. The data can then be used for diagnostic, analysis, and planning purposes that can include proactive alerts to avert a potential problem (such as an early detection of a bad batch of disks that are starting to degrade below acceptable levels) or to more rapidly accelerate the resolution of a problem that has unexpectedly occurred. Although Call Home capabilities vary among vendors, traditional systems can be limited in a number of ways: Reactive alerts only to error conditions such as hardware failures as limited metadata prevents broader usage value; for example, among many other concerns, this means that proactive support for configuration optimization may not be available Users do not have an interface with the system at the vendor site that allows them to self-service, self-manage the process as much as possible; that means a greater (and unnecessary) level of reliance on the vendor for support; while necessary support is valuable, you do not want to in-effect delegate decision-making to someone who is not as familiar with your storage systems as you are May focus on individual storage systems rather than on all the storage systems so there is no unified pane of glass for an IT user to view all critical events easily (usually at a single glance); this makes a storage administrator’s life more difficult The overview of IBM Storage Insights below reveals how IBM turbocharges Storage Insights to overcome those limitations and to provide even more features and functionality. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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DWT18: The Premptive Prequel
Apr26

DWT18: The Premptive Prequel

In the increasingly cloud-first IT environment the misperception persists that “Infrastructure? We don’t need no stinkin’ infrastructure” is the ‘truth’. However, somewhere, somebody is supplying hardware, software and services to a datacenter to enable the cloud to function. Just ask cloud’s dynamic duo, Amazon and Google (and Microsoft), who helped more than double the amount spent on datacenters last year. While ODMs (original design manufacturers), whitebox servers and switches and public-domain software continue to proliferate, it comes down to three primary vendors in the broadline enterprise infrastructure business: IBM, HPE and Dell EMC. Big Blue looks like it has gotten it’s act together and is once again the profit-generating machine we’ve known forever (1Q18 $19.1 billion), while the post-Meg-HPE appears to be taking its new smaller-is-better philosophy and making a go of it (FY1Q18 $7.7 billion). Meanwhile the world’s largest private technology company, Dell EMC/Technologies, which is holding Dell Technologies World, its annual customer event, next week in Las Vegas, has continued to prosper (FY4Q18 $21.9 billion), despite running up a truly massive debt with its EMC acquisition (approximately $46 billion). The company borrowed billions to go private in 2013, and then a lot more billions ($52 billion?) to buy EMC n 2016, so while the amount still owed is impressive, the amounts paid off – around $10 billion – are equally impressive. The numbers were much less impressive for storage revenue ($13.6 billion), where HPE edged out Dell EMC for the fourth-quarter, 18.9% versus 18.0%. While IDC noted that “Investments on enterprise storage systems are increasing at a very healthy pace,” the original design manufacturers (ODMs) that sell directly to hyperscale datacenters recorded the biggest increase – 34.3% year over year – to just under $2.8 billion. Gartner puts overall Q4 server revenues up 25.7% year-over-year, on just an 8.8% YoY increase in shipments. Dell EMC won bragging rights, with top spot for the year (19.4%), up 39.9% in Q4, versus HPE (19.3%), on a respectable 5.5% increase in Q4. For the year, shipments were up 3.1%, while revenues jumped 10.4%. The latest numbers from IHS Markit show that Dell has supplanted HPE atop the datacenter server revenue heap. For the fourth quarter of 2017 Dell EMC accounted for17.9% of the market, worth $3.6 billion, just edging out white boxes (17.6%), and HPE (17.1%). The numbers are troubling for the non-ODMs, as white box shipped more units (24%), and while enterprises accounted for 44% in Q4 and 48% for the year, that segment is slowing down as cloud service providers (41%) are expected to overtake enterprises in 2019. Overall, Dell reported a 9% increase in quarterly revenues, and...

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Cisco: Just Because You’re Paranoid…
Apr19

Cisco: Just Because You’re Paranoid…

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Joseph Heller, Catch-22   With most of the cybersecurity world gathered in San Francisco for this week’s RSA Conference 2018, the timing was impeccable: on Monday Cisco made significant endpoint and email protection announcements; that was also the day the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued a warning that ‘Russian hackers are attacking networking devices, network management protocols and the Cisco Smart Install Client that belong to governments, infrastructure providers and businesses.’ According to the networking giant, more than 168,000 systems are potentially exposed via that client. “Russian state-sponsored cyber actors have conducted both broad-scale and targeted scanning of Internet address spaces. Such scanning allows these actors to identify enabled Internet-facing ports and services, conduct device fingerprinting, and discover vulnerable network infrastructure devices,” said the April 16 alert, which was based on results of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre. Cisco noted several incidents in a release on April 5. “We are taking an active stance, and are urging customers, again, of the elevated risk and available remediation paths.” While Cisco might rue the timing of the hacker alert, it is generally a good time to be in the cybersecurity business: -the data protection market is expected to grow from $57.22 billion in 2017 to $119.95 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 16%, and, -the total cybersecurity market will grow at a CAGR of 11%, from last year’s $137.85 billion to $231.94 billion by 2022. The reason this market is so hot, is because the threats are escalating even faster: – malware attacks increased 18.4% year-over-year to 9.32 billion in 2017; -while ransomware attacks dropped from 638 million to 184 million between 2016 and 2017, ransomware variants increased 101.2%; -the average organization will see almost 900 file-based attacks per year hidden by SSL/TLS encryption; -32% of breaches affected more than half of respondents’ systems, compared with 15% in 2016; -more than half of all attacks resulted in financial damages of more than $500,000, including, but not limited to, lost revenue, customers, opportunities, and out-of-pocket costs; -complexity is growing: in 2017, 25% of security professionals said they used products from 11 to 20 vendors, compared with 18% in 2016; and, -time to detection has improved from the 39-hour median TTD reported in November 2015, and the 14-hour median reported in 2017. To add injury to insult: -only 66% of organizations are investigating security alerts, and businesses are mitigating less than 50% of attacks they know are legitimate; and, -in almost all breaches (93%), it...

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In Conversation with IBM’s Ed Walsh…

At the recent IBM Think conference I managed to find some time to sit down with Ed Walsh, the GM of the storage division at Big Blue. As one of the company’s senior revenue-production-responsible executives, this 8 minute interview provides not just some crisp commentary on the division he runs but also some fascinating insights into the contemporary approach to business at IBM. If you would like a more wide-ranging summary from the event then you can find a blog from my colleague Scott Sinclair HERE, plus my blog and a joint ESG On Location Video HERE. My thanks to Ed for doing this by the way – not many execs would be so amenable at around 8pm on the last evening of a Long Vegas week. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Mainframe Renaissance Accelerates
Apr05

Mainframe Renaissance Accelerates

For the better part of 40 years I’ve been updating the mainframe’s obituary, but like Monty Python’s infamous ‘flesh wound’ skit, it has continued to linger on. Now – even with the accelerating skills shortage – it appears that Big Iron is back with a vengeance, gaining more new customers than are moving off the venerable platform, attracted by its brute power, flexibility and security. It seems cloud, mobility and customer empowerment are all better on the mainframe. Mainframe software ISV Compuware has been seeing the growth in the market, and it’s recent survey provided empirical proof, said CEO Chris O’Malley. He told IT Trends & Analysis that everyone who was using “a hope-and-pray strategy that the mainframe would go away” are being disappointed. Not only are organizations “walking away from trying to shift from the platform,” but the mainframe is growing in popularity. “We’re also seeing things like mobile and analytics causing new workloads to be moved to that platform.” This mainframe renaissance is atypical of the IT industry, where vendors are always searching for new, better and different, and dumping commodity hardware. It wasn’t that long ago that rumors surfaced that like its PC, printer and server businesses, Big Blue’s mainframe unit was up for sale. But that was then, and now, Big Iron is once again big. “You remember the mainframe, that platform that supposedly was dead back in the 1980s,” recently asked analyst Rob Enderle, Enderle Group? “Well, once again IBM showcased there is evidently life after death because that puppy grew more than a whopping 70 percent year over year.” Not only is the mainframe alive and kicking, it’s also drawing interest from unexpected quarters. IBM’s “Master the Mainframe” annual contest designed to teach students to code and build new innovations on the mainframe drew almost 17,000 students this year. “A look at the demographics of this year’s event reveals some real eye-openers: 80% of the registrants were new to the program; the average age was 22 – with participants as young as 13 and as old as 68; and 23% of participants were female,” noted analyst Billy Clabby, Clabby Analytics. The Compuware study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that 72% of customer-facing applications are completely or very dependent on back-end mainframe workloads, and users are running more of their critical applications on the platform – 57% of enterprises with a mainframe currently run more than half of their business-critical applications on the platform — with that number expected to increase to 64% by 2019. “Before the advent of Linux on the mainframe, the people who bought mainframes primarily were people who already had...

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