IBM Continues to Advance Its Strategic Storage Investments

In 2015, IBM announced that it would spend $1 billion on software-defined storage (SDS) R&D over the coming five years. Recent enhancements in its SDS portfolio — namely the IBM Spectrum Storage family — reflect how that ongoing investment is benefiting storage users and IBM customers. IBM Spectrum Storage family: Responding to changing times Regarding IBM’s Spectrum Storage family, recall what SDS is and why just one product won’t do. SDS decouples the software that manages storage from the underlying physical storage hardware. That increases the flexibility of deployment. So customers can choose to use software-only with virtually any heterogeneous storage systems, i.e., not necessarily IBM storage, although all or part of the mix could include IBM equipment. A second SDS deployment model is with an appliance. In the case of selected IBM Spectrum Storage products, the software can be sold with specific IBM hardware making it a more traditional approach, but it also means that the software can take fuller advantage of the underlying physical hardware. An example is the tight coupling of the IBM DeepFlash 150 with IBM Spectrum Scale that results in a high-capacity, all-flash (meaning high performance) system (called DeepFlash Elastic Storage Server) with the scale-out file management capabilities. A third SDS deployment model is as the foundation of a cloud service. Since the “cloud” in its many permutations and manifestations continues to proliferate applications and data, SDS can provide the support needed for accompanying storage systems. But why the need for multiple products? The answer is that the variety of applications and data types continues to explode in numerous dimensions, all of them additive with none taken away. Traditional block-based, structured data online transaction processing systems and file-based systems, such as for semi-structured data as document management, are still critically important. But now, big data, Internet of Things, Web-based applications, and mobile applications are taking center stage, as well. NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Cloudistics Launches Ignite 3.0 On-Prem Cloud Platform

IT industry trends seldom follow a straight line. Instead, they can be and are blown hither and yon by many factors, including the strength of the underlying technologies, vendors’ investment and commitment and market enthusiasm. But perhaps most important of all are the dynamic feelings and changing needs of IT customers. That’s why the form and functions of solutions often change radically after they initially appear. Cloud computing provides an excellent example of how this has worked. While the term came into common use over a decade ago, after Amazon introduced its publicly-available Elastic Compute Cloud in 2006, cloud-based services and solutions have gone through numerous permutations since then. However, organizations that wanted to gain the benefits of cloud in their own private data centers were in a quandary, since implementing systems from the ground up required substantial resources and technical expertise. IT vendors, including Cisco, Dell EMC and IBM responded first with converged systems and then hyperconverged appliances designed to simplify on-premises cloud deployments, and their solutions gained significant market traction. But is there another, better way for supporting on-prem cloud? Cloudistics, which launched last year, would argue there is—an approach the company calls Superconverged delivered via its Ignite cloud software platform and Model-S hardware components. The launch this week of Cloudistics’ new Ignite 3.0 software offers a chance to take a closer look at the company and its offerings. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM OpenPOWER Moves on Deep Learning with a Vengeance

IBM’s OpenPOWER organization has clearly stepped up its game this week with a massive move towards making deep learning and AI efforts far more affordable. The latest announcement was to expand both its Open Source efforts to include TensorFlow—a Google-developed numerical platform designed for AI and deep learning—and significant enhancements to its NVIDIA-enhanced POWER8 platform—the S822LC (as these things get smarter I’m starting to wonder when we’ll stop using letters and numbers for names and just call them “Bruce”). You can read the announcement here yourself. Let’s chat a bit about what it means. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Dropbox Seeks New Growth/Opportunities in the Enterprise

It’s no surprise that vendors are systematically targeting workers who leverage their own personal technologies for company projects and functions. That practice has been commonplace since the 1980s when employees first began sneaking home PCs into their offices to run spreadsheet and word processing programs. On the plus side, those efforts can increase flexibility and efficiency but they also circumvent established IT and, increasingly, traditional IT vendors. More recently, vendors, like Amazon with its AWS solutions, recognized that proactively engaging individuals and work groups, and thus entering their workplaces through the “side door” constituted a highly effective business model. Many others have followed or tried to follow Amazon’s lead, especially software as a service (SaaS) vendors and others leveraging cloud computing infrastructures. Those that succeed eventually reach an interesting position where pursuing or achieving upward growth requires them to prove their solutions are worthy of broader adoption within the enterprises they initially entered informally. This can result in a fascinating dance, technologically and rhetorically as proved by this week’s Dropbox announcement of new cloud, workspace and collaboration services and solutions. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Reflections on a Flickering SPARC

A report last Friday in the San Jose Mercury News that Oracle was laying off 450 workers in its hardware division suggests that the proprietary silicon experiment the company began with its 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsoft is nearing the end. It’s sensible from a financial point of view, especially for a company like Oracle that is demanding when it comes to business unit performance. In its most recent quarter (Q2 FY2017) Oracle reported that sales of hardware products (servers, etc.) were down -13% to $497M for the quarter, and down -16% in the previous six months to $959M. The company has also suffered double digit sales declines during the past five quarters. Additionally, Oracle’s server business has long been absent from the upper “Top 5” reaches of the server market, and thus relegated to the “Others” category in market sizing studies by IDC and Gartner. You could say that its faltering results suggest that Oracle either didn’t deliver on or wasn’t especially serious about its promises to Sun hardware customers. Considering the strategy espoused by Oracle executives—focusing mainly on engineered/integrated systems and database appliances—the latter interpretation is closer to being correct. High-end solutions certainly have their place at Oracle, especially in applications where optimizing performance of the company’s core database solutions is concerned. But with sales of traditional Unix-based systems, including Oracle’s SPARC/Solaris servers, under continuous pressure, the company needed and yet failed to do considerably more. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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