IBM IT Infrastructure http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems Insights on the IT infrastructure breakthroughs of today and tomorrow Wed, 01 Jul 2020 14:16:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 BrainCreators transforms asset monitoring with digital intelligence http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/braincreators-transforms-asset-monitoring-with-digital-intelligence/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/braincreators-transforms-asset-monitoring-with-digital-intelligence/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2020 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=66470

At BrainCreators we bridge the gap between planning and reality allowing domain experts to apply intelligent automation for asset inspection. And we use IBM Power Systems to do it; let us tell you how.

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Look around you. You’re probably surrounded by some kind of infrastructure, whether it’s the walls of your home or your office, the rails under the train you’re commuting on, or the sidewalk beneath your feet–by the way, please look where you’re going.

All this infrastructure has to be managed by someone. You already know how much work it takes to keep a house or apartment in good condition. Imagine how complicated it gets when you ramp that effort up to enterprise scale. Companies that work in asset-intensive industries–utilities, railways, construction companies and manufacturers for example–should inspect their infrastructure continuously to monitor the condition of their assets and conduct repairs or replacements when necessary.

These organizations devote huge amounts of resources to managing physical assets. Many have teams with acres of domain expertise built up over years of practice. At the same time, as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more commonplace, these companies want to explore how they can use new techniques to make asset management more efficient.

At BrainCreators we bridge the gap between planning and reality allowing domain experts to apply intelligent automation for asset inspection. And we use IBM Power Systems to do it; let us tell you how.

Choosing the right starting point

BrainMatter uses the latest developments in AI to apply end-to-end intelligent automation for effective physical asset monitoring and control. Many businesses are exploring AI by experimenting with data science tooling. As a result, lots of AI models are developed that never make it to production. BrainMatter goes beyond AI experiments to provide a platform for intelligent automation of tasks that follow a perceive-decide-respond pattern.

We combine rapid recognition, direct assessment and immediate action to enable an intuitive and transparent workflow. A BrainMatter user can automate thousands of tasks without ever needing to consult a data scientist.

Behind the scenes

To build BrainMatter, we scoured the market for the best accelerated servers and tested them. IBM Power Systems was the clear leader, combining NVIDIA NVLink with IBM CPU technology to outperform competitors. Using the same technology that powers the world’s fastest supercomputers Sierra and Summit, we knew that Power Systems was the right platform to make short work of highly data-intensive use cases.

In designing our architecture, we replicated the IBM-recommended approach, opting for a containerized design built on Linux and orchestrated by Kubernetes.

With BrainMatter up and running, we can now construct AI models for asset inspection, monitoring and control, quickly and easily. With the powerful IBM server platform, we can rapidly train the models with millions of images, enabling them to identify patterns and make accurate predictions about asset condition.

BrainMatter in action

Our platform is exceptionally good at turning domain expertise and skills into intelligent automation to make life easier for your employees and optimize your processes. It’s designed to perceive through rapid? recognition, decide by instant reality check against norm or plan, and respond with immediate action.

For example, we just announced a partnership with Unihorn to intelligently automate their road inspection solution. Until now, they have relied on cars equipped with cameras to drive thousands of kilometers of road. A team of road inspectors analyzes the footage over the course of five weeks, classifying defects that deviate from the norm, raising tickets and determining the next best action. With BrainMatter, they’ll shrink the road inspection process from five weeks to seconds, happening as their cars drive around. In addition, they can augment road maintenance work orders in IBM Maximo with better insights and immediate action enabled by BrainMatter.

We also recently won the Schiphol Pointcloud Innovation Challenge, which challenged participants to harness data from 3D/Pointcloud scanners to deliver new or improved products and services to people working at Schiphol Airport.

In just seven days, we developed a solution that monitors maintenance-related assets in Schiphol Terminal 1 nonstop. Members of our team taught BrainMatter to recognize approximately 25,000 assets in nearly 2,000 high-resolution panoramic images with an effort of only a few hours each day.

The judges scored us the maximum number of points for showcasing immediate value for Schiphol and its main contractors, high feasibility and applicability, scalable and intuitive UI, along with a strong commercial approach. The solution will replace manual inspections with automated alerts through tickets when assets such as lighting, smoke detectors and surveillance cameras require maintenance. Consequently, Schiphol and its main contractors can improve their first-time fix rate, enhance their ability to exchange information, reduce costs and better identify risks.

These are just two instances where we’ve delivered tangible value with help from IBM Power Systems. From manufacturing to real estate, airports to logistics, at BrainCreators we know that even when offloading tasks to machines–it is ultimately all about people. It is about curiosity and linking that to experience. About opening the windows to the world of AI and machine learning. All of us live and learn . . . so let’s harness the power of our collective brains.

Learn more about BrainCreators.

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Open treasures: Why we contribute to open source projects http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/open-treasures-why-we-contribute-to-open-source-projects/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/open-treasures-why-we-contribute-to-open-source-projects/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=66458

Open source projects are having a transformational effect on the industry and driving innovation in the IT ecosystem. More organizations are leaning in:

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Open source is the winning approach in software development today. Take modern cloud computing for example, which is built on open source projects governed by the Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Open source is having a transformational effect on the industry and driving innovation in the IT ecosystem. More and more organizations are leaning in and engaging in open source because, counterintuitively, it can pay off to allow your IT professionals to not just use open source software but contribute back to it.

Open source: The big picture

Consider enterprise open source for a moment: Next-generation data center solutions are software-defined, with concepts such as infrastructure as code and immutable infrastructure quickly gaining traction in the marketplace. In many areas, such as cloud, big data, machine learning and DevOps, open source software is on the cutting edge of innovation. Industry-leading open source projects include the Hadoop ecosystem, OpenStack, Docker, Kubernetes, Hyperledger, Ansible, TensorFlow, Kafka and many more. Such projects are embedded into ecosystems that promote the use of open source licenses by default. As a result, the industry at large is pivoting toward open source software.

IBM is committed to fostering the use of open technology. IBMers contribute more than 15,000 commits per month to open source projects, making IBM top 3 in the world, along with Google and Red Hat. IBM heavily invests in open source, and this trend is expected to continue and further increase following the Red Hat acquisition.

Three benefits of participating in open source for IT professionals

IT infrastructure professionals need to constantly gain new skills to remain essential for clients that are adopting next-generation data center solutions. Active participation in strategic open source projects and communities is an effective way to stay up to speed in a fast-moving industry. Active participation in open source communities helps you gather essential skills at the forefront of development.

Contributing to open source projects has further benefits for IT infrastructure professionals:

  • Expand and sharpen skills: Adopting innovative technologies often means working with upstream (open source) projects, and active contribution to such projects allows you to acquire and deepen your knowledge. Clients implementing new applications learn by contributing as they receive feedback from more experienced users.
  • Establish the community as a communication channel: Open source projects facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing and asset reuse. This allows IT professionals from different companies to build an effective (virtual) community, breaking through the borders of their own department or company — and more collaboration across the industry means faster innovation, which all participants benefit from.
  • Find the best experts to work with: Those looking for expertise in a particular area can find skilled consultants in open source communities. Clients have found consultants from my team, IBM Systems Lab Services, through their community contributions, resulting in improved reputation, eminence and ultimately in new service engagements. This is not only relevant to IT service consultants though; recognition and the feeling of producing value for others is “the fuel” of open source.

Summary

Open source can be amazing, both for achieving things and for learning. Open source projects are open for reuse by others and open for change. Open source allows developers to build on each other’s ideas — standing on the shoulders of giants.

IBM Systems Lab Services is an organization of experienced IT infrastructure consultants with a worldwide presence. Lab Services consultants help IBM clients through a full IT infrastructure lifecycle of strategy and planning, architecture and design, and implementation and optimization. Get an overview of Lab Services Open Source Projects on GitHub.

And contact Lab Services if you have questions or want to talk about your next IT Infrastructure project.

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Four ways to get ready for Power Systems Virtual Servers in IBM Cloud http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/four-ways-to-get-ready-for-power-systems-virtual-servers-in-ibm-cloud/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/four-ways-to-get-ready-for-power-systems-virtual-servers-in-ibm-cloud/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=66044

Are you investigating running your AIX or IBM i workloads in the cloud, but don’t know where to start? IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers in IBM Cloud provide significant value as an addition to your on-premises IBM Power Systems environment.

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Are you investigating running your AIX or IBM i workloads in the cloud, but don’t know where to start? IBM Power Systems Virtual Servers in IBM Cloud provide significant value as an addition to your on-premises IBM Power Systems environment. Running AIX or IBM i workloads in the cloud makes it easy to use a pay-as-you-go model, handle seasonal bursts in computing demand without standing up hardware first, and transition from old hardware requiring expensive maintenance contracts.

If you’re intrigued by Power Systems Virtual Servers and wondering how to get ready for it, here are four tips for a smooth start with this new technology.

1. Know the solution

Some of the most common questions I get from clients are:

  • How is IBM i or AIX running in the cloud?
  • What does it look like?
  • What is included, and what do I have access to?
  • Where’s the documentation?

How is IBM i or AIX running in the cloud? AIX and IBM i workloads in Power Systems Virtual Servers are running in VMs (LPARs) on POWER9 processor-based hardware in IBM Cloud (existing POWER8 servers in some locations will be upgraded to POWER9). Those POWER9 servers are managed by the PowerVM hypervisor, virtualized with dual Virtual I/O Servers and NPIV-connected to Fibre Channel-attached storage. In other words, they’re using the same best practices as Power servers on-premises, but with the latest technologies (as of the time of this writing).

What does it look like? The best way to get an introduction is in this video. I recommend watching the whole recording, but the demo starts about 30 minutes in.

What’s included, and what do I have access to? Power Systems Virtual Servers are an infrastructure-as-a-service offering. What’s included is uptime of the underlying infrastructure and the operating system (IBM i or AIX) in each VM/LPAR with certain licensed program products. For example, see here for IBM i. What you have access to is the IBM Cloud UI and APIs for managing the VMs and storage, as well as full access to the operating system within each VM. There’s no direct access to the Hardware Management Console (HMC), Virtual I/O Server or storage array.

Where’s the documentation? Start here and peruse all the topics in the “Learn” section on the left. Then proceed to the AIX- or IBM i-specific sections or the FAQ further down for specific answers.

2. Know your workloads

Consider the business criticality of your workloads, legal requirements and recovery point and time objectives (RPO and RTO). You want to start with applications that score lower in those categories. But let’s dig a little deeper. Power Systems Virtual Servers have minimum operating system (OS) levels for both IBM i and AIX (details here). You should create an inventory of likely migration candidates from a business standpoint and then compare them against the OS requirements. For those VMs/LPARs that don’t meet the requirements, it’s worth investigating the effect an OS upgrade would have on the applications running in those VMs. Last, consider the downtime available for each VM to migrate it, as some downtime will be required to save it on-premises, transfer it to and restore it in the cloud.

3. What about backups and HA/DR?

Appropriate backup and high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR) options are must-haves for most AIX and IBM i workloads. Because backups are usually performed from within the OS, most of the options that exist on-premises are present in Power Systems Virtual Servers as well. However, the overall save and restore process has some differences and involves additional configuration and a bit of a learning curve. Keep in mind that physical tape drives or libraries are not available in the cloud. From an HA/DR standpoint, a key difference is that storage-based replication, which is the norm for many Power Systems clients, is not available with Power Systems Virtual Servers. HA/DR options for both IBM i and AIX involve logical or OS-based replication.

4. We have to talk about the network

How will these AIX or IBM i applications in the cloud be accessed? Do you need console-, interactive user- or application-level communication between your on-premises and Power Systems Virtual Server environments? Are you planning on using replication between your data center and the cloud for DR? These are all questions that will influence the network design and cost of your Power Systems Virtual Server solution. Multiple connectivity options exist. Finally, consider any non-Power Systems Virtual Server services or workloads you might want to use or have running in IBM Cloud. Having a complete multiplatform business solution in the cloud is one of the great benefits of Power Systems Virtual Servers, but it should also factor into your network planning.

Running IBM i and AIX in the IBM Cloud enables significant business opportunities for additional agility and growth. At the same time, it’s a new environment that carries a learning curve and requires thoughtful planning to use optimally. In this blog post, I’ve presented four areas of consideration to prepare you for making the most of Power Systems Virtual Servers. When you’re ready to get started, IBM Systems Lab Services is here to partner with you on this journey. Contact us today.

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IBM and Verum Capital help businesses leverage blockchain http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/ibm-and-verum-capital-help-businesses-leverage-blockchain/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/ibm-and-verum-capital-help-businesses-leverage-blockchain/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2020 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=66026

IBM and Verum Capital, a Swiss-based blockchain advisory boutique, are collaborating to help businesses in scaling and securing blockchain solutions.

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IBM and Verum Capital, a Swiss-based blockchain advisory boutique, are collaborating to help businesses accelerate the use of digital assets by scaling and securing blockchain solutions.

The rise of the digital economy

According to Research and Markets, the global digital asset management market is growing at 16.5 percent to reach $8.5 billion by 2025. In Switzerland, two banks are now fully licensed to offer blockchain-based financial instruments and traditional banks are increasingly offering crypto services. In the DACH region, more than 50 banks have applied for a license to offer similar services.

More and more, leading financial institutions are bringing traditional investment products onto blockchain. This shift toward decentralized finance is important for the future of the digital economy. By offering blockchain-based financial products, financial institutions can grow business through inclusion. At the individual level, blockchain-based services can support the unbanked but also the micro-investor who can gain access to the rate of return typically reserved for institutional investors with large sums of money. At the organizational level, financial products that are built using the blockchain become affordable and flexible enough to serve the SME segment. Now small businesses can also benefit from bond issuance on blockchain, for example.

Digitizing assets

Traditional company shares, bonds, loans or non-traditional and non-bankable assets such as artworks, real estate properties, private securities, even gold can be digitized, tokenized, and traded on a variety of platforms. An advantage of tokenizing assets is that it creates a fractional ownership scheme for physical assets that had previously been considered indivisible. The underlying asset could then be offered to a larger number of buyers who have increased liquidity on the secondary market. Tokenization allows the digital economy to become much more efficient, transparent, and liquid, while it also becomes a more inclusive marketplace.

Key success factors

Storing and trading digital assets securely using blockchain is a step forward in unleashing the transformative potential of the digital economy.

There are two key success factors for the widespread adoption of digital assets: hypercritical availability and scalability, as well as simultaneous industry-leading security.

Until now, this trade-off has presented a significant obstacle. Users had to choose between availability and security when handling their digital assets. IBM is solving this trade-off for financial services providers through cutting-edge digital asset custody that makes the location of the asset irrelevant (no matter where the asset is actually stored). The technology has incredible potential to improve digital asset availability without sacrificing security.

Verum Capital and IBM — strong synergies

IBM’s digital asset custody solutions are the basis for the collaboration with Verum Capital. Together, Verum Capital and IBM can offer clients highly secure and scalable digital asset infrastructure solutions, as well as the essential advisory services that will enable them to develop new business opportunities using blockchain.

As the leading blockchain advisory, Verum Capital is joining IBM’s unique ecosystem to ensure that these institutional-grade digital asset services can best be used in the financial services sector.

Since 1977, tens of trillions of dollars of wealth have been secured using hardware security modules (HSMs) invented by IBM. Featuring hardware security modules, IBM LinuxONE servers, for example, enable pervasive encryption of all application data in-flight and at-rest. They run IBM Hyper Protect Virtual Servers, a solution that provides a secure computing environment for highly sensitive data.

Once again, IBM is at the forefront of a technological solution for wealth storage and transaction, and together IBM and Verum Capital are the perfect fit for the positioning of this next generation technology.

Based on our extensive experience working on strategic blockchain projects within the financial sector, ?we know how incredibly valuable it is for clients to have the choice to deploy a solution on-premises, as part of a private cloud environment, or as a service, allowing digital asset and blockchain firms to scale with the growing demand.

The essential infrastructure that IBM continues to develop is a very valuable building block for our team of blockchain consultants. When we advise our clients, develop pilot projects, and manage full-scale implementations of blockchain technology, we choose to work with IBM’s infrastructure and products because businesses are very comfortable relying on IBM.

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IBM Storage supports NVIDIA DGX A100 AI infrastructure http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/ibm-storage-supports-nvidia-dgx-a100-ai-infrastructure/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/ibm-storage-supports-nvidia-dgx-a100-ai-infrastructure/#respond Thu, 28 May 2020 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=65965

Artificial intelligence is driving innovation in all aspects of business. Customers can still struggle, however, with the building blocks of AI infrastructure, often resulting in the creation of multiple silos, or poor performance.

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Artificial intelligence is driving innovation in all aspects of business. Customers can still struggle, however, with the building blocks of AI infrastructure, often resulting in the creation of multiple silos, or poor performance. This can lead to unnecessary complexity and increased costs. As companies strive to move quickly to deploy AI infrastructures to leverage vast amounts of data and drive business results throughout their organizations, they need to tap into the power of AI at scale.

IBM and NVIDIA solutions

Solving the problem of AI at scale is an increasingly important business need. Building on our existing collaboration, we are excited to unveil that IBM Storage for Data and AI now supports the recently announced NVIDIA DGXTM A100, which is designed for analytics and AI workloads.

IBM Storage for Data and AI recently updated the solutions blueprint with NVIDIA DGX2, leveraging the IBM ESS3000 NVMe all-flash system for high performance, IBM Cloud Object Storage with capacity efficiency and IBM Spectrum Discover to catalog and index the data.

We plan to have an updated blueprint leveraging IBM Storage for Data and AI for the NVIDIA DGX A100. With the fastest I/O architecture of any DGX system, NVIDIA DGX A100 is the foundational building block for large AI clusters such as ?NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD?, and the enterprise blueprint for scalable AI infrastructure. IBM brings together the infrastructure of both file and object storage with NVIDIA DGX A100 to create an end-to-end solution. It is integrated with the ability to catalog and discover (in real time) all the data for the NVIDIA AI solution from both IBM Cloud Object Storage and IBM Spectrum Scale storage.

Expanding our work together in HPC and AI

IBM Spectrum Scale is a leading choice for HPC and AI projects because it is readily deployed, high-performant and provides unique, intelligent scaling. It’s also the same technology behind the world’s most powerful and smartest supercomputer.

The US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has the IBMbuilt Summit supercomputer, currently used to identify and study 77 small-molecule drug compounds to fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, responsible for COVID-19. Summit is powered by 9,216 IBM Power9 CPUs, over 27,000 NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs and 250 petabytes of IBM ESS Storage Systems using IBM Spectrum Scale software.

Fast results for research

Faster results are critical for AI workloads, and with more processing power we should continue to see even faster results. The NVIDIA DGX A100 features eight NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core?GPUs, providing significant acceleration for all AI workloads. IBM plans to qualify AI architectures based on NVIDIA DGX A100, adding to its line of existing reference architectures with NVIDIA.

NVIDIA DGX A100

NVIDIA DGX A100

NVIDIA Magnum IO complements the high performance of IBM Spectrum Scale storage software and ESS storage solutions. IBM has been gaining a lot of traction with the latest ESS 3000 that utilizes containerized IBM Spectrum Scale for simplified management and upgrades. The efficient 2U building blocks start at under 25TB, with 40GB/sec performance and exabyte scalability. The IBM ESS 3000 is based on an NVMe-powered IBM Storage platform. It’s a preconfigured, tuned solution in a single box to accelerate time to value.

IBM’s NVMe-based ESS3000 driving 40GB/sec performance

IBM ESS 3000 and the entire IBM Storage for Data and AI infrastructure portfolio will continue to meet the growing performance requirements of AI workloads as they continue to evolve and drive faster business results.

IBM Storage for Data and AI simplifies your infrastructure with optimized efficiency to drive faster results that are massively scalable and globally available from edge to insight.

  • Simplify the journey to AI through a comprehensive data and AI portfolio
  • Simplify AI infrastructure for modern solutions from edge to core to cloud
  • Simplify multicloud and container connectivity with integration to IBM Cloud Pak for Data and IBM Storage Suite for IBM Cloud Paks

To find out more information on how IBM Storage simplifies your journey to AI with an integrated portfolio and provides solutions for your NVIDIA AI infrastructure, visit us here.

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Data protection for the modern world http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/data-protection-modern-world/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/data-protection-modern-world/#respond Wed, 27 May 2020 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=65923

The need for effective modern data protection and cyber resilience has never been greater. Today, IBM Storage is announcing several new enhancements to its modern data protection portfolio.

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The need for effective modern data protection and cyber resilience has never been greater.

In the past few months there has been an escalation of cybercrime and cyber intrusion attempts.[1] Plus, cybersecurity priorities changed overnight and traditional flows of data have been dramatically altered, opening new avenues for cyber threats and increasing the challenges for data security and business resilience professionals.[2]

hybrid cloud or "all in the cloud" experienceThese reasons highlight the importance of IBM modern data protection. Today, IBM Storage is announcing several new enhancements to its modern data protection portfolio. These new data protection capabilities enhance workload support in hybrid multicloud environments, including expanded support for cloud-based workloads, greater Kubernetes awareness and improved data retention on tape and object storage to improve cyber resiliency.

In particular, this release of IBM Spectrum? Protect Plus offers a wide range of new benefits:

  • Enhanced data protection for Amazon Web Services (AWS). In hybrid cloud environments, enterprises can use IBM Spectrum Protect Plus deployed on premises to manage AWS EC2 EBS snapshots, or customers can deploy IBM Spectrum Protect Plus on AWS for an “all-in-the-cloud experience”. AWS workload support now includes EC2 instances, VMware virtual machines, databases, and Microsoft? Exchange.
  • Enhanced protection for containers. Advanced SLA management to enable policy definition and assignment from the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus user interface. Developers use policies to schedule persistent volume snapshots, replication to secondary sites and copying data to object storage or IBM Spectrum Protect for secure long-term data retention.

The new release also enables developers to back up and recover logical persistent volume groupings using Kubernetes labels. This capability is key as applications built using containers are logical groups of multiple components. For example, an application may have a Mongo DB container, a web service container and middleware containers. If these application components share a common label, users can use the Kubernetes label feature to select the logical application grouping instead of picking individual volumes (persistent volumes) that make up the application. Developers can also back up and recover logical persistent volumes associated with Kubernetes namespaces.

  • Modern data protection for Windows file systems. With the Spectrum Protect Plus agentless technology, users can now back up, recover, reuse, and retain data in Windows file systems, including file-level backup and recovery of file systems on physical or virtualized servers.

In addition to the update to IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, IBM is also announcing enhancements to IBM Spectrum Protect and IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management:

  • The latest IBM Spectrum Protect release includes retention set to tape, which is the ability to efficiently copy and store data on tape for cost-effective and secure “air-gapped” long-term data retention. Spectrum Protect also now enables users to back up the IBM Spectrum Protect database directly to object storage including IBM Cloud Object Storage, AWS S3, Microsoft Azure, as well as other supported S3 targets.
  • IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management’s new release helps users simplify and improve SAP HANA Point in Time (PIT) recovery with native log backups using IBM Spectrum CDM and IBM Spectrum Protect for ERP. Prior to this release, users could recover data using hourly snapshots. With the new log support, recoveries can be much more granular.

Additionally, IBM is announcing a new licensing option for IBM Spectrum Protect Suite: Committed Term License. Like monthly subscription licenses, committed term licenses grant clients the right to use licenses in a cloud-centric model. Committed term licenses can be procured for a minimum of 12-months and up to a 5-year term. This new model will provide all of our clients with a lower-entry cost option, a flat price per TB and increased flexibility with no vendor lock-in after the term.

More than ever before, data protection and cyber resilience for vital data assets is on the minds and the agendas of business and IT professionals. As more applications and workloads move to containers and the cloud, enterprises need data protection and storage efficiency solutions with the technology and sophistication needed to enable the future of modern business.

Find out more here.

[1] The New York Law Journal: COVID-19: Now Infecting Cybersecurity, April 2020 https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2020/04/10/covid-19-now-infecting-cybersecurity/?slreturn=20200327120543#

[2] ESG: 3 Ways COVID-19 Is Changing CISO Priorities, March 2020 https://www.esg-global.com/blog/3-ways-covid-19-is-changing-ciso-priorities

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Everything should go cloud now, right? http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/everything-should-go-cloud-now-right/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/everything-should-go-cloud-now-right/#respond Tue, 26 May 2020 12:00:50 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=65875

We are now at the stage where the majority of easy workloads have been shifted, representing an estimated 20 percent of compute moved across. We now enter the next phase. This is where the harder workloads will be migrated:

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From time to time, we invite industry thought leaders to share their opinions and insights on current technology trends on the IBM Systems IT Infrastructure blog. The opinions in these posts are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of IBM.

The state of cloud today

We are now at the stage where the majority of easy workloads have been shifted, representing an estimated 20 percent of compute moved across. We now enter the next phase. This is where the harder workloads will be migrated, those that will likely bring the most advantage to the business and the customer in moving to the cloud. This shift represents more than a simple technology change and will lead to new ways of working, where we shall see the reaping of the optimal benefits of cloud compute.

However, this will be the harder phase and remains the phase where many applications may be found too hard or inappropriate to port for potential benefits. New applications will still get provisioned that do not fit cloud and will remain on premises.

Digital transformation projects are often correlated with everything cloud. And yet, according to an Everest Group survey[1], due to this 73 percent?of enterprises failed?to provide any business value whatsoever from their digital transformation efforts.

A transformation is taking something from one state to another, to gain benefit and upside. A digital transformation purely aligns to it being a technical change; you change form factor from one technology approach to another, but this does not necessitate an improvement or transformation of the business process.

Too many assume a digital transformation is the process of moving from legacy on-premises to a cloud-based solution. It should mean a review of processes and technical approaches to gain maximum business advantage for both users and customers, and this may include both hosted and on-premises cloud as appropriate.

IDC stated that by 2020, 55 percent[2] of organizations will be digitally determined, and if they are not, they shall be digitally distressed. We have seen a continued disruption of traditional organizations with many large brand names struggling, restricting, being acquired or simply going out of business through digital distress. They simply have not adjusted to the persona needs of their customer in delivering an omni-channel digital experience. Those lacking effective digitization with speed will risk their business legacy being marginalized or totally disrupted. Technology and its affordability are no longer the barrier; the willingness, capability and effectiveness of the digital change journey will be the determining factors for future success. The challenge facing most businesses now comes from selection of the right form factor or cloud type for the right compute need and reducing the risk that a selection now will provide a restrictive future lock-in commitment!

Applications are everything

This need is the driver of application-level compute demands, application selections driving the underlying platform, much like we experienced in the good old days when organizations found themselves with mixed UNIX, Novell Netware, Lan Manager, NT, and VM environments, driven by the applications selected and the operating systems required to run them. Mixed hybrid and multicloud environments have become the norm, not by design, but by osmosis. We must accept that it is a multicloud world that we will exist in and that the luxury to select one singular public cloud platform now and for the future is an assumed expectation.

One cloud doesn’t fit all

The right cloud for a specific application is determined by individual discrete metrics for that app with different app vendors offering varying integration levels for different platforms with different capabilities. This makes it nearly impossible to utilize one cloud platform across all application needs and not be restricting your future flexibility and freedom of choice to other application choices.

Multicloud is a must as we progress forward in a world where digital and first to market will increasingly distance the “haves” and “have nots”. The digital customer is demanding more of all providers, and the consumer will expect agility from their provider or simply have freedom of choice from those who deliver. Multiclouds have the ability to offer great flexibility. However, challenges of compliance, skill sets, development specifics, monitoring and security still remain factors to overcome. The cloud, the network and IT services are converging. Hybrid and multicloud are becoming the norm and a high percentage of workloads are still on-premises. With these in mind it is critical that any cloud transformation accommodates co-existence, flexibility and portability.

The right platform for the right need, the ability to co-exist more effectively and easily and to deliver competitive business advantage is key in today’s economy; however, based on the recent Forrester study 39 percent have achieved a loss of competitive edge as an IT organization, not a gain! What is also clear from the study and from my engagement with leading business clients is that delaying decisions and investment in refreshes and upgrades is not a saving but a hindrance and has far greater cost and negative impact on the business performance.

The Forrester study from IBM cited that key drivers behind the multicloud strategy of clients included: higher performance, flexibility, improved customer experience and the ability to support change. In today’s pressurized world with customers who demands more, employees who expect more, and a business likely built in the past, the ability to transform, adjust and become agile and open to more rapid change is critical.

Achieving this is not a one-size-fits-all fix and is certainly not an easy task that is solved by a single platform or vendor. Hybrid cloud strategies have developed too quickly, become the norm, and have been accepted as the appropriate model for the forward-thinking organization.

Businesses from the largest to the smallest firms are finding that despite the promised land of single vendor-sourced cloud offerings, that in reality the mixing of cloud platforms across Saas, PaaS and IaaS from multiple vendors is quickly becoming the norm.? In order to deliver the maximum upside outcome for the business there is a growing understanding and receptiveness that the true cloud world . . . ?will be a hybrid and multicloud world.

[1] https://www.everestgrp.com/2019-08-why-digital-transformations-fail-3-exhausting-reasons-blog-51164.html

[2] https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS44430918

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Fast-track your adoption of the latest IBM Z technologies http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/fast-track-your-adoption-of-the-latest-ibm-z-technologies/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/fast-track-your-adoption-of-the-latest-ibm-z-technologies/#respond Mon, 25 May 2020 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=65902

Extensive encryption for data in flight and at rest. Managing data privacy across your hybrid cloud network. Centralized key management for data sets. Accessing security and privacy solutions like these is a top priority for many businesses:

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Extensive encryption for data in flight and at rest.

Managing data privacy across your hybrid cloud network.

Centralized key management for data sets.

Accessing security and privacy solutions like these is a top priority for many businesses today, and organizations rely on cutting-edge technologies to protect them and their customers.

If you’ve been eager to implement the latest security solutions for IBM Z? and LinuxONE, IBM has launched an incentive program to help your business learn from the experts about technologies like pervasive encryption and IBM Data Privacy Passports. IBM Z Forward Acceleration Initiative is all about helping you get the most from your IBM Z investment by quickly taking advantage of the latest infrastructure security technologies. With Z Forward, you earn rewards for purchasing eligible IBM z15? and LinuxONE systems that can be redeemed for services delivered by experienced IBM Z consultants in IBM Systems Lab Services.

IBM Z Forward Acceleration Initiative

The what

The Z Forward Acceleration Initiative is a rewards program to accelerate IT infrastructure transformation for IBM Z clients.

Services you can receive with an eligible purchase include:

  • Pervasive Encryption Readiness Assessment – to help you prepare for and develop a roadmap to adopt pervasive encryption
  • Pervasive Encryption Jumpstart Implementation – to enable pervasive encryption capabilities in your business
  • Data Privacy Passports Planning – to co-create a plan for your adoption of Data Privacy Passports
  • Data Privacy Passports Jumpstart Implementation – to help you implement your first Data Privacy Passport
  • IBM Z Encryption Key Management Services – to explore your key management strategy and direction

The who

Z Forward Acceleration Initiative is for clients purchasing eligible new IBM Z and LinuxONE systems.

Rewards services are delivered by IBM Systems Lab Services, which means you get the opportunity to work closely with technical professionals who have proven expertise on the latest IBM Z technology innovations. Lab Services teams have helped many organizations — from major banks to auto manufacturers to government agencies — take advantage of enterprise security technologies from IBM Z.

The why

Z Forward helps you reap the benefits of IBM Z security technologies more quickly by providing services as a reward for your eligible purchase. You choose the services that are right for your business, and you get to work with technical consultants who know these technologies inside and out. Bottom line: Z Forward Acceleration Initiative can help you get the most of your infrastructure investment.

“With IBM z15 we introduced a tremendous range of new capability that has energized the market and excited our clients on the business value they can unlock with the Z platform. Now with Z Forward we can help our clients accelerate their business transformation on a number of key initiatives by partnering even more closely with IBM as they adopt z15.”

— Matt Whitbourne, Program Director & Offering Lead, IBM z15

The how

You can earn Z Forward rewards upon the purchase of eligible IBM Z systems* after February 15, 2020. The more systems you purchase, the more rewards you can earn, and each reward constitutes approximately one week of services. Rewards expire one year from purchase date, and most services can be delivered remotely.

Next steps

To find out more about how you can earn rewards through IBM Z Forward Acceleration Initiative, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner. Reach out to IBM Systems Lab Services if you have questions or want to learn more about our Z and LinuxONE practice.

*IBM Z Forward Acceleration Initiative rewards are earned with the purchase of eligible IBM z15 or LinuxONE III systems, including 8561-T01 and 8561-LT1 systems.

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Four tips to strengthen the IT and business alliance http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/four-tips-to-strengthen-the-it-and-business-alliance/ http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/four-tips-to-strengthen-the-it-and-business-alliance/#respond Wed, 20 May 2020 12:00:50 +0000 http://www.loudelf.com/blogs/systems/?p=65836

Some of the latest challenges named in the 2020 Global C-suite Study highlight the importance of technology across the business. For example:

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Every year for the past 20 years, IBM has conducted a Global C-suite Study to better understand what’s on the minds of business leaders. This succession of studies has shown IT evolving into a key provider of competitive differentiation for most organizations. The specific challenges and opportunities may change year to year, but the need to link IT projects tightly with business projects has only grown in importance over time.

Some of the challenges named in the 2020 Global C-suite Study highlight the importance of technology across the business. For example:

  • Serving customers in the trust economy: Leading organizations are challenged to prove transparency on data usage, to establish reciprocity with customers who share information in exchange for personalized service, to demonstrate data accountability, and to do this all while adjusting rapidly to market dynamics. This challenge carries data, infrastructure and governance implications.
  • Leveraging the human-technology partnership: Leaders want to use AI for “augmented” rather than “artificial” intelligence so as to provide a humanized, not just a personalized, experience. This challenge carries implications on data governance and trust in addition to innovation and infrastructure.
  • Implementing a platform business model: Many businesses are becoming disruptors or being disrupted by companies with platform business models, facilitating exchanges of goods and services between large interdependent groups. This challenge carries infrastructure as well as data sharing and governance implications.

In the same 20-year period, we’ve seen the relationship between businesses and their IT organizations evolve from IT providing low-cost utility services to IT being an essential partner with the business. IT went from being a necessary cost businesses tried to minimize to being an asset in which they invest to enable competitive differentiation. You can see that technology weaves the fabric of each of the business challenges described above. A stronger reliance on IT dictates having a stronger alliance with IT.

Four tips to strengthen the IT and business alliance

So how can CIOs foster and accelerate strengthening this alliance between the business and IT? To begin with, CIOs and IT leaders need to be involved early in the business planning process, and more resources should be dedicated to IT enablement.

Here are four tips for CIOs:

1. Understand your organization’s business model, objectives and strategy.

Business objectives almost always carry IT implications, and IT needs tend to stem from business objectives. A few examples might be providing humanized customer experiences; reducing business risk; and gathering, protecting and sharing data. Getting onboard early in the business strategy and planning process to understand your company’s business objectives is the starting point for strengthening the IT and business alliance.

2. Ideate on high-impact projects that deliver a human-centered “wow” factor.

Hosting human-centered rapid problem-solving sessions involving both business and IT people is one way to not only have IT involved early but ensure it is seen as directly partnering with business. You can use a structured methodology like Design Thinking to facilitate these sessions. The outcome will be a series of snack-sized, high-impact projects.

3. Know your existing IT environment; assess its capabilities and ideate on solutions.

Conduct a pin-pointed assessment of your IT environment based upon the highest priority high-impact projects you identified. Assess only the IT capabilities and business processes relevant to those projects rather than an exhaustive gap analysis. This speeds the analysis step and keeps the team from being overwhelmed by an expansive set of recommendations that are too complex to implement. It also links your project and subsequent resource requests directly to the anticipated high-impact business outcome.

4. Use a structured approach to develop an IT strategy that aligns investment and focuses on business priorities.

Component business modeling is a framework that can help businesses understand areas of potential differentiation and balance resources. A component business model can be created for the business overall but also for IT, to ensure key strategic business areas offering competitive differentiation have proper IT support.

This approach strengthens the alliance between IT and the business on both near-term tactical projects and the overall business strategy.

If you’re looking for guidance in this process, IBM Systems Lab Services can help. We offer consultations on Design Thinking, gap analysis, and IT strategy and planning to help you build the foundation of a smart enterprise with IBM IT infrastructure. Contact us today to learn how we can help your company achieve its goals.

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