November 15, 2007

Cloud Computing

More companies will soon benefit from cloud computing.  Based on open standards and open source technology, it'€™s the beginning of a very important strategy for the future of large-scale computing.

What’s a cloud?

Cloud computing is an emerging computing model which changes the way which software is accessed via the Internet. These cloud applications utilize massive data centers and powerful servers that host Web applications and services. In most cases, they can be accessed by anyone with a suitable Internet connection and a standard Web browser.

The need for cloud computing is also fueled by dramatic growth in connected devices, real time data streams, the adoption of service oriented architectures and Web 2.0 applications such as search, open collaboration, social networking, and mobile commerce.

Enter the Blue Cloud

Blue Cloud is a first step toward creating an integrated, next-generation solution to scale-out infrastructure, using the best of IBM systems and software technologies and expertise. The new collaboration services are designed for cloud computing environments which are optimized for corporate, government and academic clients. The services are particularly focused on the breakthroughs required in IT management simplification to ensure security, privacy and reliability, as well as high utilization and efficiency.

Blue Cloud is based on IBM's Almaden Research Center cloud infrastructure -- will include Xen and PowerVM virtualized Linux operating system images and Hadoop parallel workload scheduling.  It is supported by IBM Tivoli software that manages servers to ensure optimal performance based on demand. This includes software that is capable of instantly provisioning resources across multiple servers to provide users with a seamless experience that speeds performance and ensures reliability even under the most demanding situations. Tivoli monitoring checks the health of the provisioned servers and makes sure they meet service level agreements.

The value to customers? It's an emerging approach to shared IT infrastructure in which large pools of systems are linked together to provide IT services, using Internet and SOA-based standards. Today clients build and run extremely complex, under-utilized and unsustainable scale-out environments.

Earlier this week, IBM and the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) announced an open innovation pilot program that will run on a cloud computing infrastructure. Also this week in Shanghai, Dr. Willy Chiu, Vice President of the IBM High Performance on Demand Solutions team, demonstrated how cloud computing technologies, running on IBM BladeCenters with Power and x86 processors, dynamically provision and allocate resources as workloads fluctuate for an application.

Next year, IBM will make the first Blue Cloud environments available to customers with System z "mainframe" and highly dense rack clusters in mind for future iterations.

Learn more on Dean Takahashi's blog at the San Jose Mercury News.

by Will Runyon November 15, 2007 in Design
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November 14, 2007

the greaterIBM connection

CactusOne of the many innovations Sam Palmisano has spearheaded at IBM is the idea of reaching out to "alumni". The first initiative was a few years ago when he hosted a reception for a group of former executives of the company. A few were retired but most were in senior positions in other companies. That was just the beginning and now the idea of reaching out has been expanded -- big time. The number of past and present IBMers is probably close to a million people. Establishing communications with such a huge base can be nothing but a good thing for the company.

When I left engineering school and joined IBM in 1967, it was common to look for a job at a company and expect to stay there your entire career. Nobody thinks that way anymore. If you tell someone you were with a company for decades, they might ask "what's the matter, couldn't you find any other jobs?". Another change is that in the old days if someone left the company they were considered a traitor and barred from coming back. Today, there are many executives that left the company at some point, got some experience at one or more other companies, and then brought that experience back into IBM. Some have come and gone multiple times. The turnover has strengthened the company.

PeopleAnd now we have social networks. In the early stages there was a perception that social networking meant eleven year-old girls on MySpace. Now businesses are realizing that it is more likely forty or fifty year-old business people on Facebook and Xing and LinkedIn and Plaxo Pulse. The Internet has enabled everyone to be connected to everyone. Whether it is reading blogs, posting to wikis, updating status on Facebook, or making new connections through viral invitations, it is clear that a big company like IBM has a lot to gain by "connecting" past, present, and future IBMers to each other and with the company. IBM calls it "the greaterIBM connection". On Monday evening the company hosted a greaterIBM reception at the Metrazur at Grand Central Station in New York. More than four hundred attended. It was good to reconnect with some colleagues I had not seen for quite a few years.

Business ConferenceWill social networking payoff in business terms? Nobody knows for sure but in my opinion it is certain -- as soon as we see the New York Times run a front page story that social networking is a fad, in trouble or peaking out we will have confirmation that success is a sure thing. A short term inhibitor is that there are so many different social networks. As web standards evolve I am confident that we will have a world where people will create one profile and then be able to decide which part of their profile is accessible in which networks.

IBM sees the potential and is investing the time and resources to build a large and active network. The possibilities are endless -- collaboration on projects, networking to hire or get hired, crafting deals, referrals to and from IBM and its business partners. As a bonus, social networking is fun and good for morale. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the greaterIBM connection as it evolves. Upon e-tirement in 2001 after nearly four decades at IBM, I don't really feel like I left anyway! The stories that I have been writing since 1998 over at the patrickWeb blog fall into a number of categories. One section is devoted to "IBM Happenings". I am sure I will also be writing and linking at the greaterIBM connection along with others. Cross linking will increase the overall "connectedness". That's what the web is all about. I am really proud that IBM is taking networking and the blogosphere so seriously.

Related links
bullet the greaterIBM connection

bullet Greater IBM Wiki

by John R Patrick November 14, 2007 in Who's Who
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November 02, 2007

World's First Energy Efficiency Certificate Program for Data Centers

In speaking with literally hundreds of customers worldwide, it's clear that there are three key motivators to improve the energy efficiency of IT.

The first is economic.  Data centers can consume 15 times more energy per square foot than a typical office building and, in some cases, can be 100 times more energy intensive.  This means there is a real incentive to improve IT efficiency to lower costs.

The second is operational concerns.  Many customers simply cannot get more power into their data center or dissipate the heat being generated by today's technologies.

The third is the rapid rise of environmental responsibility agendas within companies of all sizes in every geography.  CIOs and IT managers are now being asked to  contribute to the energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction commitments being made at a corporate level. 

The challenge many companies face is monitoring and verifying their efficiency efforts in their data centers.  Now there's something new that can do this for you.

IBM's Energy Efficiency Certificates Program lets you earn certificates when you reduce the energy needed to run your data center.  The certificates, earned through IBM's partner Neuwing Energy Ventures,  provide third-party verification of progress toward a company's energy efficiency goals and can be traded for cash or other credit on the energy certificate market.  So you can save on costs and improve your company's environmental credentials. 

See this video on this new program

Will energy efficiency credits make a difference for your company?  Let's hear your thoughts.

Rich Lechner

by Will Runyon November 2, 2007 in Design, Energy Efficiency, Power & Cooling, Services
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