Archive for the ‘workload optimization’ Category
It’s that time of year. Google has released its 2012 Zeitgeist, telling us what’s on the minds of the world’s searchers.
Facebook, not to be out done, has released the Facebook Year In Review, ”a look back at the people, moments and things that created the most buzz in 2012 among the billion people around the world on Facebook.”
Now, go and ask folks what they think about Facebook’s everchanging privacy controls, and we’ll see if the Facebook Year In Review gets soon revised.
But I’m actually more interested in a big report from a small, but growing networking software and social business upstart located right here in Austin, Texas.
Spiceworks connects 2.2 million IT professionals with more than 1,300 technology brands, and offers its IT management software through a novel ad-supported model. In turn, it claims to “help businesses to discover, buy and manage $405 billion worth of technology products and services each year.”
Spiceworks just released its semi-annual “State of SMB IT Report,” a collection of statistics, trends and opinions from small and medium business technology professionals from amongst their community.
This December’s study is the seventh edition, and claims to “keep the pulse on the happenings of small and medium business IT professionals and IT departments.”
First, I’m just happy to discover they still have a pulse.
The National Federation of Independent Business’ “Small Business Optimism Index,” which is reported monthly, indicated in its November report one of the steepest declines in its history. In fact, it has reported a lower index value only seven times since it first conducted its monthly surveys in 1986.
The Index dropped a full 5.6 points in November, bottoming out at 87.5 (In 2000, by juxtaposition, it was well above 100), indicating something was rotten in November. The Index’s own Web statement suggested “it is very clear that a stunning number of [small business] owners…expect worse business conditions in six months,” and that nearly half are certain things will be worse next year than they are now, with a head nod to the looming fiscal cliff talks, the promise of higher healthcare costs, and the “endless onslaught of new regulations.”
Chicken Little, the SMB sky is falling!
Clouds, Virtualization, And Tablets Are Driving The SMB IT Spending Bus
But fear not, the SMB adoption of new technology is riding to the small business rescue, or so suggests the Spiceworks SMB IT study.
The headlines? Though IT budgets are on the rise in the SMB, hiring new staff is at a standstill. But for those still standing, in the last six months, SMBs adopted tablets and cloud services in fast-growing numbers.
Here are the four key findings:
- Tablet adoption keeps its momentum and nears smartphone levels. Hardware maintains the lion’s share of IT spend in the SMB.
- Adoption of cloud services spikes; desktop virtualization shows strong potential. (Can you say “Go long on VMWare??”)
- IT budgets reached their highest point in the last three years, while hiring freezes are up.
- BYOD is still a hot topic, though IT pros are split on the issue.
Diving down a bit, on the subject of tablets, 53 percent of SMBs now support tablets on their network, making them almost as popular as smartphones at 59 percent.
Cloud services are now used by 62 percent of SMBs, up from 48 percent in the first half of 2012.
With respect to IT budgets, they’re on the rise, averaging $162K, up from $152K in 1H 2012. But only 26 percent plan on hiring IT staff in the second half.
And on BYOD, whlie 14 percent fully embrace the trend, 32 percent say it works well for some devices, but not for others. Digging deeper, I discovered that smartphones led with 81 percent BYOD support, while tablets only garnered 62 percent.
And somewhat ironically, there’s more support for BYOD in much smaller organizations (defined here as less than 20 employees) than larger ones (50 percent in those above 250 employees).
I would encourage you to go here and register to download the full report, but the top line is this: If you’re an IT vendor looking for budget flush at the end of 2012, desktops, laptops, and servers are certainly low-hanging fruit, with tablets bringing on the most growth.
And on the software front, be on the lookout for disaster recovery and storage solutions (an IT mainstay through downturns), cloud-based solutions, and virtualization software.
Whatever you do make, just make sure you make those new purchases with “Gangnam Style” — and if you have no idea of what I’m referring to, see above with regards to the 2012 Google Zeitgeist!
It’s Tuesday, August 28, 2012, and I’m having flashbacks to early the week of August 30, 2005.
Gulf Coast, I’ve got my fingers crossed for ya.
Seven years ago this week, I was flying up to NYC to cover IBM’s involvement in providing technology support for the U.S. Open.
When I left that Monday morning, all was well, but by the time I arrived at JFK, the levees had broken.
Here’s hoping NOLA built that $14 billion levee rebuild well!
Back here on the technology front, there’s some big news from Big Blue today, this time in the mainframe world.
IBM announced a new mainframe server, the zEnterprise EC12, one built around nearly 50 years of enterprise computing experience and which will help IBM customers take their analytics capabilities to the next level.
The IBM zEC12 offers 25 percent more performance per core, with over 100 configurable cores and 50 percent more total capacity than its predecessor.
This new system is the result of an investment of over $1 billion in IBM research and development by IBM, including in Poughkeepsie, NY and 17 other IBM labs around the world, and in partnership with some of IBM’s top clients.
This new mainframe is also one of the most secure enterprise systems ever, including built-in security features designed to meet the security and compliance requirements of a range of industries. It’s the only commercial server to achieve Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ security classification.
The zEC12′s state-of-the-art crytopgraphic co-processor called “Crypto Express4S” that provides privacy for transactions and sensitive data, and can be configured to provide support for high quality digital signatures (used with applications for Smart passports, national ID cards, and online legal proceedings).
Driving Business Insights
The zEC12 also advances performance for analytics, inceasing the performance of analytic workloads by 30 percent compared to its IBM predecessor.
And support for the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator that incorporates the Netezza data warehouse appliance into zEC12 enables clients to run complex business and operational analytics on the same platform.
Big Iron Cloud
The mainframe’s virtualization capabilities also make it well suited to supporting private cloud environments, where clients can consolidate thousands of distributed systems on to Linux on zEC12, lowering their IT operating costs associated with energy use, floor space, and even software licensing.
If you go here, you can learn more about the IBM zEC12 and can also contact an IBM rep or Business Partner to see how this bigger and better iron might be able to bolster your business results.
After my recent visit to the Bahamas, and my first ever flight in a small aircraft, I decided I was going to take up flying. Well, virtually, anyhow.
My buddy Steve recommended I buy a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, along with a remote USB yoke and throttle control, to do some initial simulation and learn some of the basic flying requirements on the safety of my computer.
I’m all about simulating while I learn the basics of flying. I figure it’s much safer for me on the ground than in the air!
But simulations are no longer limited simply to learning how to fly.
Sometimes, the best way to demonstrate the benefits of new technology is, actually, through more technology.
Like an online simulator for IT data center ROI, for example.
The kind of tool that allows people to punch in information and variables and receive instant feedback on possible alternatives.
So, enter the new IBM Smarter Computing Workload Simulator.
This new online simulation tool is designed to give busy CIOs a fast and easy to way to view areas of potential savings and efficiency through lens of IBM Smarter Computing systems and technologies.
If you’re not familiar with IBM’s Smarter Computing approach to IT earlier this year, IBM introduced it as a way for organizations to realize greater efficiencies, improved reliability, and better performance, and all at lower costs.
The strategy centers around three fundamental aspects:
- Leveraging analytics to exploit vast amounts of data for business goals
- Utilizing optimized systems that are designed for specific tasks
- Managing as much of the IT as possible with cloud-computing technologies.
The new simulator, then, starts by asking the visitor to select either IBM Power Systems or IBM System z to compare to their own IT infrastructure.
It then asks for the type of industry they’re in, the type of workload to be compared, and the number and types of systems to compare – including those based on Intel Itanium, Intel x86, and/or Sun SPARC.
As the systems are identified, graphical images of servers begin to populate a simulated data center floor.
When the visitor finishes and hits the “Next” button, an alternative data center floor immediately pops up and populates with IBM systems and a breakdown of estimated costs and savings.
Visitors can drill down for charts and analysis on operating and strategic costs of their infrastructures, and the potential costs and savings of the IBM alternative.
For even greater analysis, visitors can click on the IBM System Consolidation and Evaluation Tool at the end of the simulation that provides a more comprehensive and detailed comparison.
IBM will expand the tool, which went live in mid-October, to include support for System x in the first half of 2012.
If you’ve ever wondered to yourself how you can get involved in and in support of IBM’s “Smarter Planet” initiative, the following provides just the kind of example to foot the bill.
IBM and the University of Antioquia today announced a joint research project that will use computer power from IBM’s World Community Grid, which pools and uses the idle computing power of volunteers’ personal computers around the world to help accelerate scientific research that addresses humanitarian challenges.
In this particular instance, IBM and the University of Antioquia will be using the World Community Grid computing power to predict potential inhibitors or drugs that have the potential to control Leishmaniasis.
The research project will try to find potential inhibitors of the Leishmaniasis parasite, or explore the application of drugs currently used to treat similar diseases.
Using the computational power of World Community Grid enables the screening of 600,000 potentially useful chemical compounds stored in a public drug database. The idea is to virtually apply these compounds against 5,300 Leishmania proteins in an effort to identify prospective drug treatments.
Instead of implementing costly and lengthy laboratory trials, or spending dozens of years performing computations on small computers, millions of experiments will be simulated using the software installed in the devices comprising World Community Grid.
“Conducting this same project in a local cluster would take more or less 70 to 100 years. With World Community Grid, it will be completed in a maximum of two years. This is evidence of the data processing capacity of this network dedicated to provide computational resources to try to find a solution to the problems that besiege communities in need around the world, as is the case of Leishmaniasis,” said Carlos Muskus, Coordinator, Molecular and Computational Biology, PECET, and project leader.
“This disease urgently calls for new and effective treatments, given that the number of infected patients has climbed to more than two million people in 97 countries.”
What In The World Is The World Community Grid?
World Community Grid is a network of more than two million individual computers, providing donated computer power during the time in which their computers are idle, creating the world’s largest and fastest computing grid to benefit of humankind. World Community Grid is based on IT innovation, combined with scientific and visionary research, plus volunteer, collective and nonprofit actions to create a smarter planet.
Individuals can donate their computers’ time to these projects by registering at www.worldcommunitygrid.org, and installing a secure, free software program in their personal computers running Linux, Microsoft Windows or Mac OS.
Computers request data from the World Community Grid server when they are idle, or between key strokes during non compute-intensive jobs. In this way, they can help complete the protein computations required to perform the Leishmaniasis research in Colombia.
Sponsored by IBM, World Community Grid has offered researchers worldwide the equivalent of millions of dollars’ worth of free computational power to enable medical, nutritional, energy and environmental research.
548,310 Users And Counting
At present, more than 548,310 users and 1,729,127 devices are part of IBM’s World Community Grid in 88 countries, including Colombia. World Community Grid’s server runs Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) software, maintained at Berkeley University and supported by the National Science Foundation.
Projects undertaken by the World Community Grid, which have yielded dozens of peer-reviewed scientific research papers, include efforts to cure muscular dystrophy and cancer, as well as to develop cheaper and more efficient solar cells. Other projects include Fight AIDS@Home with Scripps Research Institute, which found two compounds that may lead to new treatments of drug-resistant HIV strains.
The Nutritious Rice for the World project completed 12 million computational transactions in 11,000 computing hours, in an effort to achieve healthier, more disease and weather-resistant rice strains. And the Genome Comparison project run by Fiocruz has organized and standardized the way scientists understand the role of gene sequences in maintaining health or causing illness.
Go here to learn more about IBM’s corporate citizenship initiatives.
IBM introduced some new big iron earlier today.
The new server is the IBM zEnterprise 114 mainframe server and is geared towards mid-sized organizations looking to enjoy the benefits of a mainframe as the foundation for their data centers.
This box costs 25% less and offers up to 25% more performance than its predecessor, the System z10 BC server.
Clients utilizing this new server can consolidate workloads from 40 x86 processors running Oracle on to a new z114 with just three processors running Linux…that’s 40 down to 3.
Over a three year period, total costs for hardware, software, and support on the new z114 as compared to consolidated servers can be up to 80% less with similar savings on floor space and energy.
Workload Optimized, Scalable And Secure By Design
The z114 was also built with scalability in mind. Clients can start with smaller configurations and access additional capacity built into the server as needed without increasing the data center footprint or systems management complexity and cost.
The z114 is powered by up to 14 of the industry’s most sophisticated microprocessors, of which up to 10 can be configured as specialty engines. These specialty engines, the System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP), the System z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP), and the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL), are designed to integrate new Java, XML, and Linux applications and technologies with existing workloads, as well to optimize system resources and reduce costs on the mainframe.
By way of example, using a fully configured machine running Linux for System z, clients can create and maintain a Linux virtual server in the z114 for as little as $500 per year.
The z114 also offers up to an 18% performance improvement for processing traditional System z workloads over its predecessor the z10 BC, and up to an additional 25% improvement for microprocessor intensive workloads using compiler enhancements.
The z114 runs all the latest zEnterprise operating systems including the new z/OS V 1.13 announced today. This new version adds new software deployment and disk management capabilities.
It also offers enhanced autonomics and early error detection features as well as the latest encryption and compliance features extending the mainframe’s industry leading security capabilities.
Additional compliance and encryption features, the result of a multi-year effort from IBM Research, further enhance security with cryptography built into the DNA of System z, by designing hardware with processor and coprocessor based encryption capabilities.
Where It Fits
At a starting price of under $75,000 — IBM’s lowest ever price for a mainframe server — the zEnterprise 114 is an especially attractive option for emerging markets experiencing rapid growth in new services for banking, retail, mobile devices, government services and other areas.
These organizations are faced with ever-increasing torrents of data and want smarter computing systems that help them operate efficiently, better understand customer behavior and needs, optimize decisions in real time and reduce risk.
IBM also introduced new features that allow the zEnterprise System to integrate and manage workloads on additional platforms. New today is support for select System x blades within the zEnterprise System. These select System x blades can run Linux x86 applications unchanged, and in the future will be able to run Windows applications.
New Financing Options
IBM Global Financing offers attractive financing options for existing IBM clients looking to upgrade to a z114 as well as clients currently using select HP and Oracle servers.
For current System z clients, IBM Global Financing (IGF) can buy back older systems for cash and upgrade customers to the z114 on a Fair Market Value (FMV) lease, which offers a predictable monthly payment.
IGF will remove and recycle these older systems in compliance with environmental laws and regulations and pay clients the fair market value of HP and Oracle-Sun servers. IGF is also offering a 6 month deferral of any hardware, software, services or any combination for clients who wish to upgrade now, but pay later.
IGF is also offering a 0% financing for 12 months on any IBM Software, including IBM middleware for the z114 such as Tivoli, WebSphere, Rational, Lotus and Analytics products.