Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for February 2010

Live @ IBM Pulse 2010: Integrated Service Management

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Before we heard earlier today from Al Gore, we heard from that other Al, Tivoli’s own Al Zollar, the general manager of Tivoli software for IBM, on the subject of integrated service management.

Al Zollar took the stage bright and early to explain what’s going on in the external environment, that signs of the smarter planet are all around us, and that they have the potential to change the way people, business, and processes operate, and how Tivoli is working to optimize the world’s infrastructure — physical and digital — so we can all live and work smarter, not harder.

Al talked about the proliferation we’re seeing, of instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent devices, and how we’re helping deliver innovative services we couldn’t have dreamt of ten short years ago.

Here’s what we’ve learned thus far, according to Al: That you all (our customers) are dealing with amazing levels of complexity growing due to the new devices and services being added each day.

Of the skyrocketing number of security threats that you all deal with every single day.

And that yet, with the lack of integration of yesterday’s tools and processes, many organizations are not able to “see” and manage it all effectively.

As Al observed, “You can’t effectively manage with an Excel spreadsheet.”

The sheer volume of dependencies is absurd, and a single transaction can yet now cross multiple application domains.  Any change in one of these in such an environment can wreak havoc.

Just a single change can have up to 1 billion permutations.  Now THAT is complexity.

Al then launched into a number of Tivoli case studies.  The Capitol Region of Denmark, for example, whose countless backup requirements for each hospital it supports can range to massive amounts of data duplication distributed across three different storage sites and over 1.5 petabytes of information.

They were able to overcome their storage management challenges with only 4 people and an integrated service management portfolio from IBM Software.

Or the U.S. Air Force, which has 100 bases and 700,000 military personnel around the world, and where “mission critical” takes on a whole new meaning.

The Air Force is leveraging ISM in a cloud environment from IBM to help overcome its challenges.

Service lifecycle management and dashboards; unified management of service requests and incidents; asset management; and automated management, all are what’s needed to reduce complexity in today’s smarter planet, all through three single core concepts: Visibility, control, and automation.

To help matters, IBM today announced that its Energy and Utilities Centers in LaGaude, France, and Austin, Texas, were now open for business — if you can lock down the grid, you can lock down just about any connected infrastructure.

Zollar then introduced new releases of several key products, including Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Images; IBM Information Archive; Tivoli Security Information and Event Manager; Tivoli Storage Manager; and Fastback Solutions.

He also announced new partnerships with Ricoh, Johnson Controls, and Juniper Networks.

Rational Software GM Danny Sabbah then took the stage to observe the role design and delivery has played in the ongoing evolution of the American automobile.

In 1977, Sabbah observed, the Oldsmobile Toronado had a single computer unit for spark plug timing.

Today, a car is more like 30 computer on wheels, with 100 million lines of code and with more software than the complex controls used on the retiring U.S. Space Shuttle!

The car as data center on wheels.

Sabbah suggested we must stop this madness that development, deployment and operations are separate and distinct processes.

He also said that the Looming Business Crisis demands linkage, that we need to drive fundamental change in design and delivery in order to be able to achieve the goal of ISM.  Because when critical services and applications “go down or slow down,” they cost time, money, and, ultimately, customer loyalty.

Finally, Laura Sanders and Mike Rhodin brought things to a close with a compelling case study featuring The Venetian hotel’s “smarter city within a city” demonstration, and a look at the industry frameworks IBM Software is putting in place to put ISM in the context that matters most, the business of your business.

Ultimately, businesses and organizations can’t just be content with optimization: They must innovate.

We’ll be sure to hear more about this innovation over the next couple of days.

Al Gore’s Smarter (and Funnier!) Planet

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Never mind your political sentiments about Al Gore the politician, what you may not know about “the former next president of the United States,” as he jokingly refers to himself, is that the former U.S. vice president is very, very funny.

Really! Would I kid about something so serious as a former vice president?

In his keynote at this morning’s IBM Pulse 2010 opening session, Gore made me laugh so hard I wanted to cry…not only because of his very folksy yet hilarious delivery, but also due to the severity and great consequences of his important message.

Before you think I’m about to step up onto my soapbox, know that Gore was very cautious not to step up onto his in today’s keynote.

He knew that by coming to an IBM conference to speak to a very business-friendly audience, that he was potentially walking into enemy territory — despite the enormous sum I suspect we paid him to come and speak.

Gore walked into the room of 5,000+ at the MGM Grand Arena with eyes wide open, and with a sobering message that presented as much a cheerleading challenge to global business as an indictment of existing short-term inclined business practices or climate abuse.

Al Gore Speaks at IBM Pulse Event

Al Gore Speaks at IBM Pulse opening session in Las Vegas, February 22, 2010

The former vice president asserted that the climate crisis did not exist in a vacuum, and like any interconnected system, was joined at a nexus of two other key crises, one economic and involving our recent collective business philandering, the other one national security-related, with the ongoing U.S. role in continuing to buy cheap oil despite the long-term moral consequences.

“As long as we are so vulnerable to expensive energy resources in foreign countries that are not among the most stabile or friendly to us, there will be a national security threat associated with that,” Gore warned, the that being the notion of sending hundreds of billions of dollars every year to those unfriendly foreign countries, then backstopping those petro dollars with American military might.

He also noted that we’re putting 90M tons of CO2 every day into a thin sheath of atmosphere that you or I could drive to (if we could drive straight up) in a matter of minutes, and that the vast majority of the existing heat as a result was being reformulated into our oceans.

But let’s assume you’re just not hip to Gore’s whole climate warming message.

That’s cool (is it getting warmer in here?), but still and all you can’t deny the economic consequences of being dependent on that foreign energy: Every time we see a sudden increase in prices, we see an economic shockwave, investments suddenly dissipate, and we lose valuable time and have to start the cycle all over again with the next petroleum price increase.

So what’s a wandering, unemployed, itinerant, environmentalist ex-American vice president suggest that we do?

Gore alleges that all these things are connected by a common thread, and that if you pull the thread hard enough, you hold at least part of the answer in your hand: A shift to renewable sources of energy, natch; reduced carbon emissions, controversial though it is; but most importantly of all, a new reliance on efficiency.

Said Gore, “We are in the presence of one of the greatest opportunities in the history of business to become much more efficient and eliminate waste, pollution, and losses all at the same time.”

You’ll note that Gore said in the history of business, not in the history of the world.  Methinks that was most intentional.

Even if you don’t buy into the evidence of the climate crisis, efficiency is by all odds the most productive business strategy around, and to that point, Gore himself came out and said that IBM’s smarter planet campaign “just feels right to me.”

I could envision IBM marketing executives across the company salivating (or perhaps cursing?) the implied endorsement.

Nevertheless, with great opportunity comes great responsibility.

Gore explained that the “hinge of history is swinging,” that with all this talk about complexity and complex systems at the Pulse conference, the audience needs to understand that our entire global civilization was going through a very challenging reorganization, leaving business, governments, even individuals around the world trying to figure out where they land in the great reorganization of 2010.

Alas, there’s no org chart that can explain that one, but Gore did explain there are natural places to start, that, for example, we’re extremely wasteful in the way that we use energy in buildings and cities — here in the US about 40% of all the CO2 emissions comes from buildings, another set of legacy technologies we’ve used a little too long.

So how to address these challenges and not instead disappear into the Nevada desert crying out in hopeless hysterics?

Well, we can start by getting better and more relevant information (using technology and the like), and that when there are important factors that are systematically ignored, to use that “better” information to make our own choices.

That, in fact, we all have an opportunity to get all the information relevant to decisions we make everyday in this challenging environment, and to the “pulse” of the conference theme, to automate some of those decisions so that we can free up the RPMs to focus clearly on the Key Major Decisions and be able to better see how they relate to one another.

“If you analyze the human brain as the same terms for computers,” Gore explained, “we have a low bitrate and very high resolution. In making decisions about vast amounts of data, if you try to do it bit by bit, you’ll never succeed.

“But if you can portray the context of all that info, that is a good strategy, whether in healthcare, or city management, or whatever, it is really important to get a clear view of where it’s going.”

Gore went on to say that “using the right kind of information, software, hardware, is your most powerful set of tools in your toolset,” and that this time around, business is leading the way, and that governments have not stepped up to the plate on this (with a few exceptions).

Finally, Gore used more cornpone charm to explain his reaction to the outcome of last December’s climate negotiations in Copenhagen: “I feel fine.”

Explaining, it’s kind of like the old farmer who, upon hauling a big cow to market in the back up of the pickup truck has a bad traffic accident, only to have the highway patrolman come along and shoot the injured cow right between the eyes to put the poor thing out of his misery, whereupon the farmer responds to the question from the same said patrolman when asked how he (the farmer) feels, and as he looks over at the cow explains: “I feel fine.”

The role of business in providing essential leadership is more important than ever, Gore started to wind down, asking us to remember that this is one of those moments in history where “it’s difficult to imagine the scale and scope of the changes that lie ahead of us.”

But imagine it we must.

Gore closed by citing that old African proverb, which was simplistic in its essence, but again concise in its expressed urgency:

If you want to go quickly, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.

Concluded the former next president of these United States, “We must go far, quickly.”

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Building Smarter Buildings

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If you’ve visited this blog with any frequency, you know that I’ve visited a few cities around the globe in my time — four of them in the last week alone (Stuttgart, Madrid, Milan, and now Las Vegas).

For several years, I lived in a big city (New York), and opted in 2001 to move to a smaller, but still vibrant, city, Austin, Texas, where I worked for several years on Tivoli’s Web site (see today’s CNN Morning show for a feature on how Austin’s economy has thrived during the recession!)

With an estimated 60 million people around the world moving into cities each year, experts predict population in the world’s cities are going to double by 2050. As populations grow, civic leaders and businesses alike are looking for ways to help cities and their buildings cope.

Too often today, many of the systems that constitute a building — heat, water, sewage, electricity — are managed independently and, typically, inefficiently.

Buildings alone are a source of huge waste.  They account for 70 percent of all energy use and 38 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.  That’s a lot of hot air!

That means, ultimately, that each year buildings emit more harmful CO2 emissions into the environment than do our vehicles (and as Al Gore mentioned in this morning’s Pulse keynote).

The culprits leading to such inefficiencies are varied: Poor planning and maintenance, inadequate energy management, the heating or cooling of unused space, and the inability to collect and analyze operational information.

Today, IBM and Johnson Controls have partnered in a joint initiative called Smart Building Solution, which combines the power of business analytics from IBM with the building technology and energy efficiency solutions of Johnson Controls to help address some of these inefficiencies.

This partnership is intended to help improve operations, lower costs, and reduce energy and water use in buildings and will be targeted at public sector, education, and large commercial real estate owners and industrial facilities.

Read more about this expanded partnership between IBM and Johnson Controls in this post by earth2tech.

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm

@ Pulse 2010: Getting Things Going

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I have too many friends I work with in Canada to gloat about the U.S. team’s win over Canada in men’s hockey last evening at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

So, that’s all I’ll say on the subject.

Hee hee hee.

One of the great things about attending IBM’s major customer events like Pulse is the opportunity to visit face to face with customers and also to see some familiar and friendly faces from across IBM.

We’re a distributed global organization these days at IBM (my team and I joke with one another that we only see each other on other continents…more truth to that than I care to admit) so face-to-face time is a precious commodity in an organization fluent in using Lotus Sametime and Notes to conduct so much of its business.

I ran into one such IBM old friend last night in the hallways of the MGM, Harriet Pearson.

Harriet is IBM’s Chief Privacy Officer and Vice President, Security Counsel, and someone with whom I collaborated with many moons ago to help formulate IBM’s Internet privacy policy.

Harriet has continually been a guiding beacon and thought leader for IBM and the industry around privacy concerns, including the challenging subject of privacy in the social media — view this recent and thoughtful interview as part of SuperNova on the subject of balancing the need for sharing with online privacy.

Harriet will be partnering with IBM System and Technology Group general manager Helene Armitage in Tuesday’s general session here at Pulse to explore how integrated service management can meet the needs of a smarter planet, with a particular eye on the practical concerns of managing growth, reducing costs and ensuring security.

Harriet and Helene will provide valuable insight into how to manage these concerns, and will be joined by a variety of IBM clients who are deploying integrated service management solutions using Tivoli software.

Of course, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

This morning, just after breakfast, expect to see Tivoli Software general manager Al Zollar officially get things kicked into full gear before handing off the podium to the other Al, former U.S. vice president, Al Gore.

I’m looking forward to it all, and plan to provide some real-time updates via Twitter, as are so many of my colleagues, customers, and the press/analyst community…follow the hashtag #ibmpulse to monitor the real-time stream from this morning’s general sessions starting around 11 AM EST.

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Smarter Software, Better Business

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I went for a walkabout along the Las Vegas Strip late this morning, partially to walk off some of the jetlag and partially to do a quick photo safari.

I’ll work to share some of the pics later, but for now I wanted to share some thoughts about how software is changing the way we live on our smarter planet, which I think will provide you with a broad backdrop for the kickoff of IBM Pulse 2010 and the news that will soon begin to emanate from here in Vegas.

Be forewarned, this is a lengthier post than usual, so settle in.

On a smarter planet, people consume only what they need, when they need it — my excursion to McDonald’s this AM for breakfast aside.

By way of example, IBM is working with a leading international energy provider to launch an automated energy management system to help over 11K households to better control their energy usage.

With such a system, users will be able to establish consumption protocols to minimize electricity use in peak periods and to take full advantage of renewable energy resources when available.

On a smarter planet, people also know the best way to get from point A to point B (Note: My hopscotch trip across Europe last week was not such a journey!).

The Singapore Land Transportation Authority is building just such a capability with improvements on one of the most modern, affordable and heavily used public transport networks in the world. It includes an integrated payment option that can be used for the bus or the train, plus parking and vehicle congestion charges.

But the improvements don’t end at the bus stop — the system will also be studying commuter usage data to help design and maximize schedules and routes that will further reduce congestion.

On a smarter planet, people use smarter software to see hidden patterns.

Like at a major health insurance company, which is creating a first-of-its-kind healthcare data aggregation system that will provide information on how people receive treatment for everything from a sore foot to an ailing heart.  Such a system will yield insights that empower companies to develop employee healthcare plans that provide the highest-quality care at the best value.

(I just hope they include jetlag in their menu of studied conditions!)

In each of these examples is a business, government, or industry that has used software in new ways.

Today, more than ever, organizations use software to enable every facet of their business, but with new models and ways of working also come new challenges.

As a result, a new set of needs has emerged.  How to turn information into insights.  To increase agility.  To connect and collaborate.  To enable business service and product innovation.  To drive enterprise operations effectiveness and efficiency.  And to manage risk, security, and compliance.

Addressing these needs requires smarter software.

Smarter software which knows and acts.   Which connects and adapts.  Which monitors, controls, and optimizes.  And which even protects and helps mitigate risk.

We at IBM believe our software can make the world better, one client at a time.  Though a lot of other companies claim to do the same thing, their software doesn’t work like IBM software.

We know what it takes to solve our clients’ biggest challenges, and we’ve spent the last 50 years delivering software that is fueled by expertise, is built for change, and is ready for work.

IBM Software is fueled by expertise, and by knowledge as to how to apply software for real results.

We know industries, the world of business, and how work actually gets done.

We also know systems, both natural and man-made, and we have the proof points to back it up:

40 innovation centers worldwide, focused on solutions for dozens of industries.  26,000 developers.  80 R&D labs. 30K partners worldwide.  And the world’s largest math department.

IBM software is built for change, because it’s open, easily integrated, and flexible.  It’s built with a systems point of view.

Old, new, ours, theirs…we don’t care, so long as we have the opportunity to make it all work together, and to make it work for your busines.

But we also have forward-looking labs and researchers whose sole purpose is to help our clients be prepared for the future.  In the last several years, we’ve made over 100 acquisitions, established 300 SOA patents, and contributed to over 150 open source projects, more than any other company.

We’ve also invested over $1B in Linux and open source technologies, and continue to invest several hundred dollars annually.

That’s putting our money where the penguin’s mouth is.

And IBM software is ready for work.

It’s software that’s robust, industrial-strength, proven, and ready to scale. And we at IBM work to provide ongoing service that helps ensure our clients’ success, because we want to see our software solve their greatest challenges and create new value.

To do so, we have 60 laboratories around the globe that practice agile development and work hand in hand with clients, business partners, and academia, and 17K sales and 5K support staff to help along the way.

Let us help you build a smarter company and a smarter planet by helping you see your hidden patterns, recognize your problems before it’s too late, find your best way from point A to B.

Together, we can build better software to in turn build a smarter planet.

This week at IBM Pulse 2010 in Las Vegas, you’ll hear more about how.

IBM Pulse 2010: The Wide Shot

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I’ve overcome my jetlag enough to produce this quick introductory video for IBM Pulse 2010 here in Vegas, complete with a few housekeeping details.

Due to the aforementioned jetlag, I was up well before most of the poker players had gone home for the night (not that I would know anything about such a thing), and early this AM IBM Pulse 2010 was already coming to life.

I’ve now got my badge, I kind of know my way around, and I am looking forward to running into some of you over the next few days.

In the meantime, enjoy your Sunday and for those of you still on your way to Vegas, safe travels (the weather is nice out, with a cool temp of around 48 degrees Fahrenheit and an expected high today of 61!)

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm

A Well Dressed (and Jet Lagged) Man

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NOTE: This post was written while still in Milan, but published after arriving yesterday early evening in Las Vegas.  British Airways did not provide wifi access on the Milan-to-Vegas flight.

Greetings from the Milan Linate airport.

My short week in Europe has come to a fast end, but not before I had the opportunity to get out and see the Duomo in downtown Milan.

On my last trip here, I arrived in Milan on a Sunday evening, and had to immediately leave the IBM site to drive straight to Nice, so I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the city center.

There’s but no question the Duomo is worth visiting. The church is spectacular, having been built in the early Renaissance and simply breathtaking in its beauty.

As to the food in Milan, it’s like anywhere else I’ve ever been in Italy – scrumptious. The Italians can take a simple plate of penne pasta and turn it into magic in your mouth. Mmm, mmmm, mmmm.

Before dinner last evening, my IBM amigo Michael and I took in a little Milano fashion expedition. After joking about my poor fashion sense in previous blog posts, I decided I couldn’t leave one of the fashion capitals of the world without at least trying on some fine Italian threads.

I ended up walking out of the store with a very nice Italian sport coat and a couple of gorgeous shorts, my wallet hardly the worse for the wear. Austin will never know what hit ’em (although it’ll probably take a funeral or a wedding for me to pull them out of the closet…Austin’s pretty laid back when it comes to dress, even for bidness).

But, before I get to head back to Austin, I have one last stop to make, that mentioned pit stop in Las Vegas. For anyone glorifying the jetsetting lifestyle, know that my Saturday goes something like this:

Arrive at the Milan airport around 11:30 AM local time. Sit in the BA lounge until boarding my flight, which leaves for London around 1:40. Arrive in London a couple of hours later, sit around the airport there for a couple of hours, then board the flight to Vegas which is 10 ½ hours (in economy class, of course).

That means I’ll have arrived in Vegas sometime around 4:30 am Milano time Sunday morning.

But in all my jetlagged weariness, I’ll have some fond memories of meeting some new IBM colleagues in Stuttgart, Madrid, and Milan, and hopefully of my team and I having helped them continue to improve their Web marketing efforts.

More from Vegas and the IBM Pulse 2010 event soon.

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

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