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

Archive for July 2010

Missing New York

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I’m working out of our 11 Madison Avenue office in New York City today, and having been a former citizen of the great city of New York, I must say it’s a pleasure to be back.

I left the Big Apple almost a decade ago for the wide open pastures of my native Texas, and it’s been an entire year since my last visit.

But also having traveled to parts well beyond for business over the past year, I must say coming back to visit NYC is a whole lot like coming home.

I know the weather’s been abnormally hot in the NY area this summer, but this particular Friday it’s most pleasant out.  There was a cool breeze blowing through Madison Square Park this afternoon, and I think the temp was hovering around a cool 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Of course, there are things about living in NYC I miss, and there are things I don’t: Like the endless cacophony of police, fire, and ambulance sirens.  That I definitely don’t miss.

But the things I miss about living in New York, in no particular order:

1) The people.  People who live and work in NY are some of the smartest, funniest people on the planet.  Tha doesn’t mean people elsewhere aren’t smart or funny.  It just means there’s a great concentration of smart and funny people in New York, and I miss hanging out with them.  Especially all my New York friends.  I definitely miss the people.

2)  The food.  The food in New York City is some of the best and most diverse in the world.  You can go to Paris and have great French food.  And you can go to Tokyo and have great Japanese food.  And you can go to Bangalore and have great South India food.  But when you come to New York, you can have great food from anywhere, and I never remember how much I miss it until I come back.  I definitely miss the food.

3) The architecture.  If you’ve lived in New York for any length of time, and then you leave, you’re absolutely relieved to be rid of being surrounded by all the tall buildings (again, especially if you’re from the wide open spaces of Texas).  But, when you come back, you forget how amazing those buildings are.  They surround you in a tall envelope of grace, majesty, and magnanimity, and it’s very easy to forget how grand they are.  I definitely miss the architecture.

4) The traffic. New York has the best traffic in the world.  It’s the kind of traffic you like hanging out in.  There’s all kinds of interesting things to see while you’re sitting in traffic (Harken back to #1, #2, and #3).  You can scope out the city for new restaurants, new fashions, and yes, even new buildings.  And, if you don’t like sitting in traffic, you can get a bike and zip through the traffic (I used to be a New York City bike messenger, many moons ago, and lived to tell about it).  I definitely miss the traffic.

5) The New Yorkness.  Probably more than anything, I miss what I can only call the “New Yorkness” that is New York.  If you have no clue what I’m talking about, then you’ve obviously never been here, and you need to hurry up and come visit and get some New Yorkness at least once in your life.  You might could compare New Yorkness to joie de vivre, only that’s more of a French-like feeling.  I guess you could co-opt that particular phrase and call it joie du New York. 

The French probably wouldn’t mind. 

And the New Yorker probably wouldn’t care if they did.

Written by turbotodd

July 30, 2010 at 7:01 pm

IBM To Acquire Real-Time Data Compression Provider Storwize

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IBM announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Storwize, a privately held company based in Marlborough, MA.

Storwize provides real-time data compression technology to help clients reduce physical storage requirements by up to 80%, which improves efficiency and lowers the cost of making data available for analytics and other applications.

Storwize has over one hundred customers such as Mobileye, Polycom Israel, Shopzilla, Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Construction across a wide range of industries including energy, manufacturing, finance, insurance, telecommunications and cloud services.

With Storwize, IBM is acquiring storage technology that is unique in the industry in that it can compress primary data, or data that clients are actively using, of multiple types — from files to virtualization images to databases — in real-time while maintaining performance.

This is in contrast to other storage compression technologies that only compress secondary or backup data. By compressing primary data, Storwize users can store up to five times more data using the same amount of storage, preventing storage sprawl and lowering power and cooling costs.

This is important now more than ever as the world’s data already vastly exceeds available storage space and enterprise demand for storage capacity worldwide is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 43% from 2008 to 2013, according to IDC.

With Storwize, analytics applications can improve decision making by scanning many more years of historical data from multiple sources without the need to add additional storage equipment. Compressing data in real-time can also help make data available up to four times faster for transaction workloads.

Running Storwize data compression does not affect business and IT processes or other applications and does not require special skills to maintain. Product installation can be completed in as little as four hours, with little or no downtime.

This acquisition continues IBM’s investment in real-time compression, which has been proven for DB2 and Informix to reduce the overall total cost of information ownership by up to 80%.

The acquisition is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2010, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Written by turbotodd

July 29, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Mad Men (and Women)

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I watched with eager anticipation the premiere of the fourth season of “Mad Men” last evening.

Me, along with everybody else in the advertising and marketing world, to be sure.

What strikes me about that show, however, is how much it’s not really about the world of advertising.  That includes the premiere show that aired last evening.

We’ve flashed forward a year or so since last season’s end, this time with Sterling Cooper having hung out their own shingle and having their own office space, instead of the single hotel room we saw last episode.

Don’s personal shortcomings pervaded the first episode of the new season. 

First, he blew an interview with a peg-legged reporter (“Korea,” he explains) from AdAge, failing to realize the interview wasn’t so much about his own personal vanity than it was to draw attention (and business) to the fledgling firm.

Hard to believe Draper’s character (particularly at this juncture) was either that modest or naive, but okay, I went along for the ride.

When he told the clients of bikini-wear maker Jantzen to get the hell out of his office, despite losing the potential ad placements, you could see Draper drawing a line between the clashing mores of the 50s and the 60s.  

He was going to work for forward-thinking, progressive businesses, or he was going to find another line of work.

Of course, his family life continues to be a mess…also the point…and Draper has become almost downright vindictive by now when it comes to ex-wife Betty, informing her she’s already overstayed her welcome in the house.  Her new husband, the politico, doesn’t make any brownie points with Betty when he suggests Don’s right.

At the end of the episode, you see Draper doing another interview, this time with a Wall Street Journal reporter.  This time, the show is on.  Draper’s as cocky and confident and ever, and the reporter’s soon eating out of Draper’s hands.

I’ve no doubt Sterling Cooper is about to find themselves very well positioned to take advantage of the dramatic changes taking place in the latter half of the 1960s.

I just hope Don Draper doesn’t entirely lose his soul along the way.

Written by turbotodd

July 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm

New Z, Smarter Data Center

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Today’s a big day.

It’s my birthday.  No gifts, please.

But it’s also the day IBM has announced the birth of the new zEnterprise mainframe, complete with a system design overhaul, that allows workloads on mainframe, POWER7, and System x servers to share resources and be managed as a single, virtualized system.

All that for my birthday!  Woo hoo!  Can I put one of those suckers in my home office? (Then I could really live up to my nickname.)

All birthday hilarity aside, this new system represents a major investment and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on the part of IBM employees, particularly up in our Poughkeepsie plant.

There, IBM added a new, 56,000-square-foot, $30 million production floor to manufacture the new zEnterprise. 

And overall, it represents some U.S. $1.5 billion in R&D investment and a three-year, 24-hour development cycle that spanned three continents and involved more than 5,000 IBMers working a total of 31 million hours.


IBM employees Einar Norman, (left) Plattekill, N.Y. and Richard Lane, Rosendale, N.Y., prepare IBM’s new zEnterprise System Mainframe for shipment in the company’s Poughkeepsie, N.Y. plant.

Following are a few speeds and feeds and a whole bunch of details about the new system (Hang on to your raised floor railings, bay-bey!):

  • Industry first: IBM mainframe governance and management benefits extended to select POWER7, System x environments
  • New technology boosts complex analytics performance up to 10X, delivering insight from business data in minutes versus hours
  • zEnterprise is the most powerful, scalable mainframe server ever –- up to 60% faster than System z10 for new workloads
  • Most energy efficient mainframe — more than 100,000 virtualized servers can be managed as a single system;  60% more capacity than z10 while using same amount of energy

The new systems design combines IBM’s new zEnterprise mainframe server with new technology — the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension and the IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager — that enable it to manage workloads running across System z, and select POWER7 and System x servers. 

As a result, customers can integrate the management of zEnterprise System resources as a single system and extend mainframe qualities, such as governance and manageability, to workloads running on select IBM POWER7 and System x blade servers.

With the ability to manage workloads across systems as one, the zEnterprise System can drive up to 40% lower acquisition costs and reduce cost of ownership by 55%.

IBM designed the zEnterprise System to address an important issue for corporate data centers — the jumble of disparate technologies added over time to run specific applications and which operate in silos, sometimes unable to communicate with each other in real time and requiring separate staff and software tools to manage.

This long-standing challenge for customers is aggravated  by dramatic increases in cost and complexity amid a rising tide of sophisticated, data-intensive workloads.

IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension

The IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension allows supports purpose IBM POWER7 and System x BladeCenter systems as well as blades optimized for specific workloads, such as analytics and managing Web infrastructure.

IBM blade servers inside the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension — which can be managed like mainframe resources — integrate with System z and can run tens of thousands of off-the-shelf applications. 

Later this year, IBM will deliver the zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension with support for IBM POWER7 blades running AIX, IBM’s UNIX operating system.  IBM is also introducing the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer to accelerate the performance of complex analytic workloads at a lower cost per transaction. 

Next year, IBM plans to announce additional general purpose blades for the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension including select IBM System x-based blades running Linux.  Additional workload optimized blades are planned to include IBM DataPower for improving website and network performance.

IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager

New IBM Systems Software called Unified Resource Manager is first-of-its-kind firmware — software that controls how the hardware functions — that integrates multiple platform resources as a single virtualized system and provides unified management for zEnterprise. 

More than 100,000 virtualized servers can be managed as a single system on a fully-configured cluster of zEnterprise Systems.

The zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager is the key to using mainframe quality of service attributes, including security and reliability, to benefit workloads running on select Power and System x BladeCenter systems. 

For example, the Unified Resource Manager can identify system bottlenecks or failures among disparate systems. If a failure occurs on a System x blade server, the Unified Resource Manager can instantaneously move the affected application to another System x blade to keep it running. 

At the same time, the Unified Resource Manager automatically sends an electronic message to IBM to initiate a service call. The Unified Resource Manager can also help prioritize compute workloads  in line with changing business priorities. 

Additionally, the zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager improves network security across applications spanning the complete zEnterprise system, including workloads on IBM POWER7 and System x blades.  This helps reduce complexity and the need for additional encryption and firewall security software within the zEnterprise environment. 

The New zEnterprise 196

From a performance standpoint, the zEnterprise System is the most powerful IBM system ever. The core server in the zEnterprise System — called zEnterprise 196 — contains 96 of the world’s fastest, most powerful microprocessors running at 5.2Ghz, capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second. 


IBM technician Asia Dent, Poughkeepsie, tests two multi-chip modules that will each power one of IBM’s new zEnterprise System mainframes. Each ceramic module forms the central processing unit of the new computer and packs 96 of the world’s fastest microprocessors (5.2 Ghz) together to give the new mainframe 60% faster performance than its predecessor, while using the same amount of electricity. Each module is capable of executing 50 billion instructions per second.

This new IBM microprocessor technology has new software to optimize performance of data-heavy workloads, including up to a 60% improvement in data intensive and Java workloads. Increased levels of system performance in turn increases software performance, which can reduce software license costs. 

The new system offers 60% more capacity than its predecessor, the System z10, and uses about the same amount of electricity.  For clients selecting Linux on System z, a single virtualized server can be created and deployed for less than $1 per day.  It costs 74% less to run comparative Oracle workloads on the zEnterprise 196 compared to x86 systems.

Energy efficiencies were achieved through advances in microprocessor design, 45nm silicon technology, more efficient power conversion and distribution, as well as advanced sensors and cooling control firmware that monitors and makes adjustments based on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity levels and even air density.

A water cooling option is also available for the z196 that can reduce energy use by up to 12%.  In a normal data center environment, water cooling reduces the required system air flow by more than 20%, while removing more than 70% of the system air heat load. 

This can be particularly beneficial for data centers with hot spots, or limited power and cooling capacity. Water cooling on the z196 is designed to connect directly to typical data center chilled water systems and does not require an external water conditioning unit.

The new z196 builds on the IBM System z industry leading security features.  IBM System z servers are the only commercial system to achieve Evaluation Assurance Level 5 security classification.

The z196 can be configured to include up to 80 specialty engines to further reduce costs and increase performance including the System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP) for integrating Java workloads with core business applications, the System z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) designed to help free-up computing capacity and lower IT costs, and the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) to optimize Linux workloads running on the mainframe.

Smart Analytics Optimizer

IBM is also announcing the new IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer — created by IBM Research — an accelerator for analytic workloads integrated to the new mainframe through the BladeCenter Extension. 

With the hybrid features of the new zEnterprise system and the Smart Analytics Optimizer customers can analyze data to anticipate emerging business trends, capture new opportunities and avoid risks up to 10 times faster.

Using zEnterprise with DB2 10 for z/OS (currently in beta), Cognos Business Intelligence and SPSS Predictive Analytics, clients will have a single platform for unprecedented insight across their most critical core information resulting in increased productivity.

New IBM Software

The unique value of zEnterprise System is the synergy among the range of IBM hardware and software.  New software has been optimized for the zEnterprise and finely tuned to work cross platform when used in conjunction with the new Blade Center Extension. 

New Tivoli integrated service management for zEnterprise software helps provide visibility, control, and automation for applications, business services, infrastructure, and data resources.  And the new Tivoli security manager for zEnterprise software will allow clients to report and analyze security events associated with Linux on System z and include these reports in the mainframe reporting and analysis, as well as easily enroll and manage federated user access for zEnterprise and Linux on System z.

The new IBM Rational Developer for System z multi-platform environment for building, testing and deploying zEnterprise applications now offers a new Rational Developer for System z Unit Test feature.

This feature improves zEnterprise development productivity by off-loading mainframe application development and testing to a workstation, which frees the mainframe to run high-value core business applications.

New compilers also announced today help customers update applications designed to work on older systems to take advantage of the zEnterprise architecture.  The new IBM Rational C++ compiler, for example, can boost overall application performance by as much as 60%, when combined with new zEnterprise systems.

The new CICS deployment assistance for z/OS provides comprehensive reporting and improved change management facilities for CICS, helping further reduce ongoing IT infrastructure costs. 

IBM Information Management System (IMS) 11, which drives a high percentage of today’s transaction intensive workloads, extends its ability to easily interconnect with other applications using extended web services and connectivity for SOA. 

IMS runs 50 billion transactions every day on System z with real-time operational access from any application or platform.

The new Lotus collaborative tools on Linux on System z combine the productivity boost of collaboration with enterprise grade processor speed, scalability, and reliability to help people inside and outside an organization connect and collaborate faster and more reliably — accelerating business processes and driving growth.  

New versions of IBM Lotus Quickr and IBM Lotus Sametime join other products in the IBM Lotus software portfolio in empowering globally distributed and mobile employees with highly scalable communications and collaboration capabilities.

IBM is also announcing a new z/OS Distributed Data Backup feature for its flagship DS8000 storage system that can help lower data protection and disaster recovery costs by consolidating cross platform disaster recovery environments on to the z196.  Clients can now back up vital data from multi-platform workloads over high performance connections with the unmatched reliability and security of the mainframe.

Visit here to learn more about the new zEnterprise.

Written by turbotodd

July 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Flipping Out Over Flipboard

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If you’ve ever spoken to a computer voice over the phone and had it respond, there’s a good chance you were speaking to an underlying technology developed by former TellMe founder Mike McCue.

McCue sold that company to Microsoft for around $800M a few years back, and stuck around long enough to help integrate his company into Redmond.

But you can’t keep a good serial entrepreneur down, and McCue is back, this time with a very cool social magazine for the iPad (and other platforms to come?) called Flipboard.

If you want to get the full overview, Robert Scoble interviews McCue here.

My interpretation of the elevator pitch and based on my experience having downloaded the app just this very morning: Flipboard is a very elegant iPad social aggregator with stunning, dynamic presentation that seem to be driven by some interesting heuristics and algorithms on the back-end that helps cater and present content to your interests.

Or something along those lines.

But I don’t want to hurt my head thinking too much about the “back end.”  For me, it’s a cool, easy, gorgeous and more interesting way to consume all that disparate firehose of social information that’s coming my way, as well as other, more established media from sources I consume on a regular basis.

Judging from the overnight zeitgeist, there’s already a crazy amount of buzz around Flipboard and talk of the onslaught already having brought down Flipboard’s servers.

Here’s hoping they bring them back up soon.

Written by turbotodd

July 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm

IBM 2Q10 Earnings Debrief: Up, Up, and Up

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This afternoon IBM announced it’s 2Q10 earnings.  This is the thirtieth straight quarter of IBM earnings per share growth.

Following are some of the key headlines:

  • Diluted earnings per share of $2.61, up 13 percent
  • 30 consecutive quarters of EPS growth, 12 of last 14 at double digits
  • Full-year 2010 EPS expectations raised to at least $11.25
  • Net income of $3.4 billion, up 9 percent
  • Pre-tax income of $4.6 billion, up 7 percent;
  • Pre-tax margin of 19.3 percent, up 1 point
  • Revenue of $23.7 billion, up 2 percent, as reported and adjusting for currency
  • Growth markets revenue up 14 percent; first-half revenue as large as total Euro zone revenue; BRIC countries revenue up 22 percent
  • Business Analytics revenue up 14 percent
  • Software revenue up 2 percent, 6 percent excluding divested PLM operations
  • Systems and Technology revenue up 3 percent
  • Services revenue up 2 percent
  • Services backlog of $129 billion, up $1 billion, adjusting for currency.

IBM had a second-quarter 2010 diluted earnings of $2.61 per share compared with diluted earnings of $2.32 per share in the second quarter of 2009, an increase of 13 percent.

Second-quarter net income was $3.4 billion compared with $3.1 billion in the second quarter of 2009, an increase of 9 percent.

Total revenues for the second quarter of 2010 of $23.7 billion increased 2 percent (2 percent, adjusting for currency) from the second quarter of 2009.

The impact of changes in currency rates since IBM’s first-quarter earnings report in April reduced revenue by approximately $500 million in the second quarter.

“In the second quarter we again delivered double-digit earnings-per-share growth, increased margins, as well as improving constant-currency revenue performance in our ongoing software, services and hardware businesses, and in all geographies,” said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“With the benefit of our strategic growth investments, our mix of higher-value business and the introduction of new System z and Power Systems, we are confident of our ability in the second half of the year to continue our strong business performance, grow profit and drive shareholder returns. As a result, we expect full-year 2010 diluted earnings per share of at least $11.25.”

Written by turbotodd

July 19, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Exercising Cybersecurity

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I had some epiphanies over the weekend.

Perhaps that’s because this was the first weekend I can remember being here at home in Austin for a full weekend.

It was also a humbling one. 

I desperately wanted to get in some exercise, but it was simply too hot outside.  Not being one for going to a gym, I resorted to my Time Warner digital cable channel, Exercise on Demand.  The last jazzercise I remember hearing about was Jane Fonda’s workout tapes.  It was never really my thing, jazzercise.

But after the workout I received from the two nice but athletically militant ladies against the Brooklyn backdrop, I’m not saying another denigrating thing about TV jazzercise.

I got out to a couple of movies as well.  “Predators” was one.  I don’t have much good to say about that one, except that Adrien Brody should change agents.

Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” was the other, of which I have lots of great things to say.  Only, my small and feeble brain is still trying to extrapolate and piece all the narrative pieces of that tapestry together, so I’m not quite sure what to say except to say I might have to see it again to be able to really grok the whole enchilada.

In fact, I may even have to sleep on it some more to even begin to realize the big picture, but I did get the gist of storyline, which was how Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Cobb had perfected a means by which to break into people’s dreams, with the goal to plant ideas and change outcomes in the real world.

In the meantime, I did some more exercise this AM, and one of the stories I heard on NPR while jogging around Austin’s steamy Town Lake this AM had to do with the U.S. not having enough cyberwarriors in training.

Though breaking into people’s dreams may be a thing of the future or of Hollywood, breaking into computer systems happens thousands of times a day. 

Which is why it was good to see IBM introduce a security appliance late last week that helps clients more easily adopt an IT infrastructure that is secure by design, rather than one that is insecure by accident!

Businesses today are facing a growing number of external security challenges, such as targeted attacks, worms, bots, intrusion attempts and phishing scams. 

And to my earlier point, the average company’s IT infrastructure is attacked 60,000 times per day. Network threats target vulnerabilities in systems, workstations and applications and can have a crippling financial effect, disrupting business processes and causing loss of confidential and proprietary information.

Recognizing these increasing threats, IBM is introducing a new security network intrusion prevention system (IPS) that consolidates intrusion prevention with data and web application security into a single, optimized appliance for faster, more accurate security protection.  The hardware appliance comes preloaded and preconfigured with IBM security software and extends the capabilities of the IBM X-Force research team to deliver high-performance network security at lower costs.

Unlike certain competitive solutions, the new IBM Security Network Intrusion Prevention System helps organizations take a more holistic approach to security, eliminating the need for multiple point solutions.  

Through a unified platform, clients can manage a variety of network security capabilities, such as automated Virtual Patch technology that can sense and block network threats, client-side application protection, data security, web application protection and application control.  By combining these capabilities into a single platform, IBM is making it easier for organizations to manage and help secure their networks.  

Emergency patching of security flaws requires unscheduled system downtime and can leave enterprises vulnerable until every system, workstation and application is patched. Despite the critical nature of these vulnerabilities that open the door to attacks, the 2009 IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report reported that 52 percent of vulnerabilities had no vendor-supplied patch by year’s end.

For example, more than two years before the well publicized Conficker threat was discovered, IBM X-Force research identified the potential risk to enterprises from this type of threat and issued Virtual Patch protection, giving clients preemptive protection of their systems and workstations.

For the top 61 security threats in 2009, IBM X-Force delivered the necessary protection an average of 340 days before the vulnerability was publicly disclosed.

The new solution is built upon Virtual Patch technology and powered by IBM X-Force research, giving customers direct access to the latest security updates they need to block threats even before the vendor-supplied patches are applied.

Enterprises can deploy and manage IBM Security Network IPS on their own, or rely on expertise from IBM Managed Security Services to help reduce the cost of running their security operations.

IBM’s approach to security helps customers manage risk from end-to-end, across all five security focus areas: data and information; application and process; people and identity; network, server and end point; and physical infrastructure.

Visit here to view IBM’s portfolio of workload optimized systems and appliances.

Written by turbotodd

July 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Posted in cybersecurity

Real Clouds

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I’ve seen some increased social media activity around the subject of cloud computing from here in Istanbul this week, so I thought I would pass along some recent news on the cloud front at IBM.

Did you know that the average enterprise devotes up to 50 percent of its entire technology infrastructure to development and testing, but typically up to 90 percent of it remains idle?

Idle processors are the IT devil’s workshop!

What IBM has found is that taking advantage of cloud computing within development and testing environments can help reduce IT labor costs by 50 percent, and can improve quality and drastically reduce time to market for new applications.

IBM has certainly not been idle on the cloud front of late, ramping up its cloud focus with continued customer wins.

One such deal was in partnership with NISSAY Information Technology in Japan, which has partnered with IBM Japan to jointly build a cloud-based development and test environment to provide mission critical Web systems for Nippon Life Insurance.

The new cloud environment will allow NISSAY developers to procure new test and development environments in hours — a process that previously could take up to a month.

To prevent any impact on ongoing development projects and maintain test quality, NISSAY will maintain a traditional test environment that allocates resources in a fixed format. The new development and test environment uses IBM’s high performance UNIX server IBM Power Systems and the operational management software Tivoli Service Automation Manager.

The other was with the University of Bari (Universita di Bari) in Italy, which has selected an IBM System z mainframe as part of a cloud computing project to help local businesses, including fishermen, winemakers and trucking companies, adopt new business models.

The University of Bari is using an IBM System z mainframe and cloud approach as a test-bed for software, devices, services, laboratories and other technical instrumentation. 

This will allow multiple entities to tap into heavy-duty computing power at minimal cost and will lower the barrier to entry and help local businesses to benefit from this technology.

As an example, using a touch screen installed on fishing boats, local fishermen can immediately determine demand in local fish markets that on average handle 100 thousand tons of fish per year.

Directly from the boats, using simple touch screen systems, fisherman enter the type of fish caught just minutes ago and instantaneously start a virtual auction with wholesalers on the docks. 

If the auction price for a specific type of fish is too low, the fish can be thrown back or redirected to a nonprofit organization such as a soup kitchen. If the price is acceptable, the system automatically provides the necessary distribution between boxes to allow the fish to be packed before the boat arrives at the pier.

The University of Bari has also developed systems running on the IBM System z mainframe focused on wine production. 

Winemakers at up to 60 cooperative wineries are able to determine market demand for various types of wines by accessing the cloud computing-based systems, then package and ship wines demanding the highest price. 

The University of Bari is developing cloud-based solutions for southern Italy as part of the Daisy-Net consortium, which includes companies and universities from five regions of southern Italy. Daisy-Net researches, develops and provides transfer and training activities for new technologies in the information and communication technology sector and beyond.

The University of Bari cloud solution is built on an IBM System z9 Business Class mainframe running the Linux operating system, and includes DB2, WebSphere and Tivoli middleware from IBM.

You can visit here to learn more about IBM cloud computing.

Written by turbotodd

July 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Water In Washington

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While in Istanbul over the weekend, I had the opportunity to visit the Basilica Cistern, an ancient underground cistern used for drawing water during the Byzantine Empire.

The cistern is the largest of several hundred that lie beneath Istanbul, according to Wikipedia.  This one is just 500 feet west of the Hagia Sophia on the Sarayburnu peninsula.

It was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.  The picture below gives one a great idea of what the cistern looks like (although yesterday, it was a tad bit darker than this).


Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

But you don’t have to travel all the way to Turkey to learn how IBM customers ranging from holy empires to local governments are using analytics software to improve the delivery of water services.

DC Water (known as “DC WASA”), the District of Columbia water and sewage authority, has partnered with IBM to modernize the management of the aging water and sewer infrastructure hidden beneath the nation’s capital.

This sprawling infrastructure dates back to the 1800s and includes hundreds of thousands of assets such as water distribution pipes, valves, public fire hydrants, collection pipes, man holes and water meters.

IBM’s Global Business Services and Research arms partnered with DC WASA to integrate advanced analytics with asset management software from IBM and a mapping application from ESRI, an IBM Business Partner.

The availability of real time, map-based information and geo-analytics will help DC WASA engineers identify potential problems before they occur.

This can be done by analyzing an enormous amount of data and uncovering patterns related to weather conditions, water use and hundreds of other variables.

Check out the video below from IBM’s new Business Analytics YouTube channel to view a video case study about IBM and DC Water’s partnership to improve water service delivery for the citizenry of Washington, D.C.

Written by turbotodd

July 12, 2010 at 11:17 am

Crossroads Between East and West

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I arrived in Constantinople…err, Istanbul…over the weekend.

I’d never been to Turkey before now, so it’s been quite the experience.

I had no sooner been getting readjusted from the Bangalore time zone shift than I had to head back east, so melatonin is my new best friend.

Of course, much of the focus leading up to last night was the final match of the World Cup. I’ll concede that I was rooting for Spain (I caught the Spanish soccer fever two years ago when I was in Madrid and Spain was on its way to winning the Euro National championship), but it was a good performance by both The Netherlands and the Spanish sides.

I’ve seen some comments from friends and others that it wasn’t a very exciting game, but I thought, like a good and strategic chess match, it was well worth the staying up late for and the eventual Spanish goal.

Congrats to both teams, and to host country South Africa, for a very exciting 2010 World Cup. I wish I had been able to see more of the games, but it was definitely interesting to see during my travels the level of excitement and enthusiasm from so many across the globe.

I remember watching people watching games in the Houston airport, at a hotel bar in Bangalore, at another hotel bar in Istanbul, a Tex-Mex restaurant back in Austin…this World Cup really did seem to bring the world closer together, even if only for a short time. And I think even a few Americans got into watching the matches this go round, despite America’s early departure.

As to Istanbul, there’s not much I can say in a blog post that a picture or two can’t say for me. I’m very excited to be here to meet with our Central and Eastern European Web marketing team, and I’m also excited to be fortunate enough to check off another city on my world travel checklist.

For those of you who haven’t been here before, based on what I’ve seen thus far, the Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque are must sees here in Istanbul, as well as the Basilica Cistern (the Medusa heads in which are an eery and real world reminder of the power of mythology!).

In my short day of sightseeing yesterday, we were also able to take in a couple of nice ferry rides across the Bosphorus, eventually ending up wandering around the renowned spice market.

For now, my meetings are about to begin again, so I’ll hope to write more later. But in the meantime, here’s a couple of pics I took along the way with my new Minox “digital spy camera (DSC).”








The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey.


Istanbul, Turkey.

It’s the replacement for my Nikon Coolpix, the one I think I mentioned I somehow left by accident in the south of India, and what it lacks in pixels it more than makes up for in portability.

Witness Tom Cruise in the new movie "Knight and Day" and you’ll see the very same camera — although no, that’s not where I got the inspiration to acquire it.

THAT would come from the duty free cart on the Lufthansa flight back from Frankfurt to Houston!

Written by turbotodd

July 12, 2010 at 10:16 am

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