Kristi Browder currently serves as Connect's COO/Executive Director. Kristi has served as IT director for Silicon Labs and Motorola. She has extensive experience working with HP technologies. Kristi also served as president of Encompass, one of the 3 communities that formed Connect in 2008.
I left Dallas, Texas for London, just as the police were closing in on the second of the two brothers accused of being responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. Any excitement about my journey was shadowed by the overwhelming sadness I felt for what has happened to the people of the great city of Boston and the tragic explosion in West, Texas. After an extremely long trip with a seven hour layover in London, I reached Johannesburg, South Africa. I was greeted by SATUG member Deon Pohl who transported Neil Pringle (HP Director of NonStop Enterprise Division EMEA) and me to the Emerald Resort and Casino. Our most interesting sites while in route were a giraffe, a few deer and a Lamborghini. After a much needed rest, I attended a dinner sponsored by the NonStop partners supporting the event and SATUG. It is always great to reconnect (pun intended) with the partners and the community.
On Monday, the event opened with a presentation by Neil Pringle noting the increasing relevance of NonStop and the cost of downtime which involves getting systems back to a known state. Business resiliency goes beyond business continuity. IDC puts NonStop in the highest level of availability (AL4) which is defined as fault tolerant servers with 100% resiliency. Most of you who use NonStop know these facts, but for those of you who don’t here are a few:
NonStop has 100% availability (AL4)
NonStop has been here since 1974, over 38 years
10+ Billion transactions and over 68 million credit card accounts are annually run through NonStop systems. Open up your wallet and you will see NonStop.
Over 375+ million subscribers
Neil also showed a slide that revealed the cost of purchasing and running a NonStop system-the cost is actually less than running the equivalent LINUX system. In EMEA, the business drivers impacting customers are reducing costs and moving opex to capex. Customers are deploying blades and the NB54000c is the platform of choice because it has 2 times the performance capacity compared to the current NB5000c. Customers are modernizing operations, applications, and development. With the NonStop cost reduction- HP is able to spend more on R&D.
The remainder of the day was devoted to partner presentations. In the early evening we departed the hotel for a barbeque in the bush complete with a traditional African drum group. Given this is the beginning of winter in South Africa it was quite cold, so we were grateful to Bill Hollenstein for giving us our Gravic beanies to keep our heads warm. In spite of the blazing bonfires, the warm wine and company, and the plethora of meats, this Texas girl had to head back to the hotel early.
On Tuesday, the remainder of the partners presented and SATUG held a general assembly meeting. The closing speaker was Braam Malherbe, who is the author of the best seller “The Great Run – Conquering the sleeping Dragon”, which is an inspiring journal of not only his journey along the Great Wall of China, but his journey through life. Braam and his running partner David Grier achieved a world first by running the entire length of the Great Wall of China, a distance of 4,218 kms, at a pace of a marathon a day for 98 days. This expedition funded the inaugural mission for Operation Smile in South Africa, an international charity organization providing corrective surgery for children born with cleft lip and cleft palate disfigurements. He followed this run with another first by running a “Smile around South Africa” following the entire coastline from Namibia to Mozambique. He proved yet again, that with a great purpose and conviction, our mind can overcome all imposed limitations. He currently is motivating our world to become aware of and appreciate the connection we all have with animals and our natural world. He is taking the on-going assault on South Africa’s rhino population very personally and is heading an international crusade to protect the precious wildlife. Braam is a true South African hero in support of some incredible causes and charities.
Special thanks to Pieter Rostoll (SATUG Chairman) and the SATUG board for being such terrific hosts. These events would not be successful without the partner participation- many thanks to HP, Integrated Research, XYPRO, ETI-NET, comForte, Idelji, Gravic, and ESQ. Connect is honored to participate in our international chapter events.
Do you wish that WAN optimization was so easy that you could ask your kids to do the configuration and management? Well, we may have found your answer in the Riverbed® Cloud Steelhead® accelerator for accelerating your cloud applications. Last week we held a Connect to HP event with ESILUG in Washington DC. Cloud hosting and solutions was the theme of this event. Riverbed® graciously sponsored the event and gave a presentation on their cloud enhancing products.
I was once a Riverbed® Steelhead® customer and I can’t evangelize their products enough. I was working for a company that relied heavily on global designers in branch offices around the world. And as usual, IT was under pressure to consolidate data centers to cut costs and centralize support. While in theory this is a great idea, the execution can be very difficult. An application that has been optimized for your LAN does not perform as well in the WAN environment due to latency and bandwidth constraints. You have just shifted your distributed data center costs to needing bigger pipes and an optimized WAN. In particular, CIFS traffic, NFS, and MAPI can really tax your network performance. And, then along came Riverbed® Steelhead®. We were able to plug this appliance directly into our network on both ends and WAN utilization improved exponentially. In the last couple of years many large companies have shifted away from building large expensive data centers and started to shift applications to the cloud. Riverbed® has two products that both service the ability to move data faster into the cloud and access data for offsite storage and backup.
Riverbed® Cloud Steelhead® moves the data center into the cloud. It gives you the ability to interoperate with branch users, the data center, mobile users, and the public cloud provider. It comes configured with a simple portal-based management tool and a subscription based pricing model. Deployment is instant and cloning is easy. It has a seamless integration discovery system, and once installed the public cloud service provider does a rendezvous with the Cloud Steelhead®. In the data center you line up your servers with your Cloud Steelhead® and let these work together.
Compliance and SLAs have required the enterprise customer to have a high availability backup data center and storage in the case of a failure in the main data center. The costs of duplicating and facilitating a secondary data center are very cost prohibitive. Backup has evolved from data center to truck to vault. Many companies have moved to disk-to-disk VTL to a DR Site and many want to get out of the business of having to run a DR site at all and use a cloud service provider for cloud storage. It is elastic, lower cost, somebody else’s problem and highly available. IT still has many concerns about using cloud storage in regards to security, change management , rewriting applications and performance.
Riverbed® Whitewater™ is a cloud storage accelerator. It is targeting backup and archive data and is not used for demanding workloads. Riverbed® Whitewater™ enables data to get across the cloud faster, easier, more secure, and at a lower cost. It accelerates, de-duplicates, secures with encryption, and integrates into the storage cloud. It is proven! The product family consists of two physical appliances and one virtual appliance. It supports all major backup tool platforms, requiring no changes to your backup infrastructure.
Riverbed® is anywhere acceleration. At first when I evaluated it and saw the pricing, I thought how is this going to lower my costs? After researching all the infrastructure costs of doing it the old way it does lower costs. Once you price out a high-bandwidth fiber network, redundant servers and storage, power and cooling, and branch office performance, end-user satisfaction, the answer becomes simple. Speaking of simple, I have to mention the video of a six year old configuring a Riverbed® Steelhead®, it is just that simple, check out Jasmine the IT Kid at: http://youtu.be/d8G3K3hEE6U
Posted By Kristi Browder,
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Out of Africa
I had the pleasure of attending the SATUG (South African Technology User Group) meeting in Benoni, South Africa this week. Alan Dick (Connect Board Member) and I were offered a warm welcome from Anton Lessing the outgoing Chairman of SATUG. The other SATUG Board Members are Gary Rosslee, Brett Dismore, Pieter Rostoll (new Chairman), Kevin Barnard (HP Liaison). The first evening we attended a lovely dinner hosted by the SATUG Board and Andrew Hall of ETI-NET.
While in Germany last November the television coverage was all about the Royal Wedding. During this week of travel, Will and Kate pictures fell to page 8 in the local South African “Times”. Instead, we were greeted with “Home Affairs retains disgraced IT Company” in the local headlines. The Department of Homeland Affairs announced a settlement with IT service company, GijmaAST that will allow the company to continue with a multi-million rand project, despite legal advice that the contract was invalid. The contract was canned last year because of the company’s failure to deliver critical IT components of the contract for the soccer World Cup. Just goes to show that poorly manage IT projects occur everywhere in the world.
The SATUG meeting launched with a welcome to the 80+ delegates from Anton Lessing. Anton has been a member of SATUG since its inception in 1999. SATUG was one of the first ITUG RUGs to affiliate with Connect. Anton was followed by a presentation from Connect about the user group and future goals for the organization.
Michael Elsa from Intel presented on the Intel strategy for supporting Itanium Integrity and mission critical systems. Intel is building a smarter grid for smarter customers. Intel is the largest provider of silicon worldwide. For the server, storage and workstation market segments, Intel has 95% market share in the Xeon market. They want to double the size of Intel in 3 years. They see growth in smart phone and hand held, and they are aggressively going after Mainframe and RISC. Many customers moved from Itanium to Xeon and now they are moving back to Itanium Integrity for scalability and mission critical applications. Itanium serves the mission critical UNIX and mainframe market, Xeon serves the Windows and LINUX market. Price per watt per performance is what customers are looking for today. Poulson will launch in the first half of 2012 and advances the Itanium Architecture. Poulson has 3.1B transistors, a new architecture with 8 cores, a total of 54MB on-die memory, improved RAS and power management capabilities in a 32nm process technology. Poulson is socket compatible with Tukwila. Poulson will have new data and instruction pipelines, and increased instruction throughput. It will also feature error prevention and correction, end to end error detection, and improved firmware error handling. Global companies depend on Itanium for their mission critical IT infrastructure. There is no need to wait on Poulson, because it will offer socket compatible designs for future products with no recompilation required and industry standard DDR3 memory. Michael finished with a thank you from Intel to HP and the Connect user community.
Next Richard Buckle representing Comforte presented a session on Application Modernization on NonStop. Comforte has expanded into Singapore Pte and Australia Pty. There are about 60 people in the company, but there is an install base of over 500. Richard covered where to modernize in the following areas:
Improve reliability and productivity – reduce training time, reduce human errors related to tedious or complex operations
Reduce dependency on scarce skill set –hard to find people with Tandem specific skills
Achieve enterprise integration - leverage existing applications and IT investments for new business opportunities, make the island of information accessible to rest of your enterprise, be reactive to the business.
Richard was followed by Rob Leason a DBA from America Online. AOL runs NonStop on 65 servers. AOL migrated to NonStop for better performance, cost savings, and consolidation. They migrated for large queries, updates, maintenance, and availability. AOL broke the DB into partitions, running multiple queries, and combined results. AOL had to encrypt sensitive data, clean up mistakes, replicate between hosts quickly. 1000 TPS is not uncommon. Maintenance is easier because there are fewer reboots and it is easier to add CPUs, disks, and controllers. Database reorgs are done on the fly. NonStop is much more serious about availability than other offerings. NonStop Servers are expensive, but reduced staff, power, and hardware footprint make up for the capital investment. They have fewer hosts and the OS and DB are already integrated. They went from 40 instances on Sybase to one table and two indexes on the NonStop and moved from Sybase to SQL/MP. They added indexes and columns and migrated to hash distribution. The application is all OSS and AOL is moving everything to JDBC. The authentication machine does 50k I/Os/ second. Rob presented an excellent customer oriented view of the power of the NonStop solution in a real-time heavily transaction based environment.
And what would NonStop be without a presentation from Neil Pringle, the Director EMEA NonStop? NonStop is the industry’s most available and scalable server platform and most robust component in the Converged Infrastructure. The data center of the future is built on a Converged Infrastructure with always-on resiliency and flexibility with mission critical Converged Infrastructure.
How to accelerate time to Value? HP Point of view: Workload Optimization and Standardization.
HP is the largest provider of blades worldwide. Simplify your data center by consolidating applications on a common platform. Zero application downtime and linear scalability. HP released the quad-core blade system based on the Intel Itanium 9300 Series. The NV54000c extends the high-end NonStop family. Everything supported on the 50 is supported on the 54. Most of the development is done off board using modern development tools and you can move them onto the NonStop platform using the open applications development environment. Flexible apps can be built through Industry standard development and SOA tools.
NonStop will scale with the needs of the business. You can change database and systems while business is open with a small admin staff and out of the box availability.
An Alternative Approach to Enterprise Data Management
You can break free from Oracle database chains. People want databases that grow with the business without sacrificing performance, and meeting global business needs 24X7 that provide information at the right time, while avoiding complexity. NonStop SQL enables real time reporting and has linear scalability. Benchmarking against Oracle shows that nothings scales like NonStop SQL. Oracle throughput does not scale well and response time degrades severely. Multiple instances do not cache well with clustering in the UNIX space. NonStop SQL/MXS induced outages less than 2% in a year, and all except two of those outages were resolved on NonStop in less than three hours. Oracle requires complex RAC configurations to create a clustered database. NonStop SQL is delivered out of the box. It is cost competitive $30K to $95K on NS vs.$ 128k on Oracle. A major international supermarket store selected NonStop SQL to handle growth. They are now able to add twice as many stores, twice as much assortment and double the forecast period. And as Neil says, “the sun never sets on NonStop “.
Instant On - Kevin Banard
New servers provide the engine that drives the data in the Instant On. Virtual Connect will move into NonStop. Storage as a technology is driving toward a shared resource or thin provisioning environment. Network management is the heart and soul of a converged infrastructure, cloud, and Instant On enterprise. There is commitment to driving down the TCO in a matrix environment. During the course of next year possibly see a NonStop matrix to support the drive towards a private, public, or hybrid cloud. The matrix environment will reduce your operating cost by 50% vs. traditional infrastructure.
This is just a small sampling of what was presented at this conference. We closed out the conference with an outdoor barbeque out by the hotel’s resident cheetah. I am very impressed with the event the SATUG Board put together with minimal resources. This board is very forward thinking and they have some great things planned for the 2012 event.
Thank you SATUG, you rock! And a special thank you to the following vendors for helping to make this event a great success:
HP, Intel, XYPRO,NSK Systems, ETI-NET, Comforte, CSP, ESQ Business Services, BCX, ITI Gravic, IR
Posted By Kristi Browder,
Friday, February 11, 2011
Is it a toaster? Is it a microwave? No, it is a converged application appliance that you can deploy, in about an hour. HP and Microsoft recently announced four new appliances that meld the application with the infrastructure and management tools into a single system. So now you can bring up that new database server and messaging system in under an hour with minimal IT support.
I spent many years building and supporting data centers and application roll outs. It could take days or even weeks to get the right infrastructure in place with the 24/7 availability needed to support the enterprise. Now with the help of HP and Microsoft, you can just plug in a server and it is configured and managed right out of the box. This is the data center of the future that we all dreamed about. No more long nights configuring Exchange and Active Directory to expand your email system or to bring another server into the farm.
The new converged application appliances are the first systems designed for the IT professional. Finally, an application server that you can bring online and have it managed before you have lunch. The applications delivered are data warehousing, business intelligence, messaging and online transaction processing. IT can deliver faster and more stable solutions which is an obvious win for the business and faster ROI.
The HP Business Decision Appliance is a business intelligence solution that is optimized for Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint 2010. The end user can now share data analysis built with Excel and collaborate with SharePoint 2010 and have it managed by IT giving a turnkey solution for both the end user and IT. The appliances are open and based on industry standards so they can be easily integrated into midsize and large enterprise environments.
The HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance is optimized for SQL Server 2008 R2. This appliance improves data access with faster queries than traditional SQL Server deployments. Again, this appliance is administrator free so there is no need to spend time tuning your SQL Server database; it is optimized out of the box.
Probably my favorite is the HP E5000 Messaging System for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. This is the first self-contained messaging in box. No more countless hours of load balancing and managing mailboxes. This is a low cost appliance that make any IT staff look like a hero. It deploys quickly and features redundant hardware and software that continuously replicates data.
So the next time you are under pressure to deploy that database server or expand your email systems, take a look at the amazing appliances from HP and Microsoft. And it can all happen, in about an hour. To learn more got to http://www.hp.com/go/convergedapplicationsolutions/microsoft or attend the Connect to HP event in Washington DC on April 12, 2011. If you want more information on Connect events, contact us at email@example.com.
Posted By Kristi Browder,
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Who’s Got Your Back? The Importance of a Social Media Policy
While working for a government contractor in security, I kept hearing, "The biggest risk to your security is the insider threat.” In recent years we thought of an insider threat as a disgruntled or dismissed employee who hacks into your network and plants a nasty Trojan horse, virus, or worm . There is also the risk of someone stealing your corporate secrets or other proprietary information. Recently, there is a new kind of insider threat which is possible, the threat to your brand or social networking presence.
When we hire an employee to manage our social networking presence, there becomes a fine line with who owns the presence. Everyone who is anyone in business today recognizes some need for social media presence. Jobs are created for employees to participate in blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, and many other kinds of social media. Along with the job creation is a need for social media policies or guidelines. It is also critical to establish ownership up front when you have someone representing or employed by your company.
Recently, I heard of a situation where an employee had left a company. Along with the exit, went the keys to the kingdom. The admin passwords for the social media accounts went with the individual who refused to share them with the former employer. The brand that had been created and followers for both Facebook and Twitter were now the property of the person who had left the company. After much discussion with both Facebook and Twitter most of this was resolved. Facebook’s answer was, "Sorry, we can’t give you the password, but you can delete the page.” Twitter said, "If you can prove you have the trademark and own the brand we can give you the password but we need a signed affidavit.” The company’s legal counsel advised, "It is illegal to impersonate someone in social media and the FBI does get involved as it is a federal offense.” This situation had a happy ending for the company, but again it shows the value of establishing a social media policy and have it signed and reviewed by the employee upon hire..
Ownership and Security
Connect Worldwide Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are the branded property of Connect Worldwide and will be used to promote Connect Worldwide and its network of chapters and partners. The username and password as well as graphical branding of these accounts cannot be changed without written permission by Connect Worldwide’s CMO or Executive Director.
All blog content on Connect’s social network, myCommunity, should adhere to the policies set forth by Connect Worldwide and blogging privileges can and will be revoked for misuse, misrepresentation or policy violation.
Identity – You need to be transparent
If you are blogging on behalf of Connect you need to identify who you are and what role you play in the organization. If you are a Board member you will be considered as someone speaking on behalf of the board. If you are an employee you will be speaking on behalf of Connect staff.
Share your knowledge, but know what you are sharing
Make sure you are posting in your area of expertise. Connect members come to our site to get answers and advice on HP and partner products and services. If you are uncertain of the validity of your answer, you need to disclaim it in your post. Remember perception is reality. If you are creating the perception that you are an expert, then the public will believe you are an expert. Never post confidential or proprietary information. If you post something by mistake admit it and quickly correct it.
Be professional and respectful
It is good to create excitement and healthy debate. If you think the dialogue is crossing the line and becoming inflammatory it is ok to not respond. As you are writing your posts, review them before you hit send and if you have the slightest doubt about your post you may want to sleep on it or get a second opinion before you hit send. Once it is out there, it is hard to take it back. Personal attacks on companies or people can follow you forever. Even worse, it can follow the company or the employee forever.
Be a leader and create excitement
Discussion and content is what brings people back to our site. If you have a new product or service brag about it and you might get feedback from others. Stay well informed and inform others. Find something new to discuss on the site every week, even If you don’t have the time to start the discussion until a later date. Keep a list of topics that are important to you. We can find you an expert to get the dialogue flowing.
This policy applies to all forms of social media, wikis, and blogs for personal and professional use. Connect reserves the right to withdraw certain posts and remove inappropriate comments. Connect reserves the right to update and modify this policy as needed and will distribute it to the staff and volunteers.
Posted By Kristi Browder ,
Friday, December 10, 2010
During my many years of supporting IT for semiconductor it
was obvious the importance of having data available, timely and global. Design Centers are stretched across the
globe to get the maximum amount of resources available 24X7. In our ever increasing virtual office,
Network Attached Storage (NAS) has become more important. DreamWorks uses it to expand their animator
talent pool and for animation rendering.
Semiconductor uses it to increase their design team availability and leverage
lower cost resources across the globe. Snapfish
uses it to store 5 billion unique photos on 12 pedabytes with only 5 system
administrators. Snapfish is forecast to grow to 25 pedabytes in 2011. The emerging market for NAS is around
consumer data for multimedia. We all
have our cameras, video devices, and as a result thousands of photographs that
have become an everyday occurrence in our digital world. It won’t be long
before NAS will be just another appliance in our home.
While attending the Connect Storage and Networking
Conference I attended a session given by
Adam Tekieli and learned about the X9000 which is the NAS solution from HP that
is the result of the IBRIX acquisition.
I found this product to be one of HP’s best kept secrets. Having worked with competitor products over
the past several years, I always found the price of entry did not satisfy the
overall price of operation. While the
solution works very well on its own, it is the add-on software costs that make
it really work. The X9000 has no add-on
software costs and everything is done over the GUI. It has a non-hierarchical architecture so
data is balanced over all segments and segment servers act as an inode. So data is in continuous remote replication
and in parallel. Each segment server
acts in parallel on changes. Storage
continues to grow and consume IT budgets.
The IT staff is tasked with finding ways to move data from tier 1 to
tier 2 storage and continue to provide high availability to the data. With the X9000 software you can manually run
these tasks or schedule them. Adam is a
System Engineer and EMEA Presales Consultant with the HP StorageWorks NAS
Division and we were able to catch him on video to give us some more details
about the X9000.