In my last blog, I announced that I’ve moved into a new role, focusing on improving the overall experience for Tivoli Storage software customers and users. One of the areas that is a prime focus for me is the initial experience customers have with our products, and anything that can be done to make them easier to acquire, install, configure and gain fast time to value is of huge interest to me.
One way to achieve these goals is through a fully integrated, easy to use, yet enterprise class appliance. There are many backup appliances on the market, and to make it easier for you to choose the right one for you, analyst firm DCIG (dcig.com) recently published the comprehensive 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide. This guide can be downloaded for free from http://backupapplianceguide.com/. In it, they analyze, rank and provide details on 66 backup appliance models from 13 vendors. This report includes only appliances that integrate backup software with server and storage hardware, and astutely excludes deduplication and virtual tape appliances that require a separate backup application to drive data to them.
DCIG’s plan was to rank the appliances into Basic, Good, Excellent and Recommended categories, based on a proprietary methodology with weighted measurements for a broad range of features and functions. But something interesting happened on the way to the publication of this guide: they found that one appliance, the STORServer EBA 3100, out-ranked the others by such a wide margin that they felt compelled to create a new category just for it: “Enterprise.” The STORServer EBA 3100 is the most scalable of STORServer’s offerings that are built on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager backup software, IBM System x servers and IBM System Storage, and they wrap it all in their own simple, intuitive user interface.
Tivoli Storage Manager provides industry leading levels of functionality, scalability, reliability, performance and return on investment. As such, it can require an experienced hand to properly install and configure it to gain the maximum value. STORServer does all of that for you, leveraging many years of best practice experience, pre-installing and configuring the software, and delivering a ready for action solution.
I recently learned of a hospital local to me, Cooley Dickinson in Northampton, Massachusetts that realized the value of the STORServer solution to both centralize their formerly siloed approach to backup, but also to enable disaster recovery and business resilience capabilities.
If you are looking to improve your backup and recovery capabilities, due to problems with the scalability, reliability, functionality, performance or operational costs of your current solution, take a look at STORServer. It may be the quickest and easiest way to fix your backup and disaster recovery capabilities.
To learn why IBM Tivoli Storage software may be the right solution for you, whether you or not you decided to deploy it in an appliance, click here.
"The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."
Server virtualization and storage virtualization go hand in hand. Centralized, virtualized storage is crucial for advanced server virtualization to be flexible and easy to manage.Companies are realizing that to unleash the real potential of cloud agile infrastructure, storage virtualization has to become mainstream like server virtualization.
For many companies, there is a constant need for additional storage resources to supportgrowing volumes of information.And if you don’t focus on managing your storage infrastructure, you can find that one virtual server is running out of storage capacity, even while there is ample capacity in other parts of the network.
With storage virtualization, companies now can make better use of existing investments in disk capacity and can often postpone the need to purchase additional capacity. As storage becomes virtualized, it becomes easier to manage and helps companies to adapt to business needs much faster.And not to forget, it actually costs less!
Have you heard? I am sure you have... but if not, check it out!
On October 3, 2012, IBM announced significant enhancements to the Tivoli Storage Management family of products...
Highlights of the IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager V6.4 family include: - Performance enhancements with progressive incremental backup for virtual environments, removing the requirement to perform periodic full backups in a VMware environment for Data Protection - Self-contained, application-consistent backup for Microsoft™ Exchange and SQL Server running on VMware Simplified deployment and configuration when integrating with VMware vCenter for Data Protection - Enhanced recovery performance and reporting of VMware environments - NetApp SnapMirror and virtual controller support for NetApp snapshot-assisted progressive incremental backup - Complex password support and improved user authentication and management by integration with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) - Enhanced Cognos® reporting to monitor backup and archive environments - New support of data protection and recovery for SAP HANA in-memory databases
Highlights of the IBM® Tivoli® Storage FlashCopy® Manager V3.2 family include: - Integration with Metro Mirror and Global Mirror functionality on AIX® , HP-UX, Linux™ , and Solaris with IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller and IBM XIV® Storage Systems to provide application consistent backup and restore at a remote facility for improved disaster recovery - Integration with N series and NetApp snapshot functionality to provide application consistent backup and restore on AIX , HP-UX, Linux , Solaris, and Windows™ platforms. - Advanced data protection and recovery features for VMware vSphere environments - Import VSS Snapshots only when needed to improve backup performance and management of flashcopies - Enhanced data protection capabilities for Microsoft™ Exchange 2010 Database Availability Groups (DAG) - Tivoli Storage Manager integration for File System and Custom Application support on Windows Usability, scalability, and performance improvements in Microsoft Windows graphical user interfaces (GUIs)
In many organizations today, storage replication is riddled with manual errors and/or poorly written in-house scripts that often provide no view of overall copy environment status. Additionally, setup and ongoing management of large-scale copy services is increasingly becoming cumbersome. Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) enables simplified yet comprehensive control over replication process. With the release of TPC v5.1 in June 2012, the replication management capabilities are now well integrated into the TPC core license.
TPC extends support for FlashCopy, Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, and Metro Global Mirror sessions. While providing central view of the replication environment, TPC provides end-to-end management and tracking of copy services, including both planned and unplanned disaster recovery procedures. In addition, TPC enables practice volume sessions that allow storage managers to test their DR environment without interfering with daily DR operations.
The following new capabilities were added to TPC v5.1:
Failover operations that are managed by other applications Applications such as the IBM Series i Toolkit, VMware Site Recovery Manager, and Veritas Cluster Server manage failover operations for certain session types and storage systems. If an application completes a failover operation for a session, the ‘Severe’ status is displayed for the session. An error message is also generated for the role pairs for which the failover occurred.
Additional support for space-efficient volumes in remote copy sessions You can use extent space-efficient volumes as copy set volumes for the following IBM System Storage® DS8000® session types: • FlashCopy® (System Storage DS8000 6.2 or later) • Metro Mirror (System Storage DS8000 6.3 or later) • Global Mirror or Metro Global Mirror (System Storage DS8000 6.3 or later)
Reflash After Recover option for Global Mirror Failover/Failback with Practice sessions You can use the Reflash After Recover option with System Storage DS8000 version 4.2 or later. Use this option to create a FlashCopy replication between the I2 and J2 volumes after the recovery of a Global Mirror Failover/Failback with Practice session. If you do not use this option, a FlashCopy replication is created only between the I2 and H2 volumes.
No Copy option for Global Mirror with Practice and Metro Global Mirror with Practice sessions You can use the No Copy option with System Storage DS8000 version 4.2 or later. Use this option if you do not want the hardware to write the background copy until the source track is written to. Data is not copied to the I2 volume until the blocks or tracks of the H2 volume are modified.
Recovery Point Objective Alerts option for Global Mirror sessions You can use the Recovery Point Objective Alerts option with IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server® Model 800, System Storage DS8000, and System Storage DS6000™. Use this option to specify the length of time that you want to set for the recovery point objective (RPO) thresholds. The values determine whether a Warning or Severe alert is generated when the RPO threshold is exceeded for a role pair. The RPO represents the length of time in seconds of data exposure that is acceptable in the event of a disaster.
For the past 4+ years at IBM, I was the worldwide product marketing manager for the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) family of data protection and recovery solutions. But as of a month ago, I am now in a brand new role, Customer Experience Product Manager across the Tivoli Storage software group.
I’ve been asked to bring together various IBM business functions to help identify areas for customer experience improvement, measure success, and generally be the champion for all things that will help address a customer’s experience with our products.
In addition to reading and learning and reaching out to like-minded people, my initial efforts have been to assess where we are and the progress we’ve made to date. For example, we’ve made tremendous progress within the TSM family over the past 4 years starting with the release of TSM v6.1 – adding in valuable features such as deduplication, replication, monitoring and reporting, while also streamlining and unifying the user interface. We also introduced a new pricing model that makes it much easier to acquire, manage and forecast your backup software licenses.
The next release of the TSM family will be announced in early Q4-2012, and it will include some exciting enhancements to improve the user experience in TSM, TSM for Virtual Environments and Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager. And next year we’ll be rolling out a brand new user interface that promises to make the day-to-day administration of TSM much, much easier.
We’ll also be rolling out the IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center, our storage hypervisor that was pre-announced at PULSE in March, and it promises to do for storage what VMware and others have done for servers: improve utilization, simplify management, and reduce costs. There are many upcoming events in October that will feature these Tivoli Storage product announcements, and we hope you can join us to hear more details. They are:
Your experience with our products is only one pillar in the building that we’re trying to construct. How does it tie in with your interactions with our marketing and sales teams? Does our story match our solution capabilities? Are you getting what you were promised?
Does the product documentation provide the answers to your questions, or help to avoid needing to ask the questions at all?
And what about support? A recent survey by STORAGE Magazine of enterprise backup software users rated IBM #1 in the category of support. But what can we be doing better, or differently, to keep you delighted in your relationship with IBM?
At the end of the day, I’m looking at this role in 2 ways: - What can we fix or improve? - How can we ensure that everything new that we do is viewed through a customer experience lens?
To be successful, I’m going to need the help of a lot of people who have a vested interest in our success – across all facets of our business, but especially from our customers and partners. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas or comments.
"The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."
Recently, I had the distinct pleasure to deliver
a presentation on Data Storage and Compliance at the IBM Tivoli event 'Business
Without Limits 2012' in Bangalore,
India.There are more than 100 attendees who
attended the event from almost every industry.
My Track for the day: Addressing Data Growth, Threats and Compliance; Unified
The volume, velocity and importance of data have
increased dramatically during the past few years to the point where most backup
and archiving solutions can't keep up with the scalability, functionality,
performance, reliability and budget realities of today and tomorrow. Attendees
understood how to reduce backup data capacity by as much as 95%; how to reduce
the amount of new data at risk by 90% or more; and how to simplify global data
recovery operations and achieve compliance by leveraging a unified management
I was privileged to present in such an interactive
session, where customers understood how our broad product portfolio will help
in addressing their business challenges.
IBM now brings ‘Business Without Limits 2012’ to several cities across the United States
in October and November.This is an
exclusive IBM Tivoli event designed to increase awareness and thought
leadership among the IT managers, Infrastructure leaders, Systems
Administrators, Storage Managers, and Data Center Managers. IBM’s Business
Without Limits event is coming soon to the following cities:
The event will focus on how IBM’s Integrated Service Management strategy
brings together the different capabilities to enable integrated delivery of
business services across complex, interconnected physical and digital
IBM’s Business Without Limits event will have the following Storage Tracks:
the pivotal role of storage in modern data center
backup and unifying recovery
your data protection headaches to the cloud
storage analytic and reporting
This conference will explore how you can capitalize on the opportunities of
a smarter planet and remove the barriers to innovation that will help you
achieve “Business without Limits.”As
today’s leaders are transitioning to smarter, flexible cloud infrastructures
that speed the delivery of innovative products and services, effective storage
management becomes a critical component of that success.Please join us at this event to learn more!
IBM Systems & Software InterConnect 2012 is almost here! Are you registered yet? IBM is inviting more
than 2,500 global leaders in business and technology to attend this
first-of-a-kind, cross-IBM event taking place October 9-11, 2012, at the
Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore.
Join us at InterConnect and you will learn directly from successful IBM
clients, technical decision-makers and industry experts who will share best
practices for achieving your organization’s strategic goals. They'll explain
how they’re fulfilling the vision of their senior leadership – so you can
define a path to turn your opportunities into outcomes.
What is InterConnect really about?Making connections.As an
attendee, you’ll have numerous opportunities to network and meet one-on-one
with your peers, IBM leaders, industry experts and global companies that are
achieving accelerated growth.
You will also have the opportunity to participate in rich "Hot
Topic" sessions hosted by senior IBM thought leaders that showcase
successful business strategies that leverage the breadth and depth of IBM
·Changing the Economics of IT with IBM
·Leveraging Security Intelligence to
Protect Your Most Valuable Corporate Assets
·Rethink IT. Reinvent Business with Cloud
·Transforming Critical Business Processes
·Unlocking Opportunities with Big Data
·Gaining Competitive Advantage Through
·Creating Exceptional Experiences By
Combining Social and Commerce Best Practices
·Speeding Innovation and Extending Reach
·Transforming IT for Insight and Efficiency with Smarter Storage
·Enabling Growth with Critical Information
In the Smarter Storage session, you will have the opportunity to hear
directly from IBM’s General Manager of System Storage & Networking, Brian
Truskowski, as well as Laura Guio, VP & Business Line Executive for IBM
Storage. Attend this session to gain valuable insights from clients who are
transforming their business with IBM Storage solutions, while meeting budget
constraints at the same time.Learn best
practices for optimizing your storage management performance and cost, and find
out how IBM Storage can increase the return on investment of your existing
The Smarter Storage session will also feature key Tivoli storage announcements focused on
storage virtualization and taking your storage to the cloud.You won’t want to miss this!
As an IBM marketing manager, my job includes writing about storage technology.This post is about more than technology, though.It’s about a new breakthrough capability for managing storage costs and service levels.
I recently met with IBM Distinguished Engineer, Mike Sylvia, who has been working on a Business Transformation project to enable automated right tiering for storage in IBM data centers.Right tiering is the notion that data should be hosted on the optimal storage tier to balance cost and performance requirements.
Mike explained that applications tend to be hosted on top tier storage.When he analyzed actual usage patterns, Mike found most data can be effectively hosted on lower cost storage.Mike’s project put numbers to a problem that is often hidden from view and, until now, nearly impossible to solve.
Hosting data on the wrong storage tier turns out to be a huge efficiency problem.Mike predicts IBM will save $13 million over 3 years in one data center, by periodically moving data to the right tier.During the pilot, users saw their cost for storage drop by 50% per TB on average.This is big.
Like many advancements, IBM’s automated right tiering capability is accomplished by integrating existing technology.Mike Sylvia’s project combines storage virtualization, storage management automation and analytics.Today, IBM offers the technology in a bundled solution called SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center.
How does it work?
Step 1.IBM’s storage virtualization controller collects detailed usage metrics about storage it manages throughout the data center, without impacting application performance.
Step 2.IBM’s Storage Analytics Engine studies usage patterns over time to understand performance requirements.
Step 3:Storage tier recommendations are generated in reports that can be shared with application owners and IT management.
Step 4:Storage virtualization enables online data migration, with no disruption to applications or users.
Repeat:Usage patterns change over time, of course, so right tiering becomes an ongoing process.
Why does it work?
Automated right tiering delivers the efficiency benefits of Information Lifecycle Management without the headaches and hidden costs.Automated right tiering has significant benefits for both data owners and IT leaders, so everyone wins.
For example, application and database owners can gain the following benefits:
Applications can move to top tier storage when they need it, without waiting for a maintenance window.
Average storage costs drop significantly, without a drop in services.
IT leaders benefit, too.For example:
Storage tier decisions are based on analysis of actual usage patterns, not predictions.Storage performance management tasks are eliminated.
Data can quickly and easily be moved back to its original storage tier if requested, without incurring an outage.
IBM automated right tiering works with most storage systems, so deployment is nondisruptive.
The technology that enables automated right tiering has significant additional benefits, such as the ability to eliminate scheduled outages for storage system maintenance.
Problem solved.How has your organization addressed the storage right tiering challenge?
Backup 1000 virtual machines in less than 36 minutes
Is it possible to achieve higher levels of data protection, recovery and availability for the virtualized systems than in your non-virtualized environment? Yes, is what you will hear from IBM and VMware at VMworld® 2012.
We’re all aware of how data protection and recovery has only gotten more complicated with the explosive growth in server virtualization. Applications running on virtual environments are becoming even more critical for business success, and the data volumes residing in virtual environments are growing in leaps and bounds. Also, given the shared physical resources of ESX/ESXi systems, a smarter approach to I/O intensive processes such as backup and recovery are needed.
As a virtual environment user, if you’re looking for faster backup and restore for the VMware datastores, then IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager Version 3.1 (referred to as FCM 3.1) is the answer. It is designed to handle high demands - but how quick can it be?
Seeking to expunge all doubts, and recognizing the demand for efficient and fast backup of virtual machine data residing in VMware datastores, the Tivoli Storage Manager performance team carried out a benchmark test.
To assess how fast FCM 3.1 can meet the data protection demands from VMware virtual environments, the team conducted tests on VMware environments that have up to 1000 on-line virtual machines with a total capacity of 18 TB of disk space.
The results were astounding. Test results for up to 1000 virtual machines (the maximum tested) showed that FlashCopy backup elapsed time increases linearly with the number of virtual machines: * 500 virtual machines can be backed up by FCM 3.1 in 15 minutes
* 1000 virtual machines can be backed up by FCM 3.1 in 36 minutes
So how is this useful to you? FCM 3.1 provides:
* Simplified deployment and management of advanced, application-aware data backup * Improved backup and recovery times from hours to minutes * Improved administrative productivity by simplified management and automation of routine tasks
IBM Tivoli Storage Software ROCKS for the 6th Straight Quarter
IBM announced its second quarter earnings yesterday, 18 Jul 12, showing great results in very a difficult macro economic climate. In his remarks on the investor call, IBM Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge specifically called out Tivoli Storage as a strong contributor to these results:
"In software this quarter, we had good growth in our business analytics and storage management offerings ... Tivoli software was up 6 percent at constant currency and gained share, driven by storage software growth of 13 percent at constant currency. Tivoli Storage Management continues to perform exceptionally well, growing double digits at constant currency for the sixth consecutive quarter ... Storage hardware revenue was flat at constant currency, with the value continuing to shift to software, as you saw with the ongoing success we’re having in our Tivoli storage software offerings."
The success of Tivoli Storage Software is largely the result of the strong growth of the Tivoli Storage Manager family, our flagship data backup and unified recovery management platform. This is obviously a very competitive and highly saturated market segment - everybody has a backup solution in place - and it's a segment that is projected to grow only 8% this year. So why is Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) doing so well? We believe its because the requirements for data protection have changed dramatically over the past 3 to 5 years, and we've made the improvements to the product necessary to meet and stay ahead of those challenges.
1. Data is growing at 40% - 60% per year, and legacy backup software, especially those solutions that rely on adding media servers as they scale, cannot keep up with this growth. TSM has seen an 800% increase in it's scalability since 2009, now supporting up to 4 billion data objects in a single TSM server.
2. IT environments have become increasing complex, and important data assets are now created and managed in more places than ever before. Many companies have deployed a wide range of point solutions to handle the different requirements of key applications, virtual machines, remote offices, employee workstations, disaster recovery, etc., but this only brings in more cost and complexity to the point where you lose visibility and control of the overall data protection infrastructure. TSM, however, offers a true Unified Recovery Management platform that ties all of these advanced technologies together in a single user interface, making it easy to ensure everything is protected and can be recovered quickly when something goes wrong.
3. Costs are out of control - mostly due to points 1 and 2 above. Backup is really just an insurance policy - it doesn't add anything to the top line, so you want to spend as little on it as possible. To address this, we've added tons of new capabilities into TSM at no additional cost, including built-in data deduplication and off-site replication, and we've introduced a back-end capacity pricing model that encourages you to take advantage of TSM's outstanding data reduction and data lifecycle management capabilities to further reduce your overall cost of ownership.
We are seeing many customers consolidate their diverse backup infrastructures onto the TSM platform, and we are also seeing success with Managed Service Providers (MSPs), some through the "Backed Up by IBM TSM" partner program, leveraging TSM to offer enterprise-class data protection services to small and medium size businesses and agencies that could not otherwise afford this level of protection.
To learn more about how Tivoli Storage Manager can improve the performance and efficiency of your IT environment, please contact your local IBM rep or Business Partner. We would love to have you be part of our continuing growth and success.
"The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."
IDC has recently released its Worldwide Storage Software QView for the first quarter of 2012. In it, IDC estimates that the total Storage Software market for 1Q12 grew about 3.3% over 1Q11.IBM had a solid quarter while Symantec faltered, allowing IBM to take the overall #2 share rank position for 1Q12.
§In the Overall Storage Software Market, IBM moved up to #2 share rank position in 1Q12, gaining 2.0 share points over 1Q11.
§IBM retained its #1 position for Archiving Software growing faster than the market.HP holds #2 spot with its 2011 acquisition of Autonomy.
IBM offers a comprehensive, flexible storage management software portfolio that helps organizations address storage management challenges across the enterprise, including data centers, remote/branch offices and desktop/laptop computers. Learn more about the specific components within the IBM storage software family that can help you create a more responsive and resilient storage infrastructure for your on demand business.
Most compelling in this announcement is the continued adoption of the XIV user experience across the IBM storage family. When IBM acquired XIV in 2008, it brought along arguably the coolest user interface in the storage market. It is simple and intuitive, easy to navigate, and yet provides powerful levels of visibility and control of the storage environment.
Here’s what the new TPC V5.1 main dashboard looks like:
But what was most exciting for me, as the product marketing manager for the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager family (http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/storage-mgr/productline/) was the “Statement of Direction” that was included in the TPC V5.1 Announcement Letter. In it, IBM states that it intends to adapt this advanced administration GUI for use with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager. Woo Hoo!!
This intuitive GUI approach is already being used across the IBM storage portfolio of software and systems: the new Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller, IBM XIV Storage System, IBM Storwize V7000 Unified, and IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage (SoNAS). Customers can leverage this user interface consistency to simplify the management of various systems within their data center such as unified recovery, enterprise storage administration, and individual storage systems.
Tens of thousands of Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) administrators have “learned” to love TSM’s command line interface, and it will continue to be the fastest, most powerful approach to managing your TSM environment. But to attract a new generation of users, and to expand our market into new areas, we believe that this new user interface will be another huge step forward.
Starting with the release of TSM V6.1 in 2009, our developers have continued to make significant improvements to the daily lives of TSM administrators, including (but not limited to):
Replaced TSM’s internal relational database with a full DB2 implementation, reducing overall TSM administration time by as much as 40% and enabling massive scalability
Improved reliability, performance and availability
Automatic push of client software updates (80% time savings)
Integrated reporting and monitoring, with Cognos Business Intelligence Reporting tools to help generate custom reports faster
Unified Recovery Management to manage the entire distributed backup/recovery infrastructure, from mainframe to laptop, from a single admin interface
A new capacity-based licensing model that eliminates the need to count TSM PVUs (processor value units)
The thought of a new Tivoli Storage Manager Admin Console, leveraging the success seen across the storage hardware family (and now TPC as well) and providing a common look-and-feel across our hardware and software offerings, is something to get really excited about. I can’t tell you when it’s coming, and we can’t make any promises that it’s coming at all, but I’m pumped.
The plan will be to roll out functionality in the new UI incrementally. If there are any specific things, beyond the obvious basic functions, that you would like to see in the first release, please drop me a note at email@example.com and I will forward it to Product Management.
Disclaimer: IBM's statements regarding its plans, directions, and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice at IBM's sole discretion. Information regarding potential future products is intended to outline our general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information mentioned regarding potential future products is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. Information about potential future products may not be incorporated into any contract. The development, release, and timing of any future features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion.
"The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."
Mike Griese, TPC Product Manager, presented Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v5.1 to a huge gathering at IBM Edge on the opening day. The video is now available on Youtube. ___________________________________________________________ To view more videos from IBM Edge, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/IBMEDGE2012 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Posted on behalf of Martine Wedlake, Ph.D., Storage UI Architect, IBM Software Group
From talking with customers, we know that it's really important that you find what you need quickly and easily. The original navigation structure for IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) was built around a resource explorer model -- very much like a windows file explorer. This unfortunately, means you can have a ton of entries in the navigation that you'll need to hunt through to find anything.
For example, I took a look at one of our TPC deployments in the lab and started counting the number of clickable entries in the navigation -- I stopped counting once I got to 1000. Based on how far I got through, I'd say that there were about 1500 or so. I should point out, that this is not a particularly large deployment -- 25 storage systems, 7 servers, 4 hypervisors, 5 fabrics with 46 switches. You can expect a much larger set of entries on larger deployments.
So, we knew pretty early on that we needed to improve the navigation. To do that we switched from a resource explorer view to a by-category view. This allowed us to dramatically simplify the navigation to only 13 high-level categories and no more than two levels deep. No more hunting and pecking to find what you want!
We also made it possible to directly link to the things you want without having to go through the navigation at all. For example, for an SVC storage system's detail page you can link directly to the set of backend controllers in your environment consuming the storage. You don't need to go back out to the navigation menu and then try to track down the servers all over again. Here’s a picture:
The overall concept is whenever you see something interesting; you should be able to drill-down into it. In addition to the navigation of the product, we've spent considerable effort to make the content of the user interface easier and more intuitive; and to make it consistent with the work we had done previously on the Storwize V7000 and SAN Volume Controller user interfaces – if you've seen one of our GUIs, you'll be able to get up to speed quickly on any of the others.
To that end, we borrowed significantly from the Storwize V7000 GUI, for example: configurable tables, visual theme, embedded help system, charting and general icons. Here’s a screenshot of Storwize V7000 GUI to help show the similarities:
Beyond these cosmetic enhancements, we spent a lot of time working with our stakeholders to deliver the content in an intuitive and simplified way. Knowing what to put on the pages and how to simplify the pages involved a dramatic shift in our development process. But, before I move on to that, I really need to highlight the improvements made with reporting.
In this release, we've embraced the Tivoli Common Reporting which includes IBM Cognos. This is a huge step forward for improving your ability to view and create reports for TPC.
To start with, you will not need to know SQL or database schema to create reports -- the drag and drop interface allows you to simply incorporate the data columns you wish to show and Cognos already understands the relationships between the entities. For example, let's say you want to show the volumes connected to a given server. In Cognos, you simply add columns for the Server Name and the Storage Volume into the canvas. The tool already understands the relationships between these entities and will automatically join the data appropriately to show which volumes are mapped to which servers.
Of course, we also provide upwards of 45 or so reports out of the box for those who don't wish to create reports themselves. Another neat feature is that the reports included with TPC can be copied and edited by the built-in editor tool within Cognos, so you can take one of our reports and modify it to your liking. Here are some of the reports that are included with TPC:
Working with our customers is part of the most rewarding aspects of my work here at IBM. For this release of TPC, we employed a radically different development model from what we have done in the past. We like many in the industry used to develop in a methodology called waterfall where requirements are captured and approved at the beginning of the project which leads to a phase of high-level and low-level designs, leading eventually to development, test and delivery to customer. For this release of TPC, we wanted to include customer input throughout the development cycle -- not just at the beginning when collecting requirements.
As such, we hosted 17 sessions with 34 customers, 7 business partners and 4 internal customers spread throughout the development cycle (held monthly). We also sent developers and GUI designers out into the field to talk directly with 7 customers. From these combined sessions, we captured 261 distinct requirements and were able to contain 188 of them within the first phase of development, with 47 being deferred into the second phase. That means that 72% of the requirements are already implemented in the first phase alone, and 90% of the requirements are expected to be implemented by the second phase. This is very impressive, as compared against traditional waterfall development.
The best part of an iterative, agile approach is that we are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of the solutions. We learn right away if something isn't quite hitting the mark, and have plenty of time to make changes to improve it.
As a quick plug, it is not too late to participate in our Early Adopter Program for the next phase of TPC. Please feel free to contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to participate. We would love to work with you to make TPC even better.