EDGE Rocks!
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  Posted June 22nd, 2013 by Zdenko  in Edmonton | No comments yet.

Technical event review

By: Zdenko Kahlina

Technical EDGE Conference & Technology Expo
Just like many times before during my professional IT carrier, I was once again attending the Information Technology (IT) conference. The conference was organized by IT giant IBM and was this year called ‘IBM Edge’. IBM acronym stands for International Business Machines.

DSC_1302Opening speach by Stephen Leonard, IBM General Manager, Sales, Systems & Technology Group

This was actually three conferences in one: Executive Edge for the high-level executives, Winning Edge for the Business Partners, and Technical Edge for storage administrators and IT manager/directors. I attended the latter. This event was in Las Vegas (NE) from June 10 – June 14.

DSC_1288Mandalay Bay hotel was perfect host for the conference

IBM Edge 2013 provides technical training to IT management and professionals faced with the challenges of storing rapidly growing amounts of information, needing to stay responsive to a changing business environment and controlling costs.

IBM builds all types of computers, from laptops to mainframes. They have a reputation for having reliable, cutting EDGE technology (hense the name of this conference).

DSC_1242Welcome sign at the Mandalay Bay hotel

DSC_1240Conference Registration desk

In 2013, this event was focused on virtualization of existing storage infrastructures and the issues surrounding acquisitions, planning and implementation of IBM new storage technologies and solutions to enable smarter computing. More than 4,700 attendees gained a better understanding of IBM’s new integrated collaboration of hardware/software solutions. They learnt about the latest enhancements to the IBM System Storage portfolio, all of which support virtualization, openness and innovation. Over 350 sessions addressed the hidden costs, complexities and inefficiencies to manage and protect multiple storage solutions and terabytes of data.

Edge2013 Event Streams

  • Executive Edge: (June 10-12) This 2.5-day exclusive event for IT executives and leaders focuses on how leading companies are transforming their infrastructures to sharpen expertise, discover new innovations, and learn industry best practices.
  • Technical Edge: (June 10-14) This 4.5-day technical event for IT professionals and practitioners features cutting edge education, hands-on labs and on-site certification geared for all levels and taught by IBM distinguished engineers, leading product experts, clients and IBM Business Partners.
  • Winning Edge: (June 12-14) A 3-day storage and optimized IT solutions sales training boot camp available exclusively to IBM System Storage and System x Specialty and Specialty Elite Business Partner sales professionals, provides a unique opportunity to receive in depth sales education from recognized subject matter experts while networking with team IBM.


Team Canada event
For all the Canadian attendees, the conference began with the Sunday evening reception organized by IBM Canada at the Mandalay Bay ‘Border Grill’ restaurant. To my surprize, there were more than 200 people at this event. IBM hosted some of the industry’s top analysts and press at an invitation-only reception. Several other IBMers were there, including Barry Whyte, Steve Kenniston, Nikki Rich and Ron Riffe. This event was organized by IBM Analyst Relations, including David Rasmussen and Leanna Holmquist. Thank you guys for the invitation!

I would have never imagined this many Canadians were attending the conference. Good Mexican food was served during the event as people were socializing and exchanging their professional experiances.

DSC_1301General Session was opened by a band called ‘Delta Rae’

Conference Review:
The opening General Session was kicked off on Monday by an awesome drumbeat-heavy song performed by a band from North Carolina called [Delta Rae]. Their use of drums reminded me of Adam Ant. Deon Newman, IBM VP of Marketing, Systems and Technology Group, North America, served as today’s master of ceremonies. He was pleased to announce there were more then 4,700 attendees at this event – representing more than 60 countries – a huge increase over the attendance they had last year.


Here are my notes of the opening General Session:

Stephen Leonard, IBM General Manager, Sales, Systems & Technology Group
Consumers expect an always-on technology experience. We, as consumers, are leaving a trail of data that is getting wider and wider every day. Data is the new “natural resource”, but plentiful and never ending.

In 1996, about 29 percent of IT spend was for administration and management, today it has grown to 68 percent. Some 34 percent of IT projects deploy late.

Stephen emphasized the themes of Smarter Computing: (a) systems that are designed for the data, (b) software-defined environments, which are (c) open and collaborative.

Stephen cited a customer example from [Jaguar Land Rover], a manufacturer of sporty automobiles and rugged 4×4 vehicles. IBM developed a ["Virtual Dealership"] for them. Rather that trying to maintain additional physical bricks-and-mortar facilities, which can be expensive to staff and fill with vehicles across their wide portfolio, the virtual dealership allows prospective customers to try out vehicles through simulation. This virtual dealership could be taken to where prospective clients are, such as a sporting event or shopping mall.


Ed Walsh, IBM VP of Marketing, System Storage and Networking
Ed presented the “data economics” of all-Flash arrays. IBM recently acquired Texas Memory Systems, and renamed the RamSan products to IBM FlashSystem, and committed to invest an additional $1 Billion US dollars in flash technologies.

On a $-per-IOPS basis, IBM FlashSystems can be 30 percent lower total-cost-of-ownership TCO than disk-based alternatives. The cost of Flash is offset by 17 percent fewer servers from having higher CPU utilization rates, resulting in 38 percent lower software license fees. Flash is also more efficient, with 74 percent lower in environmental costs, and 35 percent lower operational support costs. For many situations, Flash is the solution for poorly written software applications.

Ed also mentioned IBM’s strong support for open source and open standards. Over the past 15 years, IBM as been a major contributor for open source efforts like Linux, Eclipse and Apache. IBM continues that tradition, with contributions to OpenStack and Hadoop.

DSC_1305FlashSystems – new technology

Without going into any details, Ed also hinted that IBM announced 65 new or refreshed products in Storage, Networking and PureSystems. The details of each announcement would be explained during the break-out sessions during the week.

DSC_1309This was a storage conference

Technical Edge Tracks
Technical Edge featured 16 education tracks consisting of over 350 technical sessions taught by IBM Distinguished Engineers, leading product experts, clients and Business Partners. It is where IT professionals and practitioners focused on sharpening their expertise, discovering new innovations and learning industry best practices.

This 4.5 day technical event for IT professionals and practitioners features cutting-edge education, client case studies, hands-on labs and on-site certification.

DSC_1307The Digital revolution

Session highlights:
Here are just a few of the sessions offered at IBM Edge2013.  These are some of the hot topics on the agenda!

•        Overview of IBM’s Big Data Strategy
•        Where to Put the Flash in the Data Center
•        The Dark Side of the Cloud
•        Hadoop: It’s Not Just About Internal Storage
•        The Future of Analytics Infrastructure
•        Introducing IBM Storwize® V3700 Entry Level Virtual Storage System
•        Introducing IBM PureFlex™ Express, Standard and Enterprise
•        How the IBM FlashSystem™ Architecture Delivers Differentiated Business Value.
•        Simplifying the Tivoli Storage Manager Administrative Experience with the New Interface.
•        IBM PureApplication System Technical Overview
•        The Emerging IT Threat Landscape

DSC_1340IBM FlashSystem – replacing disk storage

All Flash
I was mostly interested in sessions about new ‘Flash’ technology. Flash storage is about more than just data capacity. It is about optimizing critical applications and infrastructure to drive real-time strategic decisions and actions that enable business to compete, innovate and grow. Sessions in this track focused on exploring how the latest in micro-latency flash storage and other advances are revolutionizing application performance and creating macro efficiencies across the data center and the business. We heard from technical experts and directly from clients how IBM is helping organizations like ours leverage optimizing technologies like flash and automated tiering.

DSC_1326The Solution Center at Mandalay Bay

Enterprise virtualization
Enterprise Virtualization is a comprehensive approach to virtualization that enables enterprises to reap the benefits of virtualizing the entire data center – including complex, mission-critical applications and infrastructure such as analytics, ERP and online transaction processing. These advanced virtualization capabilities can ensure application and service availability; scalability and security while reducing total cost of ownership. 

DSC_1332Zdenko browsing products at The Solution Center

DSC_1342Another midrange IBM Storage Subsystem

Product updates
The world is continuously changing and so is the technology needed to stay ahead. IBM has an industry-leading roadmap to drive increased efficiency, agility and self-optimization. In this track, you’ll hear about some of the latest IBM Storage, System x and PureSystems product enhancements to help you stay ahead of the pace and gain greater competitive advantage moving forward.

DSC_1336Sofisticated  new IBM DS8870 Enterprise Storage Subsystem

Storage solutions for mainframe environments
As the gold standard for truly enterprise-class computing, the System z mainframe relies on enterprise-class storage that is powerful, secure, and flexible enough to support its tremendous capabilities. In this track, we learned how IBM Smarter Storage is meeting that challenge head on with integrated solutions to satisfy the world’s most demanding workloads. 

Topics included discussions on advanced mainframe storage optimization technologies, such as High Performance FICON for System z, IBM System Storage Easy Tier, List Prefetch Optimizer, I/O Priority Manager, z/OS Discovery and Auto Configuration, HyperSwap, and IBM Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS).

DSCN2663Latest technology – PureFlex

Solution Center
The Solution Center featured over 50 companies showcasing the latest around cloud, big data and analytics. This was the chance to talk to experts from leading companies in storage, networking, PureSystems, x86 and virtualization just to name a few. This was the perfect place to network, learn and explore new technology. And yes, I was collecting all the free gadgets from different vendors as souvenirs from the conference.

DSC_1321World-class entertainment with Jim Gaffigan

Evening Entertainment Passes 
Conference attendees enjoyed world-class entertainment with Jim Gaffigan and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings on Monday night and Fitz & the Tantrums with Young the Giant on Tuesday night. I did not attend these events, but I heard it was awesome and everyone had good times!

DSCN26662013 Edge rocks!

At Edge2013, we could also hear from several IBM executives and innovators, along with more than 30 client guest speakers.  In addition, some of the IBM customers were also sharing their best practices.

Edge 2013: My final thoughts
I think the Edge 2013 conference was a huge success. Almost 5,000 technical people attended the conference in person and many more participated via the conference live stream. Edge2013 featured over 350 technical sessions, the first-ever Managed Service Provider Summit, client success stories, top shelf entertainment and around-the-clock networking. Almost perfect organization of all events during these five days made us very satisfied. I still wonder how they managed to feed 5,000 people within one hour lunch break. By the way, food was delicious. Hats down to Mandalay Bay staff!

We all left Edge 2013 with the skills needed to manage storage growth, accelerate cloud deployments, unlock insights from big data, and secure critical information and processes to achieve real business results.

I hope to be back next year at Edge 2014!

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