Posts Tagged ‘IDAA’

IBM Big Data Innovations Heading to System z

April 4, 2013

Earlier this week IBM announced new technologies intended to help companies and governments tackle Big Data by making it simpler, faster and more economical to analyze massive amounts of data. Its latest innovations, IBM suggested, would drive reporting and analytics results as much as 25 times faster.

The biggest of IBM’s innovations is BLU Acceleration, targeted initially for DB2. It combines a number of techniques to dramatically improve analytical performance and simplify administration. A second innovation, referred to as the enhanced Big Data Platform, improves the use and performance of the InfoSphere BigInsights and InfoSphere Streams products. Finally, it announced the new IBM PureData System for Hadoop, designed to make it easier and faster to deploy Hadoop in the enterprise.

BLU Acceleration is the most innovative of the announcements, probably a bona fide industry first, although others, notably Oracle, are scrambling to do something similar. BLU Acceleration enables much faster access to information by extending the capabilities of in-memory systems. It allows the loading of data into RAM instead of residing on hard disks for faster performance and dynamically moves unused data to storage.  It even works, according to IBM, when data sets exceed the size of the memory.

Another innovation included in BLU Acceleration is data skipping, which allows the system to skip over irrelevant data that doesn’t need to be analyzed, such as duplicate information. Other innovations include the ability to analyze data in parallel across different processors; the ability to analyze data transparently to the application, without the need to develop a separate layer of data modeling; and actionable compression, where data no longer has to be decompressed to be analyzed because the data order has been preserved.   Finally, it leverages parallel vector processing, which enables multi-core and SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) parallelism.

During testing, IBM reported, some queries in a typical analytics workload ran more than 1000x faster when using the combined innovations of BLU Acceleration. It also resulted in 10x storage space savings during beta tests. BLU acceleration will be used first in DB2 10.5 and Informix 12.1 TimeSeries for reporting and analytics. It will be extended for other data workloads and to other products in the future.

BLU Acceleration promises to be as easy to use as load-and-go.  BLU tables coexist with traditional row tables; using the same schema, storage, and memory. You can query any combination of row or BLU (columnar) tables, and IBM assures easy conversion of conventional tables to BLU tables.

DancingDinosaur likes seeing the System z included as an integral part of the BLU Acceleration program.  The z has been a DB2 workhorse and apparently will continue to be as organizations move into the emerging era of big data analytics. On top of its vast processing power and capacity, the z brings its unmatched quality of service.

Specifically, IBM has called out the z for:

  • InfoSphere BigInsights via the zEnterprise zBX for data exploration and online archiving
  • IDAA (in-memory Netezza technology) for reporting and analytics as well as operational analytics
  • DB2 for SQL and NoSQL transactions with enhanced Hadoop integration in DB2 11 (beta)
  • IMS for highest performance transactions with enhanced Hadoop integration  in IMS 13 (beta)

Of course, the zEnterprise is a full player in hybrid computing through the zBX so zEnterprise shops have a few options to tap when they want to leverage BLU Accelerator and IBM’s other big data innovations.

Finally, IBM announced the new IBM PureData System for Hadoop, which should simplify and streamline the deployment of Hadoop in the enterprise. Hadoop has become the de facto open systems approach to organizing and analyzing vast amounts of unstructured as well as structured data, such as posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, online transaction records, and cell phone location data. The problem with Hadoop is that it is not intuitive for conventional relational DBMS staff and IT. Vendors everywhere are scrambling to overlay a familiar SQL approach on Hadoop’s map/reduce method.

The new IBM PureData System for Hadoop promises to reduce from weeks to minutes the ramp-up time organizations need to adopt enterprise-class Hadoop technology with powerful, easy-to-use analytic tools and visualization for both business analysts and data scientists. It also provides enhanced big data tools for management, monitoring, development, and integration with many more enterprise systems.  The product represents the next step forward in IBM’s overall strategy to deliver a family of systems with built-in expertise that leverages its decades of experience in reducing the cost and complexity associated with information technology.

Updated Software for IBM zEC12

October 11, 2012

Everyone gets excited by a new piece of hardware, but it is the software that enables the new machine to work its magic. This certainly is the case with the zEC12. On Oct. 3 IBM announced  upgrades to zEnterprise workhorse software like CICS, Omegamon, Cognos, and zSecure intended to better tap the capabilities of zEC12. Even IMS and Sterling are getting a refresh.

Also getting increased attention is Netezza, which has emerged as a key component of IBM’s data analytics approach. Netezza enables IBM to counter Oracle’s Exalytics, another in-memory data analytics appliance. In fact, IBM’s announcement of the newest PureSystems, the PureData System, earlier this week gives IBM another counter punch.

For the zEnterprise IBM adds a flexible storage capability that provides the performance of the IDAA while removing the cost of storage from the z. Netezza will work with whatever IBM storage the organization prefers.  A new incremental update capability propagates data changes as they occur, making it possible to analyze activity almost immediately. This resolves the problem of the data currency, in effect providing as close to real-time analytics as most organizations will get or need.

CICS, which already had become a mainframe workhorse through SOA and web services, now adds rich cloud capabilities too. CICS v5.1 brings new web app capabilities built on the WAS Liberty Profile. New PaaS capabilities enable it to host SaaS apps based on CICS applications. It also employs a new lightweight Java web container that combines Java Servlets and JSPs with fast local access to CICS applications.  IBM reports the enhanced CICS v5.1 delivers a 25% performance gain.

Various online discussion groups are buzzing about the zEC12 software enhancements.  A sampling:

  • IBM provides DB2 10 performance enhancements for z/OS. As importantly for mixed platform (hybrid) shops DB2 10 LUW (Linux UNIX Windows) also will provide similar performance improvements.
  • There is added support for Oracle’s PL/SQL for DB2 10 for stored procedures and Oracle application interfaces for Java, Pro*C, Pro*COBOL, and Forms.
  • IBM also announced significant transactional performance improvements when running WebSphere on the zEC12.
  • IBM has started a Beta Testing Program for the new CICS Transaction Server 5.1 release that has a significant number of enhancements to support Web Applications and CICS application modernization, mainly through IBM’s Rational HATS.
  •  IBM has also improved performance of the C/C++ V1.13 compiler, Metal C feature of the IBM z/OS XL C/C++ compiler; and PL/1 V4.3 compiler for the zEC12.

Maybe less of a buzz generator but IBM Sterling gets a boost with the Sterling B2B Integrator V5.2.4 and Sterling File Gateway V2.2.4 for integration and file-based exchanges. IBM’s zSecure suite V1.13.1 brings new integration with QRadar, expanded integration points with DB2, enhanced RACF database cleanup capabilities, and support for the new enhanced CICS Transaction Server.

IBM also used the announcement to promote the relaunch of zEnterprise Analytics System 9710 (previously called IBM Smart Analytics System 9710) an unusual combo data decision system for analytics. It joins high performance data warehouse management with System z availability and recoverability using the z114. When the IDAA is added the result is a hybrid system of MPP and SMP technologies that combines mixed workload capabilities—both transaction and high speed analytical applications—on single platform tuned for operational business analytics.

Independent Assessment, publisher of DancingDinosaur, has finally released its newest white paper, zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX): the Case for Adopting Hybrid Computing. It is the most updated look at the zBX yet, including details on the zEC12. Available for free. Click here.

zEnterprise Use Cases Start Rolling In

January 27, 2012

IBM has become more forthcoming with information about the initial zEnterprise hybrid computing users. This is a welcomed development.

These organizations adopted the zEnterprise and the zBX to run a hybrid (mixed platform) computing environment, not just as a bigger, faster z10.  What those organizations are doing—the use cases—is essential information if an IT manager is to seriously consider adopting a hybrid computing strategy.

A few names already have trickled out. EUROCONTROL, one of the more recent, was reported at DancingDinosaur here. EUROCONTROL is the European air traffic control organization. Its goal was to streamline operations and reduce costs. IBM put out a news release on it here, in November. Then in December, IBM unveiled BG Phoenics, a European IT services provider, here.  BG Phoenics turned to hybrid computing—two z196 machines, two zBX cabinets with POWER7 and System x blades in a cluster running Linux, DB2, WebSphere, Tivoli, and more to reduce server and management sprawl.

An interesting data warehousing use case is Nova Ljubljanska Bank (NLB), a Slovenia bank. IBM provided the bank with a new z196 and business analytics capabilities. The analytics initially took the form of the Smart Analytics Optimizer but with plans to upgrade to the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA), a blade that incorporates Netezza capabilities. The system also included the zBX, Linux on z, and DB2 for z/OS. The goal was to speed up the processing of financial queries. Complex queries that previously had taken up to 1.5 hours to complete can now be completed in seconds. Check out the NLB video here.

A utilities company that previously ran Power Systems switched to the z196, zBX, POWER7 blades, DB2 v10, and SAP to support growth that would drive its previous production throughput of 80,000 bills/hour to over 150,000 bills per hour. Actually the system turned out to be able to scale above 400,000 bills per hour, more than enough to support an anticipated 30 million added customers over the next 18 months. The z196 was configured with 100 GB of memory, 7 CPs and 7 zIIPs.

So, zEnterprise hybrid computing use cases are starting to be published. Certainly more details are needed, not only on the speeds, feed, and configurations, but also implementation details, the choices that were made, and the organizational challenges that had to be overcome.  Have no doubt, hybrid computing entails significant organizational challenges starting before the machines even hit the loading dock. Also needed is third-party validation. But this a welcome start.  DancingDinosaur is looking forward to more.

At the same time IBM unveiled the recent use cases, it also offered some details on zEnterprise and hybrid computing adoption. For example, approximately 100 organizations took zBX cabinets and over 950 blades have been shipped.  Last fall that number stood at around 80 zBX cabinets shipped. And despite weak sales performance in the Q411, the amount of z MIPS shipped in 2011 still grew 16%. Also, a full complement of zBX blades now are shipping: POWER7, System x blades for Linux and for Windows, and specialized blades like the IDAA and DataPower.

The IDAA is an interesting computing story that delivers startling performance and is only available for the zEnterprise, a situation IBM makes clear is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.  The IDAA enables the zEnterprise to be extremely cost competitive at BI analytics when put up against long time BI leaders like Teradata and Oracle Exadata.  At some point DancingDinosaur will take a closer look at the IDAA.

And just in case you thought the zEnterprise is going away anytime soon, don’t worry.  The trends are headed in the zEnterprise’s favor. IBM added 62 mainframe clients in 2010, 76 new mainframe clients in 2011, and expects to hit 100 or more in 2012. Remember all the pundits over the years who predicted that the mainframe was a dinosaur heading to extinction? Don’t bet against the zEnterprise.


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