Archive for November, 2006

Get online with WSDM

I like scheduling calls for my morning drive to the office. It is a good time for me, I’m alert, I can be focussed on two things at once, and despite the complaints about the traffic in and around Austin, I can make from my downtown SoCo house to the IBM Office on Burnet Road in north Austin comfortably in 30-mins, usually 20-mins.

This mornings call was with Trevor to go over a number of virtualization related topics, including things like partition migration, hosting partitions or as a prefer to call them, service partitions, virtualization management, blade virtualization and more. I pointed him to the Virtualization white paper, and before I knew it I was sitting in the building 045 parking lot.

What we didn’t get to discuss was WSDM and its use to manage and monitor virtualized enviornments including partition, virtual machines and service partitions. Mike Baskey, another Distinguished Engineer and I used to work together in the on demand team, Mike has now moved over to SWG and is leading the Infrastructure Solutions, Networking and Management Standards effort. He is also the current chair of the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).

Mike and I had a long conversation about WSDM last night and recent developments, plans etc. It reminded me of a number of customer related projects and how WSDM is a great solution to expose all sorts of system information via a vendor independent way. WSDM can be implemented easily, it can expose native resources or can be used with a WS-CIM bridge which allows existing CIM instrumented resource to by exposed and managed through WSDM.

If the industry gets behind WSDM it would be great. No more proprietary interfaces to hardware and software for management. The ability to manage and monitor devices, servers, storage and virtualised resources irrespective of platform or vendor. Management apps can be built in a modular fashion by linking services, in fact this is a key way that operating systems and systems management products can be built as independant services, much like a service oriented architecture for infrastructure.

When I had a few minutes this evening, I went away to find a good source of education, and some samples and examples of WSDM that I can have a refreshed on over the weekend. I found this excellent page on IBM Developerworks.

Written by Dan Jemiolo, an advisory software engineer at IBM, it looks like a great place to start. If you are involved with more than one systems platform, have systems from multiple vendors including IBM and Cisco it might well be worth taking a look at this and installing the samples and creating a WSDM server interface for an HTTP server with Apache Muse.

Let me know how you get on, or if you have any comments.

ps. Tomorows drive and talk is with an account team on how their customer can exploit the IBM Dynamic Infrastructure for mySAP and their System p servers.

The cat is out of the bag for Power7

Well the news is out that IBM has been selected by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a machine that provides 100 times the sustained performance of today’s general purpose supercomputers and is dramatically simpler to program, administer and use.

The machine will be Power7 based to be delivered in 2010 and beyond and will include, the AIX® operating system, IBM’s General Parallel File System, IBM’s Parallel Environment, and IBM’s Interconnect and Storage Subsystems — technologies that are key to IBM’s commercial product portfolio.

The DARPA project is one of the drivers for the n+1 generation of System p servers as the solution delivered to DARPA has to be a “commercial off the shelf” (COTS) system. However there are some really exciting things that we will be doing that go above and beyond the DARPA project that will change the face of enterprise computing, especially in total cost of ownership (TCO).

You can read the formal press release on the DARPA project here.

Meanwhile, much to do before then on both system design, packaging and software exploitation much of which will come with the Power6 based servers slated for 2007.

Virtualization whitepaper

In repsonse to a couple of emails and an earlier request I have placed a copy/link to the “Virtualization Technology Outlook and IBM Directions” paper from July this year on the “Books, White papers etc.” page.

The paper is derived from a presentation by IBM Fellow and Chief  Virtualization Technologist Jim Rymarzyck. The paper is a useful, brief overview and introduction to the types of virtualization and its’ key attributes.

WebSphere and System p

One of the things I’m really interested in at the moment is the mapping of classic virtualtion to application virtualization. Think using logical parttions to run web services.

I’ll retrun to this topic a lot in upcoming blogs, to explore he technology and opportunites for my current project. In the short-term I’m focussing on the opportunities for IBMs’ WebSphere application server to exploit the full dynamic function of IBM System p, dynamic logical partitions. I needed to start by getting a better understanding of the structure of WebSphere and the interaction model between its’ different components. Having looked at a number of the product manuals, I came across this IBM Red piece, WebSphere V6.1 Technical Overview, excellent!

Graphical LPAR Monitor for System p5 Servers

The IBM Austin briefing center have released their excellent GUI interface for monitoring IBM System p logical partitions and their performance and resorce utilization.

It’s a free download from Alphaworks. For more information and download see here.

Open Source at IBM

A useful new web page has been put together to describe and link to the key open source projects at IBM http://www.ibm.com/opensource

It contains information on the “Open Source beyond Linux” initiatives announced at LinuxWorld in August 2006 as well as Web Application Servers, Client (as in client/server) Collaboration, Software Development, Database Servers, Storage Management, Database Servers, Blade.org and Power.org, Globus Alliance and Grid Offerings, and Open Source Services.

A. Seven – Q. Ways to measure progress ?

Some how I should have guessed that as soon as I restarted my blog a load of opportunities to comment would come up, that wouldn’t have been there if I didn’t have the blog….

I’ve just been catching up with Brian Peacocks IBM Internal blog, its great to see Brian still blogging, he is currently theme-posting, blogging on single themes. This weeks theme is careers. In his introductory(internal) post Brian muses that he thinks it would be good if “one of the Execs (VPs) wrote articles explaining the career path that ends up with an Exec position, something that many of us would find fascinating.”

I don’t think I can offer that but I can offer my “Seven Ways for a technical person to measure their career progress.” Continue reading ‘A. Seven – Q. Ways to measure progress ?’


About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.


I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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