Monthly Archives: July 2009

Cloud Workshops Now Available

Yesterday I mentioned our new arrangements with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and cloud computing.  Since this is all new, we’ve created two workshops – and we’re planning more – to help get you started:

For startups: Running IBM on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Server (S3): Learn how to use IBM product images in the Amazon EC2 to create and deploy applications in the Amazon cloud. We will show you how to add your own product functionality to the IBM images by rebundling them.  More info here…

Getting started with IBM software on Amazon Web Services featuring sMash & DB2: Learn how you can get an existing application up and running in the Amazon EC2 environment with pre-loaded IBM middleware.  Details here…

You can contact your local IBM Innovation Center to find out about these and other upcoming workshops for partners.

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IBM Software available in the cloud….

Given all the excitement around cloud computing, as I travel around meeting with partners I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about the IBM-Amazon partnership to feature our IBM Software on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform.

Quite simply, clients told us that they wanted IBM software available on AWS and we’re delivering it.  Customers and developers can now use IBM software on a public elastic cloud environment.  Our partnership provides a new “pay-as-you-go” model that provides unprecedented access to development and production instances of many IBM software products.

There are three ways to take advantage of this cloud solution:
1) Development and Test Environments – Those of you building commercially available solutions can access IBM Development Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) that include product-level code – with all features and options enabled on a scalable, secure, and cost-effective cloud computing environment. You pay AWS only for your time and the capacity – there is no charge for the IBM software component.  Have a proof of concept project?  Need to do some training and don’t have idle server capacity?  Use any of the Development AMIs in EC2 and only pay for the minimal EC2 charges which start at just $0.10 an hour.  Find out more here!

2) Production Environments – All developers and customers can run development and full production instances of IBM software for an hourly price per instance and these can be used for revenue generating activities (unlike the development only environment above). The Production AMIs include the IBM software, the Novell SUSE operating system and the Amazon EC2 service for a single hourly charge per instance.  All charges are billed by Amazon Web Services and use of service is governed by Amazon Web Services.

Do you have an event you’re planning?  To get the project moving quickly and avoid lengthy procurement cycles and capital expenditures etc, you can get started in a matter of minutes with the WebSphere Portal Server with Lotus Web Content Management AMI.  You pay hourly for use – there’s no license, no contract needed.  And – you can bring down the site when the event is over without a penalty or additional charges.  Details are  here!

3) Run your existing IBM Software in the cloud – new licensing guidelines now allow you to run your already-purchased IBM software on Amazon EC2.  Do you have licenses sitting idle because you can’t get the hardware in place?  Just need more compute infrastructure? You can now move your licenses into the cloud without additional capital expenditures for your customers!  Here is how to get started with BYOL….

Let me know if you are using these environments and how it’s working for your business!

Energy and Environment most need to get smart!

As a follow-up to my post yesterday about Smarter Utilities – a colleague pointed me to the ibm.com smarter planet site today since it has been running a poll to determine which industries most need to “get smarter globally.”

I’m a bit surprised that there’s such an large agreement on the industries that need to get smarter – Energy Production and Environmental Protection, as seen below.

ibm poll2

Feel free to check out the site and vote!  I’ll check back in a few more days and see how if and how it’s changed!

My first taste of Smarter Utilities

As I caught up on the pile of “snail mail” at home this past weekend after being gone on holiday to the beach for a week (photo below) – I opened and almost

Beach Holiday 2009

Beach Holiday 2009

discarded an envelope from our local power company here in North Carolina, Progress Energy.  Since I pay the bill with a checking account debit and we keep our house fairly efficient to keep costs low (78-82 degrees in the summer, and ~67 degrees in the winter), I rarely read all the inserts that some with each statement.

But this one was different – it was an invitation to join the Progress Energy Residential Load Control program.  Under the program, customers can volunteer to join the Progress smart grid, enabling the utility to add a smart device to the customers’ AC unit that allows Progress to cycle the unit off for up to 15 minutes per hour during peak demand times when the electrical grid is experiencing extreme loads.   Besides the benefit of supporting the environmental value of this, customers who opt in are given a $25 annual credit on their bill.

While this might seem minor and is just a small step toward a full Smart Grid, Progress Energy claims in their regulatory filing for this and other related programs that they will achieve nearly 450 megawatts of peak-demand reduction, the equivalent of several large power plants. That’s a lot of power consumption savings.

The company has proposed a 50/50 shared- savings model, under which the costs and benefits of these programs will be evaluated together, and the benefits of reducing peak electricity demand will be shared between customers and the utility. The model is consistent with the provisions of the North Carolina’s energy bill enacted last year.

Given all the focus on green energy lately, it’s encouraging to see it trickle down to my neighborhood.  I’m also intrigued by the shared cost savings model that they articulate – a 50-50 shared savings model with the consumer, which seems pretty equitable to me.  As my wife and I talked about it, it was a pretty short “why WOULDN’T we do this?”  Not only do we help the environment, we get a cost savings, all for a few minutes of potential reduced cooling during peak week day loads. And I suspect that’s just what Progress was hoping for  – the “why wouldn’t we do this” reaction.

Today Progress extended their program further with launch of a twitter ID – EnergyAdvisors – that they will use to tweet energy saving tips to consumers.  Some green tweeting!

I find their approach an interesting contrast to another vendor, in a different industry who could take a similar approach – Charles Schwab & Co brokerage.  As I’m sure many of you do – I receive a pile of mail from them related to the various accounts I have (Retirement IRA statements, Education IRA statement, etc) at the end of each quarter.  While they offer to send the statements to me electronically, given the importance of financial records for tax purposes, I am a bit old-fashioned and still prefer the paper copy. Since each envelope Schwab sends me costs them $0.26 in bulk postage, and probably ~$0.04 to print, that’s $0.30 per envelope.  And I get typically 5 envelops per quarter, costing them $6.00/year  If however, Schwab offered to share the cost benefit with me of stopping these mailings – and agreed to deposit 50% of the savings in my account each quarter – then I might reconsider.  Over 25 years (assume costs are linear for simplicity) – that would add up to about $150 in savings – $75 for me and $75 for them.  Multiply that for Schwab (or any other brokerage) times  >1M account holders and they would see a material bottom line benefit.     Maybe they should consider this type of shared benefit incentive to go green!

Just over a week ago – IBM also extended our commitment to help companies and clients “go green” by announcing the creation of the Green Sigma coalition. The coalition members will work with IBM to integrate their products and services with IBM’s Green Sigma (TM) which applies Lean Six Sigma principles and practices, to employ real-time metering and monitoring with advanced analytics and dashboards.  This will allow clients to make better decisions about energy and water usage, waste and GHG emissions to improve efficiency, lower costs and reduce environmental impact.  So far it’s been pretty well received in the industry as evidenced by the praise from IDC.

What experiences do you have on incentives to “go green.”  Let me know!

mikeriegel1@gmail.com