IBM Extends Support Options to Include PostgreSQL

Posted by Kim May on May 16, 2018 under DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, PostgreSQL, TFG Blog.

IBM’s strategy is difficult to understand at first, but often makes eventual sense.  There’s been a great deal of discussion recently about the future of Db2.  Db2 on the mainframe has an established customer base consisting of some of the planet’s largest and busiest organizations.  While many of these organizations are continuously searching for better, faster and/or cheaper technologies, the mainframe continues to deliver and justifies continued Db2 for z/OS investment.

Db2 for LUW, on the other hand, has always been a technical leader, but expensive, and a support challenge.  Never a market leader, Db2 for LUW has suffered in the marketplace from a lack of skilled DBA’s and Developers, and IBM’s inability to deliver affordable and consumable Db2 for LUW training has hampered DIY customer efforts to “build” DB2 support teams.  For many years the snob appeal of great technology that only a few understand seemed the most promising approach.  This, however, does not seem to have driven many customers to Db2 for LUW.

So the IBM teams are taking some interesting new approaches to Db2 for LUW and their distributed data management tools.  The “Flex Pricing” announced earlier this year enables customers to purchase solutions within 3 broad product groups (core databases, data governance and management tools and analytic solutions) and re-purpose the license entitlements within the product groups as their business needs change.  This won’t excite anyone making an initial purchase but may translate into “found money” sometime down the road.  It’s a great idea.

IBM has also been working on new strategies for distributed database support and recently announced a support offering for – drum roll – open source databases.  The one that interested me initially was PostgreSQL, as many Db2 customers use Postgres within their organizations, and it has many similarities with Db2.  IBM sellers are now actively promoting IBM’s Postgres support offering, along with services to support Postgres.  One IBM seller reached out to me recently about a customer considering purchasing Postgres support along with Postgres support services, and through my search for a Postgres Architect, I met a terrific consultant named Joel whose background includes database design, application architecture, hiring a Postgres development team, managing DBA’s, etc., etc., etc.  As a Db2 snob, I was super impressed!  And by the way, he’s available if you are considering your first Postgres application…

The IBM support deal is through the Subscription and Support program.  The annual cost to purchase support for one Virtual Core License (explained in the attached Announcement Letter) is $1000 per year.  What do you get?  According to the announcement,

While your Software Subscription and Support is in effect, IBM provides you assistance for your routine, short duration installation and usage (how-to) questions, and code-related questions. IBM provides assistance by telephone and, if available, electronic access, only to your information systems (IS) technical support personnel during the normal business hours (published prime shift hours) of your IBM support center. (This assistance is not available to your users.) IBM provides Severity 1 assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For additional details, see the IBM Software Support Handbook. Software Subscription and Support does not include assistance for the design and development of applications, your use of programs in other than their specified operating environment, or failures caused by products for which IBM is not responsible under the applicable agreements. “

If your organization is giving Postgres a look please let me know – I would love to introduce Joel and connect the dots to enable your organization to access IBM Support for Postgres.

PostgreSQL Database Support IBM Announcement Letter

Congratulations Double Champion Frank!

Posted by Kim May on March 5, 2018 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Stars, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, TFG Blog.

Frank’s on a roll – he recently received notification his US Secret clearance was approved and learned this morning he’s been named an IBM Champion in a second category – IBM System Z – making him a “Double Champion” in both System Z and IBM Analytics.  And he recently earned his Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect certification so he can help Db2 for LUW users deploy on the Amazon cloud when, you know, management tells them they must.

Frank is juggling a couple current projects and managing The Fillmore Group’s consultants.  If you are in need of IBM System Z and/or Analytics education, consulting, staff augmentation or purchasing assistance he would be happy to chat with you about how our team can help.  And don’t forget to congratulate him – he is one of four consultants recognized by IBM for the “Double Champion” status!

The Fillmore Group’s capabilities statement listing all the areas where we can help is attached.  Take a look – and to Frank say,

CHEERS!!!!

The Fillmore Group Capabilities Statement 2018

First Half 2018 Classes Posted at www/ibm.com/training

Posted by Kim May on December 14, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, BLU Acceleration, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, Global Skills Initiative, IBM DB2 Services, IDAA, pureScale, TFG Blog.

The Fillmore Group 1H 2018 Class Schedule

As an IBM Business Partner that truly believes that proper training is one of the most critical factors influencing the successful deployment and use of technology, we here at The Fillmore Group continue to evaluate the IBM Analytics courses available and to select those we feel will potentially help IBM Analytics customers succeed.  And, of course, as we believe affordable technical services are another of those critical factors influencing success, we are happy to customize classes and include them along with a fully scoped implementation or healthcheck effort.

One highlight and two classes NOT posted on the IBM website.  First, the highlight.  We’ve been told that pureScale is finally being adopted by Db2 LUW customers.  This is great news as it is great technology, featuring one of the best System z features (Parallel Sysplex) re-imagined for distributed environments.  Unfortunately, the course curriculum was written for the original version of pureScale, v10.5, and hasn’t been updated to reflect the enhancements in v11.  Nor does the course include hands-on exercises.  We have a solution:  Frank Fillmore recently delivered the class to a group of students implementing v11 and updated the materials and built hands-on exercises.

Second, two classes NOT posted on the IBM website but available in the first half of 2018:  hands-on IBM Integrated Analytics System (IIAS), the just-released upgrade to the IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) and QMF for Multi-Platforms.  We are working on curriculum for both of these classes and hope to have them scheduled for sometime early in the year – we are targeting February for the IIAS class and March for QMF.  If you are interested in either class please let me know.

It’s Q4 and the Second Opinion Clinic is Open

Posted by Kim May on November 28, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, TFG Blog.

It’s Q4 – and that means IBM software sellers are making their best deals.  As an IBM customer, you know the year end deals are the best available, right?  I hope so…but if you have any doubt and/or think getting a second opinion may help validate just how great the pricing is, please contact The Fillmore Group for a free second opinion.

And, of course, if you need help implementing the solution being proposed, or education to ensure your team is able to effectively support the new solution, we would be happy to provide a services estimate.  As an IBM Authorized Training Partner, expert consulting provider and Analytics Reseller (for both distributed/PPA software and System z), we have access to IBM customer discount levels and understand the various packaging and pricing metrics used for solution sizing and selection.

Don’t let PVU vs. TB sizing, sub-capacity and limited use licensing confuse you into spending more than you need to…click HERE to contact us for an explanation and a second opinion.  The doctor is in!

Webinar Thursday: Calling IBM Sellers with Q4 Deals!

Posted by Kim May on November 14, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, Oracle, pureScale, TFG Blog.

Sirius/XM already has the Holly channel playing Christmas music and Halloween was just a couple weeks ago. It’s way too early!  But…the clock IS ticking and there really are only 4 solid weeks left in 2017 to close some of those, “I’ll get to them later” deals.

This Thursday The Fillmore Group will deliver a webinar for IBM sellers willing to consider collaborating with a Business Partner.  We understand many sellers have heard about – or experienced – unsuccessful teaming with a partner.  Join us to overcome your fears!

In this session we will *try* to explain that not all partners are alike, and some (like The Fillmore Group) can help you close deals by extending your reach and helping with challenging technical situations (which product is the “right” one?), arcane licensing and packaging research, and using an implementation discussion to address a customer’s concerns about the cost of services and education (yes Oracle takeout opportunities, I’m talking about you!)

IBM program challenges that impact Business Partners will also be explained, so that IBM sellers understand why partners get so antsy about keeping the lines of communication wide open – and getting added to sales records.

All in 30 fast minutes.

If you are an IBM seller who would love to close an extra deal or two before year end, please join us.  If you aren’t an IBM seller, please join us for another webinar; this one is just for sellers.

The session will take place on Thursday, November 16th from 11:00am – 11:30am EST.  Register HERE.

We’re Here – Use Us!

Posted by Kim May on October 20, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, Oracle, TFG Blog.

I really enjoyed Lisbon and seeing everyone at the IDUG Conference.  More than one person commented on the turnout (excellent) and the crowd (young!)  There seems to be some new energy in the Db2 community, in part, I believe, as long-time Db2 users are accepting that in spite of IBM’s perpetual “re-invention”, the folks using their tried-and-true technologies – the ones that built up the war chest funding the re-invention – continue to deliver state-of-the-art performance and functionality.  The technology is excellent, users are lucky to work with it, and the experts who have invested their best career years in Db2 are ready to work.

So now what?  With IBM’s current “Oracle Attack” promotion customers can purchase Db2 for as little as 20% of their annual Oracle support cost.  I understand there are several Oracle customers preparing to migrate to Db2.  Does this mean Db2 will (finally) show up on one of those “most popular relational database” graphs?  I hope so!

And, along with these migrations the demand for services to support them is growing, so there are more opportunities for customers to get to know the many skilled Db2 consultants and experts available to support their adoption of Db2.

Independent consultants – like The Fillmore Group’s team – can deliver expert services to support migrations, often at a fraction of the cost of IBM’s.  Many consultants have experience delivering formal classroom training as well as services, and most are actively involved in the Db2 community and happy to introduce Db2 newbies to the local users groups and IDUG.  The consulting community has been promoting the Oracle Attack through webinars (view the replay of my webinar here) and blog posts (read Dave Beulke’s post here), and want to make sure every prospective Db2 customer has access to skilled migration services when they are ready to make the switch.

Call us!  We want to support the growth of the Db2 community, and we’re ready to work.

QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms – September Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group

Posted by Kim May on August 16, 2017 under Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, TFG Blog.

Frank Fillmore just finished delivering a webcast with IBM’s Steve Mink and Doug Anderson, hosted by Blanca Borden, on the just-released QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms solution.  For the many QMF for z users, this new GUI-based solution offers the opportunity to extend the use of the objects, forms, queries, etc., an organization has developed over the years.  The session was recorded and I will post the recording link as soon as it’s available to view.

For the September 13th Baltimore/Washington Db2 Users Group Frank will reprise his presentation and deliver a demo on QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms.  The meeting is being sponsored by SEGUS and will include 4 presentations – 2 from SEGUS’s Ulf Heinrich and 1 from IBM’s John Iczkovits in addition to Frank’s.  Summary session abstracts are below.   Complete abstracts, speaker bio’s and registration information will be available later this week on the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group website (www.bwdb2ug.org).  I hope you will join us if you are in the area!

Session 1:  Ulf Heinrich – Compliance with Compliments!  Viable Db2 Workload Tracking

Audit and Compliance is one of the big challenges companies are facing these days. This presentation shows how the entire DB2 workload can be tracked without the overhead of a trace, or monitor, enabling to answer Who did What When ? whenever needed.

Session 2:  Ulf Heinrich – Db2 12 Continuous Delivery

Starting with version 12  Db2 goes agile and code fixes, as well as new features and functions, will be delivered in a continuous stream, so called Continuous Delivery. While this change intends to make new technology available faster than in a three-year cycle it will also differ from how we did DB2 migration and testing before.  This presentation provides an overview about Db2 Levels and how they affect the Db2 subsystem, the
Catalog/Directory, SQL and DDL. More importantly, you will see how changes can be applied safely and what levels of quality assurance and testing can be passed to assure Continuous Delivery goes well with Continuous Availability.

Session 3:  John Iczkovits – DB2 for z/OS is in The Cloud! Using z/OSMF to Install, Migrate, and Provision DB2

These are exciting times and you may not realize it, but Db2 for z/OS is in the cloud! You may be thinking, what exactly does that mean? Many of your z/OS colleagues are already using z/OSMF for all sorts of functions. Come learn how to use z/OSMF to manage Db2 software, install, migrate, and provision data for Db2 and what the cloud means to us.

Session 4:  Frank Fillmore – QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms

In July, QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms became generally available.  Like QMF for z/OS, this solution delivers QMF’s visualization, dash boarding and graphical ad-hoc query capabilities, and enables users to leverage their existing QMF assets – queries, forms, procs from legacy QMF.  In this session Frank Fillmore will provide an overview of the features of QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms and perform a demonstration that includes new updates to QMF’s data visualization interface.

IBM Reinvents Partnerworld – Ravages the Partner Ecosystem

Posted by Kim May on August 2, 2017 under Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, TFG Blog.

I just received an email from IBM’s Partnerworld program notifying me that as of August 1, 2017, The Fillmore Group, after ten years as a Premier IBM Business Partner (the highest program level), is now officially a Registered Business Partner, the lowest level in the program.

We still have a team of expert consultants.  We are still authorized to deliver most IBM courses in the Analytics brand family curriculum.  We are still actively promoting, influencing and reselling IBM Analytics solutions.  I am still Chair of the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group and an IBM Champion.  Frank is still a Gold Consultant.  Several of our consultants are IBM Champions and Golds.  IBM simply won’t programmatically acknowledge that our skills have value any longer.

IBM claims to value partners with skills, but by they are lying.  The truth is the two factors determining partner level in the new Partnerworld system are software sales and customer references. 

Is it a coincidence that IBM is struggling with sales (21 straight quarters of declining revenues) and the company has historically been terrible at getting customer references?  Sadly, great technology followed by poor quality and expensive implementations and enablement support don’t add up to gushy customer success stories.

In the new program, without sales of $1,000,000 or more in a single product family a Business Partner cannot be granted a product “Competency” designation – no matter how many times they have implemented a solution, how many customers they have trained, and/or how many presentations and webinars they have delivered to help current and prospective customers understand the value of IBM’s solutions.

In the new IBM world, that’s not “competency”.

So like many of IBM’s “reinvention” efforts over the past five years, the “new” Partnerworld program is essentially the same old program, with new, onerous requirements designed to eliminate specialty partners (like The Fillmore Group) and I suppose reduce IBM’s burden of managing their partner network.

Because like who needs an extensive network of partners promoting an incredibly complex portfolio of products and solutions??  Heck, why not just funnel business to a handful of partner organizations and keep things simple.  Maybe reduce channel support headcount by 10 or 15 people.  Woohoo.  Think small.

After I received the email notifying me of our program level demotion I tried to log in to Partnerworld to review the program offerings for our new, low level.  And like so many things in today’s IBM world, the response was sad, heartbreaking and terribly frustrating – apparently they can’t keep the program website up.  Need a high availability solution???

 

 

Oracle Renewal Looming? Consider DB2! @IBMAnalytics

Posted by Frank Fillmore on May 16, 2017 under BLU Acceleration, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, IBM DB2 Services, Oracle, pureScale. Tags: , , .

Thanks to my colleague, Kim May, for another wonderful job leading customers and IBMers through the rewards and challenges of converting Oracle databases to DB2. The recording of the latest webinar is found here.  The presentation materials: Oracle Customers Consider DB2 5.16.17

Finally, The Fillmore Group’s White Paper on Oracle to DB2 migrations: SmarterQuestions White Paper – Oracle to DB2 Migration Lessons Learned – Final

Please reach out to Kim or me if you have any questions.

IBM Announces Extended Support for DB2 for LUW V9.7 and 10.1

Posted by Kim May on May 10, 2017 under DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, TFG Blog.

I’ve been pondering what this announcement means all day…is IBM trying to become the most altruistic database software vendor?  They are offering amazing software license discounts to customers moving workloads from Oracle to DB2 for LUW, and today announced a new extended support option for customers unable to meet the September 30th End of Support (EOS) date for both DB2 V9.7 and V10.1.  Typically IBM pushes customers to migrate before the EOS date as it helps to keep the majority of customers being supported on a limited number of software versions.  As everyone supporting software knows, simpler is better.

On the flipside though, I’ve been wondering if this announcement is a veiled advertisement for a new, for-fee offering from IBM to generate services income?  Yes, I can be as suspicious as anyone!

If you find yourself in need of extended support and discover IBM is asking for a substantial fee and would like a second price option on support, please shoot me an email.  We’ve offered DB2 customers similar support in the past, and we’ve also completed several migrations from V9.7 and V10.1 to V11.1 and can help you get to V11.1 before September 30th if that’s the best option of all.

Information on the IBM announcement and contact for obtaining a quote for the extended support is HERE.   My contact info is HERE.  Your call!