Collaboration at Work: Gold Consultants and IBM Data and AI Expert Labs

Posted by Kim May on November 11, 2019 under Data and AI Expert Labs and Learning, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services.

Congratulations and many thanks to the IBM Data and AI Expert Labs team for their willingness to collaborate with the IBM Gold Consultants.

Frank Fillmore and I met in February with Ritika Gunnar, who had just been appointed the new VP leading the IBM Data and AI Expert Labs team.  Frank explained that he is an IBM Gold Consultant and we discussed our frustrations with the IBM’s low utilization of skilled contract talent like the Golds, and Ritika said she would do some research and try to help.

Frank was selected as a Gold Consultant in 1998 and considers it one of (if not THE) highest achievement of his career.  There are approximately 40 Gold Consultants worldwide, all of whom are independent consultants.   Each was selected by IBM and their Gold Consultant peers to participate in the program.  Information on the Golds and their skills is on the IBM website Gold Consultant page.

After our meeting with Ritika we soon met Business Partner Liaison Karla Rooney, who initiated a series of calls to discuss pipeline, pending needs and utilization.  Karla introduced services sellers, Resource Deployment Managers and other colleagues in the Data and AI Expert Labs organization.  Through these discussions we were able to introduce the unique experiences of the Gold Consultants and identify a few pending engagements where the Golds skills were needed – and the momentum began to build.

In August a group of Gold Consultants delivered a webinar to hundreds of Db2 for z/OS customers planning migrations to V12.  Or, to be more exact, Db2 customers NOT at V12.  The migration to V12 has been hyped as the last major migration planned for Db2 for z/OS, not because the database is going away, but due to the continuous delivery model.  However, customers need to get to V12 to take advantage of continuous delivery, and unfortunately many have not begun the work.  The IBM teams overseeing System z are concerned there will be a last minute rush to migrate to V12 and not enough consultants available to help.

Enter the Golds, who delivered an excellent webinar on the V12, and who have been asked to support migration efforts contracted with IBM’s Data and AI Expert Labs.  The webinar was recorded and is available here.

The net of all this is:  thanks to Karla and Ritika and their teams, customers are now able to access the best independent Db2 talent on the planet through Data and AI Expert Labs.  I hope your organization – and everyone in the Db2 community – has the opportunity to benefit from the value of this collaboration.

Thanks Karla and Ritika!!

Plan for Replication Success with Education and Services from The Fillmore Group

Posted by Kim May on November 6, 2019 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for i, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Analytics Software Sales, IBM DB2 Services, Replication, TFG Blog.

If your organization is considering a year end CDC acquisition and plan a 2020 implementation, consider training and services from The Fillmore Group to accelerate your success.  The Fillmore Group is working to update the IBM Change Data Capture curriculum – course KM020G – adding optional sessions covering replication to Kafka and replication to and from PostgreSQL.  Please note: customers purchasing replication licenses prior to year end may qualify for free PostgreSQL or Kafka education.  Contact me if you are interested.

In addition, our team is also ready to assist with replication Quickstart services.  A TFG consultant will help your organization leverage the best features and functionality available in the IBM replication product family – quickly!

Training
2/3/20 – 2/5/20 Change Data Capture Essentials.  Prepare for planning, installing, managing and monitoring IBM replication with this IBM training class, KM020G.  Cost:  $2775.  View the course outline: KM020G Change Data Capture Essentials

2/6/20 – 2/6/20 CDC New Features – Kafka and PostgreSQL.  These 1/2 day sessions are designed to extend the KM020G class material with topics specific to Kafka and PostgreSQL replication.  Cost:  $350.  Outline: Kafka and PostgreSQL Replication Class Module Abstracts

Services

  • Kafka Quickstart.  Leverage expert technical assistance for a successful implementation.  Overview: Kafka Replication Quickstart.
  • PostgreSQL Quickstart.   The Fillmore Group’s PostgreSQL delivers a skilled consultant to work with your team to plan and execute a successful replication implementation.  View the offering summary: Postgres Capture Quickstart.
  • Remote Capture Quickstart.  Work with a skilled replication expert to apply this new offering in your environment with services to help you design, install and administer replication away from System z, reducing MIPs consumption and lowering System z  data replication costs. View the offering summary: Remote Capture Quickstart.

Through a partnership with TechData, one of IBM’s select global training providers, The Fillmore Group delivers authorized training for the design, installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of IBM Analytics solutions. This partnership allows The Fillmore Group to leverage the award winning IBM technical training content that is exclusive to IBM’s global training providers.

Join Gold Consultants for a V12 Upgrade Webinar Wednesday, October 9th

Posted by Kim May on September 10, 2019 under DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, DB2 Stars, IBM DB2 Services, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), TFG Blog, Webinar.

The Time is NOW!
Upgrade to Db2 12 for z/OS!

Date:           Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Time:          11:00am EDT
Register:     HERE

You are invited to join a live webcast hosted by IBM Gold Consultants to learn why this is the right time to upgrade to Db2 12.

Gold Consultants are an independent voice, delivering Db2 consulting and support to  customers worldwide. Learn more about the Golds and how they can help your organization by visiting the IBM Gold Consultant webpage.

During this webcast expert Golds will discuss:

• The benefits of upgrading to Db2 12
• Continuous availability and potential cost savings
• In-memory Features
• Pre-planning tasks and their importance
• Costs and risks associated with failing to migrate by September 30, 2020

The session will close with a live Q&A session with several of the Golds who contributed recommendations and content to the presentation.

The session was developed and will be delivered by the following IBM Gold Consultants.  Bio’s for each presenter are below.

Julian Stuhler
Triton Consulting

Julian has over 30 years of Db2 experience in application programming, database administration, technical architecture, performance tuning and systems programming, working within the insurance, telecommunications, banking, financial services and manufacturing sectors. He is an IBM Redbook and White Paper author and IDUG Best Speaker, and has lectured widely on DB2 subjects in the UK, Europe and US. In 1999 Julian was invited to join the IBM Gold Consultants program, and in May 2008, Julian was recognized as one of IBM’s inaugural Data Champions. Julian served on the IDUG Board of directors from 2003 to 2010, and is an IDUG Past President.

Frank Fillmore, Jr.
The Fillmore Group, Inc.

Frank is the Founder and President of The Fillmore Group, Inc., a Premier IBM Business Partner.  Frank is an IBM Gold Consultant and IBM Champion for both Analytics and System z.  The Fillmore Group’s areas of expertise include data interoperability, replication and high availability, InfoSphere, Db2 Server for VSE&VM, competitive migrations and technical Project Management. Frank oversees a staff of talented employees and contractors, and manages projects ranging from new database implementations to health checks.  In addition to consulting Frank and his team deliver IBM Authorized Training and are IBM software resellers.

Isaac Yassin
DBX-Consulting

Isaac is an IBM Gold Consultant and Champion with over 40 years of experience consulting on IT and security at cross-industry customers covering areas of global system tuning including Sysplex and Parallel Sysplex, Security (RACF, Top-Secret, Guardium) and large-scale projects involving Data Warehouse / Big Data and Machine Learning as well as data analysis in heterogeneous environments.

Isaac has vast knowledge in DB2 (both Z & LUW), IMS and other major DBMSs and has installed and migrated every release of Db2 starting with V1.2 and up to V12, including “skip & jump” migrations and worked on a variety of migrations to and from other vendor databases.  Isaac’s Db2 technical work includes wide-scale problem analysis, performance, troubleshooting, education/training, security problems and audits and BCP/DRP scenarios.  Isaac is an active IDUG contributor and frequent presenter.

Gerald Hodge
HLS Technologies

Gerry began working with Db2 V2 in 1985 while a First Vice President at Security Pacific National Bank. While there he headed the Capacity Planning and Performance Planning for 11 of the bank’s data centers. In 1990 he moved to BMC Software’s International Sales as their SME for their Db2 products, and was the primary on sight support for sales and Db2 Products in both Europe and Asia.

In 1995 Mr. Hodge started HLS Technologies, Inc. His company developed the following DB2 products: Avoid Bind, DBRM Check, Path Check, and Express Hints. He was invited to join IBM’s Gold Consultants the year the program was formed. He has been an active member every year since.  HLS Technologies has provided detailed planning and support for Db2 migrations since V5 and is currently supporting a large V12 migration project.

Dan Luksetich
DanL Database Consulting

Dan is a Db2 DBA consultant, an IBM Gold Consultant and IBM Analytics Champion. He works as a DBA, application architect, presenter, author, and teacher. Dan has been in IT for over 34 years, and has worked with Db2 for over 29 years. He has been an application programmer, Db2 system programmer, Db2 DBA, and DB2 application architect. His experience includes major implementations on z/OS, AIX, i Series, Windows, and Linux environments. His industry experience includes retail, banking, fraud detection, analytics, government, and utility. He specializes in highly available, high-volume transaction processing against very large database systems.

Dan’s experience includes, but is not limited to:

· Application design and architecture
· Business analytics
· SQL consulting and education
· SQL coding and application programming
· Database administration
· Complex SQL
· SQL tuning
· DB2 performance audits
· Replication
· Disaster recovery
· Stored procedures, user-defined functions, and triggers

Free Hands-on IDAA Class Announced – July 18 & 19, Columbus, Ohio

Posted by Kim May on April 9, 2019 under DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IBM DB2 Services, IDAA, Netezza, TFG Blog.

Join us for this new and improved for 2019 class to be delivered by IBM Gold Consultant Frank Fillmore. Contents include IDAA v7 early experiences, best practices, and v5 to v7 migration tips. Attendees will learn how an IDAA v7 (aka “Sailfish”) can extend System z’s processing capabilities to enable Hybrid Transaction/Analytic Processing (HTAP).  For IBM System z customers considering an IDAA purchase, this class provides an overview of the architecture, use cases delivering value, and insight into the administration of the accelerator.

Class is free to IBM System z customers considering an IDAA purchase.  The Fillmore Group will provide breakfast and lunch each day; attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.

Registration is required – Register HERE

Dates (2 days):            Thursday and Friday, July 18 and 19, 2019

Location:                      IBM, 6060 Britton Parkway, Building 1, Dublin, Ohio, 43016

Time:                           9:00am – 4:00pm EDT

Cost:                            Class is *free* to pre-registered attendees

Instructor:                    Frank Fillmore

Topics:

  • An introduction to the V7.1 architecture and Integrated Analytics System (IAS).
  • The heterogeneous accelerator environment: what works well today.
  • Assessment tools to support acquisition: Workload Assessment, Client Value Engagement, PoC.
  • Positioning IDAA within your organization with the most valuable use case.
  • Migrating from the Netezza-based IDAA to v7.1.

Lab 1: Basic IDAA Activities

  • Data Studio / IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator Studio GUI
  • Table acceleration
  • Query processing and analysis

Enhancing Value to the IDAA with the IBM Tools Ecosystem

  • Assessment: What is the workload that would benefit from being accelerated?
  • Optimization: How do I monitor and optimize a workload to take advantage of the Accelerator?
  • Administration: Can I manage the Accelerator more effectively?

Lab 2: Advanced IDAA Exploitation

  • Incremental Update: keeping accelerated data in sync with DB2 for z/OS OLTP
  • Accelerator-only Tables (AoTs): intermediate tables and ETL processing

 

IBM 2019 Replication Updates – 4 in 45 Minutes – Featuring Kafka!

Posted by Kim May on January 8, 2019 under Attunity, DB2 Education, DB2 for i, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, DB2 Stars, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Information Management Software Sales, pureScale, Q-Replication, Replication, TFG Blog, Webinar. Tags: .

Join replication experts Frank Fillmore and Ed Lynch for this information-packed webinar with news and announcements about IBM’s replication solutions. Whether you are a current IBM replication user, investigating replication for a new deployment, or working with a competitor’s solution, this webinar will help you understand what IBM offers today, and the enhancements that will help you succeed with replication in 2019.

At a sprint!

In forty-five minutes Ed and Frank will deliver an overview of IBM’s current offerings, the four most important 2019 enhancement announcements, and 3 special pricing offers that can help your organization realize significant savings. We know you want your data to be available when you need it and where you need it, and fast. We can help.

Registration is required. Please register HERE.

Date: Thursday, 2/7/19

Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

Presenters:

Frank Fillmore is the Founder and President of The Fillmore Group, Inc., an IBM Business Partner specializing in replication solutions in the IBM Analytics portfolio. Frank has been a Db2 Gold Consultant since 1998 and is currently an IBM Champion for both Analytics and System z. Frank frequently presents on cutting-edge topics at regional and international Db2 Users Group meetings and is an IBM authorized instructor for delivery of replication courses including Q Replication, ICDC and pureScale. Frank leads a team of expert consultants delivering presales, implementation and enablement support to IBM customers. Frank is currently supporting a pureScale implementation for a US Federal agency.

Ed Lynch was with IBM for over 25 years as a leader and innovator in Data Analytics and Information Integration.  Leveraging his balanced and diversified knowledge of data and Information Technology with business needs and capabilities, Ed consistently recommends and delivers best of breed technical solutions. A trusted advisor to his customers and colleagues, Ed’s cross-industry knowledge enables him to be an effective go-to resource, particularly for difficult and complex challenges, and his success in many diverse roles at IBM, including development, technical team management, marketing and sales, showcase his flexibility. Ed is currently supporting a complex replication implementation for a large, US-based financial institution.

2019 Events – Coming Soon!

Posted by Kim May on December 28, 2018 under DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, IBM DB2 Services, InfoSphere, pureScale, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

With 2018 coming to a close I am focused on plans for 2019.  Our current plans are being driven by changes in IBM’s services delivery model and product enhancements to be available in 2019.  Change can be good!

In 2018 IBM’s Lab Services organization opted to extend their use of Business Partners to support customer engagements.  Lab Services has long maintained relationships with skilled partners to augment their staff consultants; in 2018 this utilization was increased.  The Fillmore Group staffed several Lab Services engagements and supplied half a dozen consultants to support a variety of engagements including implementations, migrations, healthchecks, and staff augmentation, supporting replication solutions InfoSphere Change Data Capture, pureScale, Kafka, and Q Replication, as well as Db2 and Hadoop.

In staffing these engagements we became aware of several interesting customer situations and opportunities we hope will deliver better results to our customers in 2019.  Through a chance conversation with a Federal agency looking to identify the best replication tools for their next generation applications, we learned about some enhancements to the replication portfolio solutions expected to be delivered in 2019.

To support our IBM colleagues in spreading the word about the upcoming enhancements, and to (no surprise!) encourage customers to contact us if they are in need of support, the 2019 schedule of events below was drafted.

Some of these “events” consist primarily of outreach to customers who may be interested.  If these apply to you, feel free to contact me for more information.

Here’s to a busy 2019!

1. CDC Healthcheck Services. Delivery through Lab Services. a. Audience: current CDC customers considering new replication environments and/or looking to better support current replication. b. Tasks/activities: a review of current replication environments, staff enablement, monitoring review, performance tuning and/or planning new replication environments. c. Deliverables: Healthcheck report, enablement recommendations, plan for new replication sources and targets.

2. IBM Replication Roadmap Webinar. a. Audience: current and prospective replication customers. b. Content: a review of current and new replication offerings. c. Deliverables: recommendations/actions needed to initiate CDC purchases.

3. Kafka Webinar. a. Audience: current and prospective customers looking to replication to Kafka. b. Content: a review of Kafka, use cases, and where Kafka is best deployed. c. Deliverables: recommendations/actions to initiate Kafka deployment.

4. Replication Whitepaper. a. Audience: current and prospective customers. b. Content: TBD – replication competitive options, pricing, and/or Db2 for z data focus. c. Deliverable: whitepaper explaining IBM replication options compared with competitor solutions.

5. Kafka Quickstart Services. Delivery through Lab Services. a. Audience: customers implementing replication to Kafka. b. Tasks/activities: Kafka installation, replication set-up, and staff enablement. c. Deliverables: data replicating to Kafka.

6. Kafka Training – Extending KM020G ICDC Class a. Audience: new Kafka customers. b. Tasks/activities: instructor-led modules to demonstrate and explain Kafka implementation and administration. c. Deliverables: 2-days of formal classroom instruction with hands-on exercises.

7. IAS to IAS Replication Quickstart Services. Delivery through Lab Services a. Audience: customers implementing IAS to IAS replication. b. Tasks/activities: Software installation, replication set-up, and staff enablement. c. Deliverables: IAS replication, monitoring in place.

8. Competitive Replication Webinar. a. Audience: Oracle GG and Attunity customers. b. Content: a review of the advantages of IBM replication solutions. c. Deliverables/action items: action plan to PoC IBM replication offerings.

 

Time to be Thankful

Posted by Kim May on November 20, 2018 under DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, IBM DB2 Services, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

It’s the time of year to reflect on what we are thankful for and in this spirit Frank and I had a discussion recently about the many terrific colleagues and customers we’ve had the opportunity to work with over the past year, and how much we appreciate their impact on the success of The Fillmore Group and our lives.  Many thanks!  Too often we become frustrated with the day-to-day “churn” of doing business as an IBM Business Partner, but our shared efforts have resulted in many positive outcomes for us as individuals, and for our organizations’ ability to leverage IBM solutions.

Two individuals deserve special recognition for their efforts:  Susan Lawson and Ed Lynch.  Both have demonstrated how deep technical skills and a positive outlook contribute to the Db2 community.

Susan, as a Gold Consultant, introduced her network of Golds to an IBM team responding to an enterprise customer’s “SOS!” after a significant performance issue.  The customer recognized their need for expert assistance and IBM reached out to Susan.  Susan in turn recommended the Gold Consultants as a resource ready and willing to assist.  As Frank Fillmore has been part of an effort by the Golds’ leadership team to better integrate their skills with IBM’s consulting practices, her willingness to promote their skills and abilities reinforced to the IBM team, and to the Golds, the availability of this skilled community of consultants looking for ways to connect and support IBM customers.  Rather than just keeping her head down and focusing on the specific tasks assigned to her, she raised her hand and introduced a whole team of colleagues ready to help.  Thank you Susan!

Ed, as an IBM technical expert and evangelist, found himself “retired” earlier this year and reached out to group of colleagues indicating his interest in returning to  work.  Coincidentally, IBM Lab Services transitioned their services model from utilizing inhouse/staff consultants to using Business Partner resources to support certain technologies in their portfolio.   While Lab Services has long maintained subcontract relationships with IBM Business Partners to extend their “bench” resources, partners have been used infrequently and often as a last resort.  This new initiative was unfamiliar territory and “mismatched expectations” is perhaps the most positive spin I can put on it.  Ed cheerfully and professionally responded to cycles of administrative drama, unclear customer requests, overseas travel and constant uncertainty as to what was coming next.  Thanks to his efforts several IBM replication customers were able to obtain the support they needed to be successful.  Thank you Ed!

To Susan and Ed – with special thanks – Happy Thanksgiving!!

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