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

IDUG 2018 Thoughts and Notes

Posted by Kim May on May 7, 2018 under Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, IDAA, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), TFG Blog.

Last week’s annual International Db2 Users Group (IDUG) Conference in Philadelphia was interesting and – as always – a great time to reconnect with friends and colleagues.  With IBM in what feels like perpetual transformation mode, I was curious to compare this conference with others I’ve attended in the past, to get a sense of how Db2 customers are perceiving the state of Db2 in these uncertain times.  My impressions:

  1. Db2 for z/OS customers, while not excited about growing workloads on System z, appear to be more confident their organizations will maintain what’s in place and invest in mainframe infrastructure when and where it makes sense.  I expected to hear the “we’re getting off the mainframe in 3 years” comment and did not; instead I was encouraged to see existing IDAA customers expressing interest in the new “Sailfish” model (V7.1).  Shameless plug:  if you were one of these people, please join us for our free IDAA class in June.
  2. For Db2 for LUW, the times are changing, and hopefully for the better.  Jon Lind’s Technical Advisory Board meeting offered participants a chance to express their concerns with the ecosystem, marketing, competitiveness, enablement, and I could go on, list of challenges around keeping Db2 for LUW relevant in the RDBMS market.  Jon Lind’s team has a refreshing willingness to listen, and the opportunity to revive Db2 for LUW.  Keep an eye on this team:  they have a long list of requests, and spent much of the conference talking with end users and partners about what they can do to help.  I wish them great success!!
  3. Kudos to the IDUG team for a fabulous location and super well organized event.  I wish we could have had some competitors join us for the community dinner to check out the enthusiasm (and noise level!) in the dining room.  There was ENERGY to spare!  And special thanks to IBM’s Surekha Parekh and Jim Reed for hosting such a great event at the conference and for all their support.
  4. One-name Rocket woman Saghi also deserves a shout out for gathering the local user group leaders for lunch and extending IDUG’s support to our Db2 communities.  The Db2 for z/OS RUGs are incredibly strong and doing their best to ensure LUW users have access to similar community resources.

So, I will end this post on my experience at IDUG with one final thank you, to Steve Cricchi, from T. Rowe Price, whose presentation on loading data into the IDAA was very well done and will be shared with the Baltimore/Washington Db2 Users Group at an upcoming meeting.  Well done!  Frank’s waiting for his beer…  🙂

IDUG Philadelphia Early Bird Discount Extended – Register Now!!

Posted by Kim May on March 21, 2018 under DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, IBM Champion, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), TFG Blog.

For those of us weathering the Spring snowstorm of 2018 on the East Coast – not in sunny Las Vegas, an incentive to think Spring and plan for warmer weather in Philadelphia during IDUG, scheduled for April 29th – May 3rd.

The Early Bird discount has been extended until March 31st.  There are – now – ten more days to register and take advantage of the reduced price.

As Bill Shipley emailed earlier today:  Remember this is the 35th Anniversary of IBM Db2 for z/OS, 25th Anniversary of IBM Db2 LUW and 30th Anniversary for IDUG.

IDUG 2018 offers new educational opportunities and more training than ever before! Attendees will experience:

•Five days of education sessions

•Half and full-day workshops

•More than 100 one-hour technical sessions

•Two expert panels on z/OS and LUW

And my birthday’s in there, too…hope we can celebrate together in Philly!!

2018 Events – So Much To Do!

Posted by Kim May on January 22, 2018 under Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, BLU Acceleration, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Stars, Frank Fillmore, IBM Champion, IBM Mid Market Customers, IBM Think Conference, IDAA, TFG Blog.

With IBM’s consolidation of conferences resulting in the cancellation of last Fall’s World of Watson/Insight/IOD Conference, and the merge into March’s upcoming Think conference, Db2 users have several educational event options to consider.  With training and education budgets continuing to shrink, and the use of contractors (who need to be billable, and know everything already, right?) growing, getting funding and approval to attend events is more challenging than ever.

However, with so many choices, I hope you will find something that’s a good fit, and have the opportunity to network with the Db2 community.   Here’s a short list of the events I am hoping to attend – and why:

Hands-on IDAA/IIAS Training, Date TBD (February or March), Baltimore, Maryland

Frank Fillmore is developing a new 2-day hands-on training class to introduce the IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) and it’s new version, the IBM Integrated Analytics System (IIAS), featuring BLU Acceleration and available as an appliance or a z/Linux software solution.  Class will focus on use case development, determining the right fit deployment option for your organization, implementation and administration.  Frank has been delivering similar classes since the release of the IDAA and has helped many System z customers understand the accelerator value.

Why attend?  The IDAA/IIAS solution is an incredible addition to the System z environment, Frank is an excellent presenter, and class is *FREE*

To register:  keep an eye on our blog or email me if you would like me to notify you when class is scheduled.

 

Baltimore/Washington Db2 Users Group Education Session with Themis, Wednesday, March 14th, BWI Hilton, Linthicum Heights, MD

Every March the Baltimore/Washington Db2 Users Group offers a full-day education session.  These sessions are evaluated by our board and intended to provide the best local full-day of training available in the area each year.  The March session will be delivered by IBM Champion and author Tony Andrews from Themis, and will focus on SQL programming, performance, and tuning, as well as the SQL-PL native Stored Procedures language.

Why attend?  The annual education day presenters reads like “Who’s Who in Db2” and the sessions are consistently terrific.  Tony is an excellent presenter, the event is local for Baltimore/Washington area Db2 users, and it’s our group’s first meeting at our new BWI Hilton location.

To register:  visit the Baltimore/Washington Db2 Users Group webpage.

Cost:  $250 in advance and $300 at the door.  The fee includes materials and a sit-down lunch.

 

Think 2018, March 19 – March 22, Las Vegas, NV

IBM has consolidated several technical conferences into Think, with the conference topics covering AI, Cloud, Data, Security, and Systems.  As last year’s World of Watson/Insight/IOD annual data-centric conference was cancelled, Db2 users are interested in better understanding IBM’s direction and how the continued IBM transformation will impact their organizations.

Why attend?  This is usually the largest annual gathering of Db2 users.  Great networking, excellent presenters, superb people watching.  Maybe some answers to those nagging “what’s next?” questions??

To register:  visit the Think registration page.

Cost:  $2,295 for the week; $895 for a single day pass.  *Before registering ask your IBM rep for help with the cost of the pass.*  😉

 

IDUG Philadelphia, April 29 – May 3, Philadelphia, PA

The annual North America Db2 conference will be held in downtown Philadelphia this year, an easy and inexpensive commute for Mid-Atlantic organizations like The Fillmore Group.  The IDUG conference is where the Db2 community and IBM are focusing on the delivery of hard-core technical content.  With 5 days of education sessions, workshops, over 100 technical briefings and an experts’ panel, this year’s IDUG conference, while smaller than Think, will likely offer the best technical education value for Db2 users.

Why attend?  IDUG will deliver top-notch Db2 technical presenters and presentations.  Great networking and friendly – very community focused.

To register:  visit the IDUG North America 2018 conference webpage. 

Cost:  $1,865 through March 16 (early bird).  Need help funding a conference pass?  There are many discounts and community offers – contact the IDUG Conference Planning Committee (CPC) for help.

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.

IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) v7 Announced #IBMz #zAnalytics

Posted by Frank Fillmore on October 17, 2017 under BLU Acceleration, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, HTAP, IBM Pure Systems, IDAA, Mako, Netezza. Tags: , , , .

On July 23, 2010 I attended the announcement of the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer (ISAO).  This was IBM’s first iteration of heterogeneous scale-out to enable mixed OLTP and OLAP workloads to run on the same platform.  Subsequently IBM acquired Netezza and the Netezza appliance became the foundation for the IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA).  In IDAA workshops I would refer to the ISAO as IDAA v0.5.

Fast forward to today when IBM announced IDAA v7.1.  “What is old is new again.”  Think of this delivery of IDAA as “ISAO v4.0” (there was some good-natured debate about the numbering).  Why do I frame it those terms?

  1. IDAA has received a “brain transplant”.  Instead of Postgres, the database engine for IDAA will be Db2 Warehouse.  This will give IDAA greater compatibility with Db2 for z/OS, including broader SQL and datatype support, TIMESTAMP consistency, and more.  By exploiting Db2 with BLU Acceleration features such as in-memory columnar (rather than row-organized) data, Single Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD) chips, actionable compression, and “data skipping” (avoiding extents that don’t contain data of interest) IDAA v7.1 provides a robust platform for better performance with a roadmap for continuous improvement and enhancement.  IBM has also consolidated its data repository development efforts by focusing on fewer, higher-value initiatives.
  2. IDAA has received a “heart transplant”.  The IBM Integrated Analytics System (IIAS) appliance on which IDAA v7.1 is based, no longer depends on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) that were the “secret sauce” of the Netezza (aka PureData System for Analytics – PDA).  FPGAs might be reintroduced at a later time.

So, a few questions – and a fewer answers.

  • How long will the legacy Netezza/PDA “Mako” N3001 be supported?  Until 2023.  So the installed base of existing IDAAs will be protected for five years.
  • Will the Database Partitioning Feature (DPF) – IBM’s MPP shared-nothing data warehouse scaling technology – be exploited by IDAA v7.1?  Dunno.
  • Wither the IDAA cloud deployment introduced in v6?  Nary a mention today.

Topics for a future blog post:

  • “True HTAP” – Hybrid Transaction / Analytic Processing
  • IDAA deployment on IBM z – using Docker images sitting on Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) specialty processors.

It’s Back to School Season – Register for a TFG Class

Posted by Kim May on September 11, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, pureScale, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

With school back in session it feels like a good time to learn something new.  Why not consider taking a class?  IBM Analytics classroom training continues to deliver value to individuals and their organizations.  The top 3 reasons to take a class (in my opinion!) are:

1. Achieve your project goals more quickly by supporting faster solution adoption and integrating new technologies into your current projects.
2. Stay on top of rapidly changing technologies; compete in the digital world by understanding how and where new tools and solutions fit best.  Avoid the “flavor of the week” solution if modifying a technology you already own will deliver the same results.
3. Provide opportunities for internal mobility.  Finding skilled technical resources has never been more difficult.  Current staff members understand their organizations.  Providing training keeps employees engaged, motivated, and moving up!

Our classes scheduled for September through December are attached.  All are available in the classroom and remotely, via distance learning.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, please contact me at kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com.

TFG-Schedule-9.2017-thru-12.2017-3