2018 New Year’s Resolutions – Let’s Get Started!

Posted by Kim May on January 4, 2018 under Authorized Training Partner, Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, IDAA, Oracle, TFG Blog.

As always the holidays are over too soon.  Here at The Fillmore Group we are back to work, starting the year with the usual goal setting and head scratching.  Three initiatives we worked on in 2017 showed a great deal of promise but never seemed to quite gain the traction we had hoped for.  So, unlike in prior years when I would start with a blank page, I am committing myself to pushing these three harder in 2018, as all three offer terrific options to maximize the value of an organization’s data assets.  These are:

Oracle to Db2 database migrations.  Last year IBM offered discounted Db2 licenses to current Oracle customers – and when I say “discounted” I mean practically gave them away.  Frank Fillmore and I delivered several competitive migration presentations and got lots of positive feedback from Oracle customers.  Still, we didn’t see a lot of Db2 adoption from these folks and I’m sorry – for them and us.  This is a head-scratcher, because I’m not sure where we are getting snagged, but we need to figure it out in 2018.

IDAA/IIAS/HTAP vs. “edge systems”.  Admittedly 2017 was a bit of a transition year for the IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (aka the IDAA) as IBM completely revamped the design, replacing the Netezza-bolted-to-a-mainframe with 2 Db2 BLU Acceleration-based options to deliver the Hybrid Transaction Analytic Processing (HTAP) capability.  Meanwhile in 2017 analysts were predicting that edge systems are the future – sounding frighteningly like they did in the late 1990’s when the standalone data warehouse was the next big thing.  It makes absolutely no sense to me to build out a completely new system, particularly on the periphery of an organization’s most secure system, to perform analytics when IBM has clearly demonstrated you can leave the data in place and perform both your OLTP and analytic processing in tandem.  We need to continue to educate customers to ensure they understand the overall value – reducing complexity, reducing cost, and keeping data secure.  The new BLU-based version has a new name:  IBM Integrated Analytics System – IIAS.

Supporting the Db2 eco-system.  This is such a no-brainer but one that needs constant attention, effort and input to maintain.  IBM formal classroom education offerings are minimal.  Conferences – IBM and IDUG – are changing and it’s difficult to determine which is most appropriate to attend.  Users groups (including the Balto/Washington Db2 Users Group) are struggling to provide our users with unbiased product information, education and resources.  We aren’t giving up and hope the greater Db2 community continues to work to stay active and involved within the community and within our individual organizations.  If we want to stay relevant we need to stay involved.

Happy 2018!  Off to work!

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!

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 Think Conference Call for Speakers – Closes Today!!

Posted by Kim May on September 20, 2017 under DB2 Education, IBM Think Conference, TFG Blog.

Someone on the communications team at IBM seems to have persuaded IBM Management to postpone release of any time sensitive announcements or notifications until the very last minute.  Perhaps they believe these practically immediate deadlines will create a sense of urgency, and therefore perhaps excitement.

Instead, at least in my world, it creates chaos and disrupts my schedule.   I don’t appreciate it.  Take note IBM!!  I imagine they are scrambling now.  Ha.

As most IBM customers and partners know, attendance numbers for IBM conferences tend to be hugely inflated.  100%?  Maybe…maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less.  It is understandable:  in the world of data management IBM has never been the market leader from a sales perspective – well, maybe for a while after they invented and introduced the first relational database.  Therefore, some exaggeration of the crowds attending their data-centric conferences is forgivable.

Attendance at last October’s annual Las Vegas conference was light.  Blame was placed on the hasty conference rebranding (again, take note IBM – apparently I am not the only one put off by this last minute “guerilla marketing”).  This year IBM cancelled the October conference (World of Watson/Insight/Information on Demand) and has instead decided to merge it into the annual “Interconnect” conference in March and rebrand it the “Think” conference.  Again – sigh – in Las Vegas.  Why Las Vegas?  Why it’s the only city that can accommodate the thousands of conference attendees IBM attracts.  OK, Pinocchio.

Here’s the most challenging part for actual IBM customers and partners using IBM solutions, at least those of us who would like to attend a conference with strong technical and user content:  IBM opened a tiny window for presentation submissions.  And…today is the last day.

If you are considering submitting a presentation, here’s the link to the call for presentations.  I went through the process yesterday – be prepared to submit a 1000 character bio (first) and then a 100 character title and 750 character abstract.  You will have the opportunity to add an optional extra 250 characters later.  Be pithy!

And remember:  if your presentation topic and message are positive (“How We Succeeded With XYZ”) and you are a customer, it is highly likely you will be selected to present.  If you are a Business Partner or consultant you need to be 110% positive, and beg.

Get your placeholder in asap!!

 

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

Tealeaf Fatigue

Posted by Kim May on July 10, 2017 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Information Management Software Sales, TFG Blog.

I have been reviewing our first half of 2017 and trying to get a handle on where our DB2 world is headed in the second half of this confusing year.  Frankly, I’m baffled!  While the year started on a positive note with IBM’s acknowledgement that they needed to re-engage and support their existing DB2 customers, and the positive trend continued with the announcement of the super-aggressive DB2 pricing available via the Oracle Attack, I still find that at mid-year the good outcomes I expected are failing to materialize.  How come?

In my opinion, one reason is a result of IBM’s “re-invention” of their Business Partner program.  As a long-time IBM Business Partner, our team invests an incredible amount of time and energy maintaining our “Premier Partner” status, primarily through certifications that validate our skills.  When IBM rolled out the new partner program in 2017 their messaging indicated a new focus on highly-skilled, knowledgeable partners.  Unfortunately, in reality, the program modifications boiled down to two new criteria:  1) customer references and 2) meeting high volume IBM software sales targets.  To IBM, these make perfect sense: IBM struggles to get customer references, and with rolling sales staff reductions, IBM needs to beef up their sales partners.

However, the “Give it to Mikey, he’ll eat anything” approach may not be working.  Partners like The Fillmore Group are being marginalized (“Skills?  Who needs ’em?”) by the program, while high volume partners (like HP, oh, oops, not any more) are being funneled territories, “uncovered” customers and leads.

In my opinion, the fallout is likely to be similar to the Global Skills Initiative, IBM’s education program “re-invention” from a few years ago that resulted in far fewer DB2 classes and fewer available training options as the program created a layer of 5 large, competing training partners who function independently and whose lack of coordination splintered the IBM training business.

Is this what IBM is – unintentionally/intentionally? – planning for their partner community?  I don’t know, but it’s unsettling.  One bright note:  the new partner levels were scheduled to go into effect June 30th, but have been pushed back to the end of July.  Perhaps sanity prevails??

My final head scratcher is the annual IOD/Insight/World of Watson/no, not this year conference.  I received an email this morning about the LearnQuest-sponsored Analytics conference scheduled for New Orleans in October.  I’ve also heard about a DB2 Conference being planned for Boston in – October, as well.  On one hand I think any conference and opportunity to network is good.  On the other hand, I am wondering if the conflict is quietly announcing the final split between DB2 for z/OS and DB2 for LUW.

Or I suppose that should be (another brilliant re-invention), Db2 for z/OS and Db2 for LUW…!!

 

The Fillmore Group – Another Migration Success!

Posted by Kim May on June 12, 2017 under DB2 Education, DB2 for VSE&VM, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, TFG Blog.

I am pleased to report a team of four consultants from The Fillmore Group, a team with over 100 years of combined DB2 experience, recently completed a successful migration of the courts system database at Lake County, Illinois.

The migration was spurred by an all-too-familiar challenge:  retirement announcements by three long-time, key technical personnel and a recognized need to modernize their database to enable potential use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) application software.

The entire project, including new DB2 for z/Linux (LUW) DBA training, re-integration of several archived databases and migration of the customer’s extensive library of QMF reports, was estimated at 18 months and completed in 9.  Under Frank Fillmore’s direction, the team utilized resources as needed:  part-time and full-time, remote and at the customer site.  The production cutover Memorial Day weekend went smoothly.

Lake County’s court system database is now running DB2 V11.1 on an Integrated Facility for z/Linux (IFL) on their IBM z Systems BC12.  Their DB2 software license costs were under $10K.  Most importantly, they are now prepared to begin evaluating application modernization options.

Congratulations to Suresh, Roger, Jim and Frank.

If your team is looking for migration support, please contact me.  These DB2 experts like to keep busy!

Another Oracle Attack Webinar? You Bet!

Posted by Kim May on May 2, 2017 under BLU Acceleration, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Mid Market Customers, Oracle, pureScale, TFG Blog.

With IBM’s announcement this week of super-aggressive discounting being offered to current Oracle customers considering a move to DB2, and with the deadline looming for many Oracle customers faced with another year of bloated “investment” in Oracle support, we’ve decided to deliver updated material on the benefits of moving to DB2.

Our upcoming webinar, “Oracle Renewal Looming?  Consider DB2!” will be delivered on Tuesday, May 16th, from 11:30am to 12:30pm EDT.

DB2 Gold Consultant Frank Fillmore will join me for the session, as will IBM’s Tony Mancini, Worldwide Competitive Team Executive.  Tony will give us a brief overview of IBM’s recent announcement, and Frank and I will deliver a fast-paced, interactive 60-minute session that will (we hope!) provide current Oracle customers with an understanding of both the cost savings and incredible database functionality available with DB2.

Please register HERE to join us!

Calling All IDAA Users!

Posted by Kim May on April 18, 2017 under DB2 Education, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IDAA, TFG Blog.

The next IBM-sponsored DB2 Analytics Accelerator Users’ Group meeting was announced this week.  The Fillmore Group’s Frank Fillmore will be presenting one of the sessions, along with BNY/Mellon Pershing’s Al DiGiovanni, whose support and promotion of the IDAA enabled Pershing to acquire their first IDAA.

Al and Frank will be presenting the meeting’s final session titled, “Increasing Utilization of the Accelerator by your Lines of Business”, a session whose topic has been a core issue for System z customers trying to persuade their colleagues to consider investing in the IDAA.

As many technical teams promoting IDAA adoption have learned (the hard way!), most organizations adopted the circa-Y2K best practice of running OLTP and analytic workloads separately, and are therefore reluctant to re-integrate the two, in spite of the cost, latency and simplicity advantages.  This session is designed to surface the issue and discuss options to address and overcome it.

Information on the DAAUG meeting is below.  Please be advised that membership in this group is limited to current IDAA customers and registration to attend is managed by IBM.  If you own an IDAA and would like to attend, and have not received an email invitation from IBM, please email me (kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com) and I will connect you to the IBM team coordinating the meeting.

I hope you will join us May 9th.

Session Details
Increasing Utilization of the Accelerator by your Lines of Business
Frank Fillmore and Al DiGiovanni, BNY/Mellon Pershing

The IDAA is a powerful tool for performing real-time analytics on z/OS transactional data.  In many cases it is left to the managers of an enterprise’s mainframe to “sell” an IDAA to lines of business (LOBs).

  • The audience for the sales pitch: CFOs, CTOs, Enterprise IT Architects, Data Scientists
  • The objections:
    o existing infrastructure (ETL processes, enterprise data warehouses)
    o mainframe marginalization (“The mainframe is too expensive”; “The mainframe is not a strategic platform”)
  • The advantages:
    o reduced complexity
    o reduced latency
    o cost savings (e.g. inexpensive data archiving of all System z data)
  • New opportunities:
    o in-database transformation (i.e. AOTs for MicroStrategy)
    o in-database analytics (i.e. INZA-IDAA 3.2.2.1)
    o cloud deployment (Public/Private/Hybrid)
    o Machine Learning
    o R support

DB2 Analytics Accelerator Users’ Group (DAAUG) Meeting

Date:           Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Location:     IBM Offices, NYC or via web conference
Time:           9:30am – 2:00pm EDT

During this meeting, Ute Baumbach, subject matter expert from the Analytics on z Systems Center of Excellence out of Boeblingen, Germany, will cover the most recently introduced Accelerator features, functions and fixes. Tim Willging, Distinguished Engineer, will discuss how you can expand your Accelerator use cases with new functionality in the Accelerator Loader Tool. Jonathan Sloan, Business Analytics Executive Consultant, will present ways the Accelerator complements IBM Machine Learning. Frank Fillmore, DB2 Gold Consultant of the Fillmore Group, and a customer presenter will share their successful experiences to help you promote the value of the Accelerator to your Lines of Business.

We encourage you to join the meeting in person if you are local. Web Meeting details will be provided for remote attendees.

Agenda:

09:30 – 10:00       Registration
10:00 – 10:15        Welcome
10:15 – 10:45         Developer’s Update: DB2 Analytics Accelerator Features, Functions and Fixes
10:45 – 11:30         Expanding Accelerator use cases with new DB2 Analytics Accelerator Loader
functionality
11:30 – 12:00         Lunch Break
12:00 – 01:00        Complementing IBM Machine Learning with the DB2 Analytics Accelerator
01:00 – 02:00       Increasing Utilization of the Accelerator by your Lines of Business