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!

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.

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 IBM Analytics Class Schedule – First Half, 2017

Posted by Kim May on December 1, 2016 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, BLU Acceleration, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Global Skills Initiative, IBM DB2 Services, IBM Training Services Delivery Partner, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

Although the Global Skills Initiative hasn’t delivered on its promise IBM continues to schedule and deliver classes with the Global Training Partners.  It’s just more difficult for customers to find classes and register…and then wait for the all-too-frequent “sorry, cancelled” call.

But, as we have been delivering IBM Authorized DB2 and data management tools classes for this long, we’re hanging in.  Why not?  Our classroom sits waiting for students and our consultants who train always look forward to delivering classes.

Our scheduled classes are in the document attached below.  These are the classes we are scheduled to deliver.  Please remember we have access to other courses and curriculum, and can deliver many more courses (along with our regularly scheduled classes) in private sessions at your location, and/or via distance learning.

Please call (443-956-0288) or email me (kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com) if I can help!

1h-2017-the-fillmore-group-classes

IBM Authorized Training – “Using Queue Replication” Starting August 23rd

Posted by Kim May on August 15, 2016 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Frank Fillmore, Global Skills Initiative, IBM Champion, Oracle, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

We have seats available in the “Using Queue Replication” class scheduled to run Tuesday through Friday, August 23-26.  Students may attend class in our Baltimore classroom or via distance learning.  The cost per student is $2680.  The outline and registration are on the Arrow ECS training website here.

If you are one of the many terrific IBM customers who attended Frank’s webinar a few weeks ago, I hope you will register and join us.   The IBM authorized Q Replication training class has not run publicly for 3 years.  It took several weeks to get permission to run this class – one we have delivered successfully many times in the past.  IBM wants to retire it because – surprise – it doesn’t run frequently enough.  !!   Frank will be the instructor for the class and he will include (beyond the course material) an overview of the new Oracle apply.

Please don’t miss the opportunity to take this class.  Organizations rely on replication; if you have never attended a formal Q Replication class, I hope you will consider joining us.  It’s a great product, but it is complex.  I hope I will see you there!

Q Replication: Frank’s Field Notes – Follow-ups

Posted by Kim May on July 28, 2016 under Arrow ECS, Authorized Training Partner, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, Federation, Frank Fillmore, IBM DB2 Services, Oracle, Q-Replication, TFG Blog.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us this morning for Frank’s presentation.  The recording and presentation files will be added in our next post.

In this post I am happy (thrilled!) to announce the Q Replication training class discussed on the webinar – the four-day, instructor-led session CE243G, “Using Queue Replication” has been posted on both the IBM and Arrow ECS websites and is therefore ready to accept registrations.  Please join us if you are interested, either in our Baltimore classroom, or via distance learning.  The class will run for four days, Tuesday – Friday, August 23-26.  Register here.

Special thanks to Megan Byrne, who helped get the class reinstated – it hasn’t run publicly for over three years – and is back on the schedule.

As a special incentive to anyone interested in attending the class in our Baltimore classroom, if you are interested in joining us for the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Washington Nationals game Tuesday night (after the first day of class), please let me know.  At The Fillmore Group we are all great O’s fans and they are, after all, in first place!

Finally, as one of today’s topics was the Oracle Native Apply now available for Q Replication, I am attaching a flyer with our Quickstart services offering to assist current Q Replication customers to transition from using Federation Server to the Oracle Native Apply.  Hope it helps!

Oracle Native Apply Quickstart 7.28.16

Thanks again for your help Megan!  Go O’s!

Megan at O's game