Starting to Think About Think

Posted by Kim May on October 19, 2018 under DB2 Education, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), TFG Blog.

Last year Frank and I chose not to attend Think in Las Vegas.  While I missed the networking (socializing/fun) part of conference, it didn’t feel like a “must attend” event, as the Information on Demand and Insight Conferences had in the past.  And, since we didn’t go to Think, Frank and I instead attended IDUG Europe in Lisbon, which was awesome.  Lisbon was stunningly beautiful, the people at the conference were great fun and the technical discussions were focused on Db2’s future, which is of course important to The Fillmore Group.

So then why am I thinking about attending Think 2019?  I’m curious…

First, my grudging acceptance of the shrinking role data management is playing in IBM’s strategy has me curious about what the future holds.  As I write this Bain Capital has recently acquired Rocket Software, and the rumor mill is churning with theories on what will happen to Db2 for z/OS and the mainframe.  Do I expect a great announcement at Think, or insight into IBM’s strategy that will shape our business plans?  No.  But I think the conversation – with customers and colleagues – will help guide The Fillmore Group’s focus over the next few years.

Second, I find IBM listens to Business Partners less and less each year.  The Partnerworld program has always been a source of frustration to me, as the rules and guidelines seem thinly disguised to hide IBM’s intention to work with a handful of partners, and exclude the rest.  I recognize The Fillmore Group IS a small partner, but one with deep technical skills and a lot of history with some of IBM’s key customers, so I have often attended conferences almost solely for the opportunity to meet with IBM management about ways to improve Partnerworld.  The concepts I pitched – crazy concepts like accountability, transparency, and support for partners teaming – were often given 15 minutes and a, “gee it would be nice if we could”.  However, once in a while I felt my ideas were heard and given consideration.

Read More…

IDUG Call for Speakers Open Until October 19th

Posted by Kim May on September 24, 2018 under Baltimore Washington DB2 Users Group, DB2 Education, DB2 for i, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/Linux, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), Oracle, pureScale, TFG Blog.

 

The Call for Speakers for the 2019 IDUG North America Conference, scheduled for Charlotte, NC, from June 2 – 6, 2019, is open.  For Db2 users this is an excellent opportunity to share your experience with your peers.  IDUG has a well documented presentation submission format and process, detailed on the IDUG North America webpage.

You may submit an unlimited number of abstracts.  However, it is important that you provide all of the information requested when submitting your presentation(s) for review. Failure to provide all requested information may impact whether or not the abstract is accepted.

One last note:  given the timing, don’t forget to reach out to your local Db2 RUG and offer to deliver your presentation at one of their meetings prior to the conference.  It’s a great opportunity to do a practice run, and also allow your local peers – some of whom may not be attending the conference – to appreciate your work.

From the IDUG webpage:

IDUG is soliciting presentation abstracts that explore into details of implementation, migrating to a new release, or maximizing performance from any member of the DB2 product family. In recognition of the complex requirements of today’s database implementations, presentation abstracts relating to migration from Oracle to DB2, upgrading within versions of DB2, and new hardware implementations are also being requested. Presentations may cover details of DB2 tools, Big Data and other ancillary DB2 products.

All presentations must be strongly technical in nature, cannot contain marketing themes, and must support and strengthen the information services community by providing the highest quality education and services designed to promote the effective utilization of the DB2 and its family of products.”

 

IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) v7 Workshop a Success! #IBMz #IBMAnalytics

Posted by Frank Fillmore on July 29, 2018 under BLU Acceleration, Data Studio, DB2 Education, DB2 for Linux Unix Windows, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Migrations, HTAP, IBM Smart Analytics System, IDAA, Mako, Netezza, PostgreSQL, Sidecar. Tags: , , .

On July 23 and 24, 2018 The Fillmore Group delivered a hands-on IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) v7 Workshop to 12 students across 5 different enterprises at the IBM Dublin, Ohio (USA) Technical Education Center.  This was the first IDAA v7 hands-on Workshop delivered to customers anywhere.  Many thanks to Atlee, Bill, Bob, Dom, Emmi, Larry, Marshall, Mohammed, Naga, Ruth, Shawn, and Toby for all of the great questions.  Kudos to the IBM Poughkeepsie Benchmark Center for standing up the IDAA v7 environment in record time with just-released functionality like Incremental Update.  And thanks to IBMers Rich Gast, Mike Hood, Sandro Ramirez (aka “Nicky’s Dad”), Julie Efthymiou, and Rudy Benvenuto for all of their support.

Finally – and most importantly – the Workshop’s flawless execution from scheduling, invitations and outreach to customers, to welcome packets for travelers, to food service, and overall logistics was the direct result of many months of hard work on the part of my colleague, Kim May.  I really appreciate it!

The presentation materials are here:IDAA Workshop 2018-07

Since IDAA v7 is so radically different from it’s predecessors, the Workshop generated lots of questions which will be incorporated into future sessions.  Watch this space.

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

Free Hands-On IDAA V7.1 Training June 19th and 20th

Posted by Kim May on April 23, 2018 under Authorized Training Partner, DB2 for z/OS, DB2 Gold Consultants, DB2 Migrations, Frank Fillmore, HTAP, IBM Champion, IDAA, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG), TFG Blog.

I am pre-announcing (if that’s a word) our upcoming free, hands-on IDAA training class scheduled for June 19th and 20th at the Radisson Cross Keys in Baltimore.  This class is being updated to support the IDAA V7.1 (“Sailfish”) and will contain content covering the new architecture, sizing considerations for the new generation of IDAA appliances, and recommendations for organization upgrading from the Mako model IDAA’s to Sailfish.

The fine print:  attendees must be IBM customers considering an IDAA purchase in 2018.  While class is free (and we will treat attendees to breakfast and lunch both days), attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.

We have 20 available class seats, available on a first-come-first-served basis.  Frank and I will be at IDUG next week promoting the class – if you have any questions and would like to discuss the class content, your IDAA challenges, or anything else IDAA-ish – let us know if you will be there and we will try to meet.

The registration link is here.  My email is kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com – email me with any questions.

IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator Training

Dates (2 days):  Tuesday and Wednesday, June 19 and 20, 2018

Class Times:  9:00am – 4:00pm

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

Instructor:  Frank Fillmore

 

Join us for this refreshed class that includes material specific to the latest IDAA “Sailfish” releases, including V7.1, and the M4002, aka “Maverick”. Attendees will learn how and why an IDAA can extend your System z’s processing capabilities to enable Hybrid Transaction/Analytic Processing (HTAP).

Topics:

  • An introduction to the new V7.1 architecture and IBM Integrated Analytics System (IIAS).
  • The heterogeneous accelerator environment:  what works well today.
  • Assessment tools to support acquisition:  Workload Assessment, CVE, 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

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.