Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IOD2009 Day Two

Day two of the IBM Information on Demand conference was just as informative and exciting as day one. The day kicked off with a general session titled "A New Kind of Intelligence for a Smarter Planet." The idea presented is that the world is changing. It is becoming more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. Basically, as Steve Mills of IBM clarified, the ability to embed intelligence into millions of things will lead the transformation to an information led smarter planet. And that this information-led transformation will create opportunities for organizations to strategically gain control of information and create a new kind of intelligence.

Expanded intelligence begins with sensors and metering, which is doable today because price points have become reasonable now. There are 1 billion transistors per human, today. And an estimated 2 billion people will soon be on the Internet. At the same time, we are moving toward one trillion connected objects (video cameras, GPS devices, healthcare instruments, and even livestock). And there are hundreds of satellites orbiting the Earth, generating terabytes of data each and every day.

As we begin to intelligently interconnect these devices and analyze their streaming data, a transformative opportunity can results...

IBM brought up three customers to talk about how their organization were helping to transform to a smarter planet. The customers came from Cardinal Health, Statoil Hydro ASA (Norway), and the Food and Drug Administration. Highlights of the panel discussion:
  1. Security in the supply chain for food is absolutely critical and food safety is one of the most complex systems to deal with.
  2. The US imports 50pct of its food - from over 150 different countries.
  3. Every food supplier to US (domestic or foreign) must be registered with the FDA.
  4. And each supplier must complete forms as to the safety of its food. This can be difficult since suppliers range from large agri-businesses to small farms many of whom do not have a computer at all. So some records are probably kept on paper in shoe boxes.
  5. Supply chain security is very important in the health care (drugs) and oil industries too! In fact, it was discussed how each of these seemingly disparate industries face many similar challenges.
  6. Preventing problems requires understanding risk. And complexity requires collaboration in order to succeed becase nobody has enough resources to do it all alone.
  7. In some areas (such as remote parts of Norway) instrumentation is essential to even get the data because nobody wants to go there.
  8. Legacy systems often are rich sources of information (hey, that probably means mainframes!)
  9. Analytics are required for prevention of problems, but also aid in reaction to problems that actually occur too. No one prevents 100 percent of their problems.
After the panel IBM came back and wrapped it up. They mentioned how IBM was awarded the National Medal of Honor for their Blue Gene supercomputer for DNA sequencing. It was a very informative and entertaining general session.

I then attended the DB2 9.7 versus Oracle 11g Smackdown presentation. It was chock full of statistics on why IBM's DB2 is superior to Oracle in terms of cost. The presenter explained how DB2
outperforms Oracle on TPC-C benchmarks for the same test, on the same machine, at the same point in time. He cautioned folks to to read the small print details on all benchmark results... for example, if you are examining the cost of ownership double check to see whether the benchmark uses a term or full purchase license. Also, the cost of the database license depends a great deal on your ability to negotiate a discount (if the vendor will discount). And you also need to be aware of how the products are licensed. Some features are separately licensed for both DB2 and Oracle. The bottom line is that licensing can cause a more than 30 percentt swing in price performance results

But do people even believe these benchmarks any more? I don't think very many people put much stock in benchmark tests today.

The author frequently cited an independent study by ITG that compares the value proposition of DB2 9.7 versus Oracle Database 11g. You can read the study yourself at this link.

(Note to my regular z/OS readers: the previous discussion was all about DB2 LUW and not DB2 for z/OS).

I also got to attend a special briefing for bloggers on IBM's new stream computing solution, which I blogged about on my Data Management Today blog if you are interested.

And finally, I'll plug my Twitter feed again. You can follow my tweets at IOD this week (well, thru Wednesday) by following me on Twitter at

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