Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Trip Report from the 2015 IDUG DB2 Tech Conference

Last week I attended, and spoke at, the annual North American IDUG DB2 Tech Conference in Philadelphia, PA. As usual, the event was busy and chock full of useful and interesting DB2 information.

My week started on Sunday with the IBM gold consultant briefing, whereby IBM talks to the gold consultants about their upcoming plans and solicits feedback from us. I can’t really share with you what happened there, but as is almost always the case, it was time well spent.
The conference kicked off in earnest on Monday with the keynote from IBMers Tim Vincent and Namik Hrle titled “Big Data, Analytics and the Future of Data Management.” Tim and Namik discussed how the growth of data is fueling innovation causing a big change in the way value is created. Some of the key takeaways from the keynote, for me at least, were:
  • The predominant source of Big Data for most projects is still structured transactions
  • Primary focus of most data projects is usually on understanding customers
  • There is a trend toward self-service
  • Clearly there is value in Hadoop but you can't replace all your DBMSes with it!

Perhaps the most salient tidbit shared at the keynote address was this: “People have forgotten, or never truly understood, how complex data integration actually is.” I think this is true; all too often people underestimate how difficult the integration of data will be. And I agree, too, with sentiment of the presenters who declared that “We need to realize that data is never going to be in one place.”

The bottom line of the keynote: All of our existing DB2 skills will still be relevant but must co-exist with skills in newer technologies like NoSQL and Hadoop.

Good stuff!

Some of the other highlights of the week:
  • Attendance seemed to be higher than at the past few IDUG conferences. And I see growth in the number of DB2 for LUW attendees. IDUG, at least historically, was mostly attended by DB2 for z/OS folks. And it is probably still true that more z/OS folks attend than LUW folks, but the LUW attendance continues to grow and may surpass z/OS at some point! Of course, this is all based on my unscientific eyeballing of attendees at presentations.
  • My session on DB2 performance had a full room and nobody seemed to nod off or run for the exits while I spoke. I also delivered a VSP for Dell to a room full of DBAs and developers, as well as a couple of presentations for DataKinetics during an evening session. So that was all good!
  • I attended a couple of sessions on newer features of DB2 and how some of them are under-utilized. I think this speaks to a few trends hitting the world of DB2 these days. Number one: training is drying up. If you don’t get training on new features it is hard to use them appropriately. Number two: failure to take advantage of free learning opportunities like webinars and freely-available PDF manuals:
  • The vendor exhibit hall was active and well-attended throughout the week. All the usual suspects were there like BMC, CA, dbi, Dell, and IBM, but there were some newer (at least to IDUG) companies, too, like DataKinetics and Imperva.
  • The educational seminars were integrated into the conference this year. And they did not cost extra to attend. That means that more people attended ed seminars this year (at least I think they did) and the conference offered more value to attendees looking for more in-depth education than can be gained by an hour session.

All in all, the 2015 North American IDUG Tech Conference was a big success. And it is not too early to start planning for next year’s conference, which will be in Austin, TX. Finally, I’ll be able to drive to an IDUG… see you there in 2016!

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