Monday, November 02, 2015

IBM Insight 2015 Wrap-Up

Last week I attended the IBM Insight conference and blogged about the first few days of the conference here at… and I promised to blog about the remainder of the conference, so here is a synopsis of the highlights.

On Wednesday, the focus of the general session was on IBM’s acquisition of The Weather Company’s technology.  The deal calls for IBM to acquire The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI,, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand. IBM will not be acquiring The Weather Channel television station, which will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract. IBM intends to utilize its newly acquired weather data in its Watson platform.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016. Terms were not disclosed.

You can read all about the acquisition in this IBM press release

I spent some of my time at Insight this year learning more about dashDB and it is a very interesting technology. Marketed as data warehousing in the cloud, IBM touts four use cases for dashDB: standalone cloud data warehouse, as a store for data scientists, for those implementing a hybrid data warehouse, and for NoSQL analysis and rapid prototyping.
IBM promotes simplicity, performance, analytics on both traditional and NoSQL, and polyglot language support as the most important highlights of dashDB. And because it has DB2 BLU under the covers IBM dashDB not only super-compresses data, but it can operate on that data without necessarily decompressing it.
Additionally, a big theme of the conference was in-memory technology, and dashDB sports CPU cache capabilities. In fact, I heard several folks at the conference say some variation of “RAM is too slow”… meaning that CPU cache is faster and IBM is moving in that direction.
The bottom line for dashDB is that it offers built-in high availability and workload management capabilities, along with being in-memory optimized and scalable. Worth a look for folks needing a powerful data warehousing platform.
For you DB2 for z/OS folks, IDAA was a big theme of this year’s Insight conference. The latest version, V5.1, adds advanced analytics capabilities and in database transformation, making your mainframe queries that can take advantage of the accelerator faster than ever.
Apache Spark was another pervasive topic this year. It was talked about in multiple sessions and I even had the opportunity to play with it in a hands-on lab. The big news for z folks is that IBM is bringing out a version of Spark for the mainframe that will run on z/OS – it is already supported on zLinux.
Of course, I attended a whole slew of DB2 sessions including SQL coding, performance and administration presentations. Some of the highlights include DB2 11 for LUW being announced, several discussions about dark data, and a lot of information about IBM's Big SQL and how it can be used to rapidly and efficiently access Hadoop (and other unstructured) data using SQL.
I live-tweeted a bunch of highlights of those sessions, too. Indeed, too many to include here, if you are interested in catching everything I have to say about a conference, keep reading these blog posts, of course, but you should really follow me on Twitter, too at
I also had the honor of delivering a presentation at this year's conference on the changes and trends going on in the world of DB2 for z/OS. Thanks to the 70 or so people who attended my session - I hope you all enjoyed it and learned something, too!
As usual, and well-you-know if you've ever attended this conference before, there was also a LOT of walking to be done. From the hotel to the conference center to the expo hall to lunch to the conference center. But at least there were some signs making light of the situation this year! 
There was a lot of fun to be had at the conference, too. The vendor exhibition hall was stocked with many vendors, big and small, and it seems like they all had candy. I guess that’s what you get when the conference is so close to Halloween! The annual Z party at the House of Blues (for which you need a Z pin to get in – this year’s pin was orange) was a blast and the Maroon 5 concert courtesy of Rocket Software was a lot of fun, too.

If you are looking for a week of database, big data, and analytics knowledge transfer, the opportunity to chat and connect with your peers, as well as some night-time entertainment, be sure to plan to attend next year’s IBM Insight conference (October 23 thru 27, 2016 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas).

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