After a long time, it is time again to contribute my might to the towering developerWorks! Hurray!
I have started working on the final XML-version of one of our articles on IBM(R) Infosphere(R) Change Data Capture, with one of my colleagues, Shailesh Jamloki aka Jammie. Jammie is extremely enterprising and full of energy. It is complete fun working with him. It was amazing that he could pull off almost complete content for the article in the Word format within a matter of days! (I pitched in later offering my experienced hand in converting the content to the preferred XML-format. This is an aside of the story! :) )
We are on the verge of pulling off another publication soon! Excited really! :) Come on, Jammie!
Think Out and Wide
A lot is being discussed on cloud computing either as a paradigm or as an operational strategy or a marketing tantrum. I myself have been lately on the developer and test cloud hosted by IBM and have been using the DB2 hosted behind the cloud. It was an excellent proposition to use the software without having installed on your local machine :) I was really on cloud nine! :)
However, I was thinking, whether the current database systems that we have are eligible to stay behind the cloud offering transparently all the services that they can offer as a stand-alone offering. Also, I was interested to think of any issues and challenges for the existing database systems to deal with the large amount of transactions being behind the cloud! I shall try to share more insights on these topics soon. Keep watching this space!
One of my ex-colleagues, let me call him AP for the simple purpose of confidentiality for his identity, in IBM had decided to take up a role in government service. Consequently, AP had embarked on a long drawn process meant for selection and appointment for such civil service at the national level. The process includes a preliminary examination, a main examination and then a personal face-to-face interview with the prospective personnel. AP had passed through both the written examinations and now was short-listed for a personal interview later this month.
Since AP had worked with IBM, for more than an year, he was expecting a few questions in his interview with the selection board. Thus, he was seeking information on a few key aspects related to IBM and he chose me to provide such information. I was pleased! :) He did a mini-interview with me last week to get the required inputs and thoughts from a current IBMer! I give below the excerpts of my interview:
AP: Can you tell me about IBM's recent initiatives, if any, in environment and corporate social responsibility?
Mohan: For environment: IBM is taking the initiative Green Computing, which means that it has developed and is still involved in the development of hardware architectures that would consume less heat, for instance. This in a way would require less resources such as electricity and light, which in turn would lessen the pressure on environment. IBM also is investing more on research in less-heat-consuming and less-resource-intensive microprocessors and hardware devices as an ongoing initiative.
For corporate social responsibility: IBM is involved in several such activities: it has been always the forerunner in applying the technology, free of cost, to manage the natural calamities. It helps and supports the government and non-government organizations in such activities. IBM has also science and technology initiatives for society - for example, it encourages its employees to volunteer on primary education in schools and colleges.
AP: Does IBM have supercomputers?
Mohan: Yes, it has. You can search the web for more information on that.
AP: Did IBM participate in any relief work related to Haiti and Chilean earthquakes?
Mohan: Yes. IBM participated in the relief works.
AP: IBM has big list of products. Which area can we say that it specializes in?
Mohan: It primarily specializes in the business integration and consultancy. It uses all of its products in one way or the other to help customers in gaining their competitive advantage and succeed in business. So, to do an effective business integration, it might require not only middle-ware such as application servers (WebSphere), but also databases and web technologies.
AP: What will you say in one line - what is the secret of IBM's success?
Mohan: IBM's success lies in excellent long-term vision driven by a good value system, a sustaining strategy, innovative execution, helped by technical and highly committed workforce.
AP: What are the best practices in IBM that can be incorporated in the public sector?
Mohan: I can list probably these (a) Good vision driven by values (b) mindset of innovation (c) a perspective in terms of effectiveness and efficiency (d) good long-term strategy to sustain in business (e) prudent and long-term investment in its employee skills and their career development. Probably, I think, some of these are common to the private sector, but they are more prominent in business organizations like IBM.
AP: For success of any organization, we need a motivated workforce. What is special about IBM that is missing in public sector organizations?
Mohan: Mindset of innovation in service delivery :)
AP: Thank you, Mohan!
Mohan: welcome :)
These questions, though apparently simple and straight-forward required considerable thinking from me in answering them. I had fun and thrill in thinking on them and relating the areas as well to my daily job! My heart was filled now! :)
NOTE: All opinions, thoughts and views expressed in this post are personal to the author of the blog.
I have joined a dW group on Information Management India. This is an interesting group trying to get together IM enthusiasts across India, though people outside India have been regular contributors to it. I am looking forward to participating in the discussion forum of this group pertaining to my area of interest related to database systems, change data capture for DB2 on LUW, and any thing related to the social activities of the dW including blogging, Wikis, groups and publishing. :)
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Since we work on InfoSphere Change Data Capture, a database log-based replication product from IBM that replicates data in real time across most of the available databases and across heterogeneous platforms, we would naturally be interested in the database technology and the relevant products. A couple of weeks back, thinking on attacking the problem of what path to take to enhance knowledge to improve overall effectiveness and/or efficiency in my work in our team, I decided to take the database route and focus in some more depth on the databases. This would not only add to my existing knowledge on databases and makes a better understanding on the product that we work on, but also whets my appetite for new research areas.
DB2 is a premier product for IBM and at one or more point of my career in IBM for the past six years, I had made my days working on DB2! Add to this, the wonderful advantage of getting to work with experts on the product within IBM to interact and share knowledge with. You are a kind of "in" DB2, when you are in IBM. I love it!
It has been almost a 3-week journey towards my first IBM certification ever since I had planned for the certification exam. And, today, all my efforts on reading/studying, learning and experimenting the DB2 9 database bore fruits with a blank yet ecstatic expression on my face when I saw the exam result in my Prometric Center. I am now a proud IBM Certified Database Associate for DB2 9! :)
Since the point of my planning, I have gathered enough resources to study and experiment on the DB2. Given that I have had experience on writing application code, primarily in Java, to work with databases, a few sections for the certification examination such as Working with DB2 data, Working with DB2 objects and Working with Tables, Views and Indexes, required lesser focus though I revised and refreshed most of the material and worked on the sample questions on them. The Achilles's heel has been quite a few areas in sections of the examination on Planning, Security and Data Concurrency. I worked through the various material on these sections thoroughly and after gaining enough confidence that I have indeed absorbed the concepts, I decided to take the appointment for the examination. After all these efforts, it is a great feeling to see my overall score and individual scores in each section of the examination. After all, these numbers validate my learning and the newly gained knowledge!
The preparation for the certification examination not only made me aware and knowledgeable on a few unfamiliar areas of DB2 9 database that I have never worked on or touched upon, but also induced in me a few thoughts on areas for further study and possible research! Obviously, this journey will not end here and goes on forever, of course, by picking up a few more achievements on my way to a great and a wonderful world of knowledge! :)
For those interested to get certified through this examination, here are a few useful resources and actions:
(1) Read my previous blog entries on various resources:
(a) Checklist for DB2 Certification preparation
(b) Interesting games to learn DB2: IBM DB2 Detective Game and IBM DB2 Business Game
(c) Wonderful series of articles and tutorials on DB2 for beginners
(2) Join the following groups in ChannelDB2.com:
(a) DB2 in Books
(b) DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Workshop
(3) Download videos on the various topics of DB2 from DB2 On Campus program.
(4) Join the developerWorks group for IBM DB2 Certifications.
(5) If you do not have a working copy of DB2 to experiment on the concepts and ideas while learning and studying for the examination, you either get one from the IBM developerWorks or create a remote instance on
IBM's Developer Cloud.
(6) Join the developerWorks forums on Information Management and DB2 for Linux, Unix and Windows, and start posting and/or answering the questions.
(7) Go through the excellent slides put up by Susan Visser on the wild wonderful world of DB2 resources.
I have been wanting to create my own blogging space in IBM developerWorks, one of my favorite spaces in the technology world. However, despite several requests for having my own blog, I could not own the space for some reasons. And, finally, one day the forces of Nature worked out for me and today is the day! My recent request to create my blog in IBM developerWorks has been approved by the developerWorks team! :) It is a fantastic feeling to see my first entry here! :)
Though I have multiple blogs in the wild wild web, each reflecting a part of my personality and thinking, I have long been thinking to create a blog to share with the wider world out there some of my thoughts that I carry the most part of the day - and night too! And, I am excited that I could finally create a platform to pen out my thoughts that continuously ring in my realms within my mind on various divergent areas. :-)
This blog of mine - I call it as Think Out - is intended to allow me to put in thoughts related to such technologies as databases, web applications and data integration, apart from my weird and sometimes crispy ideas related to research and technical writing. The specific objective of this blog is to give myself more clarity on my thoughts on the technology industry, the play of IBM in the industry and my contribution towards my company on achieving the specific goals that it has set for itself and the world at large.
Hope you would enjoy my writing (somewhat arcane style with an occasional mix of journalistic propensities, forgive me!) here and allow me to read your comments.
Thinking In and Out