IOD was a busy time for the Optim team. I hosted three sessions and also was in the pedestal area and had a chance to interact with several DB2 and IDS customers. While all the solutions certainly got their attention, two solutions seemed to bubble up to the top in terms of customer discussion and questions. Optim pureQuery was one of them, mainly from the DB2 for z/OS crowd. There is definitely a trend in the market of customers wanting to take advany tage of the wealth of data stored on the DB2 for z/OS platform rather than transport that data to another platform. This trend indicates that JAVA is the preferred language when developing these new applications; however, finding an acceptable data access layer both in terms of ease of use as well as high performance, has been a challenge. Many companies are looking at things like Hibernate to address their ease of use challenges, but unfortunately Hibernate doesn't address their high performance requirement. Several customers wanted to understand how pureQuery could help them in this situation and were very excited once we talked to them about not only the benefits of Static SQL, but also the client optimization features of pureQuery, and most importantly how we could visualize the SQL that Hibernate was generating to the developer and DBA. Seems to be a perfect fit for providing the high performance that DB2 z/OS customers expect for these new JAVA applications.
The second solution that seemed to get a lot of attention was our Performance Expert solution. When it comes to problem diagnosis everyone is always looking for a better mousetrap and it seems that solutions in this area get hot and then run their course. Well, Performance Expert seems to be the up and coming hot product. I believe this is due to the sheer wealth of information this product collects. If , or should I say when, a problem occurs in production the most difficult challenge is gathering that information, especially because that moment in time is now past and you really need historical data to determine what went wrong. Performance Expert collects information and stores this information in intervals, making it incredibly easy to get the information needed all synchronized to the right time. You can see a short video of this capability here. The other thing I found interesting was all the various reports and consoles customers were writing based on the data found in the Performance Warehouse. From capacity planning to SLA reporting, it seems to me that there is a lot of customization going on that would probably make a great birds-of-a-feather session in future conferences.
As I mentioned earlier, all the solutions got their attention. I hosted a joint session with Randy Wilson from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee where Randy described a very interesting outage situation (not fun!) and how Optim High Performance Unload saved the day for them in terms of being able to supplement their recovery and provide the historical data they needed. Interesting how customers really think outside the box and come up with creative uses for our solution. After that session I had quite a few discussions with customers on how they could use High Performance Unload for situations like Randy's where back-level DB2 or dropped tables caused challenges in terms of recovery.
Well it was a busy week and now comes all the customer follow-up that happens after IOD!
Managing the data lifecycle
Matching: iod2009 X
I'm part of the User Experience team that is focused on ensuring the usability of the Optim products and solutions. I wanted to tell you about the Optim Usability Sandbox at IOD. The usability sandbox sessions are a chance for you to give us usability feedback on products and solutions you use or are interested in. These sessions differ from others at IOD-- they are held with just a few participants at a time, and they're interactive--you get to tell us what you think about the latest release of a product or future designs we're considering (after signing a non-disclosure agreement). It's a chance to impact a product and let us know what's important to you.
We have usability sandbox sessions lined up on the following products and topics within the Optim portfolio:
My kids told me the other day that they can tell it's Fall because my calendar is full of travel for work. The good part about this travel is that there are lots of opportunity to meet with customers as well as other IBMers at two big conferences: IDUG Europe and Information on Demand (IOD).
IDUG Europe is in Rome this year, and the only bad part is that I can't stay in Italy longer! I have to leave Thursday morning so I can attend some Boy Scout leader training Fri-Sun. Hopefully, I can sneak out in the early morning and see some of the cool sights again like the Forum. IOD is in... SURPRISE, Beautiful Las Vegas! OK, I guess that's no surprise. It's interesting to hear the reactions from folks on Las Vegas. It seems like a love or hate relationship. As artificial and overindulgent as Vegas is, I enjoy it. I enjoy the food (ask me for restaurant suggestions), the weather of the Fall there, the safety of walking along The Strip anytime of the day or night, and most of all, the people watching. There's nothing better than getting a good seat with my favorite beverage and watching the crowd parade past.
OK, back to the topic of technical conferences. I have a friend who works as a developer for a DBMS competitor (no need to ask ;-)), and he's always jealous when he hears how much my fellow developers and I get to go and present at these conferences. At his company, they mostly only let product managers present to customers and leave the geeky developers back at the lab. There is very little that can substitute for face to face contact with the people who are working on the products. I'm glad that IBM lets us geeky folks out of our cages for these events. Conferences seem to be suffering from lower attendance (no surprise, considering the economy), but it's really unfortunate when you consider the value than can be gotten. The conference web sites usually have an ROI justification to help with this, and I really think that the focus, the proximity to knowledgeable experts, and the hands on labs really do justify the costs.
I just plotted out the sessions that I plan to attend at IDUG. I always like how IDUG has a high number of customer presentations. I always enjoy listening to those. IOD also has a lot of customer talks this year. Curt mentioned some of them in his blog post.
Well, I hope to see you in Rome or in Vegas. In both places, I have a "new" session called, "Why are DB2 for z/OS DBAs interested in Data Studio and Optim Tooling?" (IDUG Rome: on Monday, Oct 5th, and IOD on Monday, Oct 26th -- as always, check the monitors for last minute gate changes when you arrive at the airport). I felt this tailoring of a session for DB2 for z/OS DBAs was needed because we have a lot of stuff labeled Optim, and not all of it is of interest to a DB2 for z/OS DBA as of today. I also take a no-glitz look at the free Data Studio offering and show exactly what it can be used for on a DB2 for z/OS system. Holger Karn will join me at the IOD session to talk about some performance monitoring futures that I know will get you excited. At IOD, I have another session with Jay Bruce called, "Query Tuning on IBM DB2 for z/OS" that discusses the task and shows tooling that can help you do it.
Hope to see you there!
I know you all are probably getting bombarded with news about the upcoming Information on Demand NA conference in Las Vegas, but I wanted to make sure you were aware of some highlights from an Integrated Data Management perspective. I'll be joining my colleague Al Smith, originally from Princeton Softech, presenting our strategy and vision (I need to earn my flight there, after all), but I think what's even more interesting are the customer speakers that are lined up. There's a broad representation across industries of companies who are focused on different aspects of our solutions. For example:
To help you with planning, here are the key links:
Integrated Data Management roadmap to the conference. (Print it out and take it along with you.)
IOD Conference SmartSite to help you plan your agenda and enroll.
IBM Optim on Twitter (This is already active, but we'll use this to keep you informed of updates at the conference)
IOD 2009 on Twitter (for the bigger picture on conference activities)
Look forward to seeing you.