Articles & Content

Fillmore Group

The Fillmore Group was founded by IBM DB2 Gold Consultant Frank C. Fillmore, Jr.

Note: The content of this blog is the opinion and thoughts of the blogger and does not necessarily represent the opinions of IDUG.

 

 
We’re Here – Use Us!I really enjoyed Lisbon and seeing everyone at the IDUG Conference.  More than one person commented on the turnout (excellent) and the crowd (young!)  There seems to be some new energy in the Db2 community, in part, I believe, as long-time Db2 users are accepting that in spite of IBM's perpetual "re-invention", the folks using their tried-and-true technologies -- the ones that built up the war chest funding the re-invention -- continue to deliver state-of-the-art performance and functionality.  The technology is excellent, users are lucky to work with it, and the experts who have invested their best career years in Db2 are ready to work. So now what?  With IBM's current "Oracle Attack" promotion customers can purchase Db2 for as little as 20% of their annual Oracle support cost.  I understand there are several Oracle customers preparing to migrate to Db2.  Does this mean Db2 will (finally) show up on one of those "most popular relational database" graphs?  I hope so! And, along with these migrations the demand for services to support them is growing, so there are more opportunities for customers to get to know the many skilled Db2 consultants and experts available to support their adoption of Db2. Independent consultants -- like The Fillmore Group's team -- can deliver expert services to support migrations, often at a fraction of the cost of IBM's.  Many consultants have experience delivering formal classroom training as well as services, and most are actively involved in the Db2 community and happy to introduce Db2 newbies to the local users groups and IDUG.  The consulting community has been promoting the Oracle Attack through webinars (view the replay of my webinar here) and blog posts (read Dave Beulke's post here), and want to make sure every prospective Db2 customer has access to skilled migration services when they are ready to make the switch. Call us!  We want to support the growth of the Db2 community, and we're ready to work.
IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) v7 Announced #IBMz #zAnalyticsOn July 23, 2010 I attended the announcement of the IBM Smart Analytics Optimizer (ISAO).  This was IBM's first iteration of heterogeneous scale-out to enable mixed OLTP and OLAP workloads to run on the same platform.  Subsequently IBM acquired Netezza and the Netezza appliance became the foundation for the IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA).  In IDAA workshops I would refer to the ISAO as IDAA v0.5. Fast forward to today when IBM announced IDAA v7.1.  "What is old is new again."  Think of this delivery of IDAA as "ISAO v4.0" (there was some good-natured debate about the numbering).  Why do I frame it those terms? IDAA has received a "brain transplant".  Instead of Postgres, the database engine for IDAA will be Db2 Warehouse.  This will give IDAA greater compatibility with Db2 for z/OS, including broader SQL and datatype support, TIMESTAMP consistency, and more.  By exploiting Db2 with BLU Acceleration features such as in-memory columnar (rather than row-organized) data, Single Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD) chips, actionable compression, and "data skipping" (avoiding extents that don't contain data of interest) IDAA v7.1 provides a robust platform for better performance with a roadmap for continuous improvement and enhancement.  IBM has also consolidated its data repository development efforts by focusing on fewer, higher-value initiatives.IDAA has received a "heart transplant".  The IBM Integrated Analytics System (IIAS) appliance on which IDAA v7.1 is based, no longer depends on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) that were the "secret sauce" of the Netezza (aka PureData System for Analytics -- PDA).  FPGAs might be reintroduced at a later time.So, a few questions -- and a fewer answers. How long will the legacy Netezza/PDA "Mako" N3001 be supported?  Until 2023.  So the installed base of existing IDAAs will be protected for five years.Will the Database Partitioning Feature (DPF) -- IBM's MPP shared-nothing data warehouse scaling technology -- be exploited by IDAA v7.1?  Dunno.Wither the IDAA cloud deployment introduced in v6?  Nary a mention today.Topics for a future blog post: "True HTAP" -- Hybrid Transaction / Analytic ProcessingIDAA deployment on IBM z -- using Docker images sitting on Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) specialty processors.
IBM Think Conference Call for Speakers – Closes Today!!Someone on the communications team at IBM seems to have persuaded IBM Management to postpone release of any time sensitive announcements or notifications until the very last minute.  Perhaps they believe these practically immediate deadlines will create a sense of urgency, and therefore perhaps excitement. Instead, at least in my world, it creates chaos and disrupts my schedule.   I don't appreciate it.  Take note IBM!!  I imagine they are scrambling now.  Ha. As most IBM customers and partners know, attendance numbers for IBM conferences tend to be hugely inflated.  100%?  Maybe...maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less.  It is understandable:  in the world of data management IBM has never been the market leader from a sales perspective -- well, maybe for a while after they invented and introduced the first relational database.  Therefore, some exaggeration of the crowds attending their data-centric conferences is forgivable. Attendance at last October's annual Las Vegas conference was light.  Blame was placed on the hasty conference rebranding (again, take note IBM -- apparently I am not the only one put off by this last minute "guerilla marketing").  This year IBM cancelled the October conference (World of Watson/Insight/Information on Demand) and has instead decided to merge it into the annual "Interconnect" conference in March and rebrand it the "Think" conference.  Again -- sigh -- in Las Vegas.  Why Las Vegas?  Why it's the only city that can accommodate the thousands of conference attendees IBM attracts.  OK, Pinocchio. Here's the most challenging part for actual IBM customers and partners using IBM solutions, at least those of us who would like to attend a conference with strong technical and user content:  IBM opened a tiny window for presentation submissions.  And...today is the last day. If you are considering submitting a presentation, here's the link to the call for presentations.  I went through the process yesterday -- be prepared to submit a 1000 character bio (first) and then a 100 character title and 750 character abstract.  You will have the opportunity to add an optional extra 250 characters later.  Be pithy! And remember:  if your presentation topic and message are positive ("How We Succeeded With XYZ") and you are a customer, it is highly likely you will be selected to present.  If you are a Business Partner or consultant you need to be 110% positive, and beg. Get your placeholder in asap!!
It’s Back to School Season – Register for a TFG ClassWith school back in session it feels like a good time to learn something new.  Why not consider taking a class?  IBM Analytics classroom training continues to deliver value to individuals and their organizations.  The top 3 reasons to take a class (in my opinion!) are: 1. Achieve your project goals more quickly by supporting faster solution adoption and integrating new technologies into your current projects. 2. Stay on top of rapidly changing technologies; compete in the digital world by understanding how and where new tools and solutions fit best.  Avoid the "flavor of the week" solution if modifying a technology you already own will deliver the same results. 3. Provide opportunities for internal mobility.  Finding skilled technical resources has never been more difficult.  Current staff members understand their organizations.  Providing training keeps employees engaged, motivated, and moving up! Our classes scheduled for September through December are attached.  All are available in the classroom and remotely, via distance learning.  If you can't find what you are looking for, please contact me at kim.may@thefillmoregroup.com. TFG-Schedule-9.2017-thru-12.2017-3
QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms – September Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users GroupFrank Fillmore just finished delivering a webcast with IBM's Steve Mink and Doug Anderson, hosted by Blanca Borden, on the just-released QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms solution.  For the many QMF for z users, this new GUI-based solution offers the opportunity to extend the use of the objects, forms, queries, etc., an organization has developed over the years.  The session was recorded and I will post the recording link as soon as it's available to view. For the September 13th Baltimore/Washington Db2 Users Group Frank will reprise his presentation and deliver a demo on QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms.  The meeting is being sponsored by SEGUS and will include 4 presentations -- 2 from SEGUS's Ulf Heinrich and 1 from IBM's John Iczkovits in addition to Frank's.  Summary session abstracts are below.   Complete abstracts, speaker bio's and registration information will be available later this week on the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group website (www.bwdb2ug.org).  I hope you will join us if you are in the area! Session 1:  Ulf Heinrich -- Compliance with Compliments!  Viable Db2 Workload Tracking Audit and Compliance is one of the big challenges companies are facing these days. This presentation shows how the entire DB2 workload can be tracked without the overhead of a trace, or monitor, enabling to answer Who did What When ? whenever needed. Session 2:  Ulf Heinrich -- Db2 12 Continuous Delivery Starting with version 12  Db2 goes agile and code fixes, as well as new features and functions, will be delivered in a continuous stream, so called Continuous Delivery. While this change intends to make new technology available faster than in a three-year cycle it will also differ from how we did DB2 migration and testing before.  This presentation provides an overview about Db2 Levels and how they affect the Db2 subsystem, the Catalog/Directory, SQL and DDL. More importantly, you will see how changes can be applied safely and what levels of quality assurance and testing can be passed to assure Continuous Delivery goes well with Continuous Availability. Session 3:  John Iczkovits -- DB2 for z/OS is in The Cloud! Using z/OSMF to Install, Migrate, and Provision DB2 These are exciting times and you may not realize it, but Db2 for z/OS is in the cloud! You may be thinking, what exactly does that mean? Many of your z/OS colleagues are already using z/OSMF for all sorts of functions. Come learn how to use z/OSMF to manage Db2 software, install, migrate, and provision data for Db2 and what the cloud means to us. Session 4:  Frank Fillmore -- QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms In July, QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms became generally available.  Like QMF for z/OS, this solution delivers QMF’s visualization, dash boarding and graphical ad-hoc query capabilities, and enables users to leverage their existing QMF assets – queries, forms, procs from legacy QMF.  In this session Frank Fillmore will provide an overview of the features of QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms and perform a demonstration that includes new updates to QMF’s data visualization interface.
Webcast: Introducing QMF Analytics for MultiplatformsQMF is bringing its power and ease to the distributed platforms! In July QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms became generally available.  This distributed platform only solution is aimed at customers that had inquired about QMF’s visualization, dashboarding and graphical ad-hoc query capabilities on non-z/OS platforms. Join us in this webcast where Frank Fillmore will highlight how QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms is being used by one of his customers to modernize their operations. We also will discuss in more detail the features of QMF Analytics for Multiplatforms and will conclude with a demonstration by Doug Anderson that will include the new updates to QMF’s data visualization interface. Date: August 16th, 2017 Time: 8:00am PDT / 11:00am EDT Register at: http://ibm.biz/QMFforMP
IBM Reinvents Partnerworld – Ravages the Partner EcosystemI just received an email from IBM's Partnerworld program notifying me that as of August 1, 2017, The Fillmore Group, after ten years as a Premier IBM Business Partner (the highest program level), is now officially a Registered Business Partner, the lowest level in the program. We still have a team of expert consultants.  We are still authorized to deliver most IBM courses in the Analytics brand family curriculum.  We are still actively promoting, influencing and reselling IBM Analytics solutions.  I am still Chair of the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group and an IBM Champion.  Frank is still a Gold Consultant.  Several of our consultants are IBM Champions and Golds.  IBM simply won't programmatically acknowledge that our skills have value any longer. IBM claims to value partners with skills, but by they are lying.  The truth is the two factors determining partner level in the new Partnerworld system are software sales and customer references.  Is it a coincidence that IBM is struggling with sales (21 straight quarters of declining revenues) and the company has historically been terrible at getting customer references?  Sadly, great technology followed by poor quality and expensive implementations and enablement support don't add up to gushy customer success stories. In the new program, without sales of $1,000,000 or more in a single product family a Business Partner cannot be granted a product "Competency" designation -- no matter how many times they have implemented a solution, how many customers they have trained, and/or how many presentations and webinars they have delivered to help current and prospective customers understand the value of IBM's solutions. In the new IBM world, that's not "competency". So like many of IBM's "reinvention" efforts over the past five years, the "new" Partnerworld program is essentially the same old program, with new, onerous requirements designed to eliminate specialty partners (like The Fillmore Group) and I suppose reduce IBM's burden of managing their partner network. Because like who needs an extensive network of partners promoting an incredibly complex portfolio of products and solutions??  Heck, why not just funnel business to a handful of partner organizations and keep things simple.  Maybe reduce channel support headcount by 10 or 15 people.  Woohoo.  Think small. After I received the email notifying me of our program level demotion I tried to log in to Partnerworld to review the program offerings for our new, low level.  And like so many things in today's IBM world, the response was sad, heartbreaking and terribly frustrating -- apparently they can't keep the program website up.  Need a high availability solution???
Tealeaf FatigueI have been reviewing our first half of 2017 and trying to get a handle on where our DB2 world is headed in the second half of this confusing year.  Frankly, I'm baffled!  While the year started on a positive note with IBM's acknowledgement that they needed to re-engage and support their existing DB2 customers, and the positive trend continued with the announcement of the super-aggressive DB2 pricing available via the Oracle Attack, I still find that at mid-year the good outcomes I expected are failing to materialize.  How come? In my opinion, one reason is a result of IBM's "re-invention" of their Business Partner program.  As a long-time IBM Business Partner, our team invests an incredible amount of time and energy maintaining our "Premier Partner" status, primarily through certifications that validate our skills.  When IBM rolled out the new partner program in 2017 their messaging indicated a new focus on highly-skilled, knowledgeable partners.  Unfortunately, in reality, the program modifications boiled down to two new criteria:  1) customer references and 2) meeting high volume IBM software sales targets.  To IBM, these make perfect sense: IBM struggles to get customer references, and with rolling sales staff reductions, IBM needs to beef up their sales partners. However, the "Give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything" approach may not be working.  Partners like The Fillmore Group are being marginalized ("Skills?  Who needs 'em?") by the program, while high volume partners (like HP, oh, oops, not any more) are being funneled territories, "uncovered" customers and leads. In my opinion, the fallout is likely to be similar to the Global Skills Initiative, IBM's education program "re-invention" from a few years ago that resulted in far fewer DB2 classes and fewer available training options as the program created a layer of 5 large, competing training partners who function independently and whose lack of coordination splintered the IBM training business. Is this what IBM is -- unintentionally/intentionally? -- planning for their partner community?  I don't know, but it's unsettling.  One bright note:  the new partner levels were scheduled to go into effect June 30th, but have been pushed back to the end of July.  Perhaps sanity prevails?? My final head scratcher is the annual IOD/Insight/World of Watson/no, not this year conference.  I received an email this morning about the LearnQuest-sponsored Analytics conference scheduled for New Orleans in October.  I've also heard about a DB2 Conference being planned for Boston in -- October, as well.  On one hand I think any conference and opportunity to network is good.  On the other hand, I am wondering if the conflict is quietly announcing the final split between DB2 for z/OS and DB2 for LUW. Or I suppose that should be (another brilliant re-invention), Db2 for z/OS and Db2 for LUW...!!
The Fillmore Group – Another Migration Success!I am pleased to report a team of four consultants from The Fillmore Group, a team with over 100 years of combined DB2 experience, recently completed a successful migration of the courts system database at Lake County, Illinois. The migration was spurred by an all-too-familiar challenge:  retirement announcements by three long-time, key technical personnel and a recognized need to modernize their database to enable potential use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) application software. The entire project, including new DB2 for z/Linux (LUW) DBA training, re-integration of several archived databases and migration of the customer’s extensive library of QMF reports, was estimated at 18 months and completed in 9.  Under Frank Fillmore’s direction, the team utilized resources as needed:  part-time and full-time, remote and at the customer site.  The production cutover Memorial Day weekend went smoothly. Lake County’s court system database is now running DB2 V11.1 on an Integrated Facility for z/Linux (IFL) on their IBM z Systems BC12.  Their DB2 software license costs were under $10K.  Most importantly, they are now prepared to begin evaluating application modernization options. Congratulations to Suresh, Roger, Jim and Frank. If your team is looking for migration support, please contact me.  These DB2 experts like to keep busy!
$5!! – June 14th Balto/Wash DB2 Users Group MeetingThe Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group has been supporting the local DB2 community for 25 successful years.  Our quarterly meetings are packed with interesting, relevant information about how to best leverage DB2.  Many of the region's largest businesses and agencies regularly attend our meetings and benefit from the presentations and networking opportunities as some of the most highly skilled developers and database administrators in the Mid-Atlantic are frequent attendees. At our April board meeting we decided to do something special for the June meeting. We agreed to offer a special, discounted $5 registration fee to attendees who pre-register, rather than our usual $30 -- $50 (see the information below – details and registration information are included in it). The $5 includes everything our users expect at our quarterly meetings:  terrific presenters (we have Jeff Josten presenting), a sit down lunch and the opportunity to meet with many of the best DB2 technical people in the region. We are hoping this *almost free* offer will encourage new DB2 users and people who haven't been able to attend meetings recently to join us. If you are in the area June 14th I hope you will join us.  If you can't be here, please share this invitation with any of your colleagues or customers who may be interested. Please note:  you must register by Friday, June 9th, on the Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group website (www.bwdb2ug.org) to receive the $5 discounted registration.   Don't forget!! Date:          Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 Time:         9:00 AM -- 3:30 PM (registration at 8:30) Location:  Sheraton Columbia Hotel, 10207 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, MD 21044 Meeting Schedule: Registration 8:30 -- 9:00  DB2 12 for z/OS and Beyond Jeff Josten IBM This presentation gives a high level overview of DB2 12, and also some other interesting features which have shipped recently on DB2 11 (and sometimes DB2 10) including native DB2 RESTful services, DB2aaS cloud-style provisioning, and IDAA on Cloud. We will also take a peek into the future for what is planned beyond DB2 12. Coffee Break 10:15 -- 10:30  DB2 for z/OS Continuous Delivery Jeff Josten IBM DB2 for z/OS is moving to a continuous delivery model for shipping new features. The main objectives are to speed up delivery of important new functions and to make it easier for customers to manage DB2 upgrades. This presentation will give an overview of the continuous delivery mechanisms and suggested best practices for managing DB2 in this continuous delivery world. Lunch 11:45 -- 12:45  DB2 Autonomics Sowmya Kameswara IBM An overview of the no-charge product the Data Server Manager (DSM) and the new IBM DB2 Autonomics for z/OS. The DB2 Autonomics can help you in closing the gap between yesterday's IT implementation and tomorrow's IT demands while eliminating the mundane repetition of manual day-to-day tasks. DSM in a web browser is the weapon that can help your organization to fight the constant skills and resource gaps. Break 2:00 -- 2:15  API Economy Jeff Bisti IBM Microservices are a take on API Enablement that are quickly becoming a new standard in many customer shops. The goal is to avoid building the next generation of "monolithic" applications, and instead build functionality with modular web services, which can be repurposed by a wider variety of developers. Microservices can excel on the mainframe System of Record when they take advantage of where the platform itself excels. In this session, Jeff Bisti will present the benefits of thinking in terms of microservices, introduce some of the tools that are available to developers and architects, as well as the importance of an overall API strategy.