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Top 10 IBM Information on Demand Inspirations

November 10, 2010

Rebecca Bond returns from IBM's Information on Demand (IOD) Conference with a Top 10 list from the DB2 LUW sessions and some other interesting insights on the conference.

I just returned from IBM's Information on Demand 2010 with a cranium that is crammed full of great technical information about DB2 LUW. Attending IOD each year is a highlight for me, not just for the technical knowledge I acquire there, but also for the opportunity to interact with my peers, discuss common concerns and solutions and find out how others are using IBM DB2 in their shops. The face-to-face time with individuals who are experts in their field is almost as valuable to me as the technical knowledge I gain. This year, for the first time ever, I was also fortunate enough to present a session on DB2 Security and that made my IOD conference experience even more special.

Rather than bore you with my full trip report, which is around twenty pages so far, I thought I'd just share ten things about IOD that I found interesting from the DB2 LUW perspective.

  1. If you missed the announcement recently, you might not be aware that IBM is offering a "DB2 SQL Skin for Sybase". As many of us are painfully aware, supporting multiple databases on differing software can cause some serious DBA headaches. Previously IBM had given us the tools to easily "enable" Oracle applications on DB2 9.7. With this new Sybase conversion strategy, DBAs now have an opportunity to further consolidate their environments and decrease overall complexity and costs for their database management endeavors.
  2. XML was a big topic at the conference. Some of the interesting tidbits included:
    1. No complex mapping to relational schemas
    2. Storage efficiencies
    3. Since XML is part of the DB2 engine, there is no additional cost for the functionality
    4. SQL/XML combines the functionality of SQL and XQuery into a single interface
    5. It is easy to parse XML using DB2 (even without actually storing the document).
  3. There was much buzz around DB2 9.7 providing a Standards Based Development Environment, which enhances application development and eases deployment tasks. Visual Studio 2008, Eclipse and pureQuery environments are all supported.
  4. For as many years as I have been a DBA, I have dreaded the introduction of a new data warehouse into an environment that, up until that point, had been primarily serving OLTP transactions because OLTP environments and Data Warehouse environments have dissimilar characteristics that require highly divergent workload optimization strategies. Fortunately, Workload Optimization, a subject near and dear to most DBAs who often struggle mightily to try to achieve the proper workload balancing, was another common DB2 discussion point. Based on a poll I did in my session, corporations are starting to make good use of the DB2 Workload Manager.
  5. Of course, security information is always a big part of IOD sessions and there were several sessions specific to DB2 security. Here are some security tips from my session:
    1. Setting up SSL for protecting Data In Transit has become easier with DB2 9.7 built-in parameters.
    2. Configuration changes must be documented and tracked as part of a strong security posture.
    3. DB2 9.7 offers Separation of Duties so that the principle of "least privilege" can be enforced.
    4. DB2 Auditing is highly granular and easily customized
  6. DB2 pureScale isn't a new topic, but was covered extensively in sessions and key note addresses. Some of the benefits of pureScale include near linear scalability, a robust high availability approach and ease of administration.
  7. Of course, Cloud Computing is a big overall topic, so not surprisingly there were several sessions on that. Leon Katsnelson, Program Director, Cloud Computing, Emerging Technologies and Growth Markets presented "IBM Smart Business Development and Test Using the IBM Cloud'. During that session, I learned:
    1. Cloud computing is both a user experience and a business model
    2. DB2 in the cloud has grown 800% in usage since July 2010
  8. Online schema changes made my personal timesaving DBA tips. Burt Vialpando presented a great session on DB2 9.7 Newest Online Schema Change Capabilities, which included a review of:
    1. ALTER TABLE statement
    2. ADMIN_MOVE_TABLE stored procedure
    3. TRUNCATE TABLE statement
    4. Online reorg for MDC tables
    5. Online partitioned table reorg
    6. Online partitioned table roll-out
    7. Automatic revalidation
    8. Soft invalidation
    9. CREATE OR REPLACE statement option
  9. Ever heard of a "Ping Pong" DBA? I think the term, coined by Doug Partch of Database Nerds and used for his session on the topic, is fitting for the DBA who supports DB2 regardless of the platform. His session contrasted the differences between the z/OS and LUW DB2 technology.
  10. Birds of a Feather sessions brought like-minded individuals together to discuss a variety of topics including:
    1. Customer Panel for SAP on DB2 for LUW
    2. Panel: Databases on Cloud
    3. DB2 LUW Performance Birds of a Feather
    4. IBM Database Security Best Practices
    5. End to End data security with Guardium and pureQuery
    6. Optimizing Your Business System Using IBM Optim Performance Manager
    7. High Availability and Disaster Recovery

    Beyond the obvious value I gained from attending the sessions, IOD allowed me the opportunity to network with individuals who share my interest in DB2. In our casual discussions between sessions some of the themes I heard included concerns about database security, doing more with less, database platform consolidation and deploying better approaches to business analytics. The big "new" discussion with my peers this year centered on a complete GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) solution and what different GRC approaches might mean to the DB2 DBA.

    Usability Labs and Expo product demos allowed me to get the "touch and feel" of IBM's full product suite and even get a hint or two about future product direction.

    The free certification opportunities were another conference benefit. This year, I simply did not have time to try a certification exam, but literally hundreds of attendees did. The cost-savings of those free certification exams can definitely help defray the cost of conference attendance.

    Another highlight for me was the "Women in Technology" evening event. It was inspiring to meet so many women who are technology experts. We were fortunate to have a guest attendee, Sam Lightstone, author of the critically acclaimed book "Making it Big in Software: Get the Job. Work the Org. Become Great". A take-away from that presentation is the question, "What does new and improved really mean?" Read Sam's book if you'd like the answer.

    I got to meet several industry authors while I was at IOD. I purchased many books and got them autographed during signing sessions. A wealth of free "flash books" were provided that covered a variety of technical topics. I brought back several flashbooks for my own education and to pass out to others on my team.

    My personal highlight of the conference, however, really had nothing to do with DB2. I was asked to help with a book signing for the featured speakers, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner who are the co-authors of the Freakonomics books. I got to meet them and attend their book signing. I now have an autographed copy of both of their books (which will soon be proudly displayed in my trophy case). That's an IOD benefit that is priceless!

    Want to learn more about IOD?

    Even though the conference is over, thanks to IBM's Social Media initiative, much of the material is still readily available. If you didn't get to attend in person, use these links to see some of the excitement:

    Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/iodgc/pool/show/

    Livestream: http://www.livestream.com/ibmdatamanagement

    IBM IOD Discussion: http://www-949.ibm.com/social/informationondemand/

    YouTube IODGC's Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/IODGC#p/u/0/Lsc5W28HsPE

    » See All Articles by Columnist Rebecca Bond








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