Robert's Blog

Friday, April 16, 2010

Looking Forward to DB2 by the Bay

That would be Tampa Bay, and I'm talking about the International DB2 Users Group North America Conference that will be held May 10 - 14 at the Tampa Convention Center (you can get all the details at IDUG's Web site).

I've participated in every IDUG North America conference since 1997, and I've always found these events to be very well worth my time and dollars. I'll be delivering a presentation on mainframe DB2 data warehousing at this year's conference, and I'll also participate, along with Paul Zikopoulos of IBM's DB2 for Linux/UNIX/Windows (LUW) development organization, in a "Face 2 Face" interactive-discussion session on DB2 Data Warehousing (such sessions were known in the past as SIGs, or Special-Interest Groups).

Why do I attend the IDUG North American Conference every year? There are lots of reasons. For one thing, I really enjoy hearing the latest about DB2 technology from folks in the IBM DB2 development organization -- people like Curt Cotner, IBM Fellow and DB2 Chief Technology Officer; Terry Purcell, Mr. DB2 for z/OS Optimizer; Jeff Josten, from whom I've learned so much about DB2 data sharing; John Campbell, who brings a wealth of lessons learned working with early implementers of new DB2 for z/OS releases; Guy Lohman, a Big Thinker (and doer) from IBM's Almaden Research Center; Matt Huras, Chief Architect of DB2 for LUW; Chris Eaton, who always delivers a ton of DB2 for LUW "news you can use"; and Leon Katsnelson, DB2 for LUW jock and cloud computing savant (you can see the whole conference schedule on the IDUG Web site).

In addition to learning lots from IBM's DB2 top guns, I get a boatload of great information from fellow DB2 consultants who present at the conference: Bonnie Baker, Dave Beulke, Sheryl Larsen, Susan Lawson, Dan Luksetich, and Fred Sobotka, just to name a few. Also among the speakers are professional DB2 instructors like Themis's David Simpson, and technical experts from leading vendors of DB2 tools, such as Phil Grainger from Cogito, Steen Rasmussen from CA, and Rick Weaver from BMC.

And then you have the user presentations. These are what really make IDUG a special conference. You can't beat the in-the-trenches experiences shared by Dave Churn of DST Systems, Rob Crane of FedEx, John Mallonee of Highmark, Bernie O'Connor of Anixter, Bryan Paulsen of John Deere, Billy Sundarrajan of Fifth Third Bank, and others who work where the DB2 rubber meets the road.

Of course, I also learn plenty thanks to encounters in the "coffee track" -- a reference to the refreshment and meal breaks during which I'm likely to get in on conversations amongst people who are dealing with challenges and issues that are of particular interest to me. These networking opportunities alone are almost worth the price of admission. The learning continues in the exhibitors hall, where I can catch up on the latest DB2-related offerings from a wide variety of vendors (and pick up a few t-shirts, pens, and notebooks, to boot).

As if all that weren't enough, the IDUG North American Conference is a great place to take a DB2 certification exam (free for attendees) and get some hands-on at any of several lab sessions.

The location's a winner, too. IDUG negotiated a special rate at the Marriott Waterside Hotel, right next to the convention center, and some of those discounted rooms are, I think, still available. Tampa's a great town. Personally, I like to get up in the morning and take a run along Bayshore Boulevard, just outside of downtown. Here you'll find the world's longest continuous sidewalk (six miles), so there are no worries about cars -- just cruise along with the waters of Tampa Bay on your left (if outbound) and the beautiful historic homes of the Hyde Park neighborhood on your right. There's plenty of nightlife in Ybor City, a short streetcar ride away. Great Cuban food, fresh seafood, palm trees -- all this, and a great conference, too? Who wouldn't want to be there? I hope some of you will be able to attend. Find me and say hi if you do.


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