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What Trended at IDUG 2017? Machine Learning, AI, DB2 & Data Analytics!

IDUG 2017 in Anaheim is now in the books, so here’s a wrap-up for you on the important IDUG trends and most interesting bits from the show:

Monday’s Forrester Keynote

“Forrester’s View on Big Data, Analytics & Open Source” was the Monday keynote and featured Mike Gualtieri, Vice President at Forrester and it was insightful, educational and even had a George Costanza reference or two. Here’s my recap of this excellent keynote:

He led with “Customers want to be treated like celebrities!” and then talked about some technologies that can make that happen, namely Big Data and AI (Artificial Intelligence), which, he noted is now on the syllabus at Harvard . He made a point to refer to the 2 types of AI:

  1. Pure AI [we’re not close yet]
  2. Pragmatic AI

Despite Marvin Minsky from MIT incorrectly predicting in 1959 that pure AI would be here within a generation, what really does exist are some exciting Pragmatic AI “building block technologies” (aka Cognitive), which only have nascent adoption to date. Machine Learning is a building block technology and it is really about probabilities, not absolutes. Correlation does not = causation he said and then showed an interesting “The USA divorce rate correlates with margarine use” as an example of where correlation alone can be misleading. Even in-use methods require manual, “human” brains to address contextual and other deficiencies, for example, many use the dataset such that the Training Data is 70%, and the Test Data is 30% and try an algorithm on the training data and compare with the test data worked manually. No Max Headroom or HAL9000 quite yet.

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Gualtieri also commented that speech recognition is getting better, but without context (eyes, etc.), it is still very limited. Siri, Echo, Cortana, Google are the best that exists today and they talk to my TV all day when it’s on. “Deep Learning” is a branch of machine learning he is excited about as it has uncanny accuracy on images, voice and natural language and is using repurposed 3D graphics processors to do its work. He started his wrap-up by posing that “insights are perishable,” but data in many cases is not, especially to establish a baseline, trend or pattern from which to work. The type of insights, he said, include strategic, performance, operational, and real-time.

A few other observations were:

  • “AI Models needed by marketers are growing exponentially!” (a great tip for those with kids in college that are looking for a specialty)
  • “Compute Gravity” drives a processing-centric approach, while “data gravity” drives a data lake-centric approach and these two forces must be reconciled to achieve the goals of pragmatic AI [he of course plugged Apache Spark as the intersection of both at this IBM-sponsored event].
  • “Walk through any critical or challenging business process and ask if pragmatic AI could improve it” he said, and “run through CX [customer experience] processes and look for opportunities to make customers feel like a celebrity.”

My big takeaway from the keynote was that big data analytics have moved from” hype and promise” to “essential and now” and that DB2 data has never been more valuable. While AI is still immature, just look at what Splunk is doing and you see the power of real-time, machine data-powered analytics and their building block machine learning technologies, and you see what is here and what is next.

Database Optimization at IDUG 2017

It’s been a big year for DB2 at Syncsort, and one of the biggest events was the acquisition of Cogito, a pioneering company in database management for z/OS.  The Syncsort EZ-DB2 suite (formerly Cogito EZ-DB2) showcased at IDUG complements (and can even replace) many traditional DB2 performance tools by taking a unique end-to-end “workload-centric and workload-aware” approach to performance optimization (for both dynamic and static SQL) to deliver big improvements with minimal overhead.

EZ-DB2: A suite of DB2 Optimization solutions
The EZ-DB2 solution provides a multi-pronged approach to database optimization, one of the IDUG trends for 2017.

I spoke with CA Detector customers about augmenting it with index analysis and with DB2 users who don’t run their existing application tuning and query monitoring tools all the time (and everywhere) due to the high overhead and associated costs. This was both illuminating and a little shocking to me. It reminds me of Grandma not running her old air conditioner on a brutally hot day because the electricity cost would be too high- crazy! Syncsort now has tools for them to try to address their issues with minimal overhead was just plain exciting.

The DB2utor Talks Security and “We Have a Winner!”

The DB2utor himself Troy Coleman delivered an informative session on security that was, despite how close we were to Disneyland, anything but “Mickey Mouse.” He explained (and showed) the interested attendees that virtually everything you need to secure your DB2 database is right there in the product, if you just know where to look and how to turn it on. Important advice and valuable tips from a true expert in a new era where DB2 admins are a critical part every enterprise’s cyber-security defense team. If you or a colleague had a full conference pass, use the IDUG app or website to download his slides to get the details.

To close the Exhibition Center, the always popular “Passport to Prizes” winner announcements did not disappoint as this year’s prizes included a wide array of popular new tech. Congratulations to the winner of the Syncsort prize, Ember Crooks from Xtivia, who is enjoying her Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth speaker.

IDUG Trends: Winning! Ember Crooks (left) receives her Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth speaker from Syncsort’s Kathy Kroboth
Ember Crooks (left) receives her Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth speaker from Syncsort’s Kathy Kroboth

A Tuning Tutorial From Your European Peer

After the close of the Exhibition Center on Wednesday, your European colleague Roger Biel presented, “Before You Tune Your SQL Performance You Need to Find Real Good Tuning Opportunities.” Roger talked about how his luxury carmaker was able to tune their way to remarkable DB2 cost savings and performance enhancements. He detailed how their adoption of the EZ-DB2 tools (available from Syncsort), simplified their tuning efforts and uncovered powerful new optimizations through SQL consolidation and more! Check out to learn more about all these innovations or to set up a demo or free proof-of-concept (POC) to see how you can optimize your DB2 environment like Roger has, through index analysis and optimization, impact analysis, and more!

Disneyland and Final Thoughts on “The Happiest Place on Earth”

I have to say that getting to Disneyland for the first time ever was fun for this Northeast corridor native. Disney’s “new” HyperSpace Mountain and the classic It’s Small World rides, and the animatronic Abe Lincoln (“direct from the World’s Fair!”) were highlights from my brief visit to the place that bills itself as “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

Finally, perhaps my favorite part of the trip was seeing so many former colleagues, our partners, and so many dear friends again. Stefan “Flowboy” Kochishan and the illustrious Tina Linkens were two smiling faces that were great to see and they introduced me to some of their newer colleagues at CA.

One thing we all talked about were the advantages of moving DB2 12, so you’ll want to understand all that it offers and see which solutions (like EZ-DB2), are ready to help you maximize your value when you do your upgrade or even plan to make the long-overdue switch from IMS to DB2 (which BTW, can be easier than you think with Syncsort DL/2); maybe the time to make some mainframe optimization moves can coincide with your project to standardize on DB2 12.

Well, that’s a wrap for this wrap-up blog. Great seeing everyone at the “The (real) happiest place on earth”…IDUG!

Learn more about Syncsort’s EZ-DB2 tools used by Roger Biel and your peers.


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