Looking Forward to IBM Insight 2015

IBM Insight starts in less than two weeks! You can still register and attend if you haven’t planned to already!

General Tips


If you haven’t registered already, check out the IBM Insight website for information. I’ll be linking to specific pages throughout this post.


This is the third year I’m going to IBM Insight (well the first year I went, it was still called Information On Demand) in Las Vegas. It comes at a time when things are just starting to get chilly in Denver. We usually get our first snow of the season sometime in October, though it melts fast that time of year. Some part of me always thinks, “Hey, I’m going to Vegas, I should be wearing shorts and t-shirts”, but it’s always so cold indoors that I am more likely to need a sweater.


I also choose my footwear very carefully. This sounds like a very girly thing for this tomboy to point out, but footwear is so critical to my enjoyment when I know I’ll have no trouble meeting my 10,000 step goal each day. This year I’m staying over in the Luxor because it’s cheaper. Join me in staying fit with a matchup.io challenge! Even if you’re not going to the conference, you can join in with us and be with us in spirit. I’ll be wearing my favorite Birks for the most part, and may resort to sneakers at times.

Overall Schedule

Saturday and Sunday

Saturday and Sunday are Business Partner and invite-only events (CAC or whatever they’ve renamed it to). This means that registration is open these days too, in case you’re coming in early. The Certification Center opens on Sunday. The first year I went to Insight, I came in early on Sunday and took three certification tests in a row. They were free for me that year, and man I was exhausted after that. I would have passed them more easily if I had taken them at the end of the conference, as they were mostly focused on the (then)new features of 10.5, which were covered in detail in sessions during the week.
Sunday night is the Grand opening of the Expo Hall. Free Food! And maybe drinks! Many of the times in the expo hall, I wander from food table to food table looking for people to talk to. Some of the booths can be interesting. I particularly liked the IBM research booth(s) last year. Had fascinating conversations with some folks about things they’re trying with using GPU-like processing to handle operations that might benefit from it like sorting.


On Monday (and every weekday of the conference), breakfast is from 7 to 8:30 AM. I’m nearly always there, and find it a time when herded like cattle into the largest dining room I have ever seen, I end up eating with whoever I end up near. This is a good time to find me (DM me on twitter) if you want to meet me and sit with me for a bit.
There are an abunance of keynote and general sessions at Insight and from what I’ve seen the best attended is usually the 8:30 am Monday session. I think that this is because the people who came in only for the Business Partner summit on Sunday are still around – By the Wednesday celebrity session, they’ve generally left.
The Monday general session topic is “Leave no problem unsolved – transform your industry”. I tend to like host Jake Porway and find the most fun part of these sessions is tweeting and seeing what others are tweeting about. The production quality is a bit over the top. Since there are 13,000 people generally, it takes place in a basketball arena that is just huge. You can’t end up in the wrong place for this one – just follow the herds.
The first set of sessions starts at 10:30.
The “Data Management” keynote is from 1-2 PM on Monday in the Mandalay Ballroom. Data Management is the category they’re lumping DB2 into this year. These sessions can be OK, but it can also be a good time to go catch a seat in the Certification Center.
There are more sessions and Labs on Monday afternoon.


Tuesday starts with Breakfast from 7-8:30 and another general session from 8:30 to 10, and then more sessions and labs starting at 10:30. I cover sessions and Labs in separate sections below, so I’m not going into too much detail here. Lunch is daily from 11:30 to 1 PM (except Thursday), and is generally in the same large room breakfast was in.


Breakfast is again 7-8:30. By this point in the week, I’m often getting burnt out on general sessions, but this is usually the slot for the celebrity speaker. I was not impressed with Serena Williams two years ago. Last year’s one by Kevin Spacey was AMAZING, and prompted me to binge-watch House of Cards on Netflix when I got home. Great series, even my political-scientist father has good things to say about it. Anyway this year’s is by Ron Howard. I’ll likely be there from 8:30 to 10 AM. More sessions and Labs start at 10:30
Wednesday night is concert night. This year it’s Maroon 5. Some years I go and others I don’t – loud noise and flashing lights is not generally my thing. I went last year to see No Doubt, but only stayed halfway even though I liked the music – it was just too loud for me.


Breakfast is again 7-8:30. Loving the consistency in that timing. But there’s no general session, so the sessions and labs start at 8:30. Last year some of my favorite sessions were on Thursday, and there’s just a much more relaxed vibe on that day. The lunch is usually box-style, eaten while listening to speakers in a much smaller room than the rest of the week. Things are being broken down and packed up in the afternoon with the last labs ending at 5 PM.


Certifications from the IBM Business Analytics, Enterprise Content Management and Information Management portfolios will be available for only $30 at Insight. Other IBM Certification tests will be available at $100. The hours are pretty decent this year:

Sunday, October 26 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  LAST seating is at 4:00 p.m.
Monday, October 27  10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.  LAST seating is at 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 28 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.  LAST seating is at 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 29   10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.  LAST seating is at 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 30    8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.   LAST seating is at 4:00 p.m.

The Certification Center this year will be in Surf F, MBCC South, Level 2.

I’m a big fan of certifications overall, and hold a fair number of DB2 Certifications. I get excited when a new test comes out so I can try it. And there’s a new test, just released October 9th – test 2090-615 – DB2 10.5 Fundamentals for LUW. IBM is splitting out the fundamentals test from a shared test for LUW and Z/OS to separate tests for each platform, and this is the first test for 10.5 that is not an upgrade exam. It should lead to a certification as a Database Associate for DB2 10.5 LUW.

I learn a lot from studying the details and the things that I don’t do everyday. If you plan on taking a certification test, make sure you have and can log into a Pearson VUE account at least two days before the conference starts. If you have previous certifications, you want to make sure that this is the same account those certifications are under. You’ll also need to bring an ID and a Visa, Master Card, or American Express. Sign in goes faster if you know the number of the test you want to take from the IBM Certification Site.

Check out the details that IBM has published about certification at IBM Insight 2015.

If you want more information on DB2 certifications, check out my blog entry on DB2 Certification.


I did a couple of Labs last year and was amazed at how good they really were. A few things to understand about labs (at least how they’ve worked in the past):

  • Scheduled labs involve a presentation followed by time to work through exercises on prepared lab machines. With scheduled labs you get a copy of the handout with all the lab instructions and the instructor may or may not be able to give you copies of the VMs or lab environments. Scheduled labs are usually scheduled to cover 2 or even 3 sessions. The mobile and other scheduling tools will not let you schedule sessions in a time you’ve signed up for a Lab. If you don’t sign up ahead of time, the lab may be full and you may not be able to get a seat.
  • With drop-in labs, you borrow a copy of the handout, and work through the lab exercises on you own. The lab center may be busy and you may have trouble getting a seat at popular times. You DO NOT get to keep the handout if you do it this way, so don’t write all over it. Last year there was a scheduled time on Wednesday where you could wait in line to get a handout or two of your choice, but it was a LOOOONNNNG line, and they ran out of many of the handouts.

Two labs that I hope to try are:

  • Introduction to Data Science
  • Using Data server Manager to optimize DB2 performance for a migration with BLU Acceleration


The sessions are my favorite part of the conference after meeting up with old friends. There is more information here than you can get from any other source. There is a wealth of sessions to choose from, so choose wisely. I like the mobile app for setting up my schedule, but you can also look online for session information. Check out db2dean’s blog entry for details on using the sites for building agendas.

To limit it to the DB2 LUW tracks, here are the options I pick:

I like to search sessions for my favorite speakers first, and then fill in with others. Some sessions can be thinly veiled sales sessions, and it’s an art finding the best ones. Here are some of the speakers I prioritize:

  • Melanie Stopfer (four sessions this year, wow!)
  • Steve Rees
  • Matt Huras
  • Berni Schiefer
  • Jessica Rockwood
  • Dale McInnis
  • Adam Storm
  • Michael Kwok
  • Guy Lohman

Here are just a few of my top picks for sessions during the week:

  • 10:30 AM Monday: Ian Bjorhovde and Walid Rjaibi – Safeguarding Your Sensitive Company Data
    Walid is THE DB2 Security expert, and Ian is smarter than I am and a guest blogger here on db2commerce.com
  • 2:30 PM Monday: Melanie Stopfer – Meet the Experts: Power of db2pd: Monitor and Troubleshoot Your World
  • 10:30 AM Tuesday: Michael Kwok and David Kalmuk – Scaling up BLU Acceleration with Consistent Performance in a High Concurrency Environment
  • 1:00 PM Tuesday: Melanie Stopfer – Upgrading to DB2 with the Latest Version of BLU Acceleration
    I have seen Melanie’s upgrade presentations nearly every year, and have even done a fair number of upgrades myself this year, but every time I go, I pick up something new.
  • 1:00 PM Tuesday: Ask the Experts on DB2 LUW Data Warehousing
    I love panels like this. A conflict with Melanie!
  • 4:00 PM Tuesday: Michael Kwok and Jantz Tran – Advances in Analytics Using DB2 with BLU Acceleration on Intel Architecture
  • 1:00 PM Wednesday: DB2 LUW Panel Session on High Performance and Availability for OLTP Systems
  • 2:30 PM Wednesday: Melanie Stopfer – Enhancements and Tips for DB2 LUW and IBM BLU
  • 9:45 AM Thursday: Melanie Stopfer – DB2 Memory Management: Have you Lost Your Memory?
    A complete can’t miss session for me
  • 3:30 PM Thursday: Berni Schiefer and Thomas Kalb – Listening to Your Performance “Canary” in the DB2 Database


There’s also a chance to spend some time volunteering while in Vegas. You can sign up a slot to pack meals for Stop Hunger Now.

Other Information

A couple of other blogs you might be interested in about IBM Insight 2015:
Hope to see you there!

Ember Crooks
Ember Crooks

Ember is always curious and thrives on change. She has built internationally recognized expertise in IBM Db2, spent a year working with high-volume MySQL, and is now learning Snowflake. Ember shares both posts about her core skill sets and her journey learning Snowflake.

Ember lives in Denver and work from home

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