IDUG 2016 North American Technical Conference

IDUG2016 Banner

It’s nearly here! My favoite week of the year! And with a new version of DB2 announced, to boot!

With all of the education options out there, it remains my firm opinion that the IDUG North America Technical Conference is the best out there for experienced DBAs. No class has the breadth and depth of topics and the ability so specialize in the areas most important to each DBA. No class can boast the caliber of speakers at an IDUG conference, not to mention the free and cheap certifications and the networking opportunities to build your support network.

General Information

The conference this year is in Austin, TX at the Renaissance Austin Hotel:
Renaissance Austin Hotel

The conference starts on Sunday, May 22nd and runs through Thursday, May 26th. I’m a huge fan of the later timing this year to avoid Mother’s day. As of the time this post is published, it is not too late to register at the IDUG site if you haven’t already!

The conference really starts on Sunday evening with the BMC kickoff party in the grand ballroom.

Registration is open these hours/times:

Sunday          4:30pm – 6:00pm
Monday          7:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday         7:30am – 5:00pm
Wednesday       7:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday        7:30am – 10:30am


Lunch is served Monday though Wednesday.

Monday          11:15 - 12:15     Ballroom A
Tuesday         11:30 - 12:30     Rio Grande Exhibit Hall
Wednesday       11:30 - 12:30     Rio Grande Exhibit Hall

There will also be coffee and tea in the morning and afternoon breaks. I’m hoping I can figure out where to locate my Diet Coke dealer – sodas are not normally part of IDUG.

I haven’t seen anything about breakfast yet, so I assume it is not provided, since it has not been most years.

Some of the evening events provide dinner, while others just appetizers.


The first certification exam is free, and the second is, too, if you pass the first one. Even after that, tests are only $25, which is so much cheaper than the regular full fees. The list of certification exams covered is fairly extensive. Certification hours are:

Monday, May 23:              11:15 - 16:00
Tuesday, May 24:              8:00 - 18:00
Wednesday, May 25:            8:00 - 16:00
Thursday, May 26:             8:00 - 11:00

Make sure you know both your candidate ID and your Pearson/Vue ID going in. Create a Pearson/Vue ID before the conference if you do not already have one.

Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall is part of what pays for the conference and vendor participation really makes the conference possible. It’s also just where people hang out and go to socialize when it’s open. In past years, there has often been food and/or drinks there. There’s also a program called “passport to prizes” – when you register, you’ll get a card with various vendors on it. If you get that card stamped by all of the listed vendors, and put your name and address on it, then you’re entered in a drawing for several vendor-sponsored prizes on the last day the Exhibit Hall is open. You have to be present at the drawing to win – Though last year, I was speaking right after that, and had to miss it to get set up in the room – and I won a $50 gift card to Amazon! I was happy that they seem to make an exception to the “must be present” rule for speakers who really cannot be there and still be set up in time! It’s a small group of possible winners for the prizes, and worth checking out all the vendors to get your name in the hat.

Mobile App

I am so excited about the mobile app this year! If it can handle the volume, it looks so much more modern and useful than ever before. I was able to answer most of the questions I have for a post like this just from the mobile app alone. I can look up sessions in my favorite way – by speaker! I think it’s still missing is integration with the agenda you build through the “My Agenda” option on a computer, but I have to say it’s better than the app in past year and the IBM Insight app as well. The app is available in the Google Play and Apple App stores. To login, you use the full email address you used to register for the conference as the ID – not just your normal IDUG ID.


If I had to pick one thing (other than late night games of Cards Against Humanity) that I liked best about the conference, it would be the sessions. No matter what topic I’m working on personally at the moment, I can always find topical content to help me. I also make sure to support new speakers and friends. Consider moderating a session if you’re going to it anyway – it’s really easy and a simple and low-commitment way to help IDUG out. All you have to do is introduce the speaker (they usually have a bio you can read if you don’t know them), count the people who attend, remind the speaker of time, and remind people to fill out surveys.

I’m presenting two great DB2 LUW sessions this year:
C03 – Mon, May 23 at 03:45 PM in San Marcos: SQL Infusion: Tuning and Using the Package Cache
The package cache is a powerful memory area with many details to learn and influence. Is yours too small? Or too big? Are you satisfied with what you’re getting out of your package cache? Come to improve yourself in this area.
C09 – Wed, May 25 at 08:00 AM in San Marcos: SQL Infusion: 7 High-Impact Performance Tuning Tips for E-Commerce and OLTP Databases
From finding problem indexes to where SSD will benefit your database the most, come learn the high impact areas that are worth spending your time on when tuning OLTP and e-commerce databases. Each tip is infused with powerful SQL.

Yay, both in the same room – that makes it easier as a speaker!

I always start my conference planning with my favorite speakers, which include Melanie Stopfer, Dale McInnis, Steve Rees, John Hornibrook, Matt Huras, Adam Storm, David Kalmuk, and others. Here are a few of the sessions I’m most excited about this year:


Spotlight: DB2 V11 and dashDB: Leadership in the Era of Data, Cloud, & Analytics – Matt Huras and Sam Lightstone (oxford comma added by me, grr) – at 10:00 in Sabine
D01 – Not mutually exclusive HA and DR at the same time with v10.1 and v10.5 at 12:15 in Sabine – Mike Krafick
In this time slot, Mike is up against Melanie Stopfer again! Her C01 on upgrading also promises to be a great session.
C02 – Best Practives for Minimizing and Eliminating Planned Outages with DB2 LUW at 13:30 in San Marcos – Matt Huras
Conflicting with that is D02 – DB2 Data Security: Controlling Access and Catching Bad Guys at 13:30 in Sabine – Ian Bjorhovde
C03 – SQL Infusion: Tuning and Using the Package Cache at 15:45 in San Marcos – Ember Crooks!
C04 – Zen and the Art of Database Performance at 17:00 in San Marcos – Steve Rees
(sessions starting at 5PM, we’re burning the midnight oil this year!)


C06 – Top Ten DB2 for LUW Query Access Plan Tuning Tips at 9:15 in San Marcos – John Hornibrook
This conflicts with Scott Hayes’ presentation on Predictive Index Analysis (D06) which also promises to be great – I love this technique and use it frequently.
G07 – A sea of change – A deep dive into DB2 performance enhancements from past to present at 10:30 in Brazos – Jeyabarathi Chakrapani
E08 – R You Ready to be a Data Scientist at 14:15 in San Antonio – Paul Turpin
SIG 1A – Fun with SQL – the most fun you’ll have in a session, and a great way to test your SQL skills at 15:30 in Trinity A


C09 – SQL Infusion: 7 High-Impact Performance Tuning Tips for E-Commerce and OLTP Databases at 8:00 in San Marcos
G10 – “I’m a DBA Not a Developer!” – with Apologies to Dr. Lenoard McCoy at 9:15 in Brazos – Ken Shaffer
D11 – Becoming an efficient DB2 LUW DBA by leveraging awk and sed in UNIX at 13:00 in Sabine – Pavan Kristipati
DB2 LUW Mini Panel, Wednesday at 16:45 in San Antonio


C15 – DB2 Performance FAQa vol. – More Things you need to Know at 9:15 in San Marcos – Steve Rees
C16 – BLU Insert, Update, and Delete – An insider’s Perspective (oxford comma added by me, again – at 10:30 in San Marcos

If you want to stray away from LUW, I’d suggest
G08 – Guilt-Free JSON, Smarter Searches, and Other Useful DB2 AppDev Patterns on Tuesday at 14:15 in Brazos – Fred Sobotka
E09 – Taking Netezza on a test drive – The Netezza Emulator
F10 – Clash of the Titans: Apache Spark Vs MapReduce at 9:15 on Wednesday in Pecos – Saurabh Agrawal

I am really impressed with the sessions this year – the more I looked, the more I found, and most time slots have at least one can’t miss session for me. There are many other great ones besides the above. The IDUG content comittee will again be recording some sessions for release throughout the year.

The one thing I find surprising is the lack of a vNext session on DB2 11 – Am I missing it?

Educational Seminars

I find it harder to justify the educational seminars now that they conflict with so many sessions. Though they were more expensive in the old format, I didn’t have to miss half a day or a full day of regular sessions. That said, if you’re going for the certification covered by the crammer course, go to Roger Sander’s crammer session – totally worth it. I have also loved Dan Luksetich’s SQL ed seminar and Scott Hayes and Martin Hubel’s performance seminars – all great content.

Evening Events

They are not doing the dine-around this year. I loved the dine-around and will miss it. I only see two big official evening events this year:
The Wednesday event is not to be missed. I’ll be in town on Saturday, and not leaving until Friday evening, as I’m working from a nearby XTIVIA office on Friday. Most people will be arriving on Sunday and leaving on Thursday.


IDUG really has it together this year. I didn’t find a single question for this blog entry that I couldn’t answer myself with the resources out there. It’s going to be a great conference. If you’re there and a reader, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself. It just makes my day to hear that people are reading the blog and really getting value out of it.

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

Articles: 557


  1. Hello, I am first time attendee to IDUG.Do we have to register directly there even though we have our registration done already?

    • “Registration” there is basically check-in. Having already registered and paid in advance, you go up to a desk and get your badge and a few promotional materials. You must then wear your badge everywhere to get into events.

  2. Hi Ember,

    Where and when can I find the video presentations or podcasts of all the IDUG sessions.


    • Wouldn’t it be nice if IDUG did that? They do publish throughout the year recorded versions of some of the sessions on the IDUG content blog, but not all of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.