IDUG North American Technical Conference 2017 – Anaheim


It’s nearly here! My favoite week of the year!

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.

As of the writing of this blog entry, my mentor discount is still available – so if you know anyone going to IDUG for the first time, let me know so I can share it.

General Information

The conference this year is in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel.

There are some availability issues, so be sure to check the IDUG housing page if you cannot get the conference rate or cannot get rooms.

The conference starts on Sunday, April 30th and runs through Thursday, May 4th. As of the time this post is published, it is not too late to register at the IDUG site if you haven’t already!



Registration is open these hours/times:

Sunday          8-9:30 AM, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Monday          7:15 AM – 5:45 PM
Tuesday         7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday       7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday        7:30 AM - 10:40 AM


Lunch is served Monday though Wednesday.

Monday          11:45 - 12:45     
Tuesday         11:30 - 12:30   
Wednesday       11:30 - 12:30   

Lunch looks like it will be in the Solutions Center on Tuesday and Wednesday. There should 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.


The first certification exam is free. The second certification is free, too, if you pass the first one. 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 1:              12:45 - 18:00
Tuesday, May 2:              8:00 - 18:00
Wednesday, May 3:            8:00 - 16:00
Thursday, May 4:             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.

The IDUG site covers these certification details if you’d like to see what they’re offering.

Data Tech Summit

This year, I found myself playing the DBA role on a project for a manufacturer that involved predictive analytics using SPSS and machine learning. The project’s goal was to take in data about the manufacture of a product and predict failure rates so that more thorough testing could be done on production runs that were more likely to have problems. These decisions had to be made in near real-time to prevent delaying the manufacturing process. While my role was limited to administering the DB2 database involved and providing expertise on what makes a relational database perform best, it was exciting to actually be involved with a project that focuses on things that are such hot buzzwords that we hear so much about these days.

DBAs today are increasingly seeing more and more new topics introduced to their area of expertise. Terms like machine learning, spark, data analytics, internet of things, data lake, and No-SQL are things we’re hearing on a more and more frequent basis. Even a straight DB2 DBA may find themselves involved in projects that involve these topics. Additionally as a DBA moves up, we may be asked to include these in our areas of interest and expertise. IDUG is offering a separate track that is available to all conference attendees on these topics, and calling it the Data Tech Summit. Among other things, a Lab focusing on Apache Spark will be offered.

The Data Tech Summit is right next door to the regular IDUG sessions on Monday and Tuesday. I’d recommend finding a session or two to go over and check out some of these hot topics in the data world. Take a look at the agenda for the Data Tech Summit, and see if there’s anything there you find interesting.

Keynotes and Spotlights

The keynotes this year kick off the meat of the conference on Monday at 8 AM. The first keynote speaker is Mike Gualtieri from Forrester, presenting on Forrester’s View on Big Data, Analytics, and Open Source. After Mike, Daniel Hernandez, the VP of IBM Analytics at IBM speaking about “Winning with Machine Learning. Monetize the Data Behind your Firewall”.

Right after the keynotes on Monday morning are the spotlight sessions. The LUW one this year looks a bit more product/sales focused than tech focused like it has been in previous years. I don’t know if it’s on the top of my priorities list.

Solutions Center / Exhibit Hall

The Solutions Center is part of what pays for the conference and vendor participation really makes the conference possible. It is also just where people hang out and go to socialize when it is 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 Wednesday at 12:40. You have to be present at the drawing to win! 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.

The Exhibit hall has the following events/hours:
Monday, May 1
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 PM Solutions Center Open Reception
Tuesday, May 2
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 PM Solutions Center Lunch
4:45 p.m. – 6:15 PM Solutions Center Reception
Wednesday, May 3
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Solutions Center Lunch and Passport to Prizes

Mobile App

I haven’t seen anything on the mobile app this year. It should be available before the conference starts. Hopefully it’s a good one!


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:
C04 – Mon, May 01, 2017 (04:25 PM – 05:25 PM) in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C: SQL Infusion: Interviewing the DB2 Optimizer
Join us for an in-depth investigation on how to interview the DB2 optimizer. We’ll start with the basics of several different ways of gathering explain information and several different ways of reading it. We’ll then move on to the details available in the explain data, how to gather section actuals and some creative uses of the index advisor. We’ll finish our interview by touching on some actions we can take based on explain data to improve SQL performance. This session focuses on the use of the Explain facility in conventional and creative ways, mostly from the DBA’s perspective.
C12 – Wed, May 03, 2017 (02:10 PM – 03:10 PM) in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C : SQL Infusion: A Transaction Log Expedition
Are your transaction logs too small? Too large? What about your log buffer size? Are they more like Oracle’s UNDO or REDO logs? Is there human-readable data in DB2 transaction logs? What options do you have around transaction logs, and how do they impact performance? Join us to learn all about DB2 transaction logs from the mundane to the unusual, along with the SQL to investigate many different aspects of transaction logs.

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

Once you’ve registered, you can start building your online agenda. To get to this, from the North American conference page, click “Registration” in the left menu:
Then click on the big blue register button (even though you have already registered):
Then, under “Already Registered”, click on “View Your Registration Details”:
Then click on “My Agenda”:

I always start my conference planning with my favorite speakers, which include Melanie Stopfer, Dale McInnis, John Hornibrook, Matt Huras, David Kalmuk, and others. I couldn’t get a speaker search to work in the online agenda this year =(. Here are a few of the sessions I’m most excited about this year:


In the first time slot I’m torn between two sessions. I’m a sucker for a good Matt Huras presentation, but the other topic is just fascinating to me.
C01 – DB2 LUW : The Latest from the Lab at 12:45 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C – Matt Huras
Conflicting with that is E01 – Query Optimization in Relational Databases – Why it Matters! at 12:45 in Alternate Meeting Room F – Suresh Sane
D02 – Vital Statistics – What You Should Know About DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows Catalog Statistics at 13:55 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms G&H – John Hornibrook
D03 – The power of Statistical Views in DB2 LUW at 3:15 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms G&H – Robert Neugebauer
Conflicting with that is C03 – Sage Advice Part 4: The DB2 LUW Performance Optimization Journey Continues! at 15:15 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C – Scott Hayes
Don’t get tired and slack off early on the first day, or you’ll miss my session:
C04 – SQL Infusion: Interviewing the DB2 Optimizer at 16:25 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C – Ember Crooks


The first session on Tuesday is my most conflicted session of the whole conference, so no chance I’ll be sleeping in. I am torn between:
D05 – 10 Minute Triage: Troubleshooting Production Issues 101 at 8:00 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms G&H – Michael Krafick
and E05 – I’m a DBA, (Still) Not a Developer! – with apologies to Dr. Leonard McCoy at 8:00 in Alternate Meeting Room F – Ken Shaffer
and C05 – Best Practices for Minimizing and Eliminating Planned Outages (incl V11 features) at 8:00 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C – Matt Huras
C06 – Uncommon uses for HADR at 9:20 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C – Dale McInnis
D07 – DB2 Data Security: Top 10 Common Mistakes at 10:30 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms G&H – Ian Bjorhovde
Torn again in the 2:10 time slot. I saw Melanie’s presentation in EMEA and it blew my mind. No matter how many of Melanie’s presentations I see and no matter how many times I email with her about problems, I ALWAYS learn something new from her. If you haven’t seen it, GO! Having seen it, the other two in this slot are also interesting.
C08 – OMG! Experience is a Hard Teacher – Lessons Learned #1 at 2:10 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C – Melanie Stopfer
E08 – Did someone not once sing what a difference an Index makes at 2:10 in Alternate Meeting Room F – Paul Murray
I have two SIGs I want to go to:
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 South Ballroom
SIG 1F – Continuous Availability (pureScale, Replication, HA, DR) HA or DR in the cloud at 15:30 in North Ballroom


I have a pick in the early morning time slot, but I could easily go with C09 or F09 as well
D09 – DB2 Data Security: Keeping your Data Safe with Encryption at 8:00 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms G&H – Ian Bjorhovde
C11 – DB2 11.1 – A Query Optimizer Perspective – at 13:00 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C – John Hornibrook
C12 – SQL Infusion: A Transaction Log Expedition – at 14:10 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms B&C – Ember Crooks
DB2 Panel (LUW mixed with Z mini panel), Wednesday at 16:45 in the Central Ballroom – I’ll be one of the panelists this year for the first time!


I am fairly certain I could go to any of the 8 AM LUW sessions or the cloud workshop and be quite happy
Same thing goes for the 9:20 AM sessions – all look great, and I’m still debating
At 10:30, I’m most excited about:
D16 – The Latest in Advanced Performance Diagnostics for SQL at 10:30 in North Exhibit Hall Rooms G&H – David Kalmuk

Adding Sessions to your Calendar

A friend and db2commerce guest blogger, Ian Bjorhovde (@idbjorh – podcaster of my two favorite podcasts: The Whole Package Cache and Create Database), has put together a feed of calendar events for the conference sessions. This allows you to add all of them to your calendar, and it will continue to be updated if things change, so this is an awesome resource. Subscribe to the calendar using your favorite calendar tool. Even if this calendar doesn’t help you, go listen to Create Database – it is simply awesome!

Educational Seminars

I love that IDUG has moved these back to Sunday. Unfortunately, I find the choices a bit lacking. I miss Scott and Martin’s performance seminar and Dan Luksetitch’s SQL seminar. Dang it, maybe I need to jump in and put one together. Here are the full-day seminars offered:

  • EDS1 – DB2 11.1 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Database Administration Certification Exam (C2090-600) Crammer Course (EDSEM)
  • EDS2 – DB2 11 for z/OS Database Administration Crammer Course (EDSEM)
  • EDS3 – DB2 11 for z/OS System Administration Certification Crammer Course (EDSEM)
  • EDS4 – SQL Coding and Tuning Magic from a Wizards Collection (EDSEM)

These seminars do cost an additional $250, and must be registered for ahead of time. One of the best investments I ever made as a young DBA was paying the then $495 out of pocket to take a seminar similar to these from Scott Hayes. I think this was back in 2005 or 2008? It really opened my eyes on a number of performance issues.

Hands-On Labs

IDUG is offering several hands-on labs this year that sound interesting:
HOL1 – Secrets of the Pros: Using Data Server Manager to Monitor, Manage and Mitigate Performance ProblemsMay 01, 2017 (01:55 PM – 05:25 PM)
HOL2 – IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS on Cloud: Getting Started, Use Cases and DemoMay 02, 2017 (08:00 AM – 11:30 AM)
HOL3 – Hands-On Introduction to Apache Spark (Same as HOL4)May 02, 2017 (2:10 PM – 04:45 PM)
HOL4 – Hands-On Introduction to Apache Spark (Same as HOL3)May 03, 2017 (08:00 AM – 10:20 AM)
HOL5 – OLTAP – Bring Your Own Device and learn how to use CA Analytics as a weapon to stay proactive with performance issuesMay 03, 2017 (01:00 PM – 04:30 PM)

Evening Events

They are not doing the dine-around again this year. I loved the dine-around and still miss it.

There are evening receptions in the Solution Center on Monday and Tuesday – usually they serve drinks and hors d’oeuvres:
Monday, May 1 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 PM
Tuesday, May 2 – 4:45 p.m. – 6:15 PM

I only see one big official evening event this year (screenshot from the DB2Night Show): conf_blog5

The event is on the rooftop of The Fifth – about a 15-minute walk from the conference hotel, and buses will be running over there. You need a ticket from IBM, DBI, or BMC in the Solutions Center to get in to the event. You will also need to wear your conference badge. The event will have a view of Disney fireworks at 10 PM. Everyone who attends will get a T-shirt.

Pictures of the event should be tweeted with the hashtag #DB2Magic to be entered for a chance to win something or other.

The Wednesday event is not to be missed.


I’m significantly disappointed that IDUG seems to be combining the LUW and Z/OS panels. I don’t think that’s a good move. I think that one platform is likely to dominate the time. I do think it is a good thing for DBAs to expand their horizons and hear about the other side, but the complicated nature of most panel questions may not be the best introduction. I simply never work with Z/OS, and while I don’t mind hearing some about it, I’m not willing to give up time in my favorite session of the conference to hear parts about Z/OS that are very technically complex. While I’m generally a fan of change, I don’t like it when literally my favorite (professional) hour of the year is changed.

I ran a twitter poll, and DB2 people on Twitter seem to agree with me:

As much as I disagree with the decision to combine the panels, It would still be my top pick of the whole conference, and I highly recommend attending.

I think the LUW education seminars are a bit wanting, though at least it sounds like they have a good certification one.

Once again, there will be no breakfast and no morning coffee.

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 (year) to hear that people are reading the blog and really getting value out of it. Speaking to readers gives me the motivation to keep blogging.

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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