Heading to IDUG 2013? Learn from my experience.

I don’t know about you, but the first time that I got my approval to go to IDUG’s technical conference – I actually stood up on my desk, did a small jig, clouds parted, and angels sang.

I really did. Don’t look at me like that. Prove me wrong.

Once I came down off the pink cloud, I remember saying, “I don’t even know where to start.” The session list is endless and your days are jam-packed. It’s like getting a drink from a fire hose.

So you are going to IDUG 2013 in Orlando? Where do you start? Let me see if I can help you.

What sessions should you attend?

The day before my first conference a comment from a well-respected co-worker struck me. He said, “I don’t look at session topics first, I look at speaker names.” In hindsight, he is absolutely right. There are just some people you need to seek out, even if you are unsure of the topic. Their knowledge may be very deep, or they work at the forefront of the technology, or they just have such a good delivery that you really need to sit in their session.

Below is a list of speakers I watch out for in sessions, Mini-Panels, and SIG’s. This list is compiled based experience, top session nominations, and “reputation” within the industry.


Melanie Stopfer (@mstopfer1)
LUW Expert
William Favero
z/OS Expert
Martin Hubel
z/OS Expert
Paul Zikopoulos
Big Data Expert/Author
Bonnie Baker
z/OS Expert
Calisto Zuzarte
IBM Labs
Kelly Schlamb
Purescale Expert
Craig Mullins
(@craigmullins)z/OS Expert
Scott Hayes
Performance Expert
Matt Huras
LUW Engineer/ Architect
Roger Sanders
Cert Exam Author
Chris Eaton
LUW Expert


Sleeper Pick:

Rebecca Bond (@db2locksmith), the DB2 “Locksmith.” When it comes to security, DB2 can be extremely powerful. Heck, when the DoD and government agencies depend on DB2 there has to be an impressive level of security. However, Rebecca is the only source I know of who understands security front to back. She can explain how to go about researching a security policy, preparing a security implementation, and implementing the database lockdown. Matter of fact, she produced a 400 page book on the subject. Rebecca returns this year to cover a new v10 security feature in her session C02: DB2 10 LUW – Hiding Securely Behind the Mask [April 30, 2:00pm – 3:00pm].

Honorable Mention:

Susan Visser (@susvis) is not an IDUG Speaker. She works heavily on the publishing side of IBM and is a well known DB2 Blogger. While at the conference it’s worth following her on Twitter. She always seems to be “in the know” as things happen at the conference.

Network your tail off

I can directly link success in my career to networking at the IDUG Conference. Blogging for DB2Commerce – that was the result of a buddy saying, “I can’t make it this year – but e-mail Ember and make sure you meet.” The analysis methods I used to pull my database out of a fire? That was from talking to Scott Hayes at his vendor session. The link I made deep into IBM Support (who will remain nameless)? That was from a networking event.

There are a ton of vendor sponsored parties and networking events. Some are open, some are closed, but you will get a feel of which events to visit after going to the IDUG Welcome Reception, Tue at 5:30.

Personally, I would seek out the DBI and HLS booths for an invite to the “IDUG Happy Anniversary Party” on Tuesday at 8pm.

And for goodness sake, do not miss the Dine Around on Thursday night. It allows you to go to an intimate-ish dinner with you, a popular DB2 personality, and about 10-12 of your newest close friends. Some of these sessions fill up very quick. I’ve even seen some of the more popular Dine Around groups fill before the conference officially starts. If you want to book your spot early, sign up under “My Agenda” within the “My Conference” tool.

Matter of fact, if you want to tag along, I signed up for the Dine Around with Kelly Schlamb and Scott Hayes at “Chops.” I believe Ember is heading to Wolfgang Puck’s with Melanie Stopfer.

One Two Punch – Crammer Courses and Exams

There is always a crammer course for both z/OS and LUW DBA certifications the day before the conference officially starts (Monday). If you attend the crammer course and pass free certification exams you get instant ROI on your company’s investment.

If you have never been certified, you may have to work harder. However if you need to renew your certification it’s very possible to knock this out during the conference week. I cracked a certification book off and on at lunch the week leading up to the conference, took Roger Sander’s LUW crammer course, stayed in one night from the networking events to review course materials, and passed my exam the next day.

Don’t Fly Out Early

When the conference is in the west coast and you live on the east coast, you almost have to bail on the conference early to avoid getting home at midnight. However that is not the case this year and there are FREE Immersion Workshops for both LUW and z/OS tracks. Check out the workshop details here: http://www.idug.org/p/cm/ld/fid=284 .

Get Plugged In

IDUG has made some improvements for the “techno-weenie” in all of us. Some were tested last year; some are debuting for the first time.

My Conference
Last year, IDUG instituted a new feature called “My Conference”.

  1. Go to: www.idug.org
  2. “Log In” at top right corner
  3. “Events” – “North America Conference 2013”
  4. Scroll to bottom of page, center.

What to use it for? Well, you can create your own personalized agenda that you can print and store with your badge, view on your tablet, or download. Use it to sign up for popular networking events like “Dine Around”. You can also give session feedback.


Twitter is heavily used by conference coordinators, DB2 personalities, and everyone in attendance. Session updates, networking events, and witty banter can all be found here. Make sure to search for the hashtag #idugna. Official conference tweets come from @IDUGDB2.

Ember is an old hat at Twitter (@ember_crooks). I‘ve actually been the twitter admin for IDUG for years, but just activated my personal account a few weeks ago (@mkrafick). Please send me a shout out!


Twitter will be more real time information. Big announcements and photos of the events will flow through Facebook. After action reports will also be found here when the conference ends.

Session Evaluations made easier

Last year session evaluations were a little convoluted. You can access evaluations via “My Conference” like last year. However you can also access a more streamlined feedback site or download Zwoor to your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

• Session Evaluation Link – http://www.idug.org/p/cm/ld/fid=306
• Zwoor iOS Download – http://tinyurl.com/cadh9c6
• Zwoor Android Download – http://tinyurl.com/c864gbm

Finally, Make sure to Escape

By the last day of my first IDUG conference I found myself in sessions and unable to concentrate. If I wasn’t sleepy, I was buzzing, and back to sleepy again. On the plane ride home, I slept hard.

Following my other conference experiences I learned to make sure to either take one night of networking off or sleep in one day and miss a session in the morning. I cringed at the thought of missing anything, but it allowed me to be fully engaged the rest of the conference. That time I took to recharge made a huge difference.

I’ll see you there!

This will be my fourth IDUG conference and I never get tired of it. I will tell you that you get out of the conference what you put into it. If you hit the sessions, network, and make the most of your investment – you will not be disappointed. Close your eyes, jump in with both feet, and enjoy your trip to Orlando this year.

And while you are there, seek me out. I would love to meet you.

Michael Krafick is an occasional contributor to db2commerce.com. He has been a production support DBA for over 12 years in data warehousing and highly transactional OLTP environments. He was acknowledged as a top ten session speaker for “10 Minute Triage” at the 2012 IDUG Technical Conference. Michael also has extensive experience in setting up monitoring configurations for DB2 Databases as well as preparing for high availability failover, backup, and recovery. He can be reached at “Michael.Krafick (at) icloud (dot) com”. Linked-in Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelkrafick. Twitter: mkrafick

Mike’s blog posts include:

10 Minute Triage: Assessing Problems Quickly (Part I)

10 Minute Triage: Assessing Problems Quickly (Part II)

Now, now you two play nice … DB2 and HACMP failover
Technical Conference – It’s a skill builder, not a trip to Vegas.
Why won’t you just die?! (Cleaning DB2 Process in Memory)
Attack of the Blob: Blobs in a Transaction Processing Environment

Michael Krafick
Michael Krafick

Michael Krafick is an aspiring Zamboni driver and well known twig-eater. During the day he is a Sr. Database Engineer for a Fortune 500 company. He is a frequent contributor to datageek.blog, an IBM champion, member of the DB2 Technical Advisory Board, and IDUG speaker Hall of Fame inductee. With over 18 years experience in DB2 for LUW, Mike works hard to educate and mentor others.

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