RPG & DB2 Summit Adds Analytics, BI To Agenda
January 14, 2013 Dan Burger
RPG & DB2 Summit Adds Analytics, BI To Agenda
The RPG & DB2 Summit, a twice-annual, subject-focused conference hosted by System i Developer, will take place March 19 through 21 in Atlanta, Georgia. The event is billed as “an interactive, total-immersion experience to RPG and DB2 for i developers who want to stay abreast of the latest advancements and learn how to apply specific RPG and DB2 techniques to keep their software applications vibrant and innovative.” Registration is now open.
The RPG and DB2 topics covered include RPG IV, ILE, and modular programming; embedded SQL, DB2 for i capabilities, RPG for the Web, PHP for RPGers, DB2/SQL performance, database modernization, modern application development tools, and mobile application development. More than 50 sessions are on the agenda.
Along with its emphasis on RPG and DB2 topics, this latest version of the Summit adds sessions on analytics and business intelligence under the heading of “Keep Your i on the Data,” which is one of 14 session roadmaps that are listed online. Other sessions within the Summit roadmap will get into topics such as the capabilities of DB2 for i; tools and self-management techniques that improve the efficiency, reliability and usability of the database; and transforming data to support business analytics, improve database performance; and building analytics dashboards.
The emerging role of the DB2 for i specialist–a topic that was discussed in an IT Jungle story entitled Get Database Skills for Career ROI–is also on the agenda.
System i Developer partner Jon Paris says it no longer makes business sense to proceed on the basis that DB2 on i does not benefit from many services traditionally performed by a DBA.
“Our database has incredible capabilities that simply aren’t being used,” Paris says. “Many shops don’t even utilize the basics such as referential integrity and check constraints. Take a look at Oracle and SQL Server teams. They have full time DBAs whose sole focus is on database capabilities. Because of that perceived body of expertise they are often called on to advise management on how to implement new projects. When IBM i teams don’t exhibit equivalent expertise and advocacy, it’s hardly surprising if management believes that they have to take data off of the i to get the business insights they need. The sad thing is that they will certainly pay a higher price to do that.”
A DB2 for i specialist needs to know more than the “typical” RPG developer knows about the database. Topics on that list would include journaling, commitment control, referential integrity and check constraints, according to Susan Gantner, also a partner at System i Developer. “These are topics I often find developers are vaguely aware of but too rarely implement, even in new applications and databases,” she says.
SQL language skills would also be useful when accessing and manipulating data and for defining new databases. Understanding SQL performance concepts and tools available for monitoring, assessing and tuning the SQL/database environment and the ability to advise developers on the best use of database access methods are also important skills in Gantner’s view.
“Learning about reporting and BI tooling available on our platform is also critical,” she advises.” Here it’s important to recognize that IBM has tools in this arena and so do many ISVs. Make sure you look into multiple vendors’ tools to make sure you have the right combination of resources in place to help your users make sense of all that data.”
One RPG & DB2 Summit alum who is developing the role of DB2 on i specialist is Deborah Stickler from credit union service bureau CU*Answers. Stickler says the person in this position needs to understand that his or her clients’ most vital resource is their data. Keeping it clean, accurate, and accessible is the highest priority.
She’s also places great value in gaining management support. She describes it as “vital to the success of the position” because of the paradigm shift that involves putting as much business logic as possible in the database and removing the business logic from the control of the programmer/analysts.
Good advice, indeed.
Making an encore after a successful debut at the October 2012 Summit is the “iAdvocate Tutorial and Discussion” led by IBM‘s Mike Cain. This session focuses on the type of information and communication skills that helps IT staff “talk smart” about IBM i and DB2 in presentations to management and non-IBM i IT professionals. For more on this topic, see the publicly accessible IBM iAdvocate Resources repository on the System i Developer website.
As in the past, the Summit includes pre-conference sessions. This year it includes a one-day PHP workshop and half-day sessions on SQL for i and Web Services for RPGers. The pre-conference presentations are scheduled for Monday, March 18, and require a separate registration.
The RPG & DB2 Summit is produced and directed by Paris, Gantner, and Paul Tuohy. They have been at it since 2006. Skip Marchesani, one of the original members of System i Developer, retired in January 2012. Also speaking at the conference are highly regarded instructors such as Scott Klement, Aaron Bartell, Mike Pavlak, and IBMers Mike Cain, Kent Milligan, Doug Mack, and Barbara Morris.
Discounts on registration are available through February 8. There are also discounts extended to previous Summit attendees and multiple attendees from the same company.