Conference Puts IBM i System Management In Spotlight
February 16, 2015 Dan Burger
System management skills on IBM i have never been showcased in their own conference, but that’s about to change. A two-day conference co-hosted by the COMMON user group and i In the Cloud, a managed service provider, is scheduled for March 3 and 4 in suburban Chicago. The session agenda includes two tracks: one is straight-forward systems management while the other is specific to virtualization skills. Instruction is being handled by system admin subject experts Larry Bolhuis and Pete Massiello.
Technologies such as virtualization, the cloud, analytics, and mobile and social front-ends each require a good grasp of the system admin concepts before moving forward with implementations. Massiello says this conference is designed to provide that comprehension. Without a perceptive understanding of the role of the system administrator and the technologies to be implemented, taking on a project becomes a high-risk operation and a recipe for disaster.
Look around. There are a lot of shops that aren’t prepared to take advantage of the latest technology.
“This conference builds the understanding of processes,” Massiello says. “In these sessions, we teach the right concepts by explaining them in terms of both the how and why, and we provide examples of the wrong ways people do system administration because people learn from others’ mistakes. Someone who is new to the system will learn a lot of concepts by attending this conference. Someone who been on the system for a while will learn new tricks.”
Both Massiello and Bolhuis have been instructors at the COMMON spring and fall conferences. They have long track records of volunteering for COMMON and have served as members of the board of directors. They are also business partners in i In the Cloud, a commercial grade hosting facility built around IBM Power Systems.
The content they have laid out for the IBM i Systems Management Conference shares some overlap with sessions they’ve done at COMMON conferences, but Massiello says the differences include a narrower topic focus with more in-depth and longer sessions.
Compared to the COMMON Conference, where 75-minute sessions are the norm, this conference will have 90-minute sessions. Massiello says the longer sessions allow more content to be covered and more details revealed on specific topics. The result is a better understanding of the subject. There is also more time built in for one-on-one interaction with Massiello and Bolhuis, including time between sessions, an evening reception, and a question and answer session at the end of the conference.
Another consideration might be the shorter time requirement of this conference and lower costs relating to registration, lodging, and travel for those closer to Chicago.
The COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition is scheduled for April 26 through 29 in Anaheim, California.
“Larry and I get a lot of email from people who have attended our sessions at COMMON and other events,” Massiello says. “The emails frequently include comments like ‘Great session–a lot of information–wish there was more time to spend on it.’ We think this conference responds to those comments.”
“This will be a bunch of system admin folks getting together,” he continues. “At lunch, during breaks, and in the evenings, it will be like-minded people talking to one another about their circumstances and learning as they talk to one another. There is value in this. Education doesn’t just happen in the classroom. All the interaction contributes to the process of learning.”
Both instructors are out in the field a lot. They talk to a lot of people and share their knowledge as part of their jobs. Systems management is what they do day in and out. In their sessions, they talk about real life situations that they have encountered.
Both are on the IBM teams that create certification tests for system administration and virtualization. Discussions in the conference sessions, Massiello says, would help a person pass the certification test. However, he cautions that attendees should not expect to get a copy of the certification test with all the answers filled in.
There are a lot of companies that operate without a system admin person, he says. Often one of the programmers becomes the system admin by default. Some know the processes that must be done, because they’ve been documented, but there may not be an understanding of why the processes are done. The sessions at this conference will show students how to do things, but also emphasize why things are done.
To keep the conference manageable and allow more interaction time between attendees and instructors, registration is being capped at 100. Registration fee is $599.
The conference agenda, registration page, and hotel reservation page are all found at this link.