COMMON Set for First Annual Conference in Three Years
May 18, 2022 Alex Woodie
Don’t look now, but COMMON is about to hold its first annual conference in three years. Starting on Monday in New Orleans, POWERUp 2022 will be the biggest gathering of the IBM i community since the pandemic started more than two years ago. There is still time to register for the conference, which will feature a raft of presentations on the newly released IBM i version 7.5.
COMMON’s annual conference scheduled for the New Orleans Marriott next week is shaping up to be a good one. More than 100 speakers are scheduled to present more than 300 sessions on various aspects of the IBM i platform at POWERUp 2022, from systems management and application development to security and high availability. IBM experts will be there to lead classes in their areas of specialty, and 35 business partners and vendors are scheduled to exhibit in the Expo, which will be open Monday through Wednesday.
No COVID-19 restrictions will be in force next week, at least as of the deadline for this issue of The Four Hundred. The City of New Orleans lifted all vaccine and testing restrictions on May 5 thanks to low spread of coronavirus in the city. There are no local, state, or federal restrictions in force, and masks are no longer required to enter most establishments. Of course, anyone is free to wear a mask.
COMMON President Gordon Leary says he’s extremely excited about next week’s show. “As I was driving into work this morning, I got to thinking about how much we have missed in the last two years,” Leary tells IT Jungle. “I have been attending several virtual events, but they lack the same level of detail and collaborative communication between the speaker and participants.”
The stars appear to be aligning to allow COMMON to finally host its annual conference after two years of swings and misses. The bad luck started in March 2020, when COMMON cancelled POWERUp 2020 less than a month before it was set to begin in Atlanta, Georgia. The national user group quickly rescheduled the event to late summer in Tampa, Florida. But COMMON was forced to cancel the rescheduled conference a month before it stated thanks to a late summer COVID-19 surge, and it went on as a virtual event.
COMMON had a stroke of good luck in May 2021, when the virus eased up enough for the group to hold a mixed in-person plus virtual NAViGATE event in Columbus, Ohio, which was sparsely attended. COMMON hoped for a bigger showing and scheduled POWERUp 2021 to take place in Virginia Beach, Virginia in October 2021. But thanks to the Delta variant, the group was forced to cancel that event and take it virtual again.
It’s been a bumpy road for sure, but COMMON has stuck to its guns on the importance of physical events. Leary told us earlier this year that the group never considered holding POWERUp 2022 as a 100 percent virtual event, considering the large number of online assets and virtual events produced by the Chicago, Illinois-based group, including the fall NAViGATE conference, which will be a hybrid event with a physical component held in St. Louis, Missouri.
“I think the difference between a virtual event and an in-person event is like a dam at flood stage,” Leary says. “When attending an in-person event, every gate is wide open, and information is flowing fast. I cannot wait to learn more about the techniques and enhancements that will bring value back to my company.
“I think the atmosphere at POWERUp will be electric this year,” he continues. “We have so much to be excited about such as new hardware and a new release of the operating system. It is time to get back to education and giving back to the community that has enhanced all of our careers.”
POWERUp 2022 will take place next week as a 100 percent in-person event. It’s unclear how many members of the IBM i community will make it out to New Orleans, but judging by the pre-show buzz on social media, there should be a pretty good showing.
It doesn’t hurt that POWERUp 2022 will have a slew of sessions on IBM i 7.5, which just started shipping last week, not to mention IBM i 7.4 TR6 and 7.3 TR12, both of which ship on May 24. Leary says COMMON added nearly 20 sessions on 7.5 and related announcements, and POWERUp 2022 will be the first chance for people to get live in-depth training on the new tech.
There are at least eight sessions on Merlin, the new lightweight development and deployment solution launched by IBM and its partner ARCAD Software as part of the IBM i 7.5 and 7.4 TR6 launch (it runs on 7.4 and 7.5). Among the Merlin-related sessions slated to take place next week include “The Magic of Merlin and Cloud Technologies,” “IBM i 7.5 & Merlin Overview,” “IBM i CI/CD in Action with Merlin,” and “Merlin and Application Development – A Technical Deep Dive.”
Security was a big focus with IBM i 7.5 (and 7.4 TR6 to a lesser extent), and there will be several sessions devoted to deciphering the latest enhancements at POWERUp 2022. A session on the new licensing options for IBM i that were introduced with the 7.5 launch is also likely to draw a crowd. Other classes for various other tools and licensed program products impacted by the 7.5 launch – from Performance Data Investigator and Db2 Web Query to Db2 Mirror and who could forget RDi? – are also on the docket.
The good news for those who haven’t yet registered is there is still time. You missed the early bird discount, but there is still room, and COMMON will be registering people even after the conference begins. You can register for POWERUp 2022 at this link.