IBM i Education Goes a Mile High at COMMON’s POWERUp 2023
April 19, 2023 Alex Woodie
The IBM i community is gearing up for POWERUp 2023, the annual conference and expo held by COMMON that is taking place next week in Denver, Colorado. While information on the recent IBM i Technology Refreshes will be in demand, the event in the Mile High City will showcase just about everything going on with the ever-popular midrange server.
The fun starts bright and early Monday morning at 8:30 MT, with the COMMON POWERUp Opening Session. COMMON President Dawn May will give the community an update on the state of the user group, present awards to the top speakers from last year’s events, announce scholarship winners, and guide us through what to expect the remainder of the busy week.
Just after the Opening Session, the meat of the program begins. Sessions by IBMers and other IBM i experts covering the recent IBM i Technology Refreshes are sure to be well-attended, so be sure to arrive early if you want a good seat.
The first IBM i TR-related session starts immediately after the Opening Session with Scott Klement’s session “What’s New and Exciting in RPG.” Klement, who is with Midrange Dynamics, will be covering the highlights of the new TRs as they impact RPG (sorry, COBOL lovers). This session starts Monday at 10:15 a.m. MT.
Next up is “IBM i 7.5 Plus Favorite Features,” which features the dynamic duo of IBM business architects Scott Forstie and Tim Rowe, who will cover many of enhancements in the IBM i operating system and its integrated Db2 for i database. This session starts Monday at 11:30 a.m. MT.
The next TR-related session is “IBM i Latest & Greatest – 7.5 and TRs Overview,” which starts Monday at 4 p.m. MT. Steve Will, the IBM i CTO and chief architect of the platform, will cover the big stuff in IBM i 7.5 TR2 and 7.4 TR8.
PowerHA’s new features will be covered in a session appropriately titled “What’s new in PowerHA” by Brian Nordland, the technical product manager from Fortra (formerly HelpSystems), which develops PowerHA for IBM. This session starts at 8 a.m. MT on Wednesday.
Do you identify as a hardware geek? If so, there are a couple of not-to-miss sessions at POWERUp, including “What Makes the Power 10 Chip Special” by IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect for Power microprocessor Bill Starke. This session starts Monday at 11:30 a.m. MT.
If you’re kicking the tires on those newfangled NVMe drives, you might want to attend “The Powerful Engine under the hood of your Power 10 Server” by Douglas Gibbs, the product manager for Power I/O. This session starts Tuesday at 8 a.m. MT.
While the sessions on IBM i TRs are likely to draw their share of attendees, there is so much information on every other aspect of the IBM i server that it’s not even funny. In fact, there’s so much good stuff that you’ll likely have a hard time picking what session to attend.
Take the 10:15 a.m. MT slot on Monday, which is the most coveted time, since it comes right after the Opening Session and everybody is still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and the caffeine is still flowing. You have to pick a session. But which one? Here are your choices:
A session on Access Client Solutions by Wayne Bowers; row-and column-level security by Birgitta Hauser; DevOps and CI/CD pipelines by Donna Westmoreland; technical debt by Christopher Burns; an IBM i explainer by Torbjorn Appehl; agile testing concepts by Yvonne Enselman; an introduction to VSCode by Liam Allan; the aforementioned RPG session by Klement; managing PTFs by Larry Bolhuis; Ansible use cases by Kris Whitney; venturing to the cloud by David Contreras; and to top it off, IBM i security, from the “ground up,” by Carol Woodbury. Good luck with that.
The pickings are a bit slimmer after lunch. There’s exactly one (1) event scheduled at 1:30 p.m. MT, but it’s a big one. Steve Will and IBM i Product Manager Alison Butterill will be presenting a keynote titled “IBM i @ 35: Innovation + Integration.” Your beloved little server is all grown up now, and IBM will be celebrating its 35th birthday for the rest of the year. While its official birthday isn’t until June 21 (happy “Soltis” day), this keynote will be the kickoff to that year-long celebration (or rest-of-year celebration, as the case may be).
All told, POWERUp attendees will be able to pick from more than 300 sessions, presented by more than 100 speakers, over the course of the four-day event. That’s a lot of education, and of course, you can’t attend all of them. But it’s important to remember that POWERUp is about more than just learning tech stuff. It’s about meeting with other people in the IBM i community and getting those happenstance insights that you just can’t get staring at screen or a virtual event.
It’s also about talking with the all-important software vendors and solutions providers in the Expo, which will be open most of Monday and Tuesday, with a half-day on Wednesday. This will be where you go for drinks at 6 p.m. MT Monday and Tuesday, and for lunch every day. There’s also some user group business to attend to near the end of the show, with the “Meeting of Members” session scheduled for Thursday at noon MT.
There are also several networking events that you won’t want to miss. The N2i (New to IBM i) group, which is the spiritual successor to the old YiPS group and which has been gaining traction among folks new to the platform, will be holding three sessions at POWERUp. The first one session, titled “The N2i Advantage,” starts at 4 p.m. MT on Monday, followed by an “N2i Meeting of the Minds” Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. MT, and finishing up with the “N2i Employer Panel” at 4:00 p.m. MT Tuesday.
The previous Loopback hackathons held over the past few months have been such a success that COMMON will be hosting another Loopback Hackathon during this POWERUp conference. IBM Software Engineer Mark Irish will be leading Day 1 of the Loopback Hackathon starting Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. MT. It will continue into Tuesday.
COMMON is a user group like no other, and POWERUp is an industry event like no other. Considering how unique the IBM i community is, it’s a perfect match, really, so be thankful that you have this opportunity.
“Without question POWERUp 2023 is the best place to learn about the latest technologies delivered from IBM on Power Systems and IBM i,” COMMON President May, who is an IBM i performance expert and former IBMer, tells IT Jungle.
“Consider other computing platforms. Do the IT professionals working on other platforms have the opportunity to meet with the architects of the system? With the top developers?” she continues. “Not like we do. It’s something very special. And not only do members have the chance to speak directly with IBMers, they also access to dozens of industry experts who attend as speakers, exhibitors, and fellow attendees.
“Attending POWERUp 2023 provides you with the opportunity to talk with other IBM i professionals. You can learn what others are doing in their shops, share stories of challenges and solutions, or simply make new friends,” May continues. “We all have something in common–our love for the platform.”
While the early bird special-pricing period has passed, you can still register for POWERUp and get to Denver for the big show. More information and pricing can be found at www.common.org/powerup2023/.
We’ll see you in Denver!