The International Db2 Users Group (IDUG), an independent, not-for-profit organization providing education, services, and conferences for the IBM Db2 database, recently hosted the 2024 IDUG North America Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. This event brought together Db2 professionals, experts, enthusiasts, and thought leaders to share knowledge, network, and explore the latest advancements in the Db2 ecosystem.

The conference began with a breakfast reunion of friends and past user group speakers. The opening session featured IBM’s Data and AI Product experts, Minaz Merali, Vice President of Product Management, and Annette Brooks, Vice President of Development. Their keynote, “Db2 Generative AI & watsonx: Getting the Most from Your Data,” focused on Db2’s continued evolution to support and scale AI-driven enterprises. They discussed the AI and data platform IBM watsonx and emphasized Db2’s vital role in modern data workloads.

Highlights from the event included:

Db2 for z/OS Spotlight – Trends and Directions From the Lab
Haakon Roberts and Akiko Hoshikawa, both IBM Distinguished Engineers, presented the fundamental principles of Db2 and the latest release, version 13. They highlighted examples of Db2 for z/OS as a system of record relied upon by global corporations, enterprises, and government agencies.

Securing Db2 for z/OS Data: Encryption – and Much More
Robert Catterall, Principal Db2 for z/OS Technical Specialist, discussed security for z/OS-managed data. He covered Db2 data encryption, auditing, application architecture, test data management, and RACF (or equivalent) management of Db2-internal security. He provided instructions on privilege management, client authentication, column masks, and row permissions.

Oh, The Things I’ve Seen: Db2 Stories and Best Practices
Craig Mullins, President and Principal Consultant for Mullins Consulting, Inc., shared best practices and real-world scenarios from his extensive career. His presentation was informative and thought-provoking for both experienced and novice mainframers.

To end the first day, the Db2pardy! session provided entertainment and a refresher on Db2 basics. Anna McKee, Keziah Knopp, Mark Rader, and Tori Felt led the audience through a trivia show, providing edutainment (educational entertainment) and engaging participants from various backgrounds.

Modernizing with a Winning Formula
David Stokes, Senior Director of Engineering and Agile Program Management at Broadcom Inc., discussed the collaborative efforts needed to support a 24/7 economy with the modern mainframe. He highlighted the roles of System Engineers, Application Developers, and DBAs in ensuring seamless operation and high availability, sharing real-world examples and best practices.

Back to Basics: The Nuts and Bolts of Db2 z/OS Recovery
Chad Reiber, Sr. Principal Software Engineer at BMC Software, covered the essential aspects of Db2 z/OS recovery. He emphasized the pivotal role DBAs play in recovery operations and the importance of daily image copies. Chad provided a comprehensive overview of the Db2 recovery process, focusing on the mechanics and decision-making behind choosing specific recovery methods.

Modernise your Db2 Environment – Top 20 Features People Are Still Not Using
Adrian Collett, Consultant for Expertise4IT, highlighted the top 20 underused features of Db2 for z/OS, despite the database celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023. He explained the benefits of these oft-ignored features and why they haven’t been widely adopted. Using real-life examples, Adrian detailed each feature’s potential to improve efficiency, robustness, and reliability, offering practical tips on quick implementation.

Db2 in the World of AI
Les King from Db2 Solutions, Education, and Enablement, discussed trends and challenges associated with AI and AI workloads. He emphasized the importance of data storage, data collection, data lakes, and lakehouses in preparing for the AI era. Les highlighted specific Db2 capabilities that support AI initiatives and how Db2 integrates with IBM’s architecture.

Additional Content
In addition to these informative sessions, IDUG North America offered hands-on labs, technical deep dives, and numerous networking opportunities. The conference provided more sessions than an attendee could manage to attend. Fortunately, an online repository of presentations is available for post-event learning. 

The insights shared and connections made at this conference will drive the Db2 community forward, fostering innovation and excellence as the field looks to the future.

To find more Db2 content, check out IDUG, Virtual User Groups, or Planet Mainframe.

Amanda Hendley is the Managing Editor of Planet Mainframe and  Co-host of the iTech-Ed Mainframe User Groups.  She has always been a part of the technology community having spent eleven years at Technology Association of Georgia and six years at Computer Measurement Group. Amanda is a Georgia Tech graduate and enjoys spending her free time renovating homes and volunteering with  in Atlanta, Georgia.

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