Vienna Conference – A Trip Report

(Originally posted 2011–05–09.)

I think people know better than to ask me for a trip report to a conference I’ve attended. They’ll get what I think is important – and their priorities are probably different. So here is that trip report anyway… 🙂

You’ll probably have gathered by now I’m for a “for the journey” person than a “for the destination” one. But I won’t bore you with the minor inconveniences on both ends of the trip – because I personally try to forget the (often long and tedious) journey when I get to the destination (or home again). I’d rather focus on where my travels took me.

I will admit to sampling hostelries – with good friends. I also was very pleased to be in the company of friends – both old and new. Personally, I think the social aspect of a conference is almost as important as the sessions. And, of course, some really useful conversations were had – with IBMers, business partners, vendors and customers. I can’t really summarise these – for the usual obvious reasons.

My four sessions mainly went well. The topics are summarised here. But here are my perceptions:

  • “Parallel Sysplex Performance Topics” went well, I think. Mainly because I talked about the subset of items I really wanted to talk about. Most notably “Structure Execution Time” and “Structure Duplexing Performance”. (And I had a very good question on how the non-CPU element of request time relates to distance and technology.)

  • I think “Much Ado About CPU” has become disorganised. It needs refocusing. Particularly as I expect the CPU picture to continue to evolve over time. And so this one has to survive in some form.

  • “Memory Matters” was done while too tired. I also think it contains too much baggage from DB2 Version 8 (even though many customers are still on 8). I also think the “Coupling Facility Memory” section doesn’t really add much.

  • “DB2 Data Sharing Performance For Beginners” turns out not to be a “for beginners” presentation, really. If I’m introspective about it I thought when I wrote it it would help explain the major themes but I couldn’t pretend be as knowledgeable as the true greats of Data Sharing. For example, those that write “DB2 Performance Topics” Redbooks. So I should skip the “for beginners” part of the title and rework it to make it as good a presentation as I can for those who already have some knowledge. The stuff needs saying but I need to say it better.

But, I think in the above I’m being harsh on myself. I got good evaluations on all four. Maybe the audience is very kind. 🙂

I took notes using the Writepad handwriting application on iPad (into Evernote so I can read them and edit them everywhere). Writepad does a very good job but I still wish I’d brought the keyboard along: I found the mechanics of taking notes diminished my ability to listen. I’d pull out the following presentations as ones I got a lot out of. (Others will have their own favourites.)

  • Susann Thomas (a team-mate from the 2009 Batch Modernisation residency) did a very nice job on introducing XML for System z. So much so I’m convinced I need to understand the XML story better. (You may have seen on Twitter my attempts to do stuff.)
  • Harald Bender’s XML and RMF presentation makes me think a practical example of XML to play with is that produced by RMF.
  • Marna Walle did a nice job of her z/OS R.13 Preview presentation. (Which reminds me I must write on in-stream SYSIN in a PROC soon.)
  • George Ng (who apparently reads this blog ! 🙂 ) presented on Infiniband Coupling Facility links. I note all RMF knows about Infiniband links is the channel path acronym “CIB”. It can’t distinguish between e.g 1x SDR and 12x DDR, for example. You can imagine I’d “have views” on that sort of thing. :-)”)
  • Christian Daser explained rather well, I thought, the tricky DB2 V10 Bitemporal support, as well as a few other pieces of DB2 Application componentry in 10.
  • Peter Enrico will certainly have opened some eyes to the value of SMF 113 CPU Measurement Facility instrumentation. I’ve been familiar with this for a long time – certainly from before we announced it. I would write about it if I didn’t feel Peter (and John Burg) hadn’t already done so as well as I could have – if not better.
  • Mike Buzzetti gave a very good introduction to Cloud on System z, particularly about TSAM for provisioning.
  • I’ve tried to run with Jeff Berger’s foils before now. I’m so glad I don’t have to anymore: He does so much better a job of it than I do. 🙂 The topic I saw him present this time was on DB2 V10 Performance. I’m eagerly awaiting the Redbook, of course.
  • And last but not least Bob Rogers’ “What You Do When You’re a z196 CPU”. I’m very glad he keeps updating it for each generation of processors. It’s one where you really do need to know what happened before so I’m pleased he’s kept in z9 and z10 stuff.

Of course I don’t know whether you have access to the proceedings. If you do I recommend you pull down some of the above sets of slides. If not maybe you’ll see them at some other conference or user group.

After a week of this I’ll admit to coming home very tired. (In fact I think everyone felt that way by Thursday morning.) But it was a great week for me. And thanks to everyone who made it so good for me.

And if you didn’t get to Vienna I hope you do get to some System z conferences: They’ve a very good use of money and time.

Published by Martin Packer

I'm a mainframe performance guy and have been for the past 35 years. But I play with lots of other technologies as well.

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