Db2 for z/OS & Db2ZAI



Db2 for z/OS Director's Corner: Fast Start to 2020!

By Mo Townsend posted Fri February 21, 2020 01:42 PM



2020 has already been a busy year for us in Db2 development, and we hope it's been productive for you too! We have a lot of news to share, so I thought I'd give you a peek at what's happening, as we set course to focus on our 2020 priorities: Attracting new applications; ensuring the quality that Db2 for z/OS is known for; and refining our product and process as some talent in our team transitions to retirement and new talent takes the helm.

Db2 Development team transitions

I have two announcements regarding leaders whom many of you know: Jeff Josten and Chris Crone have retired from IBM.

Josten.pngAfter more than 34 years with IBM, Jeff Josten, Db2 Distinguished Engineer, retired on December 31, 2019. From his key role in architecting the remarkable piece of technology that is Db2 Data Sharing to more than a decade as DE and lead architect, Jeff's influence on Db2 for z/OS was both broad and deep. While we wish him great travel adventures with his wife and an even lower golf handicap as he works to perfect his game, he will certainly be missed.

ChrisCrone.pngChris Crone decided in January to head for new adventures, also after more than 30 years. For most of his career, Chris was the leader of RDS, but his influence covered the whole product. He was our go-to guy for vendor questions and deeply involved with clients worldwide, especially smaller clients in regions with limited local expertise. He was instrumental in the design of continuous delivery, provided sage advice for development items across all of Db2, and never hesitated to jump into a crit sit, even if it meant round the clock focus for days. Thanks, Chris, for a job well done.

Both Jeff and Chris asked for quiet departures—no farewell tours, no rock bands, no nostalgic goodbyes—but they're on LinkedIn if you want to stop by to wish them well. We already miss them, but fortunately for our team and our clients, we have a deep bench with great expertise ready to envision Db2's future while supporting our clients today, including:

Our Db2 Distinguished Engineers: John Campbell remains focused on clients and field issues, discovering and disseminating best practices to clients, gathering insight into field problems, and bringing issues back to the lab for resolution, while Haakon Roberts focuses on the core Db2 engine and Db2 Utilities.

Our Db2 Senior Technical Staff Members: Patrick Bossman adds technical leadership of the Db2 for z/OS Tools portfolio to his developer transformation role; Akiko Hoshikawa now leads Z stack integration in addition to her roles in performance and AI used in system reliability; Andrei Lurie leads SQL enhancements and internal development modernization; Jim Pickel continues his role leading distributed access (DRDA, REST, etc.) to Db2; and Terry Purcell focuses on query optimization and Db2 AI for z/OS.

Db2 product & development process news

On the product front, I have two pieces of news, one we hope is old news by now and another that is brand new:

OLD NEWS: Db2 for z/OS 11 reaches end of support on 30 September 2020. We're hosting migration workshops at conferences and in selected markets. We encourage you to use the new year to make the transition to the best technology we have to offer, Db2 for z/OS 12 and the new continuous delivery models that deliver both fixes and new function to you faster. (Event info can be found on World of Db2.)

NEW NEWS: As part of continuous delivery, we set a target a couple of years ago to deliver new function levels roughly every four months in February, June, and October. However, in the spirit of agile software development, we also said we'd ship new capabilities when they're ready. As a result of major process and tools overhaul, we've decided to delay the next function level after FL506 (October 2019) until midyear 2020 as we hone our new process, fully test key features, and add finishing touches. There will be no new function level in February 2020, but we continue to deliver exciting new capabilities in the maintenance stream as they're ready. Stay tuned to this blog for regular updates.

We have two key areas of focus in the process arena. First, we moved our source code libraries to GitHub last year. We're loving the simple, streamlined tools, but we hit some bumps along the way. As a result, some 4Q 2019 APAR dates were delayed and you experienced significant PE chains, as our continuous delivery process and the new tools intersected. We believe we've got a handle on those issues and expect you'll see continued improvement in the coming months. We've taken action to reduce the inter-connections between APARs reaching the field. For example, we now have fewer average parts changed in each APAR as well as peak numbers of parts that are significantly lower than 2019. The good news is that our PTF in Error (PE) rate remains near historic averages, which are pretty low, so the issues were in our delivery much more than our code.

Our second process objective is relentless focus on quality. We're working on some exciting projects to enhance and expand automation. We're also exploring use cases to apply AI in our testing—one such example is automating selection of test cases (from 10's of thousands!) based on ML analysis of components changed and prior defect history. These changes will help us to discover defects earlier in the cycle and shorten overall test duration, providing you with better code in less time.

Keeping in touch with Db2 Development

The best way to keep up to date on all things Db2 for z/OS is by connecting with our talent. We encourage you to attend events so we can visit with you in person, including: IDUG regional user groups, local Data and AI Forums, and conferences like IDUG, SHARE, and IBM Technical University. On the World of Db2 , we list upcoming in person and web-based events around the world. We encourage you to sign up so we can let you know as items of interest to you are added.

The Db2 for z/OS Customer Advisory Council (CAC) is set for an active year, with regular calls and get-togethers. However, attendance at CAC sessions at IDUG North America has been low for the last couple of years, so for 2020 we're changing it up and holding two face-to-face events in the fall instead. Hope to see you there!

  • IDUG Db2 Data Tech Summit at IBM Silicon Valley Lab, 22-24 September
  • IDUG EMEA in Edinburgh, Scotland, 24-29 October

We recently announced our Db2 for z/OS Master Classes for 2020, at IBM's Hursley Lab in the UK 22 to 26 June and at the Silicon Valley Lab 28 September to 2 October. These classes provide a rare opportunity for you to learn from John Campbell and his SWAT team in a small group setting. Master classes provide lots of opportunity to understand not only key concepts and best practices in the use of Db2, but also how to optimize for your unique environment and your clients' needs. For more information, Read the Master Class announcement.

We also publish roughly weekly updates in our News from the Lab blog. We relocated the content to the new IBM Community platform at the end of 2019, but the blog is still curated by the talented Paul McWilliams and features topics contributed by experts from across the Db2 for z/OS development team. Come check it out, and subscribe today!

You'll see more news regarding our people, product, and process at conferences and in future blog posts throughout the year.

In closing, I'd like to say that the Db2 for z/OS development team is excited about new ideas in the short and long term. We are working hard every day to delight you with world class database technology to drive your business forward. We can't wait to keep sharing where we're headed and to hear your thoughts on how best to trim our sails.

Thank you for sharing this voyage with us!