Take some time and learn about Dave Beulke, IBM Champion for both Security and Data. An IBM Champion for Data since 2007 and a Security Champion since 2019, his expertise is vast. Dave is an independent consultant and IBM Db2 Gold Consultant who works with government agencies in Washington DC. With the advent of COVID-19, he’s been fortunate to work remotely from Florida while helping the agencies that serve the United States with some of the stimulus and other government programs that assist everyone during these challenging times.
Dave works on the Db2 family of databases, both z/OS and LUW, their associated data management, administration, monitoring and performance products. He specializes in the big databases housing 10’s of billions of rows and aims to help in all aspects to keep these government systems working 24/7/365. Everyday, Dave works to solve the various issues and assist to keep these systems healthy through the configuration of the systems, database designs with the administrators and the application developers’ SQL to efficiently access the data through their Assembler, COBOL and Java applications. Recently, he has implemented several data access layer/data services to retrieve critical information for all types of new functionality.
How long have you been an IBM Champion?
I have been fortunate to be an IBM Champion from the beginning of the program. Being an early adopter of Db2 z/OS Version 1.2 helped expose me to the International Db2 Users Group (IDUG) and its great educational conferences and user group support activities. I’ve worked with IDUG first on the Conference Planning Committees, the Board of Directors and then as President.
Working early in my career with client-server UNIX and Windows-based systems, Java, C++ and other languages exposed me to Db2 LUW when it was originally known as Db2 for OS/2.
Sharing these Db2 z/OS and LUW experiences at the local users’ group meetings and at the IDUG conferences exposed my work with IBM and they choose me to be in the IBM Champion program.
What does it mean to you to be an IBM Champion?
I feel honored to be an IBM Champion because of the depth and breadth of everyone’s technical and business knowledge of all the various Champions from around the world. Being an IBM Champion is instant validation for the depth of my skills, years of experience, and the many IBM references of my database designs and analytics applications that have helped my many clients be successful over the years.
What are you most looking forward to as an IBM Champion this year?
This year has been super busy with all the COVID issues and the IBM Champion program with all its virtual webinars, community website and download trials helps everyone keep up with all the latest Cloud Red Hat and other new technology, new Db2 z/OS features and especially the new Db2 LUW Nebula functionality.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to become an IBM Champion?
For anyone who would like to become an IBM Champion, my best advice would be to share both your successful and not successful technology specialties and experiences with your technology, systems, database and applications. Share your unique point of view on business, technical knowledge and distinctive problem-solving issues your clients or company experienced. You can share through a quick blog, answering questions on the various technology forums or through a short presentation. Share your experiences because they are always unique.
In addition, conducting a presentation virtually, at conferences or your local users’ group so others can learn is a great way to start sharing your knowledge, networking with colleagues and getting your knowledge out to others.
What do you like best about the IBM Champion program?
One of the best things about the IBM Champion program is the fellowship of the IBM Champions. Knowing that if there is another technology that is being evaluated or has issues knowing that another IBM Champion is there to answer questions or provide guidance is a very comforting feeling and allows all of us to be even more valuable to our company or clients.
What technology trends are you currently most excited about?
Since specializing in database design, performance and security audits, the technology just continues to get more interesting. The NoSQL databases, streaming and columnar systems are great but the unshakable Db2 for z/OS and Db2 LUW continually prove their reliability, accessibility and scalability over these technologies. These newer technologies are great, but they have years or maybe decades to catch up to be the system that doesn’t ever come down.
The security aspects of these new technologies and their interfaces continue to be an interesting challenge. Built-in security through database steganography, encryption techniques and KeyStores continue to be interesting challenges. Implementing these technologies in the right places without impacting performance continues to be a study in all aspects of their software and its effects.
What is the best thing about working in cybersecurity?
Working with cybersecurity is always interesting as the security landscape of the client’s technology, the new software versions and new configurations provide a never-ending source of adventure figuring out the best methods to thwart the bad actors. Just when you think you have something fully secure and locked down, a new software update comes along and needs to be fully analyzed. This never-ending security battle used to frustrate me, but now it just presents a new adventure for the new security techniques and configuration considerations that must be analyzed, managed and secured.
What advice do you have for someone looking to start a career in cybersecurity?
To start in cybersecurity, get educated with the technology configurations and settings. In the recent IBM X security report (https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach/threat-intelligence) stated that the majority of hacks were caused by misconfigured systems. Read and understand your client’s technology stack and learn as much as possible from the product documentation, NIST, CVE and DISA STIGs for the best types of settings and configurations.
What contribution to the technical community are you most proud of this year?
I am most proud of my many successful data warehouses, analytic systems and big data database designs that are still being used today. Some of my “crazy” designs at the time almost 20 years ago are still providing every day operational value to my financial, medical and internet advertising and government clients. It makes me proud to hear that these systems, databases and applications continue to thrive over time.
What is the coolest thing you learned this week?
Well, the most important thing that I have learned over my career is to never stop learning. Be naturally interested about how the technology works.
Since I am just a natural curious crazy person, I love the bits and bytes of the old/new software technology and there is always something new/different coming out. Working with billions of database rows doing something a little slower or with a little bit more overhead can have a huge impact, and my curiosity analyzing the software helps my clients be successful with performance and security. If you continue to learn and understand the detailed workings of the software, you can provide tremendous design, performance and security value and will always be needed to solve your clients’ problems and successfully expand their business.
Thank you very much to Dave for sharing a bit more about himself and allowing us to get to know our IBM Champions that much better! If you’re interested in connecting further with Dave, feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.
We also invite you to read more IBM Champions in Action profiles or learn more about the program.