Supermarket Circulars in Vegas

The IBM Rational user conference formerly known as Innovate was folded into a new IBM conference this year called InterConnect. During the last week of February customers and IBMers descended upon Las Vegas. We weren’t there to talk about connecting hi-fi components, like turntables to amplifiers (those sorts of interconnects, remember?), but about software and hardware and business and all the sorts of things IBM is into.

This was your author’s first Las Vegas experience. Way back when, Las Vegas was a thing to study and consider in the abstract, the “architecture of disruption.” Needless to say, nothing quite prepared for the thing itself. Navigating the conference hotels and weaving through the Vegas strip was like trying to play Twister on a constantly changing supermarket circular. (Yeah, I know that makes no sense, but it illustrates my point.)

This year I spoke on Performance, Monitoring, and Capacity Planning for the Rational CLM Solution. The discussion highlighted performance updates delivered to the CLM products across the last few releases, and then moved on to a topic which I’ve been talking about in various contexts for quite some time. Customers use products and they want to be happy. If they use the products, that generally means that there will be a gradually increasing population with a gradually increasing amount of assets. As usage increases, capacity can dwindle, and sometimes performance suffers as a result. To address capacity planning, you must understand current usage and behavior which requires monitoring the system at hand. In essence, ensuring a top-quality performance experience requires monitoring.

There was a detour to talk about our CLM Sizing Strategy which I’ve pointed to here before and which took a long time to document (primarily because it contains a well-researched list of caveats and details on why sizing can be so difficult), but I’m pleased how it finally came together.

Discussing product improvements and fixes is important, as it shows our commitment to releasing excellent products and when we don’t get it quite right the first time, our ability to react and improve. We’re also encouraging customers tackle performance in a proactive way, by understanding existing system behavior and noting how a complex system changes over time.

See you next year? Well, more on that fairly soon. I admit there’s a certain sense of satisfaction to having “survived” Vegas’ absurd scale, disorienting patterns, and intentional obfuscation. Yeah, I’ll try it again if asked.

Looking ahead to InterConnect 2015

InterConnect 2015, in Las Vegas, NV, is a week away. The official conference starts on Monday, February 23, and pre-meetings and whatnot commence the day before on Sunday, February 24.

I’m looking forward to being there. One reason is because I’m sitting in a Boston suburb wearing extra layers including one of my thickest wool sweaters, sheepskin slippers and a scarf. I rarely ever wear a scarf in the house, but it is so cold. Maybe you saw in the news that we’re having a little problem with snowfall this year. Colleagues comfort me by pointing out how unseasonably warm it is for them in the great states of Washington, Texas, Florida and Colorado, to name a few. They mention two-digit temperatures well above freezing which have become rarity ’round here. But no one wants to hear someone complain about seven-foot snow drifts, so let me get back on topic.


My main-tent session this year is DRA-2104: Performance, Monitoring, and Capacity Planning for the Rational CLM Solution. It’s on Monday, Feb. 23 at 3:30 pm in the Islander Ballroom B at Mandalay Bay. Because this is the first year the formerly-known-as-Rational-Innovate-conference has become part of a larger conference and moved from Orlando, FL, to Las Vegas, NV, I will get there early. Because I don’t know where anything is. And the helpful messages from the conference management folks suggest that it takes at least 30 minutes to get from site to site.

DRA-2104: Performance, Monitoring, and Capacity Planning for the Rational CLM Solution will talk about all the awesome performance improvements that are in the CLM 5.0.2, 5.0.1 and 5.x releases. Some improvements made back in 4.x are so good, they will bear mentioning again.

I’ll also talk about our CLM Sizing Strategy and how proper monitoring of an existing system can lead towards an understanding of capacity planning. There will be time for questions, and discussions about the local weather.

My presentation is part of the larger Rational Deployment for Administrators track. If you are attending InterConnect and can login to the event portal, will take you to the entire track schedule.

We made slides for ourselves to cross-promote each others sessions:



On Wednesday, I’ll be moderating DRA-1970A: Best Practices for Using IBM Installation Manager in the Enterprise which has a great line-up of Installation Manager practitioners who are dying to share their experiences.

It’s time for me to get outside and shovel a bit. I hope to see you in Vegas next week. Be sure to say “Hi!”


IBM Innovate 2013 is long gone. And so is IBM Innovate 2014

Some of my colleagues have been diligent and have already provided technical summaries of their IBM Innovate 2014 activities. I’m writing only a few days after the show has been packed up, and still think there’s plenty of time for that. This was the year I thought I’d make better use of social media. I had expected to be tweeting about the wonderful things I spied on the show floor, the cool stuff my colleagues were talking about and demonstrating, and maybe, just maybe, hype the sessions I took part in. It didn’t happen.

Innovate can be a whirlwind. We’re totally immersed on our topics, and we’ll enthusiastically chat with customers at every occasion. Ask me a performance question and you’ve got my undivided attention. There’s really little time for self-marketing. Well, for me there wasn’t, probably because I hadn’t made it a habit before. Yes, I could have preloaded TweetDeck (way before that XSS blip). I jokingly suspect most of my colleagues who were more active realtime had a few pre-written remarks ready to go. Maybe they were on their phones and iPads running into people. I mean, literally, running into people. Personally, it’s not a habit for me to switch gears so quickly, trying to be pithy for the semi-anonymous crowd, and then trying to be attentive to where I actually was.

I tried a few new strategies this year:

  •  I tried to listen better. Really, when someone was talking to me, I tried to pay better attention. Really I did.
  • I tried to take better care of my voice. This meant more tea + honey + lemon. The only problem is that I cut back on coffee which had a YAWN detrimental effect on my YAWN ability to stay awake as the YAWN day went on. At least I slept soundly on the flight home.


For many of us IBM Innovate is a family reunion. The first week in June might be the only time all year to see colleagues and customers we work with throughout the year, winter and summer, rain or shine. There are those I only see at Innovate even though we talk nearly weekly. And there’s always someone with whom I have collaborated with for years, but will meet for the first time at Innovate.

IBM Innovate usually coincides with my birthday. My family thinks I spend the week eating cake and lounging poolside, but given the long hours in the halls, all I get is a fluorescent tan. My pedometer surprised me by revealing that I climbed zero stairs (changes in elevation were achieved via elevators and escalators) and hardly walked at all. But for next year, all this is set to change. After many seasons in Orlando, Florida, Innovate moves west to Las Vegas, Nevada, February 22 to 26, 2015.

See you next year?


Woz will be at Innovate 2013!
And so will the Jazz Jumpstart team

OMG, Woz is coming to Innovate!

No,  I never made a fish tank out of my Mac SE. I did own a Mac clone (Yay, Power Computing!), and have a broken System 7 watch someplace from that operating system’s launch. (I also have a Windows 95 key chain someplace, but that’s another story…) When MacWorld was in Boston, I’d take a day from work to wander the slow floor, check out the new gadgets and collect tee-shirts. These days, my work-provided lenovo ThinkPad stands out in a house full of Macs and iPods.

But Woz is going to speak at Innovate??!! I’m not going to miss that.

Rational’s two seasons

At Rational there are basically two times of the year: pre-Innovate and post-Innovate. Stuff needs to be wrapped up in May for the annual conference, or it has to wait until after. Sure sometimes there are other deadlines, but for some of us, the first week in June is how we measure the working world. I know some of our customers look at it that way too, asking for defects to be fixed before June, or using the conference to get some fresh ideas and work started for the rest of the year.

Innovate is where we join our partners to showcase products all across the Rational portfolio. Customers present on the cool things they’re doing, and some of us head down to Orlando, Florida (June 2 to 6 this year) to give presentations, workshops and take part in interactive discussions. Conferences have adjusted to the times over the years. I think my biggest MacWorld tee-shirt haul neared 14. At Innovate, there’s always some swag, but given I have to fly there and back, I’ll collect pens instead.

Jazz Jumpstart is all over Innovate

So maybe Woz gets a keynote under the Klieg lights, but the Jazz Jumpstart Team is all over Innovate, helping customers, meeting colleagues, saying hi to new friends, but most importantly, letting the world know just how awesome the Jazz products are and what wonderful things you can do with them. The best team in Rational is a big part of the Innovate experience. Here are some highlights:

  • SudhakarFreddy Frederick reveals how to best use RTC for Android development (Solving the Android Platform Development puzzle with RTC, MDEV-1120B, Wednesday, June 5, in Asia 3 from 1:45pm to 2:45pm)
  •  Ralph Schoon pulls back the curtain on All You Need to Know About Customizing RTC  (RDA-1051, Thursday, June 6,  Swan 9 from 11:00am to noon)
  • Rosa Naranjo provides Strategies for Planning and Completing and Successful CLM Upgrade (RDA-1481, Tuesday, June 4, Swan 9 from 4:15pm to 5:45pm)
  • Jorge Díaz explains Building Mainframe Applications with RTC Enterprise Extensions (SZ-1203, Thursday, June 6, Northern E2 from 9:45am to 10:45am)
  • Jim Ruehlin holds down the big CLM Process Enactment Workshop (WKS-1116, Tuesday, June 4, Swan 8 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm) and gets help from Jorge and Ralph too. (I get to count chairs, I think…)
  • Our team’s fearless manager Dan Tox Toczala and I discuss all about Maximizing your Jazz Environment and Performance (RDA-1327, Wednesday, June 5, Swan 9 from 4:15pm to 5:45pm). We have an interesting “gimmick” planned for this year, so don’t miss it.
  • You can also catch me co-presenting Jazz High-Availability and Disaster Recovery Levels and Best Practices (RDA-2485, Tuesday, June 4, Swan 9 from 1:45pm to 2:45pm)

These are just highlights: Check our individual teams’ blogs for what else we’re up to. Titles, days, locations and times can change, so keep an eye on the conference schedule and the TV monitors posted throughout the site.