PowerWire: Hello Brandon, how are you? And how much has the world changed since the last time we spoke (October 2019), with the COVID-19 pandemic
Brandon Pederson (BD): I’m good thank you, its seriously crazy, I’m having to work from home, I believe it’s the same in the UK?
PowerWire: Yes, people are working from home, if they can, and it’s been like this for six weeks, and it looks like it will be the same until June, I guess.
How has this affected you and IBM i?
BD: So, throughout this time I think a lot of our clients are realising that IBM i is the platform to be on during a crisis like this, so we have just published a blog about this because IBM i has some key abilities that allow our client to remotely manage and access their system while their teams are all working from home, such as Navigator for i, IBM i Mobile Access, and we’ve doing a lot of work to highlight these capabilities and remind our clients that if they are not already using them they have access to these capabilities by running your business on IBM i you are positioned well to continue managing your business and your platform well, even when your entire team is working remotely. The blog can be found on our 2020 i-player blog
PowerWire: Not being able to travel must have changed your plans for the 1st & 2nd quarter of the year?
BD: Obviously all our IBM i conferences have been cancelled and have been moved virtual and with the IBM i community, as you know, is so active there is so much virtual content and on-line content its hard to keep up. Personally for me I was planning on going to a couple of user group events and next week was our THINK conference in San Francisco, which is now virtual, and I was going to attend the RPG Summit in Dallas, but that is virtual too. So, a lot of virtual activity going on now which is good.
PowerWire: Yes, the UK IBM i user group, i-UG, have changed their annual conference, International i-Power into a virtual event that takes place this June. You were going to attend it I believe?
BD: I was and was really looking to meeting the User Group leaders, their members and the conference attendees, it’s a shame it won’t be happing in person, but great news that they are taking virtual.
PowerWire: i-UG have already booked the venue for their 2021 conference, so you will have to attend next year, allowing for the fact that we will all be allowed to travel by then!
So apart from not attending conference, what else have you been doing?
BD: Yes, on Tuesday the 14th April we announced the next technology refresh for IBM i which was 7.3 TR8 and 7.4 TR2 and the biggest thing we can highlight there is we now support Direct Patch Storage for DB2 Mirror and that will open up DB2 Mirror to a lot of smaller and midrange size clients, for them to take advantage of that technology which should a big deal for them. Those TR’s will generally be available on May 15th
Steve Will has a blog about the TR’s, I’ll send you the link.
PowerWire: Please send me that link and any other links to blogs and content you think our readers will benefit from viewing, I will include them within this interview (see bottom of this article for the link Brandon sent over)
The last time we spoke, IBM i had started the Community Badge program, how is that going?
BD: That is going steady, we have given out over 100 badges to the IBM i community, which is awesome.
We have just announced our Fresh Faces class in April, this is where we highlight the up and coming IT professionals who are working on IBM i and we publish those in the IBM Systems magazine.
PowerWire: Any other news or ongoing projects you can tell us about?
BD: We are continuing to revamp our IBM i solutions distribution program, we are connecting with a lot of ISV’s in the community and there are solution edition are a great value to clients looking to upgrade to POWER9, they can save up to 35% actually on a POWER9 when taking advantage of the solution edition.
PowerWire: So working from home hasn’t slowed you down any?
BD: No, it crazy but it seems like I’ve been busier than ever, without having travel involved.
BTW, we are having a DB2 Mirror lab at the iThink summit, I’ve never seen a virtual lab before so I’m curious to see what a virtual looks like.
I’m also busy with COMMON US conference which has moved virtual and takes place next week.
PowerWire: Lets hope that we can beat this COVID-19 virus soon and get beck some normality. As much as virtual events are good for being able to still gain knowledge, I miss being at in-person events.
BD: Yes, so do I, one of the values of attending an IBM i conference is the networking and the ‘side conversations’ that you have, going to lunch with somebody, you know. You don’t get that in a virtual edition. But hopefully we will have those soon.
PowerWire: I heard on the ‘grapevine’ that WATSON, was helping to tackle the virus?
BD. Yes, you are right, IBM is doing a lot. I’ll highlight quick that the summit super computer, the largest most powerful computer in the world , based in Oak Ridge Tennessee, that computer is built with POWER9 and they are using that to try and find a vaccine, so our technology has direct impact on world. I think they’ve made some progress so that been cool to see. So, you are right IBM, is more existential now more than ever.
PowerWire: Let’s hope they find a cure or vaccine soon.
Brandon, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you again and to hear about the TR’s and the community updates. I look forward to our next talk later in the year. let’s hope the world has changed for the better by then.
BD: You are welcome, speak again soon.
Below are the links Brandon kindly sent across: –
Steve Will Blog
2020 iSight Blog by Steve Sibley
2020 iSight Blog by Pete Massiello
IBM i 7.3 TR8
IBM i 7.4 TR2
Perforce Free PHP and Open Source Education