• Archives

  • Categories:

IBM TechU 2019 in Atlanta

On April 30th I started my new job with IBM! Due to the timing, my week was spent at the IBM Systems Technical University (TechU) in Atlanta.

I was actually born in Atlanta, but I hadn’t been back since my family moved to Maine before my sister was born. I didn’t get to see much of the city, but it was interesting being back there.

The event itself was a waterfall of knowledge and connecting with new people. I finally met my boss in person for the first time, and had dinner with her and two of my new colleagues. I chatted with long time IBM customers and partners, met other people working on the LinuxONE mainframe platform and Linux on Z, spoke with students who were incorporating IBM technologies into their latest work. I also got to meet a z14 mainframe in person! Every one of these things made the event an exceptional way to on-board.

I focused on talks that would lend themselves to my specialties in Linux on Z and cryptography, so I attended talks about some of the work being put into Ubuntu support, and another on Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). I am glad I attended these sessions, because it was at them that I noticed a gap in our messaging that I’d be very good at filling. The sessions talked a lot about Linux, the features of the distributions, and touched upon how they were working to leverage the benefits of the mainframe. Both talks seemed pretty geared toward mainframe admins who were looking at or dabbling in Linux as another OS in their fleet. This didn’t speak to the Silicon Valley Linux systems administrator that I am, or developers who were already deep into the latest technologies. That’s the story I need to be working on in my new role.

In my new role I’ll also be working to promote some of the things that Linux on Z has made possible with regard to data encryption. With encryption technology built into each processor, and additional cryptographic express cards available, the platform allows an organization to Pervasively Encrypt all of their data. Data at rest on the harddrive, data in flight that’s being served up and protected with SSL. That said, I knew very little about this on my first week, so with little more than the term “Pervasive Encryption” I went to a few talks to get me sorted on the basics.

I also went to a talk that specifically talked about Hyper Protect, IBM’s encryption offering in IBM Cloud. You have to be clever or familiar with IBM’s terminology for this space to figure this out, but Hyper Protect is powered by IBM Z. That means there are mainframes in the IBM Cloud!

This whirlwind tour was far too much to absorb at once, but looking back at my notes a month later I was able to make the connections between what I was first exposed to then, and all the training videos and documents I’ve been watching and reading as I get up to speed day to day. I also learned a lot about the resources IBM has available for learning about the technologies, both internally and externally. I been making my way through Red Books and Red Papers related to what I’m learning about. I also went to a talk about how OpenStack is being used to manage VMs on LinuxONE machines, and during which they discussed some of the history around the efforts to control z/VM with OpenStack, and the origin of the open source cloud connector for z/VM.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and I was really thrilled to get back out to events. Looking forward to more!