IN THIS ISSUE:
- January MoM - Speaker John Valance
- TEC 2018 TEC it to the Limit
- TUG's New Meeting Registration System - How it Works
- TUG Gold Member Press Release - UCG Mississauga Office Opened
January Meeting of Members
Wednesday January 31, 2018
LOCATION: Monte Carlo Inn, Markham Downtown
7255 Warden Ave (at Denison Street)
Markham, Ontario L3R 1B4
(President & CTO - Division 1 Systems)
5:00 Session 1: - IBM i SQL Stored Procedures and Application Modernization
Among the many modernization technologies available on IBM i, SQL is perhaps the one best known by RPG developers. This session won't focus on how to write SQL statements, but rather how to write scripts that combine SQL statements....read more.
7:00 Session 2: - Connecting the Dots - Web Application Development with PHP, HTML and CSS
New to web development, or trying to get started? Have you taken a PHP course, but are having trouble understanding how to build complete applications for the web? Or maybe you're a manager trying to get an understanding of how web applications work at a high level....read more.
AGENDA for January 31st
4:00 Sign up & Greeting
5:00 Session 1: - IBM i SQL Stored Procedures
6:00 Intermission (Buffet Dinner & Networking)
7:00 Session 2: - Connecting the Dots
8:45 Wrap Up and Door Prize draw
** FREE Parking **
Register at: www.tug.ca/rep/signon.php
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Plan to join your peers for two days of intensive professional development, networking and fun at TEC 2018, where we intend to "TEC it to the Limit!" To celebrate our 25th TEC, your TEC committee has arranged for a special new venue (The Toronto Don Valley Hotel) and are inviting the world's top IBM i speakers. We will be providing sumptuous meals, digital handouts, free parking, and much more... Mark you calendar now for Wednesday & Thursday May 30 & 31, 2018, when you will be able to deepen your knowledge on the latest IBM i technologies.
Please note: Our "Uber-Earlybird" promotion has been extended! If you register from now through January 31, 2018, TUG members can take advantage of a $150 discount on the admission fee.
Our developers are working on an enhancement to our new registration system which will allow you to sign on and register multiple people on a single order. However, for the time being, each attendee must create their own profile and register individually. Nevertheless, if you want multiple registrations to be combined on a single invoice, let us know and we will accomodate you. (Sorry for the temporary inconvenience.)
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TUG's New Meeting Registration System
We have a new system for registering for TUG meetings. You no longer have to enter your contact information every time you register for a TUG event. You just create a profile using your email address and create a password. Then when you want to register for a TUG event, you simply sign on and click a checkbox beside the event you plan to attend. (Or if you need to cancel, you uncheck that checkbox to unregister for the event.)
Here’s how it works:
- Follow the link to SIGN ON / REGISTER below, or on the TUG Web site main page, or on the TUG Agenda page.
- Click “CREATE PROFILE”, fill in your contact information, and click “ENTER”.
(A verification email will be sent to the email address that you supplied.)
- Close the current window and follow the verify email link in order to activate your new account.
- Enter your email & password and click SIGN ON.
- You can now click on a checkbox beside an event for which you want to register.
(For future events, repeat steps 1, 4, and 5 only.)
• For more information about an event, click the + sign beside the event.
• To see whether you are already registered for an event, sign on and look at the check box beside that event. If there is a check mark there – you are registered. If you are unable to attend, please make sure to cancel your registration (by unchecking the checkbox). Thus, you can help save our members’ money, by allowing us to make an accurate count of seats and meals required.
• At any time, you can sign on and EDIT your PROFILE.
• Optionally, you can add additional email(s) to your profile. This is a good idea because, in case one of your emails becomes inoperable – you can still sign on with an alternate email & password. (By the way, you can use the same password for multiple emails if you wish).
• The email(s) that you use to sign on do not affect your subscription to the TUG Buzz, or other email lists from TUG. This is a separate process. To subscribe, see “SUBSCRIBE TO TUG BUZZ” under the “FUNCTIONS” pull-down menu.
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A Message from a TUG Gold Sponsor:
Timothy Prickett Morgan, IT Jungle
UCG Technologies Takes Off to the Great White North
For those of you who have never tried to build a business and employ people before, it is a hell of a lot harder to do than it may look. But it is an invaluable experience, and a way of life that some people cannot do without. Just ask Jim Kandrac, one of the most vocal and ebullient members of the IBM i community, and he will tell you all about it.
We had a chat with Kandrac last week just as the company was celebrating its 30th anniversary in business, which is a long time for any IT company to be in business, even in the IBM midrange where companies sometimes have heritages that stretch back five decades. It is probably not a coincidence that UCG Technologies, which for the longest time was known as United Computer Group and which is probably best known for its VAULT400 cloud backup software, is based in Independence, Ohio, outside of the former industrial center of Cleveland, which still has a lot of manufacturing these days but has filled in its rusty areas with a burgeoning medical services and research sector.
If you live anywhere along the Great Lakes, and you run a business of any kind, you can’t help but look to the Great White North. The Canadian Maritimes have more in common with New England than they do with other parts of Canada, and similarly, Ontario has more in common with parts of upstate New York, the little sliver of Pennsylvania where Erie is located, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Around here at IT Jungle, we call that the Big Ten, and the University of Buffalo should be part of it as far as we are concerned to complete the league. (New Jersey, Maryland, and Nebraska are debatable, mind you, but they do tend to hang together and have some common culture and all were centers of manufacturing, like the Greater Toronto Area.
UCG does business in 31 states in the United States, across Europe, and in the Caribbean, and has also been doing a fair piece of business in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver for some time. But when you are doing cloud backup for a living and data sovereignty becomes an issue and there is a certain amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt being sown by indigenous Canuck competitors about having data stored in facilities located south of the border in the wake of the Patriot Act being enacted under the Bush Administration, then you have to do something about it. And so, Kandrac hired lawyers and spent nine months setting up an independent UCG Technologies based in Mississauga, Ontario and set up redundant datacenters in the country to serve its current and future Canadian subsidiary.
“We started the managed services business 13 years ago, and we thought where we are at today would only take three years,” Kandrac says with a laugh. And you have to laugh along if you have run a business because if you have, we all know what that feels like. (I sure as heck do.) “With the backup, with the disaster recovery, with the cloud, and that took time because of acceptance, explaining it to customers, and then gaining market share because we were the first to the gate to do this. So we are in a really good place with clients. But some of them were asking to have their data stored locally because they were concerned about doing their own fiduciary duties in the extremely unlikely event that the U.S. would ask for access to their data. The other thing is that nobody is really doing what we are doing in Canada. They are IBM partners, sure, but they are using older mechanisms like VTL, and our solution is much more efficient and less costly. So we had enough customers and enough prospects to see that it was a deal killer not to be up there.”
Before making the final decision, UCG Technologies had to talk to its existing Canadian customers about what these changes, which were more than just setting up local, redundant datacenters for housing their information. (By the way, the new Power8-based systems in that datacenter will soon scale to over 100,000 aggregate CPWs of raw computing performance.)
For one thing, the Canadian looney costs, depending on the economic situation between the two countries, somewhere between 25 percent and 30 percent more than the U.S. greenback. Customers said they didn’t mind paying that premium. Then Kandrac told them that in the state of Ohio, where the parent company is located, these backup and recovery services are exempt from state taxes, and similarly there are no U.S. Federal taxes on these services. But in Canada, the kinds of managed services that UCG Technologies sells would be subject to the 13 percent Harmonized Sales Tax, which is a combined Federal and provincial value added sales tax. Customers didn’t balk, says Kandrac, even though it would be around a 40 percent price hike to go local.
Local matters to people.
To goose its Canadian business, UCG Technologies has identified over 3,000 businesses that are IBM i shops in the country. There are some interesting statistics in this group of companies. The number one place where the progeny of the AS/400 can be found running in companies is in the Greater Toronto Area, followed by Montreal, and then the province of Alberta. The province of British Columbia, which has Vancouver as its corporate and industrial center, is a distant fourth. Here’s the funny bit. 88 percent of the IBM i shops are in those first three areas, and across all of those sites, 90 percent on the list that Kandrac has put together are within a 90 minute drive of the border with the United States. That latter bit stands to reason, given that the vast majority (90 percent, according to the Canadian government) of the 23 million people in that country living within 100 miles of the US border. AS/400s have always been where people live and work; hyperscale datacenters are at nexus points where latencies are balanced between cast geographical areas (like outside of Washington, DC) or where the power is cheap and the people are few.
Just for a compare and contrast, Kandrac has built a database of over 25,000 IBM i shops in the United States, and while UCG Technologies does business in 31 states, the ten target markets for the platform are the regional areas around New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and then the states of Florida, Georgia, and Texas. The area around New Orleans – which those in the disaster recovery business call Hurricane Alley – is also a hotspot for IBM i installations, and then you follow that up through Oklahoma all the way to Missouri and that is Tornado Alley. The plains states – the big square ones – are like IBM i ghost towns, according to Kandrac.
In its managed services businesses in particular in the past thirteen years in the United States, there are more entrants and more diverse kinds of solutions and there is more competition. “The business is definitely tougher to come by,” says Kandrac, while also pointing out that UCG Technologies has managed to grow its revenues by 20 percent per year for many years, and do so organically and not having to resort to major acquisitions like other companies in the IBM midrange.
“I like to say that we win in the long run because of our focus and our execution and the value proposition we put together,” Kandrac says, and as a case in point, he points to the security and training services that the company has set up in partnership with KnowBe4, and as a customer of the VAULT400 products, customers get continually tested for phishing attacks and email security exposure plus over 20 modules of security training for up to 25 users at the company installing VAULT400.
“Our backup and recovery is protecting the front door and the back door, but the bad guys are still getting in through the side door and the windows,” explains Kandrac as to why these services are integrated. “We installed at a large retailer, and we saw that 48 percent of people at the company clicked on something that they should not have, and 15 percent of them went on and entered user ID and login information. And we have shown that over nine to twelve months, with proper training, we can reduce that to negligible single digits or eliminated. We love this because we provide added value at no extra cost, and it makes our customers stickier.”
The biggest challenge is, oddly enough, finding out who is in charge of security at IBM i shops.
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Sign up now for iDevCloud! You will be able to:
- Share between multiple developers
- Get private library and storage
- Have access to most of the IBM i development tools
- Have all compilers for IBM i tools available
The Performance is monitored by system managers with adjustments as needed. The system is accessible at anytime from anywhere in the world. Just a computer and an internet connection are needed. Any work done on the system stays on the system until removed by its owner.
Contact Leo Lefebvre at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
(*Free startup for TUG members.)
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The Toronto Users Group for Power Systems (TUG) is a user group/forum for the exchange of ideas, and specializes in providing affordable education relating to the IBM iSeries, AS/400, System i, and Power Systems platforms. TUG is in its 33rd year of operation.
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