American Contract Bridge, CAAC, IBM i and COMMON
First let me apologize for the delay in getting this blog post written. As I mentioned last week, I’m in the midst of overlapping conferences, and the sunrise to midnight schedules are exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. Plus, they leave me precious little time to write (let alone do my “real work” – whatever that is.)
The first two days in Minneapolis were spent with the COMMON Americas Advisory Council (CAAC) and they were exceptional. I’ve talked about the CAAC a couple of times before, so you can read about this fine organization within COMMON here or here, but without following the links, I can remind you they take the requirements submitted at COMMON and through the COMMON website, evaluate them for their applicability and priority, and help IBM understand which requirements are most important to the community.
This CAAC session was exceptional, in part, because of a change we made to the format. We asked several CAAC members to start off the discussions about various technologies by having them relate the stories of the use of those same technologies in their businesses. For example, Roxanne Reynolds-Lair told the CAAC and the IBMers about the PowerHA project the Fashion Institute of Design completed this year. That customer experience was immediately followed by a discussion of the plans for PowerHA SystemMirror for i from Jenny Dervin, the lead architect for that product. This format helped all of us focus on key technology needed by the community, and gave direction to our discussions about requested future enhancements. I thank all the members of the CAAC, and Guy Havelick, who coordinates IBM’s relationship with the CAAC, for a great meeting.
Once the conference started, I got a chance to reacquaint myself with several people I only tend to see at COMMON, and I also met several new people. While I was at the “Power Bar”--where IBMers answer questions and discuss technology with people in the Expo area--I met two gentlemen who had some excellent questions, and I wanted to highlight their use of IBM i. Who are they? The American Contract Bridge League.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, “Bridge” is a game played with a standard deck of cards, and while its rules can be learned in a day, mastering it takes a lifetime, not to mention lots of motivation and skill. Personally, I’m an avid player of games, but while I was taught bridge once, it never quite stuck with me. Maybe I should try again, but I’m not the focus here--the ACBL is.
The American Contract Bridge League has 165,000 members, in 3,200 clubs nationwide. They have been using IBM midrange computers since 1981 to run their business. These days, they’re using IBM i 6.1 running on a JS12 – a Power Blade. They have a large inventory of RPG code, but they also have Java and WebSphere in their environment. Their Bladecenter contains that Power Blade, and also an Intel technology-based blade, and they split their workloads across the blades, depending on the functions they need. Of course, they store the key data associated with all of those members, clubs and approximately 1,000 annual tournaments on DB2 for i.
This is wonderful. I love finding out how IBM i is being used by people worldwide to accomplish various tasks. Many people are passionate about their work, but an even greater percentage of people are passionate about their pastimes. It’s exciting to know hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country are doing something they love--contract bridge--and the organization supporting them is using IBM i and Power Systems.
So, whether you’re a manufacturer, like Svendsen running SAP, or a non-profit like ACBL running largely home-grown applications, we love to hear the story about how our integrated, secure, flexible, state-of-the-art IBM i operating system helps you. Feel free to send me your story in an email, or just put it in the comments section. We here in the development, support, marketing and sales of IBM i want to hear from you!
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