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Thank you, one and all, for making IBM Z Day 2020 such a huge success!

This year’s IBM Z Day was truly bigger and better than ever. On September 15, IBM Z Day launched and shattered IBM virtual community event records, delivering 70 content-rich sessions with more than 100 presenters across five learning tracks:

  1. IBM Z — focus on application/data modernization, security, and resiliency
  2. Open Z — the fundamentals of open source work being done on Z
  3. Global Z — non-English-language track
  4. Voice of Z — how IBM Z is being used in the real world
  5. Master the Mainframe — a 24-hour code-a-thon

This free virtual conference drew more than 11,500 registrants and 51,000 live views across all sessions, with participants from more than 70 countries.

The day began with a strong welcome and kickoff message by Meredith Stowell, VP of IBM Z Ecosystem, followed by a powerful keynote on hybrid and open IBM Z by Ross Mauri, our GM for IBM Z and LinuxONE. His keynote session was augmented by Barry Baker, VP of IBM Z Software, and Skyla Loomis, VP of IBM Z Application Platform, who set the tone of application modernization and DevOps that resonated throughout the various tracks and sessions.

IBM Z Day also featured two additional, exciting, and compelling keynotes…

GM and Chief Developer Advocate Willie Tejada presented a thought-provoking, developer-focused keynote showcasing to the global developer community “Five reasons to develop on IBM Z.”

Marius Ciortea, Chief Community Officer of IBM Cloud and Cognitive, brought together a panel of user group and community leaders: Jim Erdahl, President & CEO of SHARE Association, and Bill Johnston, Chief Community Officer at Structure 3C, delivering a highly engaging keynote focusing on the role of community and its future.

With this strong keynote lineup as a foundation, each of the five event tracks went straight into their respective focus areas. In the 70 landmark sessions that took place throughout IBM Z Day, industry expert presenters explored a wide range of key topics. Here’s a recap of the five learning tracks — if you missed any sessions, you can catch IBM Z Day replays here.

IBM Z track

The IBM Z track opened with a panel discussion that brought IBM and Temenos together to discuss the hybrid cloud journey for banking clients. This was just the beginning of a transformational lineup of client IBM Z app modernization stories. The Allstate panel discussed a real-world example of integration with APIs for z/OS, while a panel discussion with IBM and Kredi KKB Kredi Kayıt Bürosu shared their journey with AIOps, leveraging AI-driven intelligence to make rapid, accurate decisions to maintain resiliency. Business agility everywhere was the theme of DATEV’s talk on their COBOL application modernization journey. USAA followed, sharing their modernization story of improving the experience of Z application developers.

Along with all of the innovative modernization stories, this track highlighted the security features of IBM Z. The session on Data Privacy Passports (DPP) was geared toward those who are responsible for securing data as it moves from system to system. And we couldn’t talk about security without including a session on Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE); invented by IBM Research, FHE is the first and only known technology that enables the processing of data in its encrypted form. A session on Quantum Computing and the impact it will have on today’s classical cryptographic algorithms wrapped up the security segment of the track.

In addition, these demo sessions showcased modern tools:

  • The next generation of IBM Z Enterprise development tools that can run on many different platforms
  • How to deploy and run IBM’s modern web dashboard for monitoring and analyzing the performance and availability of your mainframe
  • Introduction to Watson Machine Learning for z/OS, an end-to-end machine learning offering for your mission-critical applications

The SHARE IT association showcased their user group and community experience in an engaging and informative panel discussion.

Finally, the IBM Z track wrapped up by looking ahead, with insights and best practices from clients who have implemented multiple strategies for introducing new talent to the mainframe.

Open Z track

The Open Z track kicked off with a keynote by John Mertic of the Linux Foundation about the importance of open source software and the role that the Open Mainframe Project plays in the IBM Z ecosystem.

Immediately after that, Rune Christensen of Bankdata sat down with IBM’s Joe Winchester to talk about some of the technology decisions Bankdata has been making, both with regard to open source software and the modernization of applications.

The track also showcased talks from Ubuntu and SUSE, where their respective technical representatives shared the latest work being done to support the IBM z15 and LinuxONE III.

On the Red Hat side, a trio of talks focused on OpenShift, first covering the why and how of OpenShift on IBM Z, and then diving into the new OpenShift offering that’s available to developers on the LinuxONE Community Cloud.

Ansible and Zowe were featured in talks from Black Knight, Inc. and Broadcom, respectively, showing how the infrastructure around development has made great strides in appealing to a modern, more cloud-native audience.

We also heard talks from Rocket Software about the IBM Db2 DevOps Experience for z/OS and the team at IBM working on IBM Secure Execution; both of these are proprietary offerings, but they are steeped in open source — from how development is done to the ecosystem where the final product thrives.

Finally, directly speaking to open source developers, a pair of talks on the history and future of open source on IBM Z and an overview of currently available developer tools gave open source developers a glimpse into what they can expect as they port their applications.

Global Z track

IBM Z Day 2020 brought to life a new track, Global Z, which featured speakers from all around the world sharing their experiences and use cases in their native languages. This track enabled participants to experience the rich and vibrant worldwide community of IBM Z, with over 15 technical thought leadership sessions and hands-on demos in local languages from key geographies fueling the next era of IBM Z innovation and growth. This was an innovative and engaging way to bring the community even closer. A truly amazing experience.

Até o próximo IBM Z Day!

Voice of Z track

The Voice of Z track was intended to empower the community to share and elevate their stories and voices. A variety of speakers were featured, including students, entrepreneurs, experienced developers, digital inclusion leaders, and tech for good advocates. It was a great chance for the Z community to come together, share, and even learn how to improve their own storytelling skills. We hope this track empowered Z fans and advocates to learn new skills, share their experiences forward, and get involved in the community.

Master the Mainframe

It was a fast-paced and thrilling 24 hours for the first-ever Master the Mainframe 2020 code-a-thon and global launch!

Ten student IBM Z Ambassadors coded without a net, live in front of an audience, as they went through Level 1 Master the Mainframe challenges with the help of a mainframe professional.

Tech for Good was at the heart of IBM Z Day. Each Master the Mainframe session was sponsored by world-renowned organizations with digital skill-building at the core of their mission, leading to 10 strategic partners — EQUALS (a United Nations initiative within the International Telecommunication Union),, AIESEC, CSforALL, Caribbean Girls Hack and RSC, Circle Women, GOODWALL, YOUNGA, EllePod, and Code EQUAL.

More than 1,700 participants attended the meetups. The student completions of Level 1 resulted in 2,468 children being fed for a day as a direct result of IBM Z Day, thanks to IBM Z’s doubled donation to #ShareTheMeal, a program led by the UN World Food Programme to fight global hunger. In addition to #ShareTheMeal donations, one nonprofit was awarded a $5,000 grant from IBM for empowering the largest number of young coders with new skills. Caribbean Girls Hack and RSC, both based out of the Caribbean, took home the prize and shared their excitement during the closing ceremony.

Students shared their thoughts in the comments, which included “Awesome job! Fun experience!” and “Learned a lot, it was so good seeing your experience and knowledge in action!” Students continued to complete challenges, following the code-a-thon with helpful tips to inspire other students with the confidence to continue working their way through the levels. IBM Z will continue with our double-the-donation program through the end of September to encourage even more students to start mastering the mainframe while helping children in need.

Want to try Master the Mainframe, too? Students and IT pros are welcome to join! Click here to learn more.

What a day it was!

If you missed IBM Z Day — or you just want to review your favorite topics — it’s not too late. Every session was recorded. View the event on-demand: Access IBM Z Day here. Help us keep this excitement and momentum going!

You can also join our IBM Z and LinuxONE Community to continue the dialogue by engaging, exploring, networking, and contributing to the vibrant IBM Z community. For professionals who are new to IBM Z, we encourage you to engage and connect with us and your industry peers through the New to Z user group. And if you’re a student, be sure to check out our IBM Z Global Student Hub to connect, learn, and explore careers in enterprise IT.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make IBM Z Day a truly breakthrough signature event. Be sure to catch the replays you missed, and we’ll see you again at IBM Z Day 2021!