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

IBM Z’s first-ever free virtual community signature moment event attracted about 3,000 registrants and more than 10,000 views across all sessions of the conference. We had a peak attendance of 848 participants at one time, and set many community virtual day records!

The conference began with a strong welcome and kickoff message by our very own Meredith Stowell, VP of the IBM Z Ecosystem, followed by a powerful keynote on IBM z15 from our GM for IBM Z and LinuxONE, Ross Mauri.

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

A thought-provoking, developer-focused visionary keynote by GM and Chief Developer Advocate Willie Tejada built upon Ross’s keynote by focusing on the cloud-first journey. This was very well received by attendees, and drew quite a bit of engagement in the chat during the session.

Marius Ciortea, Chief Community Officer of IBM Cloud and Cognitive, then delivered a highly engaging keynote focusing on the role of community, the IBM community strategy, and its future. It stirred some lively discussion around what communities and user groups are available for our registrants and attendees to join and participate.

With a strong keynote lineup like this as a foundation, there was no stopping the high impact of the conference. Each of the three event tracks went straight into the details of IBM Z, Open Z, and Global Z!

In the 32 landmark sessions that took place throughout the day, our presenters explored a wide range of key topics:

IBM Z

We explored the latest z15 hardware with Anna Shugol, z15 features of Encryption Everywhere with Jessica Doherty, Instant Recovery with Tyler King, Cloud Native Development with Kyle Charlet, IBM Z Cloud strategy with Chris Poole, and z/OS Container extensions with Joe Bostian. Meredith Stowell talked about client skills and how IBM is addressing the mainframe skills gap by working closely with clients. Kelly Mackey of the State of California talked about their newly launched zSystems Apprenticeship program — which tackles the mainframe skills gap issue with an upskilling program for its incumbent workers; this session in particular caught a lot of attention and got several participants excited about such opportunities in their geos and companies.

Open Z

We examined the work of the Open Mainframe Project with John Mertic of the Linux Foundation, and their flagship project Zowe with Thomas McQuitty from Broadcom; Linux distribution offerings from SUSE with Mike Friesenegger, Red Hat with Murthy Garimella, and Canonical with Frank Heimes; OpenShift coming to Z with Elton de Souza, and open source software development on LinuxONE with Leon Kiriliuk. A featured talk about Call for Code, a developer-focused, social-themed annual challenge, was presented by Sarah Storelli in DEG.

Global Z

We brought together enterprise client Walmart (Rich Jackson), and highlighted startups through the Hyper Protect accelerator program with Melissa Sassi. This track also showcased some non-traditional Z speakers such as Kirstine Stewart of World Economic Forum (WEF), who talked about the six imperatives that are important to WEF in the near future; Mei Lin Fung, an industry visionary, talked with great empathy about People Centered Internet. Eileen Scully of Rising Tides talked passionately about being an ally and how it is different from being a mentor or a sponsor or an advocate. Ursula Wynhoven, an ITU Representative to the United Nations, spoke in depth about technology for sustainable development. And Kelly Lovell of Lovell Corporation led a fascinating discussion on the issues Gen Z is facing — which makes you take a minute to pause and think about what kind of world are creating for the future. This transitioned beautifully to two Gen Z mainframers, Byron Smith and Anna McKee, who talked about their career journeys and how the Master the Mainframe contest helped shape their career paths. Jason Kolinsky of Save the Cat wove a beautiful story about storytelling for tech professionals. And this led us to our final session for the day — a super-fun, creative, and engaging IBM Z and LinuxONE animated community walk-through with Jeanne Brooks, Andrii Vasylchenko, Misty Decker, Elizabeth Joseph, and Joris Mertens.

If you missed Z Day — or you just want to review your favorite topics — its not too late. Every session was recorded. View the event on-demand: Access IBM Z Day here.

Let’s keep this excitement and momentum going. Let’s continue building that vibrant, rich, and diverse IBM Z community! Register here today.

Thanks again to every one of you for making IBM Z Day a HUGE SUCCESS!

Sudharsana Srinivasan