Hands on Demo Sites
27 June 2019
Did you ever want to experiment with your favorite IBM product to learn something new or try something you couldn’t in your own environment? Maybe you wanted to try your hand at writing Python code against a Db2 database, but you didn’t have a database server you could use immediately. Well, I have good news. IBM has a number of on line product demo environments that you can deploy for free and use for a useful amount of time. These demo sites even have guided tutorials that walk you through doing various items. That’s how I got started learning how to use Jupyter notebooks with Db2 Magic commands. You can use these sites to do your own experiments or followed the guided demos because in many cases you get a virtual machine you can log into and use the product. For some products like IBM Cloud Pak for Data you even get a cluster of virtual servers.
As of the writing of this article, there are multiple demo sites, but we are consolidating them into the IBM Demos site. Start with this one, and if you can’t find the one you like then try the Digital Technical Engagement site or the IBM Garage Tutorials site. However, these will eventually be folded into IBM Demos.
IBM Demos and the other sites allow you to see and try quite a few of our solutions and products. It is one thing to read about an interesting technology, but another to actually try it yourself with no strings attached and nothing to download. For each solution available, you can watch short videos about what you can do with it, take a brief guided tour and then click a button to deploy it and try it. You can follow the labs provided or just do your own thing. So even if you are already familiar with the solution, but just want to get an instance in the cloud to run your own trials and experiments you are welcome to do that. For example, with Db2 AESE you can choose to try the labs or just go right into the container hosting the database and run your own Linux and Db2 commands. Trials include various flavors of Db2, ICP for Data, Watson components, Information Server products and many others. It is worth going to these sites and seeing what is available.
Let’s use the Db2 Advanced Enterprise Server Edition tab as an example of what you can do with a product on the demo site. Get to it by visiting IBM Demos site, choosing Hybrid Data Management from the Filter by Segment dropdown and scroll down to the square called Db2 Advanced Enterprise Server Edition and click on it. On the next page you can see that there are short how-to videos. Scrolling down a bit farther, you can try the 15-30 minute tour that is a simulation of using DB2. Finally at the bottom you can click the box to run a hands on lab that is estimated at two hours. You don’t have to do the lab in two hours because you can choose to deploy the VM for a longer amount of time and do what you want as you have time.
By clicking the “Modern Application Development with Db2” box that allows you to start the lab and VM, you can see the details of the labs you can run. You can try some or all of them once you deploy the Db2 image or just try your own experiments. To deploy the image, log in with your IBM ID. Before actually deploying the image, make sure the read the instructions on the left. These tell you how to do the deployment and then how to get into your VM. To deploy the image, you will choose a length of time for it to be available from 4 hours to one week. Shortly after you click the “Reserve instance” button you will get an e-mail with your credentials that you then use to get into the server. Now you can do the labs or just try things with Db2 that interest you.
Once you have the server, you can try all sorts of things. As I noted earlier you can do some or part of the labs that are available. Even if you just deployed the Db2 server for some experiment you want to run, I recommend at least reviewing the labs. Doing this is how I learned how to use Python and Jupyter notebooks with Db2. Different Db2 tabs on the DET site show you how to do different things with Db2. While recommended, you do not need to run the labs and can experiment with anything you want including trying column organized tables or other things you may not be allowed to do in your own test environment.
Getting your hands on the products is a great way to learn what they can really do and is becoming a favorite way for people to try our products in a low-pressure environment. The demo site has several flavors of Db2 available including Db2 AESE, DB2 Warehouse, Db2 on Cloud, Db2 Event Store and others. In addition to learning about Db2 on the DTE there are a number of Db2 tutorials free on the web. There are tons of feature descriptions and how-to videos. Here are three great YouTube channels:
ChannelDb2 also has a lot of great videos and other media.
If you really like what you see in your experiments and need a free environment to continue your journey, you can always get a free copy of DB2 in the Cloud, in a Docker Container, or just one that you install. Db2 on Cloud and Db2 Warehouse on Cloud are free if you choose the lite/entry plans and limit the amount of data you put in them. If you are running Docker, then you can get Db2 Developer-c in a container from Docker Hub. If you don’t want it in a container then you can download Db2 Developer-c and install it yourself.