Conor O'Mahony's Database Diary

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Archive for October 2010

Get Daily Video Updates from the IBM Information on Demand Conference

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We’ve created a special livestream, where we are providing video updates from the IBM Information on Demand Conference in Las Vegas this week. In this livestream, we focus on IBM database software like DB2, Informix, IMS, and solidDB. Each day, there are a new batch of interviews with IBM executives, IBM developers, and conference attendees. So hopefully you will get a chance to keep up-to-date on the news from the conference, see some familiar faces, and maybe even learn a thing or two.

IBM Information on Demand Livestream


Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Video

IBM Announces DB2 10 for z/OS

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Larry Ellison is not prone to praising his competitors. So it was quite startling when he recently opined that “the IBM DB2 product on mainframe is a good product.” Of course, DB2 for z/OS is the undisputed leader in the RDBMS market when it comes to total system availability, scalability, security, and reliability. And today IBM officially announced a new major release of DB2 for z/OS.

DB2 10 for z/OS has garnered some great reaction from its most popular Beta program ever. Some Beta participants claimed that this is the best release in a decade. Here is why:

  • CPU cycle reductions for most workloads.
    While versions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 actually increased CPU times by a small amount, version 10 reduces them. After rebinding to DB2 10, most customers should see a 5%-10% CPU reduction out-of-the-box. Some will see even further reductions in CPU cycles.
  • Support for up to 10x more concurrent users.
    With DB2 10, virtual storage improvements are delivering up to 10 times more concurrent active threads. This allows many customers to reduce the number of DB2 members needed to support their workloads, resulting in net CPU and memory savings and improving application performance.
  • New temporal capabilities built directly into the database.
    DB2 10 delivers the industry’s first integrated bitemporal capabilities that are built directly into the database. This allows for queries over past, present, or future time periods. But the key thing to remember is that these bitemporal capabilities are provided by the core database engine. This means that you don’t have to maintain separate custom code to get these capabilities. You simply code SQL against the main table. DB2 for z/OS is the first RDBMS to deliver this!

Here are some quotes from Beta participants:

“We measured a 38% reduction in CPU for heavy insert workloads in a data sharing environment. That’s a significant savings which provides immediate business benefit.”―Peter Paetsch, BMW

“In addition to the cost savings, DB2 10 for z/OS offers a far superior data server environment than Oracle Database”—Manuel Gomez Burrierl, CECA

“We expect to reduce our data sharing requirements by 25%, which means less system, storage and resource.”―Banco do Brasil

There are many, many additional reasons to move to DB2 10. You can read about them at IBM – Announcing DB2 10 for z/OS.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

Posted in DB2 for z/OS

Comparing Price for Oracle Exadata and IBM Smart Analytics System

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Curt Monash recently claimed that the only realistic metric for pricing data warehouse appliances is price-per-terabyte. Neither IBM (at the moment anyway; Netezza acquisition pending) or Oracle currently price-per-terabyte. However, I’d like to share some interesting capacity/pricing information for IBM and Oracle’s current data warehouse appliance-like products.

Below, you can see capacity/pricing information for three comparable configurations. I was struggling with labels for these three configurations. I’ve settled on big, bigger, and even bigger.

I think you’ll agree that the relative costs provide some food for thought. Probably the biggest factor in the gulf between the IBM and Oracle prices is the software license and maintenance costs—IBM InfoSphere Warehouse (which is powered by DB2) includes many of the software add-ons that must be purchased separately for the Oracle configurations.

I have highlighted the row indicating the uncompressed storage capacity for “user space” and the row indicating the list price. Of course, the list price does not reflect the considerable discounting that is typically offered by vendors like IBM and Oracle.

Big Configuration

IBM Smart Analytics System 2050 Oracle Exadata X2-2
Configuration Size Medium 1/4 Rack
Total Storage 14.4TB 21TB
Total Available Protected Storage 12TB (RAID5) 10.5TB (RAID1)
Total “User Space”* 6.6TB Uncompressed 6TB Uncompressed
List Price (1st YR) $164,394** $2,318,976***
System Installation Included ADDITIONAL COST
Ongoing storage software costs None $79,200 / year

Bigger Configuration

IBM Smart Analytics System 5600 Oracle Exadata X2-2
Configuration Size Small (4 data modules) 1/2 Rack
Total Storage 57.6TB 50TB
Total Available Protected Storage 35.2TB (RAID6) 24TB (RAID1)
Total “User Space”* 20TB Uncompressed 14TB Uncompressed
List Price (1st YR) $2.7M** $4.7M***
System Installation Included ADDITIONAL COST
OLAP, Data Mining, Text Mining Included ADDITIONAL COST
Ongoing storage software costs None $184,800 / year
PCIe Solid State Flash Memory 3.2TB**** 2.6TB

Even Bigger Configuration

IBM Smart Analytics System 7700 Oracle Exadata X2-2
Configuration Size Medium (3 data modules) Full Rack
Total Storage 86.4TB 100TB
Total Available Protected Storage 62.5TB (RAID6) 50TB (RAID1)
Total “User Space”* 34.4TB Uncompressed 28TB Uncompressed
List Price (1st YR) $4.7M** $9.3M***
System Installation Included ADDITIONAL COST
OLAP, Data Mining, Text Mining Included ADDITIONAL COST
Ongoing storage software costs None $370,000 / year
PCIe Solid State Flash Memory 3.2TB**** 5.3TB
Additional PCIe Solid State Devices Optional NOT AVAILABLE

* Total “User Space” assumes 45% overhead for logs, temporary space, indexes, and so on.

** IBM prices include the appropriate edition of InfoSphere Warehouse. They also include 1 year of maintenance and support for all hardware and software.

*** Oracle prices includes Oracle Database, RAC, Partitioning, Advanced Compression, Tuning, Diagnostics, and Provisioning packs. They also include 1 year of maintenance and support for all hardware and software. Oracle prices are of 18 October 2010 on and

**** PCIe Solid State Flash size excludes flash storage located in failover module.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 19, 2010 at 12:04 am

Want to get DB2 pureScale at an Affordable Price?

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Last year, IBM released the pureScale feature for DB2, which allows you to create shared-disk clusters for database transaction processing. One of the great things about DB2 pureScale is that it provides near linear scale-out efficiency, which means that when you add a node to the cluster, you almost get a full node worth of additional processing power. In other words, the overhead involved in coordinating cluster activities for DB2 pureScale is relatively small.

Of course, this is in contrast to Oracle RAC, where there are numerous public accounts of poor scale-out performance. Although, to be fair, many of those Oracle RAC horror stories are probably due to people not making their applications cluster-aware, or due to people not having the skills to properly tune those systems. In other words, if you are willing to spend enough time and money, I reckon a lot of those Oracle RAC systems can achieve reasonable scale-out-efficiency. Of course, with DB2 pureScale, you don’t have to worry about any of that. With DB2 pureScale, you simply add or remove nodes as you please. The DB2 pureScale approach does not require that your applications be cluster-aware, and does not require complex tuning. DB2 pureScale actually delivers on the promise of being truly application transparent.

Okay, that’s enough background information… on to the actual subject of the blog post. A few months ago, IBM made DB2 pureScale available on x86 servers. That was a big first step towards making DB2 pureScale clusters more affordable. And last week, IBM took another big step in that direction by announcing that DB2 pureScale is now included in DB2 Workgroup Server Edition. DB2 Workgroup Server Edition is our mid-range offering with a list price of $15k per socket.

This means that, for instance, you could purchase a couple of these $15k DB2 Workgroup Server Edition licenses for use with two x86-based servers, each of which has one socket with 4 CPU cores. You could then create a 2-node cluster, where each node has a hefty 4 CPU cores. You would enjoy the great performance of DB2, as well as the continuous availability offered by DB2 pureScale. And all this for a very good price (that is subject to standard software discounts).

DB2 pureScale and DB2 Workgroup Server Edition offer a great alternative to running Oracle RAC for small clusters. Not only is the IBM combination attractive from a pricing standpoint, it is also attractive from a performance and subsequent ease of scaling standpoint.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Posted in DB2 for LUW, pureScale

IBM DB2 Strikes Another Blow to Oracle Database

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Those of you who follow DB2, are only too aware that IBM is doing everything in its power to provide the very best value in database software. IBM made a massive investment to develop pureXML—true native XML storage that is clearly superior to the confusing array of XML storage options in Oracle Database. IBM has superior data compression algorithms as well as compression options that Oracle does not offer. DB2 recently added native support for the most commonly used Oracle Database data types, SQL syntax, PL/SQL syntax, and more, making it easy for Oracle Database users to move to DB2. And last year, DB2 added support for a pureScale shared-disk clustering architecture that many argue is better than Oracle RAC. And now IBM strikes another competitive blow to Oracle Database with the exciting new Advanced Enterprise Edition for Linux, Unix, and Windows.

DB2 Advanced Enterprise Edition bundles DB2 Enterprise Server Edition together with:

  • DB2 Storage Optimization feature
  • DB2 Performance Optimization feature
  • DB2 Advanced Access Control feature
  • Optim Database Administrator
  • Optim Development Studio
  • Optim Performance Manager

It also includes limited-use versions of InfoSphere Replication Server and InfoSphere Federation Server.

The list price for the entire bundle is $450 per Processor Value Unit. That works out at a list price of $45,000 for a server with 100 Processor Value Units, compared to $47,500 for a bare bones Oracle Database Enterprise Edition server license. That’s correct. You get DB2 together with all those value-add features and all that additional software for less cost than a bare bones Oracle Database license. When IBM assembled this bundle, we really wanted to make a statement of intent… this is not a standard bundle discount… this is an aggressive move to significantly beat Oracle when it comes to providing value to customers. And don’t forget that the IBM price includes the first year’s support and maintanence. You need to add 22% to the Oracle price for the first year’s support and maintenance.

Here is a table that compares the list price of IBM DB2 Advanced Enterprise Server with the list price of the equivalent Oracle capabilities for a server with 100 processor value units. To be able to compare apples-to-apples, this table also includes the costs for first year support and maintenance.

Functionality DB2 Advanced Ent. Edition Price Equivalent Oracle Software Price
Core Database DB2 Enterprise Server Included Oracle Enterprise Edition $57,950
Data Compression Storage Optimization Included Advanced Compression $14,030
Disaster Recovery HADR Included Active Data Guard $14,030
Advanced Security Adv. Access Control Included Label Security $14,030
Data Partitioning Table Partitioning Included Partitioning $14,030
Administration Optim Database Admin. Included Oracle Enterprise Manager No charge
Development Optim Development Studio Included Internet Dev Suite $7,076
Performance Tuning Optim Performance Manager Included Diagnostics Pack $6,100
Federation Homogeneous Federation Included Oracle-to-Oracle Fed. No charge
Active/Active Rep. Q-Replication with DB2 Included Golden Gate $21,350
Total   $45,000   $148,596

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 11, 2010 at 11:03 pm

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