Conor O'Mahony's Database Diary

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Archive for the ‘DB2 for z/OS’ Category

Win a Trip to the IDUG Conference of your Choice

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DB2Night ShowThe International DB2 User Group (IDUG) is a user-run organization. If you want independent information about DB2, IDUG is the place to go. This year, IDUG are have conferences in the US (Denver), Germany (Berlin), and Australia (Sydney). The good news is that the DB2night Show is holding a contest, and the prize is an all expenses-paid trip to the IDUG conference of your choice. The contest aims to identify new users who can speak about their experiences with DB2. It’s a talent contest of sorts, where the talent is sharing your experiences. If you have ever considered speaking at a conference, this contest is the ideal way to see how you might do in a fun setting.


Written by Conor O'Mahony

January 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Highlights from the IDUG EMEA Conference

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DB2Night ShowI’m still in the afterglow of the International DB2 User Group (IDUG) conference in Prague, Czech Republic. It was another great conference at a great facility in a great city. The conference organizers should be commended on a truly outstanding event. Its incredible to think that the conference organizers are user volunteers, and not professional conference planners! I’m already looking forward to the next IDUG EMEA conference in Berlin next year. If you are interested in a more in-depth discussion of the conference, including lessons learned from the technical sessions, Norberto Filho will be appearing on the DB2Night show on Friday 02 December 2011. Even if you were at the conference, there was so much happening there that you are sure to learn something new from Norberto’s experiences.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 30, 2011 at 8:29 am

Posted in DB2 for LUW, DB2 for z/OS, DBA, IDUG

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IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator—Bringing Netezza to the Mainframe

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Now that the IBM Information on Demand (IOD) and International DB2 User Group (IDUG) conferences are behind me, I have time to blog about some of the great announcements from those conferences. Probably the announcement that generated the most interest among conferences attendees is the new release of the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA). This product takes advantage of Netezza to accelerate analytics queries on DB2 for z/OS.

The way it works is… you specify the data whose analysis you want to speed up, and a copy of that data is placed on Netezza (DB2 for z/OS continues to be the system of record for all data). Then, when DB2 for z/OS receives a query, an optimizer determines whether that query should be handled by DB2 for z/OS or by IBM Netezza. Here is a chart from the IDUG conference that summarizes the query execution flow.

IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator

Conceptually, you could almost think of the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator as a mainframe specialty processor for analytics. I know its not actually a specialty processor, but it does perform the processing involved with complex analytics queries. It also makes life easier for database administrators who often struggle with long-running complex queries, by providing them with an accelerator that does not require additional tuning. To see how much faster it is, here is another chart from the IDUG conference. It shows the experiences of IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator Beta program participants.

IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator Performance

If you run complex analytical queries on DB2 for z/OS, it is almost certainly worth you while to learn more about the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

November 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

Top 10 Reasons to Attend IDUG EMEA in Prague this November

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Here are my personal top 10 reasons to attend the upcoming International DB2 User Group (IDUG) conference in Prague, Czech Republic this November.

  1. 100+ of the best technical sessions about DB2, featuring IBM developers, industry experts, and users like you
  2. IBM keynote on the future of relational database software
  3. Official IBM certification tests at no additional cost
  4. Pre-conference seminars on preparing for DB2 certification tests at no additional cost
  5. Pre-conference workshop on preparing for DB2 10 for z/OS upgrades at no additional cost
  6. Conference exhibit hall with the world’s top DB2 tool vendors, consulting firms and solution providers
  7. Post-conference day-long educational seminars
  8. It’s a great way to meet and get to know fellow DB2 users
  9. It’s a great way to speak directly with the DB2 developers
  10. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world

Registration is now open at If you register before 17 October 2011, you can take advantage of the early bird discount and save 275 Euro + VAT.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 7, 2011 at 9:16 am

Most Popular Presentation from IDUG DB2 Tech Conference 2011 in Anaheim

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The International DB2 User Group (IDUG) is presenting a free webcast featuring the most popular presentation from the most recent IDUG DB2 Tech Conference, as voted by attendees at the conference. Suresh Sane will present his A DB2 10 Customer’s Experience presentation, which will describe his experiences with DB2 10 for z/OS, including:

  • How new SQL features help
  • How hash access speeds up queries against large tables
  • How access path determination is now smarter
  • How concurrency is improved without sacrificing integrity
  • How temporal tables simplify code

This webcast is a must-see for Database Administrators and Application Developers. It is filled with rich content, helpful hints and tips. As a special bonus, everyone who registers for the Webcast will receive a complimentary copy of the Business Value of DB2 10 – Smarter Database for a Smarter Planet report by Julian Stuhler, Triton Consulting. The Webcast will take place at 11am ET on Wednesday, 02 November 2011. To register for the Webcast, please go to DB2 10 Application Topics—A DB2 10 Customer’s Experience.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm

What Happens when you pair Netezza with DB2 for z/OS?

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The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recently paired Netezza with their transactional environment, which includes DB2 for z/OS, and achieved remarkable results. Often when you read customer success stories, you are bombarded with metrics. The AARP success story has those metrics:

  • 1400% improvement in data loading time
  • 1700% improvement in report response time
  • 347% ROI in three years

But metrics tell only part of the story. And sometimes the story gets a lot more interesting when you dig a little deeper.

AARP had been using Oracle Database for their data warehouse. But their system simply could not keep up with the demand. As Margherita Bruni from AARP says, “our analysts would run a report, then go for coffee or for lunch, and, maybe if they were lucky, by 5:00 p.m. they would get the response—it was unacceptable—the system was so busy writing the new daily data that it didn’t give any importance to the read operations performed by users.” The stresses on their system were so great that in 2009 alone, their Oracle Database environment had more than 30 system failures. To compound matters, these system performance issues meant that full backups were not possible. Instead AARP would back up only a few critical tables, which is a less than desirable disaster recovery scenario. Clearly, something had to be done.

AARP chose to move their 36 TB data warehouse to Netezza. You can see from the metrics above that they achieved remarkable performance improvements. But what do those performance improvements mean. Well, for the IT staff, they mean that they are relieved of a huge daily burden. Their old system required one full-time database administrator (DBA) and one half-time SAN network support person. These people are now, for the most part, free to work on other projects. And more importantly, they don’t have to deal with the stress of the old environment any more.

But the benefits are not being enjoyed only by the IT staff. They are also being enjoyed by the business analysts, who according to Bruni “could not believe how quickly results were provided—they were so shocked that their work could be accomplished in a matter of hours rather than weeks that, initially, they thought data was cached.” She goes on to say that “one analyst, who is now a director, told us that he used the extra time for other projects, which ultimately helped him become more successful and receive a promotion.” Now that is what I call a great impact statement. The metrics are great, but when someone is freed up to do work that gets them a promotion, that’s a very tangible illustration of the difference that Netezza can make.

Another illustration of the difference is the impact it had on the group that implemented the Netezza system. As Bruni says “after we moved to IBM Netezza, the word spread that we were doing things right and that leveraging us as an internal service was really smart; we’ve gained new mission-critical areas, such as the social-impact area which supports our Drive to End Hunger and Create the Good campaigns.” It certainly looks like you can add IT management to the list of constituents who have had a positive career impact as a result of moving from Oracle Database to IBM Netezza.

For more information about this story, see AARP: Achieving a 347 percent ROI in three years from BI modernization effort.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

September 27, 2011 at 10:33 am

More Organizations Move up to the Mainframe and DB2 for z/OS

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Any of you who are familiar with DB2 on the mainframe (officially known as DB2 for z/OS) know how efficient it is. The mainframe is not for every organization. However, for those organizations for whom the mainframe is a good fit, the tremendous levels of efficiency, reliability, availability, and security directly translate into significant cost savings.

Database software on the mainframe may be relatively boring when compared with the data management flavor of the day (whether it is Hadoop or any of the other technologies associated with Big Data). But when it comes to storing mission-critical transactions, nothing beats the ruthless efficiency of the mainframe. And that boring, ruthless efficiency has been winning over organizations.

Earlier this year, eWeek reported how the IBM Mainframe Replaces HP, Oracle Systems for Payment Solutions. In this article, eWeek describe how Payment Solution Providers (PSP) from Canada chose DB2 for z/OS over Oracle Database on HP servers. A couple of items in this article really catch the eye. One is that the operational efficiencies of the mainframe are expected to lower IT costs up to 35 percent for PSP. The other is that PSP’s system can now process up to 5,000 transactions per second.

Another organization who moved in the same direction is BC Card—Korea’s largest credit card company. The Register ran a story about how a Korean bank dumps Unix boxes for mainframes. BC Card is a coalition of 11 South Korean banks that handles credit card transactions for 2.62 million merchants and 40 million credit card holders in the country. They dumped their HP and Oracle Sun servers in favor of an IBM mainframe. In an accompanying IBM press release, it was revealed that IBM scored highest in every benchmark test category from performance to security to flexibility. Another significant factor in moving to the mainframe is the combination of the utility pricing that lets customers activate and deactivate mainframe engines on-demand, together with software pricing that scales up and down with capacity.

Despite continual predictions to its demise, it has been reported that the mainframe has experienced one of its best years ever, with an increase in usage (well, technically MIPS) of 86% from the same time in 2010. Much of this growth is coming from new customers to the mainframe. In fact, since the System z196 mainframe started shipping in the third quarter of 2010, IBM has added 68 new mainframe customers, with more than two-thirds of them consolidating from distributed systems.

It may not be as exciting as the newest technology on the block, but it is difficult to beat the reliability and efficiency of the mainframe. Especially when you are faced with the realities of managing a relatively large environment, and all of the costs associated with doing so. And don’t forget, the mainframe can provide you with a hierarchical store, a relational store, or a native XML store. And when you combine the security advantages and the 24×7 availability, together with cost efficiency, it makes for an interesting proposition.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

September 19, 2011 at 8:30 am

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