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IBM DB2 10 upgrade delivers improvements to all database users

IBM DB2 10 users report the upgrade can cut administration costs, boost mission-critical apps and bring other benefits to your business.

Usually, a database upgrade results in little fanfare. However, in my 20 years following databases, I can’t remember the last time I had such a positive response from end users as I’ve had with the IBM DB2 10 upgrade. Don’t waste the opportunity to make a splash in IT and across your organization by upgrading to IBM DB2 10.

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The benefits of DB2 10 are spread across all database users – scaling keep-the-business-running apps, improving service and support apps, and supercharging competitive-advantage analytics. Adaptive Compression and Workload Manager feature across-the-board improvements. Time-travel query and continuous data ingest benefit data warehousing and analytics while multi-temperature data management and pureScale clustering help organizations savvy in storage tiering and clustered databases, respectively. You should get lots of improvement immediately without tuning.

Many  of IBM DB2 10’s features are under-the-hood, but provide improved performance and  scalability and reduce admin costs. Examples include  better multi-core parallelism support and improved InfoSphere admin-tool integration. To optimize DB2 10, it’s important to consider and play with these features.

With this release, IBM has also made a special effort to speed implementation. You should have some extra time at the end of your upgrade schedule – a perfect opportunity for pre-rollout performance tuning.

The new workload management feature dearest to my heart is the ability to set limits on CPU and other DB2 resources.

IBM DB2 10 upgrade case study

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC), a large container manufacturer and distributor, is using IBM DB2 for SAP-based enterprise resource planning (ERP). As experienced DB2 testers, they’re confident the performance they found during initial DB2 10 benchmarking will carry over when DB2 10 goes live. What surprised CCBCC was the performance improvements from DB2 9.7 – 30% to 60% in all cases except one, which ran in one-tenth the time. The overall process took half as long. Administrators no longer have to babysit database-related uptime. Regular IT staff tend to that, while others focus on performance tuning and more rapid implementation of innovative add-ons such as Salesforce iPad access to a customer’s order status.

During the upgrade process, CCBCC factors in careful post-release sandboxing to simulate the production environment and dev testing to make sure mission-critical apps running on the previous DB2 version have no issues. CCBCC plans to have DB2 10 fully operational across the company in just over 5 months. Their best practices include:

  1. Initial proof-of-concept and benchmarking on current systems to validate organization-wide performance gains.
  2. Focus on performance tuning, not DB2 10’s baked-in compression, to deliver maximum operational benefits.
  3. Notifying users of significant app improvements.

IBM DB2 10 performance tuning

As the CCBCC case study found, performance tuning is a good focus, so it's better to target performance improvements in key apps.

What kinds of things can you tune in DB2 10? Here are a few cool things that I personally would tire-kick.

The new workload management feature dearest to my heart is the ability to set limits on CPU and other DB2 resources. I find this often allows more effective load-balancing of resource consumption between apps using DB2 and other apps in other virtual machines and improved performance in both.

  • Multi-temperature data management. If you’ve already begun the journey into storage tiering, spending a little effort to coordinate DB2’s tiering with your storage systems can pay significant dividends in terms of price/performance and backup and restore speeds.
  • Oracle Database migration. Improved IBM DB2 10 support for all historical flavors of Oracle’s PL/SQL allow IBM to claim “average 98% compatibility.” This means most apps written against Oracle Database will work in DB2 10 with minor changes, a simple recompile and moving data into a DB2 10 data store – no code examination/modification required. Users report unusually easy migrations. Most organizations have apps that would benefit from migration to DB2 10, especially where price and performance are an issue.
  • pureScale clustering. This is not your father’s clustering, which provided robustness via failover across loosely coupled physical servers. Clustering can also be used for performance, by load-balancing across scale-out servers. The pureScale clustering in IBM DB2 10 target robustness and scalability, with clustered workload management, multiple-vendor-database/multi-tenancy-app cloud support, range partitioning support, backup/restore extensions, enhanced networking support and better ability to disperse cluster components geographically.

A rule of thumb to gauge clustering effectiveness is failover in minutes and 80%-of-CPU-performance improvement for each CPU added. IBM tests and user reports appear to confirm both.

  • InfoSphere integration. DB2  10 includes updates to IBM Data Studio, InfoSphere Data Architect – which is crucial for ongoing administrative changes to data types – and InfoSphere Optim suite of global data management tools like Performance Manager, Query Workload Tuner and Configuration Manager. This means that when IBM DB2 is upgraded and is part of whole-enterprise information architecture, key administrative tools should be able to take advantage of DB2 10’s new features immediately. Further out, a common administrative toolset will save administrative costs and reduce bugs that are due to administrators' unfamiliarity with DB2.

I view IBM DB2 10’s “big data” features as longer-term concerns. Look for a flexible big-data analytics architecture that can handle big-data’s limitations and integrate with traditional data warehousing tools. IBM DB2 10 provides a “have it your way” solution fitting this strategy.

Approaching an IBM DB2 10 upgrade

Reports back from beta users concur: You should upgrade to IBM DB2 10 sooner rather than later. Here are a few final best practices:

  1. Establish IBM DB2 10’s worth by benchmarking a mission-critical app on it, and present those results to management immediately – because it’s just about guaranteed to be a strong message.
  2. Set aside time in your upgrade schedule for performance tuning – the upgrade will be faster than usual, giving you a cushion at the end. Focus tuning on workload management plus in-the-details features such as multi-core parallelism support or multi-temperature data management.
  3. Make performance improvements visible ahead of time to end users. This is a great chance to prove IT can deliver benefits. CCBCC’s case study said users were “pre-warned” and still were pleasantly shocked at how much faster their key business processes ran on Monday morning.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wayne Kernochan is president of Infostructure Associates, an affiliate of Valley View Ventures. Infostructure Associates aims to provide thought leadership and sound advice to vendors and users of information technology. This document is the result of Infostructure Associates-sponsored research. Infostructure Associates believes that its findings are objective and represent the best analysis available at the time of publication.

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