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October 21, 2008

DB2 V9 Gives XML a Boost

The industry is moving toward storing data in an XML format. No, really.

I know, we've heard about this for years, but to this point, there's been little development with XML in mind on the z/OS platform. And among the few early adopters, some have endured performance problems associated with storing and retrieving these documents with DB2.

However, I think the release of DB2 9 for z/OS will speed the XML adoption rate. While DB2 V7 brought some development support--specifically, LOB support--it wasn't a viable solution due to the overhead of trying to store and retrieve a large number of LOB documents. XML Extenders in DB2 V8 smoothed things from a development standpoint, but storing that data in LOB format rather than native XML is costly.

That's why the latest release is exciting for XML developers. In DB2 V9, relational data is stored in a relational format, and XML data is stored in native XML format using a new hybrid database engine. The database engine has integrated pureXML technology that not only provides an unprecedented level of performance, but also offers the availability and scalability for XML data that you've come to expect when processing relational data.

For years, I've worked to reduce the amount of CPU used in SQL statements. Doing this can allow companies to put off hardward upgrades and their associated software upgrades--in other words, there's a serious cost benefit. I remember fixing one batch program that saved the company $360,000 a year. And many z/OS shops have full-time employees who do nothing except figure out how to reduce CPU consumption.

I mention this because most companies are reluctant to bring on any new or enhanced application that could increase the CPU consumption on their z/OS machines, particularly if the application involves XML. However, IBM understands this and now has a solution. IBM has implemented a Workload Manager (WLM) that detects certain workloads and redirects them to a zIIP or IBM System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP) specialty engine. Because these specialty engines shift CPU usage from the general processor, the overall cost of running software on z/OS is reduced.

To learn which workloads are eligible for zIIP or zAAP processing, read "DB2 9 and z/OS XML System Services Synergy Update" by Akiko Hoshikawa and Judy Ruby-Brown.