September 02, 2014

Remaining IDUG Events in 2014

I shared my thoughts about the IDUG NA conference in May, but this is just one of IDUG's three major annual events. The European and Australian conferences are both coming up in a few weeks.

The IDUG DB2 Tech Conference in Sydney, Australia, is Sept. 10-12. Here are the conference sessions.

Meanwhile, European readers of this blog should note that one of the largest and most diverse IDUG conferences is being held in Prague, Czech Republic, from Nov. 9-14. Educational tracks are dedicated to the latest releases DB2 for z/OS 11.0 and DB2 for LUW 10.5. In addition, there are general tracks on DB2 for z/OS and DB2 for LUW, and more specialized tracks on big data and analytics, along with application development.

If you'll be in attendance, be sure to catch IBMer John Campbell's in-depth two-part session, "DB2 11 for z/OS: Migration Planning and Early Experiences" (AB1).

Some of my coworkers at CA Technologies will also be presenting:

Steen Rasmussen
* "Application Development Goodies: What’s HOT in DB2 10 and 11" (F12).

* "The DB2 11 Catalog: Something new, something old and something changed" (A14).

Steve Thomas
* "Archiving data: DB2 comes to the rescue (twice)" (B5).

Zeljen Stanic
* "To Do IT(IL) or Not ... " (E13).

Denis Tronin:
* "Lost Without a Trace" (B3).

I've often discussed the value of IDUG conferences in this blog. Attendees receive invaluable education and updates on DB2 from some of the world's foremost database experts. In addition, IDUG events include many other services and features, such as free certification exams, access to one-day seminars, interaction with IBM speakers from the lab and the opportunity to network and share ideas with other DB2 professionals.

If you've attended IDUG events, please share your experiences in comments.

August 26, 2014

IBM Redbook Mobile App

Over the years, I've written often about IBM Redbooks. I enjoy learning from the experts who author these publications. I also enjoy sharing this information with DB2utor readers.

Recently I discovered that IBM has a new Redbook management application for IOS and Android mobile devices. I’ve downloaded the app and I must say, it's pretty cool.

When you first open the application, you'll see six menu options. 

  • Find IBM Redbooks
  • News
  • My Favorites
  • Visit us on the web
  • Connect with us
  • Find IBM resources

“Find IBM Redbooks” and “My Favorites” are my favorite options. With Find IBM Redbooks, you can sort Redbooks by publication data, popularity, subject area and publication type. With the latest publications, you can tap on the title and read an abstract and/or the table of contents. You can also save the link, download it to your device or share in Facebook, Twitter or email.

I use My Favorites to archive and read Redbooks. With this option, you can organize saved Redbooks into user-defined folders. Plus there's a bookmarking capability so you can quickly access key information.

Learn more and download the Redbook app here.

August 19, 2014

An In-Depth Look at Buffer Pool Monitoring and Tuning

IBM recently released a Redpaper, "IBM DB2 11 for z/OS Buffer Pool Monitoring and Tuning."

While this document is intended for DB2 systems administrators, it could also be useful for those who specialize in z/OS system tuning. As someone who knows a bit about tuning buffer pools and the challenges this process entails, I'm excited to see IBM devote a Redpaper to this topic.

I've yet to read the whole thing, but the material I've been through is excellent. This isn't surprising given that the author, Jeff Berger, is one of IBM's top performance specialists.

Here's the chapter list:

            Chapter 1. Introduction
            Chapter 2. Prefetch and RID pool
            Chapter 3. Buffer pool writes
            Chapter 4. Data sharing
            Chapter 5. Workfiles
            Chapter 6. Assigning page sets to buffer pools
            Chapter 7. Improving CPU performance
            Chapter 8. Index and data organization

The first five chapters provide a great introduction. You'll learn what buffer pools are and how the tuning knobs are used to control their behavior. This information is very valuable for newcomers, or anyone in need of a buffer pool refresher course.

I believe that splitting up buffer pools is essential to effectively tune them. When I was consulting, I found that many customers solely rely upon the main buffer pool (BP0). My approach was to set up separate pools for random and sequential access -- a buffer pool for sort work files. However, in Chapter 6, Jeff makes a recommendation that I hadn't considered: assigning buffer pools based on sequential insert activity. As I said, he's the expert.

When I was tuning buffer pools, my focus was on reducing physical I/O, so I appreciated the information in Chapter 7, which covers the settings you should use to reduce CPU consumption. The final chapter examines when you should consider reorganizing index and data spaces.

I know from experience that setting up multiple buffer pools isn't simple, but the performance benefits it provides are worth the effort. This Redpaper offers valuable information to help you navigate this process.

Please post your experiences and/or questions on buffer pool tuning.

August 12, 2014

IBM Knowledge Center a DB2 for z/OS Resource

As I've often noted, I prefer storing DB2 for z/OS manuals in PDF format. Even though keeping them updated is a challenge, I believe that being able to access all this information from my laptop is well worth the effort.

Launched earlier this year, the IBM Knowledge Center is the online home for all DB2 for z/OS product information. This site provides links to additional information resources and alternative documentation formats, such as the PDF manuals that I like (which are available in hard copy from the IBM Publications Center). The current sets of manuals available through the Knowledge Center are for DB2 versions 9, 10 and 11. I like that the search feature now automatically limits the search to the DB2 version tab you select.

Figure for 8-12-14 blog


I also appreciate that readers can add comments to each document. (Free registration is required to use this feature.) This is a simple way to voice your opinions to IBM as well as learn how others feel about the documentation.

August 05, 2014

A Newbie Perspective on DB2

In her recent post on IDUG's DB2 Beginner's blog, Lauren Turner compares learning database basics with the challenge of picking up a foreign language.

I enjoyed this fresh perspective, and it's something to which we can all relate. Mastering DB2 is an ongoing process. New capabilities are constantly being added, so no matter how long you've worked on the database, you still have more to learn. I encourage all DB2 pros -- new users, experienced DBAs and everyone in between -- to take the time to follow and encourage Lauren as she shares her experience with the DB2 community.

Kudos also to IDUG for not only providing a platform for a new user like Lauren, but for all of the content they publish in the beginner's blog. Be sure to check it out.