Version 11 of DB2 for z/OS was released for general availability on Oct. 25, 2013. Even if your company won’t be migrating right away, it is wise to start learning about the new functionality it offers. So let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights of this latest and greatest version of DB2.
Performance Claims in DB2
As is normal with a new version of DB2, IBM boasts of performance improvements available in DB2 11. The claims range from out-of-the-box savings ranging from 10% to 40% for different types of query workloads. Your actual savings will vary depending upon things like the query itself, number of columns requests, number of partitions, indexing, and the like. The standard operating procedure of rebinding to achieve the best results still applies. And, of course, if you use the new features of DB2 11 IBM claims that you can achieve even better performance.
DB2 11 also offers improved synergy with the latest mainframe hardware, the zEC12. For example, FLASH Express and pageable 1MB frames are used for buffer pool control blocks and DB2 executable code. So keep in mind that getting to the latest hardware can help out your DB2 performance and operation!
Programmer Features in DB2
In terms of new functionality for developers, DB2 11 offers global variables (for passing data from program to program), improved SQLPL functionality, Alias support for sequence objects, improvements to Declared Global Temporary Tables (DGTTs), views on temporal data, XML improvements (including XQuery support), and a SQL Compatibility feature which can be used to minimize the impact of new version changes on existing applications.
There is also the new APREUSE(WARN) BIND option, which causes DB2 to try to reuse previous access paths for SQL statements, but does not prevent the bind (or rebind) when access paths cannot be reused.
DBA Features in DB2
DB2 11 also offers many new in-depth technical and DBA-related features too. Probably the most important, and one that impacts developers too, is transparent archiving using DB2’s temporal capabilities. If you understand the DB2 10 temporal capabilities, setting up transparent archiving is very similar.
Another notable feature that will interest many DBAs is the ability to use SQL to query more DB2 Directory tables. And the IBM DB2 Utilities are enhanced with better performance and improved capabilities. For example, REORG offers additional automation, RUNSTATS and LOAD offload more work to zIIP processors, REPAIR offers a new DB2 Catalog repair capability, and DSNACCOX delivers improved performance.
DB2 11 also delivers improved online schema change functionality, including the long-awaited DROP COLUMN capability, which can be used to clean up unused columns in DB2 tables. Additionally, DB2 11 online schema change supports online altering of limit keys, which enables DBAs to change the limit keys for a partitioned table space without impacting data availability. And DB2 11 also removes some earlier administrative restrictions on administering tables with pending changes.
Other new DBA capabilities include better control over externalizing Real Time Statistics, better coordination between DB2 and RACF, improved capabilities for column MASKs and PERMISSIONs, 2GB frame size for very large buffer pools, and faster CASTOUT and improved RESTART LIGHT capability for Data Sharing environments.
Analytics and Big Data Features in DB2
DB2 11 also boasts new features for supporting big data and analytical processing. Probably the biggest is the ability to support Hadoop access. DB2 11 can be used to enable applications to easily and efficiently access Hadoop data sources using the generic table UDF capability to create a variable shape of UDF output table. Doing so allows access to BigInsights, which is IBM’s Hadoop-based platform for big data. As such, you can use JSON to access Hadoop data via DB2 using the UDF supplied by IBM BigInsights.
DB2 11 also adds new SQL analytical extensions, including GROUPING SETS, ROLLUP, and CUBE. And a new version (V3) of IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) is part of the mix too. IDAA V3 brings about improvements such as 1.3 PB of data storage, Change Data Capture support to capture changes to DB2 data and propagate them to IDAA as they happen, additional SQL functions for IDAA queries, and Work Load Manager integration.
Take Some Time to Learn What DB2 11 Can Do
DB2 11 for z/OS brings with it a bevy of interesting and useful new features. They range the gamut from development to administration to performance to integration with big data. Now that DB2 11 is out in the field and available for organizations to start using it, the time has come for all DB2 users to take some time to learn what DB2 11 can do.
Craig S. Mullins, president and principal consultant with Mullins ?Consulting, Inc., has more than 2 decades of experience in all facets of data management and database systems development. You can reach him via his website at www.craigsmullins.com.