Archive for the ‘DBA’ Category
The 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.
It has just been announced that next year’s International Informix Users Group (IIUG) conference will be held in San Diego, California on 22 – 25 April. The IIUG Conference continues to offer incredible value. Sign up soon to get the $695 early bird rate, and if you sign up for free IIUG membership, you even get $100 off that rate. $595 for a conference of this length and quality is amazing value. But you’re going to have to act fast to get this discount rate!
And, don’t forget that San Diego is such a great city to visit. Not only is it a wonderful city with an ideal year-round climate. But it also has fantastic array of attractions like the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, LEGO land, and the Zoo Safari Park (a personal favorite).
I’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.
Here are my personal top 10 reasons to attend the upcoming International DB2 User Group (IDUG) conference in Prague, Czech Republic this November.
- 100+ of the best technical sessions about DB2, featuring IBM developers, industry experts, and users like you
- IBM keynote on the future of relational database software
- Official IBM certification tests at no additional cost
- Pre-conference seminars on preparing for DB2 certification tests at no additional cost
- Pre-conference workshop on preparing for DB2 10 for z/OS upgrades at no additional cost
- Conference exhibit hall with the world’s top DB2 tool vendors, consulting firms and solution providers
- Post-conference day-long educational seminars
- It’s a great way to meet and get to know fellow DB2 users
- It’s a great way to speak directly with the DB2 developers
- 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.
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.
Wikipedia defines autonomic computing as “the self-managing characteristics of distributed computing resources, adapting to unpredictable changes whilst hiding intrinsic complexity to operators and users”. Both IBM and Oracle have added autonomic computing features to their database software products. On 29 September 2011, IBM will host a Chat with the Labs webcast where the hosts will compare the autonomic computing features of IBM DB2 and Oracle Database in the following areas:
- Memory Management
- Storage Management
- Utility throttling
- Automatic Configuration
- Automatic Maintenance
You can sign up for the webcast at: DB2 and Oracle Database: An Autonomic Computing Comparison.
The deadline for submitting proposals for presentations at next year’s DB2 Tech Conference in Denver, Colorado is fast approaching. Make sure to get your proposals in by 14 October 2011. You can submit your proposals on the International DB2 User Group Web site at Call For Presentations. If you look at the Web site, you will see the list of potential topics, as well as guidelines for the presentations. Essentially, the organizers are looking for presentations on almost every aspect of working with DB2. If you have experiences to share, presenting at the conference is a great way to get a complimentary pass to the conference.
A few years ago, I remember hearing the phrase “set it, and forget it” in relation to Informix. That catch-phrase has stuck with me ever since. Initially, I was intrigued when I heard the phrase simply because I would not have associated the implied level of reliability unless the database was running on a mainframe. But when I talked with Informix users, they were quite passionate in their agreement with this catch-phrase.
Informix has had an interesting history. At one time, it was going toe-to-toe with Oracle Database for database supremacy in distributed environments like Unix. Some would argue that, at the time, Informix was in a good position to win that war. Then the Informix train derailed. But curiously, it wasn’t technology reasons that took Informix off track. It was a series of corporate governance catastrophes combined with a series of poorly chosen and poorly executed acquisitions that stalled the Informix momentum. The Informix technology was never called into question. However, its corporate governance certainly was.
Informix eventually found a home at IBM. And IBM, with its technology-friendly approach to product development, is a good home for a product like Informix. At IBM, Informix is assured of continued investment in its product features. (IBM’s focus on corporate-level advertising, rather than product-level advertising, has left some Informix advocates unhappy with the levels of awareness for Informix, but that is another matter that has been dealt with at length elsewhere in the blogosphere.) One thing that cannot be questioned, however, is the continued investment in the Informix product features. In fact, in the time since the last major release of Oracle Database in 2007, IBM Informix has had two releases (code named Cheetah2 and Panther). In these releases, IBM Informix has added major new features like Flexible Grid, the Warehouse Accelerator, Storage Provisioning, Selective Row-Level Audit, Trusted Context, and more. It has also integrated the Genero feature into the product (for 4GL development). It is a strong testament to Informix that these features have been added during a time when we have seen few new features in Oracle Database.
Through all of its storied history, the Informix technology continues to be alive and well. And users continue to love Informix for its technology, performance, ease-of-use, and reliability. As I’ve said in the past, Informix doesn’t have users, it has fans. And now, the catalyst for this blog post… I recently encountered very tangible evidence of this “set it, and forget it” mantra for Informix in the following Facebook exchange where users share their availability “war stories”. It makes for fascinating reading for DataBase Administrators (DBAs) who work on troublesome systems.
After spending some time reading about Apache Hadoop, I decided it was time to get my hands dirty. So this weekend, I took the Hadoop Fundamentals 1 self-paced course on BigDataUniversity.com. It is a really nice way to play with Hadoop. You have the choice of downloading the software and installing it on your computer, working with a VMware image, or working in the cloud. I chose the option of working in the cloud. Within a few minutes I had a Amazon AWS account, a RightScale account, and the software installed in the cloud. By the way, although the course is FREE, I did incur some cloud-related usage charges. It amounted to approximately $1 in Amazon charges for the time it took me to complete the course.
If you are curious about Hadoop, I’d recommend this course. I’m eagerly anticipating the availability of the follow-on Hadoop course…
Here is a video where Philip Howard, Research Director at Bloor Research, evaluates performance, scalability, administration, and cost considerations for IBM Smart Analytics System and Oracle Exadata [for data warehouse environments]. This video is packed with great practical advice for evaluating these products.
Philip Howard, Research Director at Bloor Research, recently evaluated the performance, scalability, administration, and cost considerations for the leading integrated systems from IBM and Oracle for OnLine Transaction Processing (OLTP) environments. Here is a summary of his conclusions:
And here is a video with his evaluation. It is packed with practical advice regarding storage capacity, processing capacity, and more.
Noel Yuhanna is one of the more prominent names in the database software industry. He is the principal analyst covering database software at Forrester. Here’s a 12-minute video where Noel describes his view on the most commonly used strategies for lowering your database-related costs. Topics include virtualized infrastructure, database compatibility layers, database-as-a-service, database compression, database sub-setting, and administration automation. This video is packed with interesting information. I hope you enjoy!
The International DB2 User Group (IDUG) and IBM are offering a complimentary workshop for DB2 for z/OS clients who are planning to migrate to DB2 10. This workshop will help attendees maximize the business benefits and cost savings associated with moving to DB2 10; it will also ensure that they are adopting IBM best practices when doing so. The workshop is being offered immediately prior to the IDUG DB2 Tech Conference EMEA in Prague. Seats are limited, so make sure to sign up soon! The details are:
Date: 13th November 2011
Time: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: IDUG DB2 Tech Conference EMEA in Prague
Link: DB2 10 Migration Planning Workshop
If you are an Oracle Database DBA who is going to Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco this year, you should check out a free training course from IBM. Immediately before the conference, we are offering a free hands-on course that is designed to help people with Oracle Database skills learn DB2. Of course, because DB2 now supports so many Oracle Database-like features, it is much easier for Oracle professionals to work with DB2. Not only does the course discuss the differences between the products, but it also gives you hands-on experience with DB2. This is a great opportunity. It is an easy and affordable way to expand your skills/resume to include DB2. You’re going to San Francisco anyway, so all you have to do is get your employer to spring for a couple of additional hotel nights. There’s even an opportunity to take a free official certification test as part of the course. The course is two days long, and takes place on Friday 30 Sept and Sat 01 Oct in San Francisco. To learn more and register, please go to www.ibm.com/db2workshop.
Anyone who has spent any length of time around IT will have encountered their fair share of shameful vendor-sponsored studies. It is an unfortunate reality of the over-aggressive marketing that sometimes comes to the fore. In my opinion, a recent study from ORC International that was commissioned by Oracle is one of the most worthless vendor-sponsored studies that I have ever seen.
Please understand that I, as someone working with DB2, have a natural bias against Oracle. Please also understand that the product I work on is presented in an unfavorable light in this study. That being said, I think I have reasonable grounds for my position. Please let me know if you agree or disagree. And, by the way, I am open to an equally critical examination of any vendor-sponsored studies that I commission.
The study in question is titled Database Manageability and Productivity Cost Comparison Study: Oracle Database 11g Release 2 vs. IBM DB2 Enterprise 9.7. It claims that database administrators can perform administrative tasks in 43% less time and with 45% fewer steps in Oracle Database 11g when compared with IBM DB2 9.7. This is actually the fifth such study commissioned by Oracle. The original study was written by Rauch Associates, then the Edison Group wrote the next three instances of the study, and now the latest installment comes from ORC International.
The first thing I’d like to point out is that the methodology for this report is overly simplistic, and could be prone to incorrect conclusions. It uses two metrics: the amount of time it takes a DBA to perform a task, and the number of steps involved in performing a task.
Of course, when you think about the time measurements, you’ve got to wonder about the relevant levels of experience of the DBAs used for the tests. This metric is, as you can imagine, subject to wild disparity. In order to put this metric into perspective, we need to know the experience levels of the DBAs involved. Without this information, the time measurements are incomplete. Even with this information, the time measurements are still subject to question, given the inexact nature of human experience levels and human ability.
And it goes without saying that a simple count of the number of steps needed to complete a task is an overly simplistic metric. For instance, when creating a tablespace in Oracle Database, there is a single screen with a number of settings for creating a tablespace. There is little or no on-screen guidance, and no context-sensitive help for the settings. Even though this is a usability nightmare, this would count as a single step. On the other hand, in DB2 you have the option of using a nice 7-screen wizard with lots of great context-sensitive help. Is this one step, or seven steps? You can quickly see that a simple count of the number of steps is simply not reliable.
To compound matters, the logic also appears to be flawed. The study goes to great lengths to construct the framework for the tasks that will be compared. They claim that “DBAs were interviewed about the amount of time they typically spent in each of the four areas of study to determine the weighted workload value for each subject area, and multiple database disciplines were chosen, including 24x7x365 production DBAs as well as application and development DBAs“. The upshot of all those interviews is that 45% of a DBAs time is spent with Performance and Tuning Tasks. I don’t think this is an unreasonable estimation of the amount of time, especially in Oracle Database environments. However, the interesting thing is that there are three tasks in the Performance and Tuning section, and two of those require 0 steps and 0 time for Oracle Database. This area where DBAs report that they are spending 45% of their time requires only 2 steps and 8 seconds across all three tasks in an Oracle Database environment. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something doesn’t add up here. Not only does this supposedly time-consuming set of tasks take almost no time and effort, but this relative disparity is then weighted heavier than everything else in the findings. As if the flawed methodology was not enough, this flawed logic makes the findings even more questionable.
As I mentioned earlier, this study is essentially an updated version of the study from Edison that compared Oracle 11g and DB2 9.5. Both studies essentially use the same methodology. The primary difference is that this latest study uses the current versions of the products. But if you compare the two studies, you will notice something very mysterious. In several cases, DB2 now has a higher complexity score, even though the same interfaces are available. For example, in the previous report from Edison, creating a table took 17 steps in Oracle Database and 5 steps in DB2. Now, mysteriously, it takes 17 steps in Oracle Database and 17 steps in DB2. How can Oracle and ORC International explain this fact? Why does something that had a complexity score of 5, now suddenly have a complexity score of 17?
Is this an Apples-to-Apples Comparison?
It is also interesting to note that this study takes advantage of Oracle’s add-on products that must be separately purchased (namely, the Diagnostic and Tuning Packs). However, they do not do the same for DB2 (in particular, they do not use IBM Optim Performance Manager or DB2 Recovery Expert). Instead, they use the deprecated DB2 Control Center. Why did they choose to perform tasks only with a subset of the tools available to DB2 DBAs, yet they include extra charge products for the Oracle tasks?
And a Suspicious Twist
And the final thing I’d like to draw your attention to is the “Out of the box installation” step. Notice that the DBA performing the tests encountered a bug that elevated the DB2 complexity score from 1 up to a whopping 15. The study states that they encountered JR28800. However, the IBM support site states that this bug was resolved in DB2 8.1 Fixpack 17. How is it possible that they ran into a problem in DB2 9.7 that was resolved in 8.1 Fixpack 17? Did Oracle and ORC International really use the current version of DB2, or did they use a version that is so old that it is no longer even in service?
There is a Better Way
The good news is that there is a better methodology for comparisons like this. It was developed by researchers looking for a general way to determine time and labor costs associated with IT systems. They presented their findings at the 10th IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management 2007 in a paper titled Predicting Labor Cost through IT Management Complexity Metrics. It would be very interesting if Oracle were to use these more accurate and objective complexity metrics, rather than their own suspiciously rudimentary measures. If they did, they may find that the results are closer to the finding in the study covered in the Comparing Common DBA Tasks for IBM DB2 and Oracle Database post, where DB2 is shown to be clearly superior.
Let’s Hear from Actual Users of both Products
By now, you’ve probably had your fill of hearing about vendor-sponsored studies. Let’s hear from people who switched from Oracle Database to DB2, and are willing to go on record with their experiences:
“The total cost of ownership with DB2 running on IBM systems is almost half the cost of Oracle Database on Sun systems. With DB2, our current DBAs will be able to support more applications and more users.”
- Anuprita Daga, Chief Manager, IT, Reliance Life Insurance
“Our IT team now has more time to work on other value-added tasks due to DB2 self-tuning properties and the seamless integration with the SAP software.”
- Tom DeJuneas, IT manager at Coca-Cola Bottling Co Consolidated
“DB2 requires less attention from the Basis DBAs than Oracle”
- Andrew Juarez, Lead SAP Basis Administrator at Coca-Cola Bottling Co Consolidated
“We switched from Oracle Database to IBM DB2 and cut our data management costs in half, while improving performance and reliability of business applications.”
- Sandro Reátegui, Systems Architect, Banco de Crédito del Peru
“Data administration costs have also decreased. DB2 automates many tasks, such as memory allocation, storage management and business policy maintenance, freeing the company’s database administrators to focus on new projects.”
- Sergey Golubev, Head of IT Maintenance and Networking Department, JSC Rietumu Banka