Exploiting recent hardware enhancements that IBM added into its System z mainframe servers, enterprise software provider BMC has updated its line of performance tuning products to help customers get more from the latest version of the DB2 database.
BMC has upgraded 23 of its mainframe service management applications so that they will support version 10 DB2 databases running on System z9 and z10 mainframe servers, noted Robin Reddick, BMC director of marketing for mainframe service management.
"Customers want to move to DB2 version 10 more quickly than they have wanted to for past releases of DB2 because of IBM's promise of cost reductions," Reddick said.
Recent System z servers have Integrated Information Processors (zIIPs), co-processors that can take over some of the processing from the main CPU, saving money for customers paying for their systems by MIPS (million instructions per second).
When IBM introduced version 10 of DB2 for z/OS in 2010, it promised customers that upgrading to this version would result in an automatic performance improvement of 10%, thanks in part to DB2's use of these co-processors. Even greater gains in performance would be possible, IBM promised, if the customer would be willing to do some fine-tuning of the system.
These BMC packages, some of which also use the zIIP co-processors, will help customers do this fine-tuning, Reddick said.
Among the packages that have been updated include BMC SQL Performance for DB2, BMC System Performance for DB2, BMC Database Administration for DB2, BMC Database Performance for DB2, and BMC Recovery Management for DB2.
For instance, SQL Performance for DB2, which roots out resource-hogging SQL queries, has been rewritten to run on the zIIP processor. "Of the tools a customer can have, typically the tuning and monitoring products have the highest overhead" for the CPU, Reddick said.
By moving the software to the zIIP processor, customers can run the product without using any of the CPU's main resources.
One BMC customer that may take advantage of the new set of tools is the Florida Hospital. The hospital system has about 42 back-office and medical applications relying on an instance of DB2 running on a Z-series mainframe. The database gets about 400 million calls a day.
The hospital is about to upgrade to DB2 version 10. A data warehouse will be the first application to use the new database. DB2 supports time-based data, which will allow the hospital to ask point-in-time questions.
"We can get day-by-day answers, which we never had the ability to do before," said Bob Goodman, the hospital's senior database administrator.
With the installation, the hospital will also deploy a number of the newly upgraded BMC products, such as MainView for DB2.
MainView will come in handy for troubleshooting the data warehouse, Goodman said. The data warehouse will field a lot of dynamic queries, or unique queries that haven't already been optimized for repeated use. "MainView gives the ability to actually look at dynamic SQL," Goodman said.
He explained that MainView, unlike most monitors he has worked with in the past, offers the option of saving a history of SQL calls and the paths they took through the system.
"With MainView, we can go back to [an earlier] connection and look at it. That is a productivity aid for us. We used to have to chase after and figure out what is wrong. Now we can see it," he said.