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DBaaS and Streamlined Development

October 03, 2017

The term Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) can convey different things. You may think of off-premise cloud deployment of a DBMS, like IBM's Db2 on Cloud (formerly known as dashDB).

Or you may think of an on-premise deployment. Is it even possible to deploy a DBMS on-premise? Some would argue that any cloud deployment is, by definition, off-premise, but this is open for interpretation.

Whether on- or off-premise though, DBaaS is designed to provide provisioned DBMS services quickly and relatively simply. The typical consumer of these services, naturally, is the application developer. I've noted numerous times that System z developers have faced obstacles to innovating quickly, and how these barriers can spur mainframe enterprises to move to Linux, UNIX or Windows (LUW) platforms.

Of course, development timelines on the mainframe have traditionally been lengthy because of the need to maintain a secure and stable computing environment. Now though, customers need and demand both: security and stability, along with the capability to implement new applications quickly.

In recent years, IBM has developed technology to make things easier for developers as well as administrators and programmers. We've entered an age of dev/ops and Agile development which enables innovation with faster failure. (If you're not familiar with the term "faster failure," here's a good primer.) At the same time, mainframe shops are also armed with enhanced tools that are designed to automate provisioning while adhering to IT security requirements.

What's happening is important. These changes will help bring back the development of innovative applications on the mainframe, a platform that contains 80 percent of the world's corporate data.

And there's much more to come. I’m very excited to tell you that IBM is in the early stages of providing services through REST APIs that enable a standard HTTP request to provision DBMS resources. What DBMS resources do developers need? Ultimately, these services will allow you to provision a new instance of Db2 or an entire application, including middleware. You'll also be able to copy of an existing schema with data into a sandbox environment.

The goal with all these initiatives is to automate application deployments and allow for database schema changes to be made quickly, simply and securely.

The software needed to implement DBaaS is z/OSMF 2.2 along with IBM Db2 Change Management Solution Pack, including IBM Administrative Tools V11.2 with APARs PI67731, PI72396 and PI76054. TheseDb2 for z/OS fixes are also needed: PI73168 and APAR PI79222 with Db2 11, and PI73492 with Db2 12.

The implementation will consist of a client dev/ops request over REST to z/OSMF, which will make a call to Db2 admin/object compare to deploy a source Db2 object to a target Db2 Object.

Picture it: a developer has an idea on how to write a new application. He simply requests a new schema with a copy of some production data in a sandbox environment, which is created instantly. He then writes some code and, after some testing, can determine whether his idea will work. This process takes only matter of hours, rather than days or weeks.

The driver for the workflow is IBM Urban Code Deploy, which interfaces with z/OSMF and IBM Db2 Change Management Solution Pack. z/OSMF is now delivered with z/OS 2.2 and has received many enhancements over the past year. If you're not familiar with it, take some time to work with it. It is the glue in this process.

How can you see your enterprise using DBaaS? Are there other types of self services you'd like to read about? Please let me know.

Posted October 03, 2017 | Permalink

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