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The Evolution of DB2 for z/OS Optimization

DB2 for z/OS Optimization Service Center addresses critical problem areas.

DB2 for z/OS Optimization Service Center addresses critical problem areas.

Since the introduction of the cost-based optimizer in the initial release of DB2* in 1983, IBM has continually evolved optimization technology. In recent years, DB2 for z/OS* has extended support for complex relational data structures such as star schemas as well as access path visualization with Visual Explain. In DB2 for z/OS, Version 8, Statistics Advisor was added to Visual Explain to provide a rich client for tuning queries. IBM plans to continue to extend optimization through expert based query and workload analysis, server enhancements and a workload history warehouse.

Over the next 10 years, the role of the database administrator (DBA) will change significantly, as they find themselves in a dynamic environment where maintaining quality of service (QoS) becomes more and more mission critical across the enterprise and total cost of ownership (TCO) increasingly impacts the enterprise bottom line. The focus on database availability while minimizing costs will only increase in coming years, so DBAs will need to fundamentally change how they work to keep pace.

DB2 for z/OS is an ideal offering to fill future enterprise QoS requirements. Over the 20-year product evolution, DB2 for z/OS has been a trailblazer for providing reliability, availability and serviceability. However, DB2 for z/OS will face increasing TCO challenges during the next decade and must address these challenges as a top priority to maintain online transaction processing (OLTP) leadership and develop new markets.

Total Cost of Ownership

TCO can be broken down into hardware, software and people costs. Ten years ago, just less than half of mainframe expenditures were for hardware costs, while the people costs represented about a quarter of the total cost. Today, that position is shifting, with people costs representing more than a third of total costs while hardware costs now represent about a fifth. This trend of increasing people costs with decreasing hardware costs is also reflected in both the UNIX* and Intel* platforms. Clearly, addressing the people cost side of the equation will contribute the largest TCO impact.

DB2 for z/OS faces an additional challenge in declining z/OS skills. Today, more than half of z/OS professionals have more than 20 years of experience on the platform while nearly a quarter have 15 to 20 years. Considering that it takes more than five years to develop expert z/OS skills, there won't be enough z/OS professionals to fill the gap left when the current experts start to retire. Supporting industry standards for DB2 for z/OS application development addresses part of the problem, but specialized z/OS DBA skill requirements remain a challenge.

Quality of Service

A future challenge to QoS will also emerge over the years. As large enterprises grow through mergers and acquisitions, enter into new markets and maintain a true global presence, the complexity of managing and tuning the various workloads will increase dramatically and may outpace the ability of humans to manage it all. Although DB2 for z/OS has excellent scalability, people are expected to become the limiting factor. Any initiative to reduce TCO must also address the growing management and tuning complexities.

Nowhere do the rising people costs, declining skills and increasing complexity impact more than for the DB2 for z/OS DBA. Some of the challenges that current and future DBAs will face include:

  • Reacting to QoS situations such as a high priority query that has exceeded its service goals.
  • Assisting application developers in designing and deploying new applications.
  • Monitoring existing workloads to optimize query performance as needed.

Jay Bruce is a manager in DB2 for z/OS Development.


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