Tuesday, March 6, 2012

KEEP “REALLY” CURRENT

For this post, it is my pleasure to introduce a colleague and good friend Kent Milligan.

Kent is part of our DB2 for i Center of Excellence team and is a long time DB2 for i subject matter expert.

Take it away Kent...

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In Mike’s last major entry, you learned that keeping your skills and knowledge current is one of the key requirements for being a DB2 for i Champion.  I completely agree with this assertion.

The list of education venues that Mike provided primarily focus on the most important DB2 features and functions – and rightly so.  There’s not time in a single conference to cover all of the recent enhancements that have been made to DB2 for i.  This is especially true given the fact that the DB2 for i development team is continually delivering new capabilities via PTF. 

In the past, IBM has not done a good job of making the IBM i community aware of these enhancements – which is a shame, because many of these PTF enhancements can increase the performance of your systems and reduce the time it takes to implement new requirements.

To solve this problem, last year IBM created a DB2 for i Technology Updates wiki as part of the launch for the IBM i developerWorks zone.  The DB2 Technology Update wiki is updated by the IBM development team with information on new capabilities each time that a Database Group PTF is released. Anyone is able to access the wiki – however, if you have an IBM web account, then you can receive real-time automatic updates via email by subscribing to page changes with a click of a button.

I thought that IBM had done a good job of making IBM i customers aware of this new wiki.  That was until last week when I worked with a business partner in Europe who I would consider to be a DB2 for i Champion according to Mike’s definition. The partner was having some issues with SQL performance on IBM i 6.1. After analyzing performance data, I discovered that there were a significant number of SQL statements not being processed by the SQL Query Engine (SQE).

These SQL statements should have been run by SQE on their 6.1 systems as a result of a recent PTF enhancement that had been highlighted in the DB2 for i Tech Updates wiki. This enhancement enables SQE to process SQL statements that reference a logical file on the FROM clause.  Prior to this 6.1 enhancement, an SQL statement referencing a logical file could only reap the performance benefits of SQE by running with the IBM i 7.1 release.

In this situation, the partner was able to solve their SQL performance challenges by just loading the Database Group PTF documented in the wiki. Obviously, they were happy … but they could have resolved their performance issue weeks earlier by just regularly monitoring the wiki.

Make the DB2 for i Technology Updates Wiki part of your regular reading, so you don’t miss out on DB2 enhancements that can make your job easier. 

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