Tuesday, December 03, 2019

A Guide to Db2 Application Performance for Developers: A Holiday Discount!

Regular readers of my blog know that I have written a couple of Db2 books, including DB2 Developer's Guide, which has been in print for over 20 years across 6 different editions. But you may not be aware that I recently wrote a new Db2 book, this time focusing on the things that application programmers and developers need to do to write programs that perform well from the very start. This new book is called A Guide to Db2 Application Performance for Developers.

You see, in my current role as an independent consultant that focuses on data management issues and involves a lot of work with Db2, I get to visit a lot of different organizations... and I get to see a lot of poorly performing programs and applications. So I thought: "Wouldn't it be great if there was a book I could recommend that would advise coders on how to ensure optimal performance in their code as they write their Db2 programs?" Well, now there is... 
A Guide to Db2 Application Performance for Developers.

This book is written for all Db2 professionals, covering both Db2 for LUW and Db2 for z/OS. When there are pertinent differences between the two it will be pointed out in the text. The book’s focus is on develop­ing applications, not database and system administration. So it doesn’t cover the things you don’t do on a daily basis as an application coder.  Instead, the book offers guidance on application devel­opment procedures, techniques, and philosophies for producing optimal code. The goal is to educate developers on how to write good appli­cation code that lends itself to optimal performance. 

By following the principles in this book you should be able to write code that does not require significant remedial, after-the-fact modifications by performance ana­lysts. If you follow the guidelines in this book your DBAs and performance analysts will love you!

The book does not rehash material that is freely available in Db2 manuals that can be downloaded or read online. It is assumed that the reader has access to the Db2 manuals for their environment (Linux, Unix, Windows, z/OS).

The book is not a tutorial on SQL; it assumes that you have knowledge of how to code SQL statements and embed them in your applications. Instead, it offers advice on how to code your programs and SQL statements for performance.

What you will get from reading this book is a well-grounded basis for designing and developing efficient Db2 applications that perform well. 

OK, you may be saying, but what about that "Holiday Discount" you mention in the title? Well, I am offering a discount for anyone who buys the book before the end of the year (2019). There are different discounts and codes for the print and ebook versions of the book:

  • To receive a 5% discount on the print version of the book, use code 5poff when you order at this link.
  • To receive $5.00 off on the ebook version of the book, user code 5off when you order at this link.
These codes only work on the Bookbaby site. You can, of course, buy the book at other book stores, such as Amazon, at whatever price they are currently charging!

Happy holidays... and why not treat the programmer in your life to a copy of A Guide to Db2 Application Performance for Developers?  They'll surely thank you for it.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving 2019

Just a quick post today to wish all of my readers in the US (and everywhere, really) a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a day we celebrate in the USA by spending time with family, eating well (traditionally turkey), and giving thanks for all that we have and hold dear.

Oh... and also for watching football!

May all of you reading this have a warm and happy Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by your family and loved one.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Db2 12 for z/OS Function Level 506

Late last month, October 2019, IBM introduced a new function level, FL506, for Db2 12 for z/OS.  There are two significant impacts of this new function level:
  • Alternative function names support
  • Support for implicitly dropping explicitly created table spaces
The first impact, support for additional, alternative names for some existing Db2 built-in functions, was added is to improve compatibility across the Db2 product line. It is basically just a new way to refer to existing functionality, an alternative syntax, if you will. The following chart outlines the existing and new FL506 alternative syntax.

Table 1. Alternative Syntax for Function Names in FL506        
Existing Function Name
New Alternative Syntax Name

Support for these alternative spelling of built-in function names should make it easier to support applications across multiple members of the Db2 family where support already exists for these spellings. Of course, you may run into issues if you used any of the new spellings in your existing applications, for example as variable names.

The other significant feature of FL506 is support for implicitly dropping explicitly created universal table spaces when a DROP TABLE statement is executed. Prior to FL506 dropping a table that resides in an explicitly created table space does not drop the table space.

If you use vendor tools that manage and generate scripts for DDL changes, they need to be modified to support FL506. If not, they could produce -204 SQL codes when the generated DDL is executed if the DDL contains a DROP TABLESPACE statement. The table space will have already been implicitly dropped and trying to drop a table space that does not exist will throw an error. Be sure to discuss this with your tools vendor before migrating to FL506 to understand the cendor’s support timeline or if they have a workaround.


IBM is using function levels to deliver significant new capabilities for Db2 12 for z/OS. It is important for you and your organization to keep up-to-date on this new functionality and to determine where and when it makes sense to introduce it into your Db2 databases and applications.

Also, be aware that if you are not currently running at FL505, moving to FL506 activates all earlier function levels. You can find a list of all the current function levels here.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Have You Considered Speaking at the IDUG Db2 Technical Conference? You should!

The 2020 North American Db2 Technical Conference is being held in Dallas, TX the week of June 7th. And the call for papers is still open and IDUG is looking for Db2 folks who want to share their experiences with Db2. You can talk about a project you worked on, an experience you had tuning or optimizing your Db2 databases and applications, your experience implementing a new version or funtion level, how your team uses any Db2 feature or capability, or really, anything related to your experience with Db2.

Speaking at a user group is a good way to expand your contacts and develop additional personal interaction skills. And I have also found it to be a good way to increase my technical knowledge and skills. Sure, as the presenter you are sharing your knowledge with the audience, but it always seems like I expand my knowledge and way of thinking about things when I deliver a presentation. Either because of questions I receive, or because putting the presentation together made me stop and think about things in different ways.

And if you are accepted to speak your attendance at the conference is complimentary!

Putting together an abstract is not that difficult at all. You just need to complete a bit of biographical information about yourself, select a category for your presentation, provide an overview of your topic, and offer up a bulleted list of 5 objectives. The site guides you through submitting all of these things at this link.

Speaking at a conference can be a very rewarding experience... and once you start doing it, you'll want to do it again and again. So go ahead. Click here and submit your abstract and I hope I'll see you in Dallas in June 2020!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

See You in Rotterdam... at the IDUG Db2 Tech Conference

Next week the 2019 IDUG EMEA Db2 Tech Conference is coming to Rotterdam and I am looking forward to being there. This year’s event is being held the week of October 20-24, 2019. I hope you’ve already made your plans to be there, but if you haven’t there’s still time to get your manager’s approval, make travel plans, and be where all the Db2 folks will be the end of October.

If you’ve ever attended an IDUG conference before then you know how much useful information you can learn at the event. IDUG offers phenomenal educational opportunities delivered by IBM developers, vendor experts, users, and consultants from all over the world. There will be a slew of informative technical sessions on all of the latest and greatest Db2 technologies and features. 

And let's not forget the exhibit hall (aka Solutions Center) where vendors present and demo their products that can help you manage Db2 more effectively. It is a good place to learn about new technology solutions for Db2, but also to hang out and meet with IBMers, consultants, and your peers.

If you have any doubts whether there will be something worthwhile for you there just take a look at this packed agenda! One of the conference highlights is always the great keynote session. This year's will be delivered by Al Martin, IBM VP of Development for Db2 Z and Warson Tool. He will talk about business and strategy for data and AI, highlighting how data is the foundation for AI. Should be informative and entertaining!

What Am I Up to at IDUG?

As usual, I will be busy at the conference. I will be arriving early into Rotterdam so I can get over the jet lag and then participate in some pre-conference meetings on Sunday. 

There are a couple of opportunities for you to stop by and say "Howdy!" to me, and I hope you will take advantage of them. On Tuesday, at 3:20 PM, I will be delivering a vendor-sponsored presentation (or VSP) for InfotelThis presentation, titled Improving Db2 Application Quality for Optimizing Performance and Controlling Costs. My portion of the presentation focuses on the impact of DevOps on database; it will be followed up by Colin Oakhill of Infotel-Insoft, who will talk about how their SQL quality assurance solutions can aid the DevOps process for Db2 development.

Additionally, Tueday evening I'll be spending some time in the booth with Infotel. So if you have any questions we didn’t answer in the VSP, you can ask us at the Infotel booth. Be sure to stop by and say hello, take a look at Infotel’s SQL quality assurance solutions for Db2 for z/OS, and register to win one of 2 of my Db2 application performance  books that will be raffled off. If you win, be sure to get me to sign your copy!

A Guide to Db2 Performance for Application Developers

Just Look at All That IDUG Has to Offer!

You can go to free complimentary workshops and hands-on labs being held throughout the duration of the conference. These half-day and full-day sessions are packed full of useful information that you can take home and apply to your Db2 environment. And this year there are sessions on Db2 migration, Db2 and the cloud, problem determination, machine learning, Zowe, and more. So be sure to track down the workshops that you want to attend and register for them before they fill up!

If you are looking for Db2 certification then IDUG is the place to be! All IDUG attendees can recive two complimentary certification coupons to take any IBM certification exams (to be completed at your leisure, as long as they are used before June 30, 2020).

And don't miss the Expert Panels where IBMers and other subject matter experts answer your questions. There are three separate panels this year covering Db2 for z/OS, Db2 for LUW and Application Development.

Finally, be sure that you download the mobile app for the conference to help you navigate all the opportunities available to you! Armed with the mobile app you’ll get daily intel on what’s happening at the conference.

Justifying Your Attendance

Finally, if you need any help justifying your attendance at this year’s IDUG event, just use this justification letter as your template to create an iron-clad rationale for your boss.

The Bottom Line

The IDUG Db2 Tech Conference is the place to be to learn all about Db2 from IBMers, gold consultants, IBM champions, end users, ISVs, and more. With all of this great stuff going on this year in Rotterdam, why would you want to be any place else!?!?