Another useful new feature debuting in V9 is the ability to compress indexes. We’ve been able to compress DB2 data in table spaces for a long time now, either through an exit routine or with the COMPRESS table space parameter (added in DB2 V3). But before V9 we’ve never been able to compress index data.
Why would you want to compress index data? Well, some types of applications require very large indexes on very large tables - - data warehousing applications are one good example. Sometimes, the storage required for indexes to support your data warehouse applications can exceed the storage required for the base table. So it makes sense that you might want to reduce the storage consumed by such indexes.
DB2 V9 introduces the COMPRESS parameter for indexes. You can specify COMPRESS YES (or NO) on your CREATE INDEX and ALTER INDEX statements. Index partitioning is done at the index level and cannot be performed on a partition by partition basis.
Additionally, DB2 will only compress the data in leaf pages, not in the root page and any non-leaf pages in between. This makes sense because you don’t want to incur the expense of decompressing all of these type of pages in your indexes in order to find the right leaf page range.
Index compression does not require a compression dictionary. As such, DB2 can begin to immediately compress data in the leaf pages of your newly created indexes.
Now think about what we’ve already learned for a minute. The data on the leaf page is compressed, but we will want to access it uncompressed, right? So index pages are stored on disk in a compressed format but will be expanded when read. So those 4K index pages on disk will require more than 4K when expanded. This means that compressed indexes must be defined in a larger buffer pool (8K, 16K, or 32K). Nevertheless, when you compress an index DB2 will always compress the data down into a 4K page size on disk no matter what page size you choose.
Another consideration to keep in mind is that index data is decompressed for index image copies, so a copy of an index will require more storage space than the actual index requires.
So, when you move to DB2 9 in NFM you have an additional compression decision to make: which indexes should be compressed and which should not? But it is a good thing to have more options at our disposal, especially for applications with huge indexing requirements.