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!?!?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Mainframe Modernization: The Why and How

If your organization uses a mainframe or you are interested in modern mainframe computing issues, be sure to register for and join me in my webinar for GT Software, titled Mainframe Modernization: The Why and How. on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT.

 Mainframe Modernization webinar

This webinar will discuss the rich heritage of the mainframe and the value of the applications and systems that have been written over many decades. Organizations rely on these legacy systems and the business knowledge built into these applications drive their businesses.
But an application created 20 or more years ago will not be as accessible to modern users as it should be. Digital transformation that enables users to access applications and data quickly is the norm, but this requires modernizing access to the rich data and processes on the mainframe.

This presentation will expose the value proposition of the mainframe, and look at the trends driving its usage and capabilities. I will look at the IT infrastructure challenges including changing technology, cloud adoption, legacy applications, and development trends. And look at tactics to achieve mainframe modernization amid complexity and change.
So if mainframes are your thing, or you just want to learn more about the state of the modern mainframe, be sure to sign up and attend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

IBM Unleashes the z15 Mainframe

In New York City, on September 12, 2019, IBM announced the latest and greatest iteration of its Z systems mainframe computing platform, the IBM z15. And I was lucky enough to be there for the unveiling.

The official IBM announcement letter can be found here if you want to dive into the details. But before you go there, consier first reading what I have to say about it below.

Before going any further, here I am with the new z15 in New York… don’t we make a handsome couple? 

The event was held at 3 World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Ross Mauri, General Manager of IBM Z, kicked off the event extolling the unprecedented security delivered by the z15 with encryption everywhere and the data privacy passports. He claims that the IBM z15 is the most secure platform you can get, and the new capabilities back that up. Mauri also acknowledged that "there's always the next big thing in technology" but stated that "IBM is innovating and leading by anticipating customer needs to ensure the on-going relevance of the mainframe."

And there is a lot to like about the new IBM z15 platform, both for long-time users and those embracing the platform for new development. IBM is embracing the multicloud approach and reminding everybody that the mainframe is a vital component of multicloud for many organizations.

But modern infrastructure with the latest application development techniques is not as simple as throw out the old and bring in the new. I mean, let’s face it, if you have a mainframe with possibly hundreds or thousands of man years of work invested in it, are you really going to take the time to re-code all of that mission-critical work just to have it on a “new” platform? Rewriting applications that work today cannot be the priority for serious businesses! Especially when the modern mainframe is as new as it gets, runs all of that legacy code that runs your business, and also supports new cloud apps and development, too.

The IBM Z works perfectly as a part of your multicloud development strategy. The cloud promises an open, flexible world. But your most critical workloads also need to run securely and without interruption. To accomplish both objectives you must support cloud with an underlying IT infrastructure. And for Fortune 500 companies and other large organizations, the multicloud includes the mainframe as part of the enabling infrastructure.

What’s New

The new IBM z15 is housed in a convenient 19 inch rack, and that means it can be integrated into a standard rack. So you get all the benefit and strengths of the mainframe while fitting into the size expected by a standard data center.

Did you know that there are more transistors in the new IBM z15 chip than there are people in the world! Inside the IBM z15 processor chip, there are 15.6 miles of wires, 9.2 billion transistors and 26.2 billion wiring connections — all of which allow a single z15 server to process 1 trillion web transactions per day.

The mainframe is the ideal platform for many organizations. It provides the resiliency, security, and agility needed to power, secure, and integrate your hybrid cloud. And it capably, securely, and efficiently runs your transactions and the batch workload required to keep your business humming. IBM used to talk about five 9s of availability (that is 99.999%) but with the new IBM z15, IBM can deliver seven 9s (that is 99.99999%)! That is 3.16 seconds of downtime per year, or only 60.48 milliseconds of downtime per week. Now that is impressive!

The primary new features that are worth your time to investigate further, and that were highlighted by IBM at the kickoff event are:
  • Encryption everywhere which protects your data anywhere, even after it leaves your system, with new IBM Data Privacy Passports, which delivers privacy by policy.
  • Cloud native development that simplifies life for developers as they build and modernize applications using standard tools, including new support for Red Hat OpenShift. This enables you to both modernize the apps you have and to deploy new ones using the tools of your choice.
  • IBM Z Instant Recovery can reduce the impact of planned and unplanned downtime. Instant Recovery can speed the return to your pre-shutdown SLAs by up to 2x.

The flexibility of the z15 is noteworthy, too. The new IBM z15 provides the flexibility to implement 1 frame...

or up to 4 frames, as your capacity needs dictate.

And did you know it can run multiple operating systems, not just z/OS? The IBM Z platform can run z/OS, Linux on Z, z/VM, z/VSE, and z/TPF. This enables organizations to run legacy applications and modern, specialist ones using the operating system of their choice. Indeed, convenience and flexibility are hallmarks of the IBM Z platform.

The IBM z15 is a modern platform for all of your processing needs. And that is backed up not just by IBM, but also a brand new survery from BMC Software, in their 14th annual mainframe survey for 2019. The survey shows that 93% are confident in the combined long-term and new workload strength of the IBM Z platform, the strongest showing since 2013! Other highlights inlcude a majority thinking that mainframe growth will continue, along with increasing MIPS/MSU consumption... not to mention that the m
ainframe is handling increases in data volume, number of databases, and transaction volume. If you are working with mainframes in any way, be sure to check out the new BMC Mainframe Survey.

Indeed, with the new IBM z15 things are looking great for the mainframe and those that rely upon it to power their digital business.