Tuesday, March 14, 2006

DB2 Versions, Service, and Such

Keeping up-to-date with the latest and greatest DB2 versions and functionality can be a time-consuming task. Every 18 to 36 months IBM announces a new version of DB2 with even more features and functionality than ever before.

DB2 will soon celebrate its 25th anniversary. The basis for DB2 began with IBM’s System R research project. In 1982, IBM delivered SQL/DS on VM and VSE, and then a year later in 1983, IBM released DB2 for MVS Version 1. Through subsequent versions and releases IBM has improved the functionality and performance of DB2.

Functionality aside, though, it can be difficult to keep track of new DB2 versions. Questions like “What version has which feature?”, “How much longer will IBM support the DB2 version we are running?”, and “When should we begin to migrate to a new versions… and which one?” are very common in this day and age of rapid technology change. Let’s examine some of these questions.

First of all, we need to understand some basic terminology: “withdrawal from marketing” and “withdrawal from service.” When IBM withdraws a product from marketing the product will no longer be advertised or sold by IBM; but IBM will continue to service and support customers. When IBM withdraws a product from service you will no longer be able to get technical support for that product… unless you negotiate extended service (at an extended price) with IBM.

So, the current version of DB2 for z/OS is Version 8 and it has been available for just over 2 years now. And it seems that the announcement of the next version of DB2 is imminent, what with some of the Vnext presentations IBMers are delivering.

But the big question these days, for most shops, is not the next version, but the current version. Most DB2 users are still running Version 7, but they will need to migrate to Version 8 soon. If you are running an earlier version of DB2 (than V7) you really should waste no time in getting to V7 – not only is it a solid release, but you’ll need to start worrying about V8 soon because the projected end of service date for DB2 Version 7 is September 2007.

You can keep an eye on the current versions of DB2 that are available by bookmarking this link http://www.ibm.com/software/data/db2/zos/support/plc/. IBM keeps this information up-to-date regarding the end of marketing and end of service dates for DB2 versions.

The bottom line, of course, is that more functionality is available to you by keeping up-to-date with the latest DB2 version. But issues such as rapid versioning, complexity, difficulty of migration, and managing new versions can make keeping up-to-date difficult. And diligence is required to keep everything straight. At least we have a lot of information available to us:

Good luck with DB2…

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