Thursday, July 17, 2014

DB2 Health Checks - Part 1

Left to their own devices, DB2 databases and applications will accumulate problems over time. Things that used to work, stop working. This can happen for various reasons including the addition of more data, a reduction in some aspect of business data, different types of data, more users, changes in busy periods, business shifts, software changes, hardware changes… you get the idea.

And there is always the possibility of remnants from the past causing issues with your DB2 environment. Some things may have been implemented sub-optimally from the start, perhaps many years ago… or perhaps more recently. Furthermore, DB2 is not a static piece of software; it changes over time with new versions, features and functionality. As new capabilities are introduced, older means of performing similar functionality become suboptimal, and in some cases, even obsolete. Identifying these artifacts can be troublesome and is not likely to be something that a DBA will do on a daily basis.

Nonetheless, the performance and availability of your DB2 environment – and therefore the business systems that rely on DB2 – can suffer if you do not pay attention to the health and welfare of your DB2 databases and applications.

Health Checking Your DB2
The general notion of a health check is well known in the IT world, especially within the realm of DB2 for z/OS. The purpose of a DB2 health check is to assess the stability, performance, and availability of your DB2 environment. Health checks are conducted by gathering together all of the pertinent details about your DB2-based systems and reviewing them to ascertain their appropriateness and effectiveness. You may narrow down a health check to focus on specific aspects of your infrastructure, for example, concentrating on just availability and performance, or on other aspects such as recoverability, security, and so on.

At any rate, scheduling regular independent reviews of your DB2 environment is an important aspect of assuring the viability and robustness of your implementation. Simply migrating DB2 applications to production and then neglecting to review them until or unless there are complaints from the end users is not a best practice for delivering good service to your business. Just like a car requires regular maintenance, so too does your DB2 environment. Regular analysis and health check with an overall goal should of identifying weaknesses and targeting inefficiencies, can save your organization time and money, as well as reduce the daily effort involved in implementing and maintaining your DB2 applications.

Think about the health of your DB2 system the same way you think about your health. A regular health check helps to identify and eliminate problems. And it helps you to perform the daily operational tasks on your DB2 databases and applications with the peace of mind that only regular, in-depth, knowledgeable analysis can deliver.

Check Back Soon
Later in this series we'll uncover more aspects of health checking and look at some software that might be able to assist. So stay tuned...

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