Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Mainframe Earnings Up Big for IBM

This week IBM announced earnings results for 2020Q2 and the company reported Systems revenues of $1.9 billion, up 6 percent, led by IBM Z, which was up 69 percent… the mainframe is a shining jewel in IBM’s earnings.

Note that the Systems category comprises IBM systems hardware and operating system software, including mainframe, Power systems, storage, etc.

Other bright spots for IBM include total cloud revenue of $6.3 billion, up 30 percent and Red Hat revenue up 17 percent.

After reporting the earnings, IBM shares rose by as much as 6 percent in extended trading on Monday due to the overall better-than-expected results.

Overall, earnings were $2.18 per share, adjusted, vs. $2.07 per share as expected by analysts.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Take Advantage of the Wealth of Information in Your Db2 Logs

The Db2 for z/OS log sometimes referred to as the transaction log, is a fundamental component of Db2 that is central to all data activity in the database management system. Every change to application data (with a few exceptions) is recorded serially in the log as the change is made. The log is a key resource for ensuring data integrity and recoverability of data. Using the logged information, Db2 can track which transaction made which changes to the database.

The log contains units of recovery, checkpoint data, control records, and other pieces of information needed to ensure that your data is successfully managed and changed appropriately. Log data is crucial for rolling back unwanted changes, recovering database objects, and resetting the database back to a particular point-in-time. 

During normal database application processing SQL inserts, updates, and deletes are executed to modify data in the database. As these database modifications are made, they are recorded in the log. The Db2 transaction log is a write-ahead log. This means that changes are made to the transaction log before they are actually made to the data in the database itself. When the database modification has been fully recorded on the log, recovery of the transaction is guaranteed. 

Periodically, a system checkpoint is taken by Db2 to guarantee that all log records and all modified database pages are written safely to disk. The frequency of database system checkpoints can be set up by the DBA using database configuration parameters – usually, checkpoint frequency is set either as a predetermined time interval or as a preset number of log records written. 

Generally, the following type of information is recorded on the database log: 
  • the beginning and ending time of each transaction
  • the actual changes made to the data and enough information to undo the modifications made during each transaction (accomplished using before and after images of the data)
  • the allocation and deallocation of database pages
  • the actual commit or rollback of each transaction
Using this data the DBMS can accomplish data integrity operations to ensure consistent data is maintained in the database. Of course, there are other “things” stored in the log, but I don’t want to get into an in-depth discussion of that. At this point, it is time to start thinking about all of the great information stored on the log, and how we can take advantage of that information to accomplish many different tasks.

Using the Db2 Log

There are many worthwhile uses for the data on the Db2 log other than the operational necessities as required by Db2 for z/OS itself. Because the log records data changes, it can aid in the delivery of data propagation, database auditing, surgically repairing changed data using undo and redo SQL, and undropping database objects. You can also use the Db2 log to report on all changes and identify erroneous changes as well as when they were made.

Of course, to use the log you need to understand the structure of the data (schema) and how it is configured. Log records are not simply laid out and it can take a long time to digest and understand the data. For this reason, many organizations look to acquire a product to deliver visibility and usage of log data.

And that brings us to UBS-Hainer’s ULT4Db2TM.  

ULT4Db2 is a powerful log analysis product that delivers multiple capabilities for DBAs to manage, control, and analyze Db2 logs. ULT4Db2 simplifies most tasks associated with the Db2 log with a user-friendly ISPF interface and comprehensive automation features. No need to understand the Byzantine layout and structure of the Db2 log because ULT4Db2 does most of the heavy lifting for you.

You can keep Db2 tables synchronized using the ULT4Db2 data propagation feature. It can be used to directly execute the same INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements against different target tables. Or you can direct ULT4Db2 to write those statements into external data sets. If your target tables are in a different database system or a platform like Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, or other DBMS, then you can change the syntax of the generated statements to suit your needs.

You can keep track of changes to sensitive information using the ULT4Db2 audit capability. Use it to track who made what change to Db2 tables, when the change was made, and what exactly was changed. You can analyze all the changes over a given period of time and filter by user name, plan name, column contents, or any other criteria.

The repair capability of ULT4Db2 makes it simple to undo a single change -- or a single transaction -- that affected one or more tables. Instead of backing out or recovering an entire database object, ULT4Db2 can create SQL statements that revert a specific change that happened at a given point-in-time. This is sometimes referred to as undo SQL. To generate undo SQL, the database log is read to find the data modifications that were applied during a given timeframe and
  • INSERTs are turned into DELETEs.
  • DELETEs are turned into INSERTs.
  • UPDATEs are turned around to UPDATE to the prior value.
This technique is also called transaction recovery. A traditional recovery specifies a database object and then lays down a backup copy of the object and reapplies log entries to recover the object to a specific, wanted point-in-time. Transaction recovery enables a user to recover a specific portion of data based on user-defined criteria. So only a portion of the data is affected. With ULT4Db2, these undo/redo statements can be written to an external dataset so that DBAs can review them first before running them as you would any other SQL statements.

And the ULT4Db2 undrop feature makes it easy to restore an object that was accidentally dropped. Restoring an object to the state before the drop operation is usually tedious and error-prone, requiring a lot of resources and extra work for DBAs. But ULT4Db2 can bring back objects that have been accidentally dropped using information from the Db2 log and existing image copy data sets. The entire process is automated and does not require manual intervention. ULT4Db2 is able to undrop databases, table spaces, tables, and indexes. All foreign keys, check constraints, and table privileges are automatically recreated as well.

ULT4Db2 can generate a variety of reports that help you keep an overview on how your tables are used. It can summarize the INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE activity for your tables by different criteria like unit-of-recovery, user name, or plan name. You can also produce a detailed report that contains each row as it was before and after each update. These are just a few of the many reports that are available using ULT4Db2.

Finally, you can automate your ULT4Db2 log analysis processes using the ISPF interface.

The Bottom Line

The Db2 for z/OS logs contain a plethora of useful data that can be exploited to better manage your Db2 environment and expose useful information for business purposes. Consider looking into a log analysis tool like ULT4Db2 to help you better control and access the large variety of useful business information embedded in your Db2 logs.