Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Moving from IMS to Db2?

As a Db2 consultant and regular blogger I often receive questions about technical things, but also on strategy and industry trends. I try to help but I always make it clear when answering that I cannot predict the future, only make educated guesses... So with that introduction out of the way, one of the regular questions that I get involves comparing IMS to Db2, or helping to determine if it makes sense to convert from IMS to Db2. Here is the text of a recent question that was posed to me:

"My customer is wondering about the possible advantages of converting his IMS DB/DC system to IMS DC/Db2. The application currently performs well with an internal response time of less than .5 seconds on average. Even with an arrival rate of 425 full-function transactions per second, the queue count rarely goes above 10. This system typically peaks at 12.5 million transactions per twelve-hour day against HDAM and HIDAM databases totaling close to 1 terabyte. The application itself is currently a bit over seven million lines of code. Can you comment on the relative cost vs. advantage of moving an existing application from IMS DB to Db2 along with relative CPU capacity requirements?"

Here is my response:

Well, the main advantages of converting from IMS/DB to Db2 would be the better support for ad hoc query, support of standard SQL (instead of non-standard DL/1) for writing queries and a deeper pool of talent to support the Db2 environment. There are many more skilled Db2 developers out there than there are IMS techies these days. 

The primary benefit of sticking with IMS is the good and predictable performance you currently enjoy. And, of course, there would be no need to convert the database structures or the more difficult-to-achieve rewriting the necessary application code.

So, the high-level metric to keep in mind as you make your decision comes down to this: a well-designed IMS application will perform very fast, perhaps faster than a well-designed Db2 application (but that does not mean that Db2 is slow). On the other hand, it will be easier to develop applications for Db2, especially when data needs to be accessed multiple ways and in an ad hoc manner. 

I guess it boils down to this: How happy are you with the current application, are you able to support it properly and how many other IMS/DB databases do you support? If this is the last IMS/DB database and you are looking to convert away in order to rid yourself of the IMS license, then it makes sense to consider converting. But you should do a project plan and cost/benefit analysis before making your final decision (conversion can be very costly). If you have a lot of other IMS/DB databases, then don't convert to Db2 unless you cannot support the needs of your end users (management, ad hoc support, etc.) using IMS.

In terms of CPU requirements, Db2 will consume more CPU than IMS. Db2 optimizes queries internally whereas IMS programmers construct access paths to data. This additional requirement will cause Db2 to consume more CPU. But, of course, that additional CPU brings with it the enormous benefit of database optimization and better ad hoc query support.

Furthermore, if you do decide to convert from IMS to Db2, be sure to use Db2 as it was intended to be used. In other words, don't just convert segments to tables and be done. Make sure that you normalize your design and come up with a good "relational" Db2 database design. Also, be sure to train your programmers to write SQL queries. That means changing mindsets from the record-at-a-time processing of IMS to the group-at-a-time processing of Db2 and SQL.

For example, if you have master file processing logic it needs to be re-examined in Db2. Instead of open file, read record from file, use key to read record from database... you should be joining tables and reading from the join. This requires a different mindset and coding technique. 

As an additional consideration, keep in mind that Db2 is a much "newer" database technology than the hierarchical infrastructure used by IMS. So it stands to reason that newer capabilities and features will likely be implemented in Db2 before they are implemented in IMS; for example, AI and machine learning capabilities. That does not mean that IMS is obsolete, it isn't; IBM still maintains and upgrades IMS (at the time of writing, the current version is IMS 15.2 which was released for GA in March 2020).


Of course, this answer has been necessarily brief. I encourage you to read up on Db2 and understand its many differences with regard to IMS before jumping into a "go"/"no go" decision. Best of luck...

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Wishing Z Mainframe a Happy Birthday

Today, April 7, 2022, the IBM mainframe officially celebrates its 58th birthday. The IBM 360 was launched on April 7, 1964 and the world of enterprise computing has never been the same.

I'm old enough to remember in the early 1990s when Stewart Alsop of InfoWorld predicted the last mainframe would be unplugged on March 15, 1996. And ever since he made that woefully inaccurate prediction many think that the mainframe is no longer relevant. But they are wrong... Here we are, 26 years after that infamous predicted drop-dead date and the mainframe is still going strong! 

Mainframes are designed to be able to process a trillion web transactions a day with the capability to process 1.1 million transactions per second. And 70% of the Fortune 500 use mainframes!

To all of you diligent mainframe users out there, today is indeed a day to celebrate... another year has gone by, and mainframes are still here... running the world!

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

On The Road Again… IDUG North American Db2 Tech Conference 2022

Well, it looks like this year IDUG will be a live, in-person event again after a couple years of living virtually. The COVID pandemic took its toll on IT events and conferences, but I, for one, am looking forward to getting back out there and mingling – safely – with my Db2 colleagues. And the North American IDUG conference Boston this July is just the place to do it!

Yes, I know that July is still 3 months away, but it is definitely time to start making your plans now to attend this year's IDUG... because let’s face it, you probably haven’t traveled in a while so you’ll be rusty and need all the time you can get to plan effectively!  Starting now means that there’s still time to get your manager’s approval, make your travel plans, find all those suitcases you'll need that have been collecting dust, familiarize yourself with your airline's travel requirements, buy a new box of KN-95 masks, and be where all the cool Db2 folks will be this July 11-14, 2022.

If you’ve ever attended an IDUG conference before then you know why I’m excited. IDUG offers a world of 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. 

At this point, the agenda has not been set yet, but c’mon, you know it is going to be a great event. Especially with Db2 Vnext looming on the horizon, right?

So get on it and start planning to be in Boston this July. And if you need any help justifying your attendance at this year’s IDUG event, IDUG offers a handy template for creating a justification letter for your boss. You’ll need to make some changes for the 2022 event, but it is a nice starting point.

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 Boston, why wouldn't you want to be there!?!?

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Db2 User-Defined Functions (UDFs)

A user-defined function, or UDF for short, enables you to customize Db2 to your shop's requirements. It is a very powerful feature that  can be used to add procedural functionality, coded by the user, to Db2. The UDF, once coded and implemented extends the functionality of Db2 by enabling users to specify the UDF in SQL statements just like built-in SQL functions.

Additional functionality and capability aside, it can also be complex to deliver and requires detailed knowledge, additional application development skills, and extra administrative handling.

User-defined functions are ideal for organizations wishing to utilize Db2 and SQL to perform specialized, corporate routines performing business logic and data transformation.

Types of UDFs

There are two ways of creating a user-defined function: you can code your own program from scratch using a traditional programming language; or you can use an existing function as a template, of sorts.

There are two types of user-defined functions that can be written from scratch: scalar functions and table functions. A scalar function is applied to a column or expression and operates on a single value. DB2 offers multiple built-in scalar functions, each of which can be applied to a column value or expression. Examples of built-in scalar functions include LTRIM, SQRT, and SUBSTR. You can read more about Db2 built-in functions in my earlier blog post, A Quick Intro to Db2 SQL Functions.

Table functions are a different type of function that, when invoked, returns an entire table. A table function is specified in the WHERE clause of a SELECT statement taking the place of a table, view, synonym, or alias.

Scalar and table user-defined functions are referred to as external functions, because they are written and developed outside of (or external to) DB2. External UDFs must be written in a host programming language. DB2 UDB user-defined functions can be written in Assembler, C, COBOL, or PL/I.

The final type of user-defined function is a sourced function. A sourced function is based on a function that already exists, that is it can be based on a built-in function or another user-defined function that has already been created. A sourced function can also be based on an existing scalar or column function.

User-defined functions are similar in functionality to application subroutines. But user-defined functions are different because they are used inside of SQL statements. This gives them great power. A user-defined function is not a substitute for an application subroutine, subprogram, or procedure. Instead, user-defined functions are used to extend the functionality of the SQL language.

The Schema

User-defined functions, user-defined distinct types, stored procedures, and triggers all are associated with a schema. By default, the schema name is the authid of the process that issues the CREATE FUNCTION, CREATE DISTINCT TYPE, CREATE PROCEDURE, or CREATE TRIGGER statement.

You can specify a schema name when you create a user-defined function, user-defined type, or trigger. If the schema name is not the same as the SQL authorization ID, then the issuer of the statement must have either SYSADM or SYSCTRL authority, or the authid of the issuing process must have the CREATEIN privilege on the schema.

For example, the following statement creates a user-defined function named FUNCX in the schema named MYSCHEMA:


If the MYSCHEMA component was not included in the CREATE statement, then the schema would default to the authid of the person (or process) that executed the CREATE statement. In short, the schema is set to the owner of the function. If the CREATE statement was embedded in a program, the owner is the authid of the owner of the plan or package; if the statement is dynamically prepared, the owner is the authid in the CURRENT SQLID special register.

Table Functions

Table functions are different in nature than scalar functions. A table function is designed to return multiple columns and rows. In other words, the output of a table function is itself a table. An example using a table function follows:

             LOSER, LOSER_SCORE

In this case, the table function GAME_RESULTS( ) is used to return the win/loss statistics for football games. The table function can be used in SQL statements just like a regular DB2 table. The function program is designed to fill the rows and columns of the "table." The input parameter is an INTEGER value corresponding to the week the game was played; if 0 is entered, all weeks are considered. The query above would return all results where the losing team was shut out (had 0 points) during the fifth week of the season.

The following or similar CREATE FUNCTION statement could be used to define the GAME_RESULTS( ) function:

                    WINNER CHAR(20),
                    WINNER_SCORE INTEGER,
                    LOSER CHAR(20),
                    LOSER_SCORE INTEGER)
          NO SQL
      CARDINALITY 300;

The parameter identifying this as a table function is the RETURNS TABLE parameter. This parameter is used to define the columns of the table function. The function program must create these rows itself or from another data source such as a flat file.

The value supplied for the CARDINALITY parameter is only an estimate. It is provided to help Db2 optimize statements using the table function. It is possible to return more or fewer rows than is specified in CARDINALITY.

Sourced Functions 

Sourced functions are created from functions that already exist. A sourced function can be based on any existing function, whether built-in (scalar and column) or user-defined (scalar). The biggest reasons that sourced functions are created is to enable functions for user-defined distinct data types. This is required because DB2 implements strong typing. Here is an example of creating a sourced UDF:


In this example a new function, FINDWORD, is created from an existing function FINDWORDCLOB. The function finds the location of the specified word expressed as a VARCHAR(50) value in the supplied DOCUMENT. The function returns an INTEGER indicating the location of the word in the DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT is a user-defined data type based on a CLOB data type.


UDFs provide powerful functionality that can be used to customize Db2 SQL functionality and standardize your operational functtions and algorithms into your DBMS environment. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Auditing Database Access and Change: A Necessity More Than a Nicety

The increasing burden of complying with government and industry regulations imposes significant, time-consuming requirements on IT projects and applications. And nowhere is the pressure to comply with regulations greater than on data stored in corporate databases.

Organizations must be hyper-vigilant as they implement controls to protect and monitor their data. One of the more useful techniques to protect your company’s database data is through data access auditing, also known as simply database auditing. Database auditing is the process of monitoring access to, and modification of, selected database objects and resources within operational databases and retaining a detailed record of the access where that record can be retrieved and analyzed as needed.

A data access auditing capability enables companies to produce an audit trail of information with regard to their database data. This audit trail should contain information such as what database objects were impacted, who performed the operations, and when the activity occurred. A comprehensive audit trail of database operations, coupled with an analysis engine to review and analyze the audit trail allows data and security professionals as well as IT auditors to perform an in-depth analysis of access and modification patterns against data in your database systems. Only when armed with such details is it possible to comply with regulations, pass security audits, and drill down into the details to review potential vulnerabilities for effective issue resolution.

A Look at the Regulations and Requirement

A fine-grained audit trail is necessary to comply with many regulations that apply to organizations of all types.

Many of the PCI Data Security Standard requirements emphasize the importance of real-time monitoring and tracking of access to cardholder data, as well as continuous assessment of database security health status.

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, directs health care providers to protect individual’s health care information going so far as to state that the provider must be able to deliver a list of everyone who even so much as looked at their patient’s information. Could you produce a list of everyone who looked at a specific row or set of rows in any database you manage?

And then there is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) which has the goal of reducing fraud and conflicts of interest, as well as improving disclosure and financial reporting. Section 404 of the SOX Act specifies that the CFO must guarantee the accuracy of the processes used to add up the numbers; processes that access and manipulate data in a database system. As such, it is important to be able to track who changed database schemata and database data for SOX compliance

And these are only a few of the pertinent national, international, regional, and industry regulations that must be understood and complied with.

Database Access Auditing Techniques

So now that we understand why database access auditing is important, let’s take a look at how it can be accomplished. There are several popular techniques that can be deployed to audit your database structures.

The first technique is trace-based auditing, which is typically built directly into the native capabilities of the DBMS. For example, the Audit trace feature of IBM Db2 for z/OS. When an audit trace is started, the DBMS begins to cut trace records when activity occurs against audited objects (selected by DDL option). However, Db2 only captures the first read or write per unit of work, which will clearly miss activities as most UOWs encompass more than one read or write. Alternately, Db2 audit policies can be created for named tables to capture all activity, which improves the data captured, but can create an excess of audit records that need to be stored in SMF data sets.

So, there are problems with this technique including a high potential for performance degradation when audit tracing is enabled, a high probability that the database schema will need to be modified, and insufficient granularity of audit control, especially for reads.

Another technique is to scan and parse transaction logs. Every DBMS uses transaction logs to capture every database modification for recovery purposes. If you can read the log and interpret the data (which can be challenging as the data is not simple) it is possible to identify what data was changed and by which users. The biggest drawback to this technique is that database reads are not captured on transaction logs.

Additional issues with relying on log analysis for auditing data access include: it is possible to disable logging such that modification information will not be on the log and therefore not captured; performance issues scanning volumes and volumes of log files looking for only specific information to audit; and the difficulty of retaining logs over long periods for auditing when they were designed for short-term retention for database recovery.

And that brings us to the third, and preferred, method of database auditing for organizations that are serious about regulatory compliance: professional software that proactively monitors and intercepts all SQL requests as they are executed by the DBMS. It is important that all SQL access is audited by monitoring for SQL at the database level, not just by sniffing network calls. This is important because not every SQL request goes over the network, especially for the mainframe platform where much of the activity is centralized and many important business transactions never venture over an IP network (e.g., a CICS or IMS transaction accessing Db2).

Proactive intercept-based database audit monitoring does not require transaction logs, does not require database schema modification, should be highly granular in terms of specifying what to audit, and should incur only minimal overhead.

One such product that implements intercept-based auditing for Db2 database access is DBARS, which stands for “Db2 Access Recording Services,” available from ESAI Group


Using DBARS for your Db2 database auditing needs makes sense as it offers a high-speed method for intercepting all Db2 database activities, not just modifications but also all reads. Furthermore, DBARS does not rely on Db2 tracing; instead, it uses a proprietary interface to intercept all Db2 SQL statements, regardless of origin. Therefore, you can use DBARS to create audit reports of all Db2 activity. Furthermore, DBARS provides the ability to block suspicious SQL activity, giving you the ability to prevent fraudulent access attempts based on specific parameters and patterns.

As you look into your mainframe Db2 database auditing needs and compare functionality against the advice proffered in this article, you will see that DBARS offers all of the functions needed for auditing access to sensitive data in Db2 tables.

Important Features for a Database Auditing Solution

As you investigate the database access auditing requirements for your organization, you should make sure that the solutions you examine support your DBMS using intercept-based auditing, instead of the other methods.

You should also compile a list of the types of questions that you want your solution to be able to answer. A good database access auditing solution should be able to provide answers to at least the following questions:

  • Who accessed the data?
  • At what date and time was the data accessed?
  • What program or client software was used to access the data?
  • For batch mainframer users, what was the z/OS job name?
  • From what location was the request issued?
  • For distributed Db2 access, what were the names of the external server, application, and workstation?
  • What SQL was issued to access the data?
  • Was the request successful; and if so, how many rows of data were accessed or modified?
  • If the request was a modification, what data was changed? (A before and after image of the change should be accessible.)
Of course, there are numerous details that must be investigated for each of these questions. You will want to be able to review recent activities, but you will also want to be able to review actions that happened in the past, so a robust database access auditing solution should provide an independent mechanism for the long-term storage and access of audit details. It should be easy to query the audit trail, perhaps even offering canned queries for the most common types of queries. Nonetheless, the audit information should be accessible using industry-standard query tools to make it easier for auditors to customize queries as necessary.

An alerting capability is also desirable, such that when certain SQL activity is intercepted an alert is triggered to take further actions, such as recording an exception, sending information to a log, or pinging a DBA or security admin.

Advanced auditing solutions also provide the ability to proactively block suspect access to the database. For example, you may want to stop any attempted access outside of normal, scheduled programs over the weekend. At any rate, it is desirable for an auditing solution to be able to block activities based on parameters such as user name, program name, IP address, execution time, type of access, and the like. Such a capability is important because preventing fraudulent access is preferable to allowing it and reporting that it happened!

It is also important for a comprehensive database auditing solution to provide a mechanism to audit privileged users, such as DBAs and SYSADMs. Many privileged users have blanket access to all corporate data. Although they can access and modify it at their discretion, they should not be accessing and modifying production data without due cause. A database auditing solution enables organizations to implement a “trust, but verify” policy with their privileged users. This allows the administrators to retain the authority they need to be able to do their jobs, while at the same time giving the organization the peace of mind that everything the privileged users are doing is tracked for security and compliance purposes. Without a database auditing solution in place, privileged users are a potential compliance problem lurking within every database implementation.

The Benefits of a Professional Database Auditing Solution

The bottom line is that database auditing should be a crucial component of your organization’s data protection strategy. Auditing database activity is a core requirement of compliance with many government and industry regulations, but auditing is also an essential component of securing and protecting the important production data in your database systems.

Be sure to study the auditing and compliance requirements of your organization and to augment your DBMS with the appropriate tools to bolster the auditability of your databases.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Db2 DATE and TIME Arithmetic

After turning the last page on the 2021 calendar to embark on another year, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on date and time data... and how it can be used in Db2 for z/OS.

One of the most important database design decisions you will make – for Db2 or, indeed, any relational DBMS – is to use the proper data types for your columns when building tables. The data type that you choose for each column should be the one that most closely matches the domain of values that the column can be used to store.

Perhaps the most important design choice is to use the date and time data types that are available to you; for Db2 this is DATE, TIME, and TIMESTAMP. The ability to store dates as a native Db2 data type is a great advantage. If you need to store date information in your Db2 tables you should favor using the DATE data type instead of forcing a date into some other data type (such as CHAR or DECIMAL). Many a database design has been ruined (in my opinion) because somebody decided to store date data in a CHAR column.

When Db2 knows that the data should be a DATE or a TIME it can force data integrity such that no non-date/time value could ever be stored in the column. This is a big advantage, but it is not the only one. Db2 also provides numerous display formats so date and time values can be displayed in many different ways without having to store them in specific display formats.

Another big reason is that Db2 allows users to perform date/time arithmetic. So, you can easily use date columns to calculate durations or past and future dates based on a number of days, months, and years. The same type of arithmetic can be used for time and timestamp data. Just think about the application code you would have to write to manipulate and manage date/time values!

How Does Date/Time Arithmetic Work?

Db2 enables you to add and subtract DATE, TIME, and TIMESTAMP columns. In addition, you can add date and time durations to or subtract them from, such columns.

Arithmetic on date and time data is fairly straightforward. The plus (+) and minus (-) operations can be used on date and time values and durations. A duration is a number used to represent an interval of time. Db2 recognizes four types of durations.

1.       A labeled duration explicitly specifies the type of duration. An example of a labeled duration is 15 MINUTES. Labeled durations can specify the duration in years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds, or microseconds.

2.       A DATE duration is a DECIMAL(8,0) number that has the format YYYYMMDD. The YYYY represents the number of years in the duration, MM the number of months, and DD the number of days. When you subtract one date from another, the result is a date duration in this format.

3.       A TIME duration is a DECIMAL(6,0) number with the format HHMMSS. The HH represents the number of hours, MM the number of minutes, and SS the number of seconds. When you subtract one time from another, the result is a time duration in this format.

4.       A TIMESTAMP duration is more complex than date and time durations. The
TIMESTAMP duration is a DECIMAL(20,6) number having the format YYYYXXDDHHMMSSZZZZZZ. The duration represents YYYY years, XX months, DD days, HH hours, MM minutes, SS seconds, and ZZZZZZ microseconds. When you subtract a TIMESTAMP from a TIMESTAMP, you get a TIMESTAMP duration.

So, if you want to add one hour to a TIME column you can simply specify TIME_COL + 1 HOUR. Or subtract a day from a date column easily, such as DATE_COL – 1 DAY. Simple, right?

Well, the rules for date and time arithmetic are somewhat complex. Remember that only addition and subtraction can be performed on date and time data (no division or multiplication). In addition, one of the two operands must be a duration. This stands to reason. For example, two dates cannot be added together, but a duration can be added to a date. The same goes for two times.

Use date and time arithmetic with care. If you understand the capabilities and features of date and time arithmetic, you should have few problems implementing it. Keep the following rules in mind:

                  When you issue date arithmetic statements using durations, do not try to establish a common conversion factor between durations of different types. For example, the date arithmetic statement:
                  DATE(‘2014/04/03’) - 1 MONTH

              is not equivalent to the statement:
                                DATE(‘2014/04/03’) - 30 DAYS

April has 30 days, so the normal response would be to subtract 30 days to subtract one month. The result of the first statement is 2014/03/03, but the result of the second statement is 2014/03/04. In general, use like durations (for example, use months or use days, but not both) when you issue date arithmetic.

                  If one operand is a date, the other operand must be a date or a date duration. If one operand is a time, the other operand must be a time or a time duration. You cannot mix durations and data types with date and time arithmetic.

                  If one operand is a timestamp, the other operand can be a time, a date, a time duration, or a date duration. The second operand cannot be a timestamp. You can mix date and time durations with timestamp data types.

Using Date/Time Functions

Db2 also provides numerous date/time functions that can be used to simply manipulate and modify date/time values. Let’s take a look at an example.

Suppose you want to express the duration resulting from date subtraction as a total-number-of-days (exact total, and not an approximate total)? Consider this query:

     SELECT DATE ('03/01/2004') - '12/01/2003'

It returns a duration of 00000300 (that is, 3 months). And those 3 months encompass a 29-day February plus a 31-day January plus a 31-day December (total 91 days). So the answer that we want to return is 91.

The answer to this conundrum lies in using the DAYS function. The following will return the result as a number of days:

     SELECT DAYS('03/01/2004') - DAYS('12/01/2003')

This query will return to you the exact number of days between the two dates. The DAYS function converts a Db2 date or timestamp into an integer value representing one more than the number of days since January 1, 0001. So converting both dates using the DAYS function and subtracting yields the desired result.

The functions provided by Db2 that can be applied to DATE, TIME, and TIMESTAMP columns can greatly assist your development efforts when using date/time data. Chances are you will find a function to help you with your task at hand, depending on your specific needs. Consider the functions listed in the following table.

DB2 Date/Time Functions


Converts a Db2  date, time, timestamp, ROWID, floating point, integer, or decimal value to a character value.


Converts a value representing a date to a Db2 date. The value to be converted can be a Db2 timestamp, a Db2 date, a positive integer, or a character string.


Returns the day portion of a Db2 date or timestamp.


Similar to DAY except DAYOFMONTH cannot accept a date duration or time duration as an argument.


Converts a date, timestamp, or string representation of a date or timestamp into an integer that represents the day of the week. The value 1 represents Sunday, 2 Monday, 3 Tuesday, 4 Wednesday, 5 Thursday, and so on.


Converts a date, timestamp, or string representation of a date or timestamp into an integer that represents the day within the year. The value 1 represents January 1st, 2 January 2nd, and so on.


Converts a Db2 date or timestamp into an integer value representing one more than the number of days since January 1, 0001.


Returns a portion of a date or timestamp; you can use EXTRACT to slice up a date/time value into its component pieces.


Returns the hour portion of a time, a timestamp, or a duration.


Converts a Db2 date or timestamp, or character representation of a date or timestamp, into an integer value representing the number of days from January 1, 4712 BC to the date specified in the argument.


Returns the microsecond component of a timestamp or the character representation of a timestamp.


Returns the number of seconds since midnight for the specified argument which must be a time, timestamp, or character representation of a time or timestamp.


Returns the minute portion of a time, a timestamp, a character representation of a time or timestamp, or a duration.


Returns the month portion of a date, a timestamp, a character representation of a date or timestamp, or a duration.


Returns an estimate of the number of months between two expressions.


Converts a date, timestamp, or string representation of a date or timestamp into an integer that represents the quarter within the year. The value 1 represents first quarter, 2 second quarter, 3 third quarter, and 4 fourth quarter.


Returns the seconds portion of a time, a timestamp, a character representation of a time or timestamp, or a duration.


Converts a value representing a valid time to a Db2 time. The value to be converted can be a Db2 timestamp, a Db2 time, or a character string.


Obtains a timestamp from another timestamp, a valid character-string representation of a timestamp, or a combination of date and time values (without a time zone).


Adds an interval to a timestamp.


Subtracts two timestamps and returns an interval.


Changes the display format for a timestamp value.


Returns a timestamp with time zone value.


Converts a date, timestamp, or string representation of a date or timestamp into an integer that represents the week within the year (with Sunday as the first day of the week). The value 1 represents the first week of the year, 2 the second week, and so on.


Converts a date, timestamp, or string representation of a date or timestamp into an integer that represents the week within the year (with Monday as the first day of the week).


Returns the year portion of a date, a timestamp, or a duration.

A Caveat

Keep in mind that this post addresses date and time data in Db2 for z/OS. Yes, other RDBMS products also support date and time data, but there will be differences and nuances that you will need to understand for each. Here is a nice blog post that discusses working with dates on Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB if you are interested.


Using date and time data correctly can be a bit confusing, but the rewards of learning how to use Db2 to help you properly use date and time data are numerous. Do not continue to operate in the void. The wise Db2 professional will learn proper Db2 date and time usage and the vast support built into Db2 for manipulating date and time values.

And the sooner, the better!

That way you can let Db2 perform date and time formatting, integrity checking, and arithmetic… so you won’t have to!

Monday, January 03, 2022

Simplify and Speed Up Your Db2 for z/OS Data Copying and Movement

Register and attend a webinar on efficient Db2 data movement as presented by Craig S. Mullins on February 24, 2022 | 11:00 AM CST

Just about everybody is aware of the phenomenal data growth that organizations are experiencing these days. More data is being generated and stored than ever before. But not all of that data is unique or even production data. An underlying phenomenon contributing to data growth that is sometimes ignored is the vast amount of data that is copied and moved throughout every organization.

Data is constantly on the move. I wrote about this phenomenon in my recent column at Database Trends & Applications. From production systems to test systems, from one test system to another, and even from user to user. All of that data is required for multiple purposes, such as supporting transactional systems, mirroring production, reporting, performing analytics, for testing purposes, training, and more. And data is being refreshed and copied more frequently than ever before to support business requirements and changing technology needs such as agile development and DevOps.

How can your company support this myriad of data movement requirements without overworking your DBAs? What can be done to combat the sometimes excruciatingly long runtimes required to unload and load large tables using Db2 utilities? And let’s not forget that indexes and statistics need to be copied, too! Furthermore, nothing gets put on hold so that data can be copied, right? So how can test data management and data movement be automated to ensure that data is smoothly moved and refreshed even as application and database structure changes are made?

Attend Craig's webinar titled Simplify and Speed Up Your Db2 for z/OS Data Copying and Movement to learn more about these issues and to hear Craig’s insight on how to use BCV5 to automate, streamline, and speed up Db2 data movement based on his experiences using the tool in the field.