Thursday, June 02, 2022

Db2 13 for z/OS is Here!

Here we are, in June 2022, about 5 years or so since Db2 12 for z/OS was released. And lo' and behold, IBM has given us a new version of Db2 for z/OS to learn and adopt: Db2 13 for z/OS

The new version is generally available (as of May 31, 2022). If you were not paying close attention though, you may have missed it. Db2 13 was announced at the same time as the new mainframe (IBM z16), so it didn't get quite the same level of attention. But those of us who use Db2 for z/OS day in and day out will find a lot of great new stuff in this latest and greatest version of Db2.

I'm not going to go into great detail about the new features and functionality of Db2 13 for z/OS today, but I will offer a high-level overview. Look for future blog posts to dig into more of the nitty gritty tech details and capabilities.

The first thing to mention is that you will need to activate the last Db2 12 function level 510 (FL510) before you can migrate to Db2 13. As many organizations are lagging behind in terms of function level activation, it will be interesting to see how this requirement impacts migration to Db2 13.

AI

So what can users expect from this new version? Well, it seems that the most talked-about features are related to adopting AI. Functions that deliver AI capabilities into Db2 will make it easier for organizations on the AI journey to integrate Db2 into their processes.

Perhaps the most significant AI addition to Db2 13 is the SQL Data Insights feature. Provided as an extension to Db2, SQL Data Insights is delivered using built-in functions to deliver AI capabilities like uncovering heretofore unknown relationships in your data. Since it uses built-in functions you can use it anywhere that you use SQL!

Db2 13 offers additional AI help delivering the ability to simplify building models, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and exploiting the speed of the IBM z16 for training and querying data.

IBM z16 Synergy

The next thing that has been highly-touted is that Db2 13 takes advantage of new capabilities delivered in the IBM z16 hardware.  The new Telum chip used by the z16 mainframe provides powerful AI capabilities that Db2 uses to bolster its AI capabilities (such as SQL Data Insights). And we have already touched on that in terms of speeding up training and querying data for AI.

Db2 for z/OS is unique in that it is the only major DBMS that is designed specifically for a single operating system (z/OS) and hardware platform (IBM Z). This enables IBM (the provider of the DBMS, O/S, and hardware) to take advantage of capabilities unique to the platform, because there is no worry about supporting other platforms.

One example of this unique synergy is the ability to improve sort performance using the SORTL instruction of the IBM Z15 and z16. Additionally, the IBM z16 System Recovery Boost can minimize downtime by speeding up the performance of Db2 for z/OS restart. 

But What About BAU?

OK, so there is new AI stuff and great synergy with the IBM Z, but what about the features and functionality that make it easier to keep up with Business As Usual (BUA)? You know, things like easier administration, better performance, and so on?

Good news! There are a plethora of great new capabilities and improvements in Db2 13 for z/OS. While I cannot adequately cover them in detail today, some examples include:

  • The ability to convert back-and-forth between partition-by-growth and partition-by-range Db2 table spaces. 
  • Support for more concurrent threads and open data sets, as well as improved storage conditions. 
  • DDF storage relief.
  • Real Time Statistics (RTS) improvements.
  • Many improvements to IBM Db2 utility functionality.
  • Security and compliance improvements, including integration to the IBM Z Security and Compliance Center.

Summary

The bottom line is that there is a new version of Db2 for z/OS that mainframe shops will need to learn and prepare for. As with any new Db2 version, it will be exciting to dig in and discover all of the new stuff that can help us do our jobs better... and improve our organization's efforts to use its data to improve business.

Keep checking back here as I will blog in more detail about the new capabilities of Db2 13 for z/OS over time... 

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