IBM adds self-management capabilities to DB2 upgrade

IBM Corp. this week said it’s ready to ship the next version of its DB2 Universal Database software, which offers self-management capabilities that are designed to reduce administrative overhead even as databases continue to grow bigger.

Code-named Stinger, the DB2 8.2 upgrade has been in beta testing since May and will become generally available this week. As part of IBM’s autonomic computing push, the database will come with new self-monitoring and self-tuning features, said Jeff Jones, the company’s strategy director for information management. The utilities should help database administrators complete complex tasks up to seven times faster than they can now, according to IBM.

Automation Features

The new functionality includes a tool called Design Advisor that can automatically design and optimize the structure of a database, plus a related utility that automates administrative tasks such as table maintenance and data backup. To help ensure uptime, another tool lets end-user PCs automatically fail over to a backup database if the primary DB2 server goes down. IBM also embedded its Learning Optimizer tool, which lets the database monitor and record query response times and find the fastest route to data.

Dallas-based Credit Union of Texas, which oversees about US$1.6 billion in assets, will start testing the new software this month for a potential rollout in December. Bruce Moore, the credit union’s director of business intelligence, said Design Advisor could help speed up database configuration tasks for his team.

The credit union’s data warehouse, which is built on DB2 8.1, captures 60 months’ worth of customer and operational information for analysis.

With so much data but only a small staff to manage it, some things that could help boost database performance can’t be done now, Moore said. He added that he thinks Design Advisor could reduce the time it takes to build month-end indexes by enabling him to use summary tables and techniques such as multidimensional data clustering.

For an incremental release, DB2 8.2 is a relatively significant rollout because of its new autonomic and integration capabilities, according to Charles Garry, an analyst at Meta Group Inc.

“The bottom line is that we are moving away from day-to-day maintenance of the database as a resource and have to trust that the autonomic functions know more and can react more proactively than a human DBA can,” Garry said.

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