IBM has a particularly big load of Big Data-related announcements this week (the first full week of October, 2015). It seems like a great time to take stock of what IBM has been up to lately.

  • IBM is unveiling Version 5.1 of the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) with new in-database analytics, in-database transformation, and accelerator-only tables. There’s literally nothing else like IDAA and its marriage of the world’s best, most secure Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) database with state-of-the-art, real-time analytics, warehousing, and business intelligence in a single, integrated information system. I literally don’t know of anybody who isn’t thrilled with their IDAA since it’s so thoroughly democratizing real-time, every-time analytics all the way out to end-users and mobile devices. This might be IBM’s biggest “killer app,” so do check it out.
  • Is DB2 12 here already? Almost. Yes, IBM is previewing its latest version of the flagship DB2 for z/OS. Among my favorite new features, DB2 12 will significantly improve its in-memory database capabilities and take more advantage of those many terabytes of system memory in the IBM z13 machines. There’s a great deal of emphasis on improved cloud provisioning capabilities including “SQL as a Service” (SQLaaS) RESTful interfaces. The new SQL TRANSFER OWNERSHIP statement is intriguing and mighty useful for maintaining security control over sensitive data. (And what isn’t sensitive data?) The efficiency improvements look unusually impressive, too, with IBM tossing out some bigger numbers than I’ve seen before. This’ll be a version you’ll have even more reason to get onto as quickly as possible even if only to pick up the efficiency gains, though you will likely have to allocate some more memory — an excellent trade to make. (Over-economizing on memory is false economy and a very bad idea.) If you’re interested in getting an early start on DB2 12 then IBM is putting out the call to sign up for the Early Support Program (ESP).
  • Version 8.8 of IBM’s Operational Decision Manager should be generally available in a couple months. Not only is this version particularly lucky in China, it’s particularly useful everywhere for its new “Decision Server Insights” feature that helps improve ODM’s ability to make snap decisions based on even complex rules and events. ODM for z/OS at least starts to imbue new, emerging cognitive computing and analytic capabilities into enterprise transactions and concurrent batch flows. As before it’s also a powerful, high performance way to cut down on application maintenance and, again, to democratize what used to be traditional application development. ODM is available for several platforms, but it’s an exceptionally strong fit with unique run-time benefits on z/OS and on Linux on z.
  • CICS Transaction Server Version 5.3 for z/OS is particularly notable for its new and enhanced cloud services capabilities, and the Java-related improvements are also impressive. No matter what programming languages you prefer — or non-programming approaches to building solutions — CICS TS probably has you covered and covered extremely well.
  • IMS Version 14 becomes generally available later this month, and (in particular) it includes several improvements that help assure continuous business service in what are among the most critical business and government systems in the world.
  • z/VSE users, this is your week, too: a new version of z/VSE and of CICS Transaction Server for z/VSE, both with lots of useful improvements. As before, I recommend pairing your z/VSE environments with Linux on z and/or z/OS to tap into those solution portfolios too, and IBM has a lot of options built into z/VSE to help you do that cost effectively.

To read up on these and other IBM announcements, visit IBM’s announcements Web site at http://www.ibm.com/common/ssi.

Posted in IBM.

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” 
-Albert Einstein

Here’s my attempt to explain DB2 to my grandma!

With the world heading towards yottabyte of data, I assume that we all understand any raw, unorganized facts that needs further processing is data. We obtain data from numerous sources such as websites, retail stores and social media (this is a big one) to name a few. There is so much of user generated content off late that companies are struggling to:

  1. Manage the amount of data 
  2. Organize the data to gain intelligence 
  3. Make use of the information to gain business value.

How do we manage & organize data?

With all the data stored in databases, we need a Database Management System in place to create, maintain and control the databases on a regular basis. DB2 is a Database Management System and more specifically a Relational Database Management System. (RDBMS)

For those of you who are new to databases, here’s a list of top 5 reasons to use a Database Management System (DBMS):

  • It manages creating, accessing & managing data efficiently
  • It provides a greater level of security by granting different levels of security access based on the user
  • It allows multiple programs to access the data simultaneously while still keeping the data consistent (Data Integrity)
  • It permits the hiding of confidential data in separate views to prevent unauthorized access
  • It comes with a number of tools to perform activities like performance tuning, backup & recovery of data, implement tighter security controls and so on 

Fun facts about DB2

  • Top 59 banks in the world use DB2
  • 23 out of top 25 retailers use DB2
  • 9 out of top 10 insurance providers use DB2
  • IBM has over 1600 core developers and researchers for DB2 across the world
  • DB2 runs on many operating systems, such as z/OS, IBM i, Linux, UNIX, Windows, and Solaris 

You might be wondering why some of these large organizations use DB2 for z/OS to run their business. The answer is simple. These companies need a reliable database server which provides superior availability & scalability. These companies process huge (and I mean HUGE) volumes of information that would require millions of concurrent updates on a daily basis. DB2 with the power & functionalities of z/OS has undoubtedly met/exceeded those needs.

11 Things you need to know about DB2

  1. DB2 Data Sharing – DB2 data sharing runs on an IBM mainframe cluster configuration called a parallel sysplex and enables applications that run on more than one DB2 for z/OS subsystem to read from and write to the same set of data concurrently. Data Sharing gives businesses the ability to add new DB2 subsystems into a data sharing group, or cluster, as the need arises and without disruption which makes it the most highly available, highly scalable data-serving platform in the market. 
  2. IDAA – DB2 for z/OS offers IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator (IDAA) which helps in excellent query performance solution for Data Warehousing and Analytics (Remember we talked about analyzing data to make sense out of it). 
  3. Application Portability – You can develop applications with SQL that are common across DB2 data servers and port them from one DB2 operating system to another with minimal modification. (Porting means moving an application from one operating system to another.) 
  4. Temporal Data – Many IT systems need to keep some form of historical information for their data and it is now possible with the latest version of DB2 which supports temporal data (Business time & System Time). With the use of a history table DB2 can now provide a value of data at a specific time in history. 
  5. Built-in Compression – DB2 has inbuilt compression technology which converts your data that is used frequently into shorter strings for efficient storage & retrieval. The mapping information of short strings with the actual data is stored in a compression dictionary which is used for decompressing the data. 
  6. Built-in Encryption – DB2 provides built-in data encryption and decryption functions that you can use to encrypt sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and medical record numbers. You can encrypt data at the column or value level. 
  7. Clone Tables – you can clone tables in DB2 with the exact replica of your base table and you can switch between the clones easily. This is very critical for businesses who cannot tolerate any downtime since clone tables ensure superior availability. 
  8. Large Objects – DB2 has a unique capability of storing Large Objects (LOB) which would mean storing a picture or a text document as a single object in the database. 
  9. Storing XML – You can also store XML on your DB2 Database. It has in-built functions to convert the stored XML and return it as a DB2 table to your application. 
  10. DB2 Express C is a community Edition which is a no charge edition from IBM 
  11. DB2 Tools – DB2 comes with a set of tools that are broadly classified in the following six categories. You will be hearing more about some of the DB2 Tools in our future posts. 
    • Database Administration 
    • Utility Management 
    • Performance Management 
    • Recovery Management 
    • Replication Management 
    • Application Management 

Phew!! That’s enough DB2 for today. I enjoyed writing about DB2 on Z as much as you did reading. So the feeling is mutual here. One last thought! We at Millennial Mainframers are fairly new to the Z world and we are learning Z just as you are. You call the shots if you would like to hear about something in specific and we would be more than happy to step up to the plate. Come back and see us for more cool information on how Z rules the world always & forever! ~ Riya ~

About the Author

Sri (Riya) Shanmugam
MBA. Entrepreneurship, McCoy School of Business, Texas
B.Tech. I.T., Amrita School of Engineering, India

Riya is a Product Specialist at IBM by profession and a nerd by choice. She closely follows the start-up world, believes that Rome was not built in a day, loves technology, fashion, food, interior decor, Jazzercise, long weekends and oh, did we say Fashion?? Her new crush is her Canon SLR and she is extremely psyched about Z. She is a Sun Certified Java Programmer and has been involved in all parts of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) at Infosys, AMD, IBM and an Austin based start-up. Here’s how you find her on twitter. @RiyaKSri
Posted in Uncategorized.

By the very nature of being young professionals in a specialized and mature technical community, most millennial mainframers face the constant challenge of skill acquisition and credentialing. While we benefit from the wealth of experience of older mainframers, it often seems that we suffer from a lack of O’Reilly-style study materials or training programs. Even many of the community colleges throughout the country offer courses in Cisco networking or Java programming, but good luck finding coursework on z/OS or COBOL or Mainframe Assembler.

In light of this training shortage, it’s fantastic that IBM and Marist College have partnered to expand the Institute for Data Center Professionals (IDCP) into the realm of mainframe education. For millennial mainframers in the workforce, Marist offers $2700 non-credit certificate programs composed of a sequence of three courses. Considering that each course is identical to Marist’s traditional three-credit hour offering, the cost of this training is approximately equal to the tuition at a local community college. In my humble opinion, this gives the Marist IDCP certificate programs one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) in mainframe education.  For millennial mainframers in need of additional college credit, Marist offers their mainframe courses at the rate of $575 per credit hour.  In exchange for this premium over the non-credit option, the for-credit option potentially allows you to transfer credits earned from Marist’s world-class mainframe courses back to your current degree program.

Here are several examples of non-credit certificate programs available:

NEW!! DB2 Application Programming Certificate (Special Introductory Pricing of $2000)

  • Introduction to z/OS and Major Subsystems 
  • DB2 Fundamentals 
  • DB2 Application Programming 

Assembler Language Application Programming Certificate

  • Introduction to z/OS and Major Subsystems 
  • Basic Assembler Language 
  • Advanced Assembler Language 

z/OS Associate Certificate

  • Introduction to z/OS and Major Subsystems 
  • z/OS Networking 
  • z/OS Security 

Registration for the Spring semester is currently underway. The deadline for enrollment is February 6, 2012, and classes begin on February 13th. Please visit: http://idcp.marist.edu/learnzos for more information, and contact Marist College at learnzos@marist.edu or 845-575-3000 x2601 if you have any questions.

Posted in Uncategorized.