Tuesday, February 09, 2010

IBM Announces DB2 10 for z/OS Beta Program

IBM announced the beta program for the next version of DB2 today, now "officially" known as DB2 10 (no more DB2 X). It is a closed beta program that will begin on March 12, 2010. That means you have to be selected by IBM to participate.

The announcement highlighted some of the areas of improvement to be delivered by DB2 10 for z/OS, and at the top of that list, to no one's surprise, is performance. DB2 10 promises to deliver out-of-the-box savings by improving operational efficiencies ranging from 5% to 10% out-of-the-box CPU savings for traditional workloads and up to 20% out-of-the-box CPU savings for nontraditional workloads.

Other areas called out by IBM in the announcement include
  • Improved business resiliency through scalability improvements and fewer outages (planned or unplanned).
  • Schema evolution or data definition on demand as well as query performance manageability enhancements support improved availability.
  • New features such as hash access, index include columns, inline large objects, parallel index updates, faster single row retrievals, work file in-memory, index list prefetch, 64-bit memory enhancements, use of the 1 MB page size of the System z10, buffer pools in memory, access path enhancements, member clustering for universal table spaces, efficient caching of dynamic SQL statements with literals, improved large object streaming, and SQL procedure language performance.
  • Rapid application and warehouse deployment for business growth including improved concurrency for data access, data management, and data definition.
  • The ability avoid an outage by adding active log data to a subsystem.
  • Improved application and data warehousing support including temporal data, a 64 bit ODBC driver, currerntly committed locking, implicit casting or loose typing, timestamp with time zone, variable timestamp precision, moving sum, and moving average.
  • Improvements to DB2's XML support including expanded pureXML, customer-driven performance and usability requirements, schema validation in the engine, binary XML exchange format, multiversioning, easy update of subparts of XML document, stored procedures, user-defined functions and triggers, XML index matching with date/timestamp, and a CHECK XML utility.
  • Enhanced query and reporting facilities, including QMF V10 with over 140 new analytical functions, support for HTML, PDF, and Flash reports, and more.
So it would seem that there is a lot of new functionality for us to begin to become acquainted with. As IBM rolls out more details, and customers begin to use the new version of DB2, we will examine some of these new features in more depth here on the DB2 Portal blog.

If you are interested in the beta program, the pre-requisite for DB2 10 is z/OS V1.10 (5694-A01) or later running in 64 bit mode. More information about the DB2 10 beta program is available on IBM's web site.

No GA date for DB2 10 has been announced.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

IBM Manages the Data Lifecycle

Data lifecycle is a somewhat new-ish term, at least in terms of what I plan to talk about in this blog posting. The data lifecycle – and data lifecycle management – deals with tracking, managing, and understanding data and metadata as it flows through organizations. From its inception…whether entered by a clerk or read via a feed or loaded from an external source, etc…through its various usages…whether to conduct business, analyze trends and patterns, and so on…tracked from system to system, application to application, and user to user…and finally through its end of life.

Not many companies today can track all of their important data and what happens to it throughout its entire lifecycle. But doing so is important. Having such a capability enables organizations to adapt and react, gaining a competitive advantage. Much can go awry as data moves throughout an organization. Schema changes, policy changes, regulations adapt, programs change, formats changes, and so on. Any of these things can cause data quality issues, which should be brought to the attention of the business analyst using the data. But how often is this done? Knowing the history of data and its related metadata can improve business processes. But it is a major task – both for businesses and IT vendors hoping to offer solutions.

Which brings me to today’s (February 3, 2010) announcements from IBM. Big Blue announced new data protection software, a line of consulting services and resources and previewed information monitoring software to help organizations expand their use of trusted information to improve decision making. These moves further bolster IBM’s already formidable arsenal of data lifecycle management solutions.

The data protection announcement was for Optim Data Redaction. This solution, engineered for unstructured data like Word documents and PDF files, automatically recognizes and removes sensitive content from documents and forms. For example, a customer’s credit scores in a loan document could be hidden from an office clerk, while still being visible to a loan officer. In today’s atmosphere of more and more stringent regulations, a data redaction solution is becoming a requirement. For example, PCI DSS industry standards dictate specific rules regarding the display of debit and credit card information on receipts and reports.

Optim Data Redaction is planned for general availability in March 2010.

The information monitoring announcement was for InfoSphere Business Monitor. This technology is based on a combination of work from IBM’s research group and technology gained when IBM acquired Guardium. Guardium is a database activity monitoring (or auditing) solution. InfoSphere Business Monitor tracks the quality and flow of an organization’s information and provides real-time alerts of potential flaws. For example, if a health insurance company was analyzing profit margins across different product lines (individual, group, HMO, Medicare, etc.), decision makers would immediately be alerted when a data feed from a specific geography was not successfully integrated.

InfoSphere Business Monitor is available as a technology preview; it is not generally available and no GA date was announced.

At the same time, IBM announced its intention to acquire Initiate Systems, a provider of data integrity software for information sharing among healthcare and government organizations. Initiate's software helps healthcare clients work more intelligently and efficiently with timely access to patient and clinical data. It also enables governments to share information across multiple agencies to better serve citizens. IBM plans to continue to support and enhance Initiate's technologies while helping clients take advantage of the broader IBM portfolio, specifically Cognos and InfoSphere solutions for BI and analytics. This acquisition bolsters IBM’s data lifecycle management offering along these verticals.

And all of today’s announcements serve to clarify IBM’s ascent to the throne within the realm of information and data lifecycle management.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

IBM IOD2009 Day One

It is Monday, October 26, 2009, and the annual IBM Information on Demand (IOD2009) conference is officially underway. Well, actually it kicked off with a bang on Sunday. The exhibition hall opened at 6:00 pm and the early goers traipsed through the vendor hall sharing stories, checking out the vnedor's wares, and looking for the latest tschotskes (the favorites seem to be a mini-book light being given out by SPSS and the nifty DB2 t-shirts being given out by SEGUS, Inc.).

But the event really does not get started (at least as far as I'm concerned) until the big Monday morning kickoff, which this year was emceed by Terry Fator (the ventriloquist impersonator who won America's Got Talent) last year. He did a very nice job, and his mimicry and ventriloquism skills are great... but I think ventriloquism works better in a more intimate setting.

Before Terry came on an IBMer shared several tidbits of data from research and from polls they have been taking at IOD. For example, did you know that 15 petabytes of data are created every day? Regarding the even, they shared that there are more overall attendees here than there were at last year's event (6,000+) and that the average distance folks traveled to attend #IOD2009 is 2500 miles. You can actually participate in the daily IOD polls at http://iodpoll.com.

In between the entertainment respites, we got to hear from several IBM folks, including Ambuj Goyal, Arvind Krishna, and Frank Kern. According to Mr. Goyal, IBM is building an information on demand software stack to deliver trusted information. This can solve a very real problem that organizations are experiencing today. You see, it seems that one in three business leaders frequently make critical decisions based on inaccurate or non-existing information. Business executives don't just need data, but trusted information that can be relied upon for analysis to make accurate business decisions.

Again, according to Goyal, he sees IBM's Information Agenda doing for trusted information what ERP did for enterprise resource processes. IBM will help move its customers from information projects to information-based architecture and operations, moving organizations from information on demand to information transformation.

Then Frank Kern hosted three IBM customers as he asked each of them to explain how they benefited from IBM's Information Management solutions. The representative from BlueCross BlueShield talked about their data warehouse with 54 millions records, which happens to be the largest healthcare data warehouse in the world. Their analytical data is made available thru a portal. Offering integrated healthcare details helps improve healthcare. And the Chevron representative spoke about how IBM has helped Chevron improve its supply chain operations using integrated information.

Arvind Krishna, GM of the Information Management group at IBM, told about IBM's on-going investments in research and development for IOD. So far, IBM has invested over $12 billion in R+D and acquisitions.

IBM also unveiled some announcements today at IOD including several new offerings to provide organizations with analytics capabilities to make better use of their archived information and improve business processes. These offerings are part of IBM's unified archiving strategy called IBM Smart Archive. Most intriguing to me is the preview of a SaaS offering called IBM Information Archive Cloud Services. The entire press release can be read here, if you're interested in the topic.

I also attended a presentation on DB2 X which was quite interesting, too. Delivered by Jeff Josten, there was much good news for mainframe DB2 folks including improved performance, temporal support, improved utility operations, hashed data and access paths, and more. I tweeted about this quite extensively on Twitter.

In fact, if you want to follow my tweets all week (well, thru Wednesday) be sure to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/craigmullins... even when I'm not at a conference like IOD, I regularly tweet on DB2, database, and information management topics.

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