In last month’s column, IDUG president Joe Borges outlined his vision for IDUG in the organization’s 25th year. But IDUG isn’t alone in celebrating 2013; this year also marks 30 years since IBM® DB2® for z/OS® became generally available. In an industry as fast-moving as ours, it’s an amazing achievement for a product to be around for so long and still remain as innovative and relevant as the day it was first released. It’s fitting, then, that IBM has chosen to begin the early support program (ESP) for the latest release of DB2 at this auspicious time.
As part of the ESP for DB2 11 (previously known as Sequoia), customers from around the world are helping to test and evaluate the new release. In this article, I’ll briefly examine some of the planned new features that the DB2 community can look forward to—but remember that the exact content of the release will depend on the feedback IBM receives from customers during testing. We’ll have to wait until the product is formally announced before we can be certain that all of the features below make it into the release in the form that I’ve described. But it’s certainly worth an early look.
The new release of DB2 for z/OS contains a great mix of performance, availability and productivity features. Here’s a quick rundown of the ones that I think are going to be most popular and interesting:
If you’re tempted by these new features and want to begin positioning your environment for the upgrade to DB2 11, IBM has already announced two key prerequisites: you must be on a System z10 server or later (EC12 is required for exploitation of the new Flash Express feature described above), and running z/OS V1.13 or later. Perhaps more importantly, you will need to be running DB2 10 for z/OS in NFM before you can start the upgrade; this means IBM is adhering to the normal practice of only supporting upgrades from the previous release, with no “skip release” functionality being offered this time around. If you’re still running DB2 9 for z/OS, you’re probably already aware that IBM has announced that it will be ending support for that release in June 2014. So your plans for migration to DB2 10 should be in place; if not, now is a good time to start.
One other significant item to consider is package validity. Many customers used to avoid REBINDing their DB2 packages due to fear of performance regression, so DB2 had to continue to support old internal package structures from many releases. The availability of the plan management feature in DB2 9, together with associated BIND parameters such as APREUSE and APCOMPARE, allows DBAs and developers to better manage the REBIND process, thereby removing the major reason for avoiding REBINDs at least once per release. As of DB2 11, only package structures from a currently supported release of DB2 will be tolerated—so customers with packages bound before DB2 9 will have to rebind these packages as part of their DB2 11 upgrade preparation (or have DB2 do it automatically when they are first referenced).
I hope this article has given you a taste of at least some of the great new features that will soon be heading our way as part of DB2 11 for z/OS. Expect to hear a lot more as we draw nearer to general availability: all of this year’s IDUG Technical Conferences will include one or more DB2 11 sessions, and I’m about to begin working with several of my IDUG volunteer colleagues to produce an in-depth DB2 11 technical white paper. More news on that soon.
In the meantime, let me know what you think about the advances we anticipate in DB2 11 for z/OS. Leave your feedback in the comments!