Expand your DB2 Knowledge – DB2 for z/OS Master Class 2019

There’s still time to book onto the week-long Db2 for z/OS Master Class offered by IBM’s Db2 for z/OS Development team. The UK class will be taking place at IBM Huxley in Hampshire and will be led by IBM Distinguished Engineer, John Campbell and IBM Executive IT Specialist, Florence Dubois.

Course Date

Monday, June 24, 2019, (9 am) to Friday, June 28, 2019, (2:30 pm)

Who should attend?

Advanced Db2 for z/OS System Engineers and Database Administrators

Requirements

Client participants must have at least 1 of the following (or equivalent experience level):

  • IBM Certified System Administrator – Db2 for z/OS
  • IBM Certified Database Administrator – Db2 for z/OS

The class will cover the most common issues related to continuous availability and speed of recovery in Db2 for z/OS environments and will share proven best practices to exploit the full power of Db2 for z/OS and IBM Z mainframes. A deep dive on how to monitor and tune Db2 for z/OS system and transaction performance using Db2 Statistics and Accounting traces will also be covered.

With a superb line-up of instructors and content this is set to be a popular workshop but spaces are limited.

More detailed information on the curriculum, cost, instructors and application process can be found here.

Please note: This is a client only course and client participation is by invitation only.

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Six Reasons to Review your Database Availability – Part 6 Marketing and PR Costs

From working with many customers to help keep their critical databases up and running we have come up with the top 6 reasons for putting Database Availability at the top of your priority list. In this blog we look at our top reason – Marketing and PR Costs:

We have already discussed the potentially disastrous effects of bad PR. It is the marketing and PR departments who will have to be on hand to deal with the press and work on a strategy for repairing the brand image. All these extra personnel hours need to be calculated when looking at the costs of database downtime.

In 2017 British Airways suffered a major outage which caused significant disruption to passengers around the world. British Airways Chief Executive Alex Cruz had to take to YouTube to attempt to repair damage done to the brand.

However you measure the cost of a database outage there will always be a negative financial effect on the business. If an organisation is unfortunate enough to hit the headlines with a major outage then the PR fallout can be catastrophic with the potential of alienating existing and new customers for good.

Outages are inevitable due to a range of causes including software problems, hardware failures and security breaches. It is therefore vital for organisations to make sure that their people and processes are ready when problems arise.

Catch up with the rest of our blog series on Database Availability or download one of our white papers:

Executive overview

Technical paper

 

 

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Countdown Begins for DB2 v10.5 Support

End of Support Announced

Did you know the End of Support (EOS) date for DB2 v10.5 on Linux, UNIX and Windows platforms has been announced as 30th April 2020?  After this date IBM will only provide the full defect and development support assistance many mission critical databases require if a Service Extension is purchased.  To avoid extra costs, and take advantage of new features and enhanced performance, it’s time to think about upgrading.

Available since 2013 DB2 v10.5 has been a popular release with customers – providing exciting new features such as column-organised tables, enhanced availability with PureScale and HADR, and performance improvements over previous versions.  The next version of DB2, v11.1, builds on these capabilities with manageability and performance improvements for very large databases, reduced complexity to setup and administer, and improved integration with big data sources.  An updated licensing model also allows more flexibility to deploy to the cloud.

Although April 2020 seems a long time away, as the move to v11.1 is a major version upgrade thorough planning, regression and performance testing is a must to ensure a smooth transition.  It may also be time to think about moving DB2 to cloud based infrastructure.  If this impacts project delivery, or requires a project itself to secure the resources required, now is the time to plan this work in.

Triton Consulting provides a Consultancy on Demand service which is designed for customers who need varying levels of support and consultancy. This highly flexible service allows you to purchase a block of hours to be used as and when needed. You can purchase a block of 20, 50 or 100 hours which can be called off as and when you need them. The highly flexible nature of this service means that hours can be called off for DB2 version upgrades, a development piece, training or to cover DB2 skills when they’re in short supply in your team.

Read more about Consultancy on Demand or check out the DB2 for LUW v11.1 webcast series with Triton’s Iqbal Goralwalla and George Baklarz from IBM to find out more about the advances in the latest version: https://www.triton.co.uk/db2-11-for-luw/

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Six Reasons to Review your Database Availability – Part 5 HR and Labour Costs

From working with many customers to help keep their critical databases up and running we have come up with the top 6 reasons for putting Database Availability at the top of your priority list. In this blog we look at our top reason – HR and Labour Costs:

The cost of having employees who are unable to carry out work because they cannot access the systems they require should not be ignored. It is important to understand the value of lost productivity.

In addition to this, it is highly likely that IT resource will have to work extra hours to ensure that systems are up and running again as quickly as possible. Sometimes it is even necessary to call in third party support. All of these additional people costs must be taken into consideration.

There are other hidden costs related to how employees are affected by IT downtime. https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-astonishing-hidden-and-personal-costs-of-it-downtime-and-how-predictive-analytics-might-help/ ZDnet released an interesting article in 2017 about the effect of downtime on employees. According to a study by UC Irvine it often takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus on work after an interruption. Therefore, if you imagine the interruption to the IT staff who are notified of an issue or outage plus the interruption to the employees affected by the downtime. If every person takes 23 minutes to refocus that’s a lot of time wasted on top of the time that they couldn’t access systems. According to a Carnegie Melon University study, cognitive function can decrease by 20% after an interruption. Worrying stats indeed.

People costs are often overlooked when it comes to calculating the costs of database downtime but these can constitute a significant cost to the business.

To find out more, take a look at our Database Availability consultancy services or download one of our white papers:

Database Availability – An executive overview.

Database Availability – Technical paper

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Six Reasons to Review your Database Availability – Part 4 Regulatory and Compliance Issues

From working with many customers to help keep their critical databases up and running we have come up with the top 6 reasons for putting Database Availability at the top of your priority list. In this blog we look at Regulatory and Compliance Issues:

Regulatory and Compliance issues are of particular interest to the banking and financial services sector. In such a highly regulated sector, organisations are under real pressure to ensure that customers are able to access services.

A widely publicised ruling in 2012 by the Financial Conduct Authority saw RBS fined £56m as a result of software issues which left millions of customers unable to access their accounts. A massive 6.5 million customers were affected by the outage which was caused by a failure in a piece of batch scheduling software.

In 2016, Insurance Brokers feared regulatory action when SSP Worldwide’s Pure Broking platform struggled to trade for two weeks after a power outage. According to SSP Worldwide, 40% of the UK’s brokers use their Pure Broking platform to track insurance renewals. Disaster recovery plans were severely criticised after the event and highlights the need to prioritise availability and recovery planning.

The regulatory and compliance landscape is ever-evolving and with that the risk of financial penalties is growing too. As of August 2018, banks have to clearly set out how many incidents prevented customers from using payment services over a three and 12 month period. Financial firms will have to provide a breakdown of the incidents in terms of their impact on telephone, mobile and internet banking services.

According to research by risk consultancy Control Risks, found that a quarter of large companies spend less than $25 a year per staff member on compliance, which is worrying considering the potential impact that a fine from a large-scale compliance breach can cause.

The IDC predicts that the by 2025 humans will generate 180 zettabytes of data every year. In this climate of growing data and growing regulations, it is vital for organisations to review their database availability plans and procedures.

Find out more in our white paper or take a look at our Database Availability consultancy services.

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Development is more Important than Production!

Some years ago, not too long after Y2K when DB2 V7 for z/OS was reasonably new, I recall a busy afternoon trying to identify the root cause of a slowdown within a recently amended critical application process in Production. New code had been deployed several days before but no issues had been identified during volume test against production like sizes of data, so it wasn’t one of those obvious issues that are quick to resolve.

At the same time, there was an outage with one of the Build/Development environments. I had been asked by several teams if I could investigate and resolve as soon as possible. I informed them that I was working on a Live issue and that Production service took priority which they understood albeit begrudgingly. After about an hour of investigation into the Production issue, we were busy testing a resolution to ensure normal service could be resumed.  A group of 3 Production Service managers were crowded behind me while we ran the test, eagerly anticipating the results when one of the business delivery Project Managers came storming over full of bluster and very red in the face.

“I understand my Development environment is still unavailable?”

“Yes, it is unfortunately”

“I’m losing valuable money while my developers sit idle and we’re already behind on our target date for build completion. Testers are also sitting doing nothing waiting for Development to be completed. When are you going to fix it?”    

“When I have finished what I am working on, the Development environment issue is my next priority” I replied calmly

“What? You are working on something else instead? What is so important?” he shouted with an even redder face

“I am working to resolve a Production issue that is impacting a customer service”

“A Production issue? Development is more important than Production!

His comment received incredulous looks all round, but eventually the production issue was resolved and then the development environment up and running, but only after 3 hours of downtime.

Nothing can be as important as the loss of a customer service or business critical process in Production, however Development & Testing environments have become more critical: –

  • More and more agile Development and shorter timespan for project lifecycle from Development to Production deployment (measured in small numbers of weeks or even days rather than many months), means even a few hours of downtime can cause critical delays and missed deadlines
  • Development & Testing environment down time is costly in terms of people costs as teams of developers, testers & engineers sit idle
  • Development & Testing is often taking place across many time zones, or out of hours, so a 9:00-17:00 based support window around your local time zone may not be sufficient for a rapid response to resolve any outage.
  • Ultimately downtime could delay production roll out of new or improved customer functionality, failing to improve customer service and falling behind competitors

Ensure you have enough DBA coverage to be able to respond to, not just Production issues but also, those issues impacting availability of Development & Testing environments. And, much like Production, a 09:00-17:00 service support window may not be enough.

 

About Triton Consulting

Triton Consulting has been providing DB2 consultancy services for over 21 years. As well as expert consultancy in all areas of DB2, Triton Consulting also cover a wider spectrum of high level consultancy including senior project management, technical planning, technical architecture, performance tuning and systems programming.

Find out more about DB2 support services from Triton Consulting.

Download the Top 5 Reasons for Choosing Remote Database Support white paper.

 

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How important is your organisations data?

If your answer wasn’t along the lines of “our data is absolutely vital to our business” then you can look away now, this blog isn’t for you! If, like most people you’re in agreement that your organisations data is of paramount importance to the successful running of your business then read on!

DB2 databases underpin thousands of mission critical applications and services across the world. For DBAs looking after those databases, the pressure is on. Outages, whether planned or unplanned can wreak havoc on your organisations bottom line. There’s a huge amount of research out there about how much any kind of IT outage is going to cost your organisation. Estimates range from £70,000 an hour to over £40 million in a year. This is even before you’ve taken into consideration the customer service and PR fall-out that can occur after a high profile outage. Having your mission critical databases unavailable is just not an option.

When it comes to support for mission critical DB2 databases it is absolutely key to know that you’ve got the best DB2 brains on hand. Even if you have skilled DB2 DBAs in house, covering a mission critical database 24/7 needs a serious amount of time, attention and skill. There will inevitably be times when they’re unavailable. Whether that’s due to holiday, sickness or simply when workload is too great to handle exceptional circumstances.  In those scenarios you need a robust contingency plan. This includes knowing where your DBAs can go for support or advice.

Take a look at our “Top 5 Reasons to Choose RemoteDBA” Infographic.

Mission critical DB2 databases need world-class support. With a RemoteDBA 24*7 Plus agreement you will have the brightest DB2 minds in the country on hand day or night, 365 days a year plus:

  • Unlimited support calls
  • Unlimited support hours
  • Up to 8 databases covered
  • Proactive monitoring
  • Any DB2 version covered
  • Dedicated Account Manager
  • 20 hours of Consultancy on Demand included

Who are our best DB2 Brains?

Julian Stuhler

Julian is a highly experienced DB2 specialist with over 30 years relational database experience working with a number of clients within the insurance, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing sectors. An IBM Gold Consultant and a former IDUG (International DB2 User Group) President, Julian is renowned in the industry for his DB2 expertise.

Paul Stoker

With over 30 years in IT, Paul is an experienced data management consultant, having spent the last 20 years specialising in database technology. Paul has highly developed project management and technical planning skills with experience in a wide range of sectors including Retail Banking, Investment Banking, Central Government and Insurance.

Iqbal Goralwalla

Iqbal is a highly experienced Information Management specialist and IBM Gold Consultant, with many years of experience in all aspects of relational databases. Iqbal has extensive project support and technical liaison experience within DB2 on LUW environments. As an IDUG board member, Iqbal is deeply involved in the DB2 community and highly respected amongst his peers. Iqbal heads up the RemoteDBA team.

The RemoteDBA team is made up of highly skilled specialist DB2 consultants; it’s not just a call centre with IT generalists. Our team of RemoteDBA consultants are DB2 through and through! Take a look at some of their technical articles here – http://db2geek.triton.co.uk/

Find out more about RemoteDBA for mission critical DB2 databases.

 

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IDUG EMEA Malta 2018 – Day 4

Another great IDUG conference has inevitably come to its end.

Even though I will miss the networking, the evening parties, chit-chatting with other attendees and all other nice conference side-effects, I am by no means sad that it’s over.

There were a number of very interesting presentations to attend to every day (and still many more missed) and a lot to learn from them. After having spent almost 20 years working as a DB2 DBA, one would think I knew everything about DB2, but each IDUG conference teaches me the same, time and again: there’s always more still to be learnt.

The journey actually never ends as new features are continuously added to DB2.

My takes from this conference include:

  • latest DB2 enhancements (tablespace level restore on HADR standby; online index creation on pureScale; faster rollback of v.large transactions – to name a few)
  • DB2 Roadmap – see what’s coming in new DB2 releases, online (for example: access files from within SQL statements just like normal tables; reduced logging for v.large inserts; advanced log space management to avoid “log full” conditions)

and other nuggets:

  • how to recover a single table from a database backup
  • how to check index reorganisation runtimes
  • how to solve Sudoku puzzles in seconds, using DB2 recursion (wow 😎 )
  • how to prepare for and execute a DB2 Health Check

I know what I will do first thing when I get back home: I will download the IDUG presentation materials (available online) and read through the presentations I didn’t attend, to find out what I have missed!

On an unrelated note, when I tried to check out of the hotel this morning, I was told by a visibly distressed receptionist that the “hotel system has crashed” and the checkout was currently not available (“it will be done retroactively”, they said). I am sure they don’t use DB2 😊

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IDUG EMEA Malta 2018 – Day 3

After the usual hair-raising drive from the airport to the Intercontinental Hotel on Sunday, it was time to catch up with some old friends and colleagues. I was lucky enough to bump into an old mate; Tony Poole, who’s Director of Research & Development for Database Administration at BMC Software. We did a few contracts at various sites together but worked out (over a beer) that the last time we actually worked together was 30 years ago. He was accompanied by his charming daughter, Holly, and the last time I met her, she was in nappies and crawling. Mind you, I think the last time I saw Tony he was on his hands and knees too but that’s a different story.

Tony was kind of enough to be moderator for my session today on HTAP. I suffered a bit by being preceded (and followed, actually) by some very worthy speakers who were presenting on the same topic or, at least, topics in the same area. John Hornibrook from the IBM lab in Toronto did a great presentation on Monday, dealing with the enabling of secondary indexes in Column-organized tables and I was followed this afternoon by Mika Lindholm who was illustrating some real-world experiences with Columnar data that needed reload to get it back into usable shape. We also had a very amusing two-handed presentation this morning by Michael Tiefenbacher and Henrik Loeser on Recursive SQL: I’m a big fan of this feature in terms of generating volumes of test data and interrogating system catalogues but I hadn’t realized it could be used to provide a solution to tricky Sudoku problems. In a single SQL statement too!

Well, that’s Day 3 over; maybe time to go for a jog round the marina, where the rich & famous keep motor yachts large enough to land a Harrier on, or maybe just repair to the bar to discuss the days other proceeding with my colleagues. Its part of the appeal of IDUG I think; the formal, deep-dive technical presentations operate hand-in-glove with the casual networking and exchange of tips and information. If you’re coming along next year, I look forward to seeing you and, if you’re not yet signed up; give it a try!

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IDUG EMEA Malta 2018 – Day 2

Day 2 of IDUG Europe 2018 is in the books, yet another day full of excellent education opportunities and networking here in Malta. While I was reflecting on the events of the day, I got to thinking about our host island and the legend of Faith Hope and Charity, the three Gloster Sea Gladiator biplanes responsible for defending the island against overwhelming odds during the Siege of Malta in 1940. The historical facts are somewhat less romantic than the legend, but the biplanes and their names remain an important part of Malta’s identity.

What has all of this got to do with DB2? It struck me that I saw all three aspects of the legend in a single day at IDUG yesterday:

  • All round me was evidence of people’s faith in DB2, from IBM, Rocket and the other vendors in the exhibit hall, to the many presenters and users who have travelled to the conference (many at their own expense). This passion and belief in the fundamental strengths of the product was evident in several of the technical presentations I attended, as well as the many animated conversations happening over lunch or coffee.
  • The conference also has plenty of forward looking topics as DB2 continues to evolve, providing great hope for the future. Despite their advancing years (DB2 for z/OS is 35 years old this year, while it’s LUW sibling just turned 25) both products continue to be expanded and used alongside the very latest application technologies. Paul Stoker and Paul Whitmarsh gave an excellent example of this within their Modernising the Mainframe presentation on Tuesday afternoon, showing how Lloyds Banking Group is transforming its mainframe to embrace a more agile approach to application development.
  • As for the charity part, that’s easy – look around anywhere and you’ll see at least one of the IDUG volunteers that selflessly give up hundreds of hours of their free time, from the CPC helping to plan and run the conference to the IDUG Board members responsible for the longer term strategy of the organisation. These conferences just wouldn’t exist without them, and their efforts are very much appreciated by all attendees.

With the conference only at it’s mid-point, there are still plenty of learning and networking opportunities still to enjoy before the closing session on Thursday. As I sit on the plane on Thursday evening I know that I’ll be looking back at another entertaining and informative week, but also thinking about those brave biplane pilots.

 

 

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