Top Five Reasons For Choosing Remote Database Support – Lack of Skills In-House

#4 Lack of skills in-house

In the fourth instalment of our “Top Five Reasons for Choosing Remote Database Support” blog series we look at DBA skills.

We work with organisations who do not have any DB2 skills in-house and organisations who have skills in-house but access to those skills is limited.

Some organisations may have inherited DB2 systems through expansion or acquisition and do not have the skills in-house to support it. Whilst their own IT team may be able to cope for a while, if any real issues come up, a support organisation with DB2 expertise will be needed.

We have also seen customers facing the need to replace a DBA quickly but who have struggled to find a new individual with the required level of skills. Bringing in a support organisation is a useful way to plug this gap fast with the assurance that you will be getting the highest level of DB2 skills.

Download the white paper – Top Five Reasons for Choosing Remote Database Support 

Find out more about RemoteDBA from Triton Consulting

Read the series so far

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IDUG EMEA 2014 – Rogues Gallery

Firstly, we would like to say a big thanks to all those involved in organising IDUG EMEA 2014 in Prague; to all the hardworking committee members, speakers and of course to all the attendees for making it such a great event.  Thanks also to everyone who attended our drinks reception on the first night.  We had a great time and hope that you did too.  If you couldn’t make it this year then be sure to check the IDUG website for details of next year’s conference in Dublin.

In what is becoming an IDUG tradition we hosted a drinks reception on the first night at IDUG.  As usual our DB2 Geek colleagues were there but this year we had an extra team member!  Below are some photographs, kindly provided by IDUG, of the drinks reception and our Rogues Gallery of DB2 Geeks:

DB2 Geek

DB2 Geek DB2 Geek DB2 Geek IDUG_pics reception geek4 DB2 Geek


IDUG_pics reception geek7

We also ran a DB2 quiz this year which seemed to have a few of you scratching your heads!  Well done to our winners:

1st Prize

Jens Globisch from Datev

2nd Prizes

Olle Nyman from Handelsbanken

Philip Kallender from Handelsbanken

Frederik Engelen from Real Dolmen

3rd Prizes

Per Gustavsson from PG DB Konsult

Michael Tiefenbacher from ids-System

David Mercurio from SEB

DB prize winner

DB2 prize winner

DB2 prize winner

Hope to see you all again along with some new faces next year!


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IDUG EMEA 2014 – Day 4

I’m sat in the departure lounge, steadying my nerves after the taxi ride across town. My driver had that fluid yet aggressive style of driving common to city taxi drivers across the globe, coupled with a fondness for Phil Collins easy-listening. I was going to suggest AC/DC might be more appropriate but I didn’t want to distract him any further.

It’s been a vintage IDUG this year; the technical content is always superb and this year was no exception. Highlights for me were the sessions on Query Performance and Optimization by John Hornibrook and the Advanced Diagnostics and BLU acceleration sessions from David Kalmuk. I’m also going to recommend, to both clients and colleagues alike, that they download Steve Rees’ session on “Getting Top Performance from DB2 pureScale” as it could serve as a step-by-step checklist for how to find and identify bottlenecks in a pureScale implementation. Maybe it’s unfair of me to single out just a few sessions as they’re all worthwhile; technical detail, user experience, analysis and R&D sessions alike. But there are over 100 available sessions (not including keynotes and seminars) and you can physically attend a maximum of 19. Some are bound to stick out more than others, but I’m taking home rafts of notes and action points from all the presentations I attended.

Beyond the presentations themselves it’s great to hook up with the wider DB2 community; to see faces you haven’t seen since last year and to meet new ones. I’ve been able to put a face to the name for a number of people with whom I‘ve been exchanging views on technical issues for months. I’ve also met techies and users who have given me a fascinating insight into how DB2 is being used in different industries, in Belgium, Italy, Sweden, New Zealand and all points in between. I’ve gained insights into how some of the bleeding-edge technology of DB2 is being rolled out and used in anger in different industries, right around the world.

And, of course, I was able to offer my thoughts on all of this in my presentation this morning. I’m a relative IDUG ‘newbie’ so I tend to get the slot where people are wheeling their luggage in and looking at their watches to see when they have to leave for the airport. As was I. But, plug adapter and laptop in hand, I ran to my session room and was gratified to find a pretty full house even at this late stage in proceedings. I’d like to once again thank my audience for their attention and interest at the end of what has been a very busy, but hugely informative week at IDUG. A safe trip home for you all, but check to see if your taxi driver has Phil Collins on the CD player.

See you all in Dublin next year!

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IDUG EMEA 2014 – Day 3

This is my first attendance at an IDUG Technical conference. I have been reading and hearing a lot about IDUG over the years, but I have never had the opportunity to attend. I did however have some idea on the conference proceedings from my previous experience of attending a SQL PASS conference. DB2 is my key area of expertise, so I was waiting for the opportunity to attend an IDUG event. And, believe me, it is absolutely fascinating and well worth the wait, especially meeting and listening to all those well-known members of the DB2 community whose books, blogs, articles, white-papers kept me engrossed and helped me throughout my career.

The IDUG conference is the best possible DB2 education you can get anywhere, all the real-world tips and tricks directly from the architects and engineers in IBM and hands-on users around the globe and they are just an email away. I discussed a DB2 upgrade issue I encountered in HA environment with the lead HA architect of IBM. He was very kind to offer his help and shared his contact details for further communication on this issue. Hint and tips like these from fellow members of the IDUG community is what makes people recommend the conference to all other DB2 professionals who wish to enhance their DB2 skills and knowledge.

I arrived at the conference hotel in Prague on a foggy Sunday evening and now we are already on day three. The LUW keynote speech from Paul Z on day one was very exciting and encouraging. Paul’s message to all the DB2 LUW folks like me was to embrace all the new IBM data technologies without hesitation because ultimately DB2 is everywhere, so we should be able to apply our original skills in all the new technologies without much extra effort. Technical sessions are ongoing, moving from one room to another, chatting to other DB2 consultants in the UK and Europe. Overall it is a very refreshing experience.

One word of advice to all those who are planning to take a free certification exam at IDUG – try to take the exam as early as possible. There are lots of attendees all wishing to expand their DB2 knowledge, which may result in a queue for the certification room later in the day.

Posted in DB2, IDUG, IDUG EMEA 2014, Somu Chakrabarty, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

IDUG EMEA 2014 – Day 2

The sun has been shining and the weather mild so far in Prague for IDUG EMEA 2014. (Who says the British only talk about the weather?) However last time I was in Prague the temperature was -20C and I was knee deep in snow. It just shows that nothing is certain. This was echoed by the excellent ex-poker player Caspar Berry during the opening keynote to IDUG EMEA 2014. The message I took from Caspar’s entertaining presentation was that we should embrace change. We cannot predict the outcome of events for certain, but we can plan to mitigate risk and plan what to do in the event of an unexpected event. Don’t expect for certain that a DB2 version upgrade or deployment of new application code will go exactly according to plan. Great if they do, but plan for the unexpected.

Following Caspar’s keynote and the news from IDUG CPC Chair Cristian Molaro that this year’s attendance is the largest for many years, attendees exited to the main conference hall and every direction I turned people were greeting their fellow IDUGers that they hadn’t seen for 12 months since IDUG EMEA 2013 in Barcelona. “Have you planned your DB2 11 z/OS upgrade yet?”, “Are you using DB2 BLU?” Lots of noise and lots of questions. With increasing numbers in attendance there is a real buzz about IDUG EMEA this year. There are also more First Time attendees than I have seen before, perhaps down to the successful Mentor programme.

Talking of numbers and buzz, there were also record numbers at the Triton Monday Evening event this year. Crowds of people were quickly taking on the DB2 Geek Geometric quiz, challenging even the most experienced of techies. A lot of head scratching and puzzled looks from every table. For some the quiz was too testing and so instead tried out the DB2 Geek life size cut out for size. Well done to all those that attempted the Geometric challenge and especially to our prize winners. There are a few sore heads around this morning but soon forgotten following some entertaining and insightful technical sessions. And more of the same tomorrow.

Hard to believe we’re nearly on day 3 of IDUG already and it will soon be over with everyone already looking forward to IDUG EMEA 2015 in Dublin. Nothing is certain of course, but I will certainly be doing my upmost to make IDUG again next year. The best DB2 education event there is.

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IDUG EMEA 2014 – Day 1

So, that’s another IDUG EMEA conference opening day in the history books – my 16th since I attended my first conference in Barcelona back in 1997. I actually arrived in Prague yesterday morning after a VERY early flight from the UK. That gave me a few hours to re-acquaint myself with the Clarion Congress Hotel (IDUG was at the same hotel 3 years ago) and enjoy my first Staropramen of the week in Prague’s Old Town. There was no time for an extended sightseeing session though, as I wanted to attend the DB2 for z/OS Customer Advisory Council meeting on Sunday afternoon. I really enjoy these sessions, which provide a great opportunity for key DB2 customers and Gold Consultants to provide direct input into IBM’s plans for future releases of DB2. The “Cypress” release of DB2 for z/OS is shaping up nicely, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the exciting new features as they are finalised in the coming months.

Sunday evening was inevitably spent in the vicinity of the hotel bar, catching up with many old IDUG friends and making a few new ones. It was good to see several first-time IDUG attendees around in addition to the usual suspects who make the IDUG pilgrimage every year.

A combination of client work and IDUG Content Committee commitments meant I could only attend a few technical sessions today, but John Campbell’s Migration Planning presentations are always worth attending and the current DB2 11 iteration is no exception. The lunch and coffee breaks seemed to be very busy, and I’m guessing the numbers are well up on last year’s conference. The Triton DB2 Geeks have been busy mingling and giving out invites to this evening’s party, which has become a much-anticipated part of the IDUG social schedule in recent years. This year’s “geometric quiz” is one of the harder competitions we’ve run recently, and I’m looking forward to finding out how many people manage to crack it.

That’s it for today, I’m off to set up for tonight’s party before helping to man the Content Committee stand in tonight’s Exhibition Reception. One of my fellow DB2 Geeks will pick up the story tomorrow, but so far my 16th EMEA conference looks like it’s going to be every bit as valuable and enjoyable as the previous 15 have been.



Posted in DB2 Geek, IDUG, IDUG EMEA 2014, Julian Stuhler, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Managing Mainframe Costs in the Financial Services Sector

Over the past 25 years of working with Mainframes, one aspect has proved to be a constant challenge – Mainframe pricing.  Mainframe software charges are usually based on peak usage.   Whatever an organisations’ peak workload in a given month is what they pay for.

Managing workload peaks in the Financial Services sector can be a major challenge. In the Banking sector consumer transactions increase dramatically during Christmas and Sales periods.  Similarly in the Insurance sector, quotes rise when new car registrations are released and seasonal trending means that workload peaks during winter months.  It is vital that financial services organisations are able to protect themselves against large spikes in usage which push up software costs.

Demystifying Mainframe Pricing

When I’m on a customer site I often get asked “how can we reduce our Mainframe software charges?” Unfortunately there isn’t a simple answer.  The key is to gain a real understanding of:

  1. How Mainframe pricing works
  2. When, where and why your workload peaks occur
  3. How those peaks can be reduced

1 – How Mainframe pricing works

Every month an IBM workload report using the Sub-Capacity Reporting Tool (“SCRT”) is produced and sent to IBM.  This is used to determine the peak workload and therefore what charges will be applied for the software used. 

2 – When, where and why your workload peaks occur
Sometimes organisations are not aware that workload is peaking at certain times.  By analysing SCRT and SMF data it is possible to get an understanding of when and where workload peaks occur. Workload peaks can be caused by any number of external and internal forces including:

High/fluctuating transaction volumes
Unmanaged workload mix
Data access paths not optimised
Badly performing/slow running applications

Lets take a look at this last one because badly performing applications can be a major source of woe when it comes to pushing up Mainframe costs. The graph below shows an example of 4-Hour-Rolling-Average (4HRA) MSU usage by software product alongside overall yearly usage.  All software products will be charged at the LPAR peak. For example, if your CICS application has not been tuned as well as it could be or it is using up more MSUs than it should then the entire peak will be raised and software costs will increase to the peak. There are potentially significant savings to be made by ensuring that the system is running efficiently.

zTune FSS blog graph

3 – How Triton’s zTune service can reduce peaks and drive Cost Reduction

LPAR Optimisation

  • Possible savings of up to £1M – based on case studies 

Workload Optimisation

  • Possible savings of up to £1.5M – based on case studies 

Workload Tuning

  • Additional  savings of up to £1M – based on case studies

The fluctuating workload environment that Financial Services organisations operate in means that workload and therefore cost spikes can be a real issue for both CIOs and CFOs.  Triton’s zTune service implements controls that remove software cost surprises which gives robustness to both the capacity plan and the financial plan.  Focused MSU reduction tuning can be translated into real cost savings.

Find out more and download the white paper

Posted in capacity planning, mainframe, System Z, z/OS, zEnterprise, zSeries, zTune | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Join us at IDUG EMEA and get social with the DB2 Geek

With just under three weeks to go until the IDUG EMEA 2014 Technical Conference in Prague the Triton team is busy finalising arrangements for this year’s drinks reception. There will be a very familiar face awaiting your arrival this year. The one and only DB2 Geek will be making an appearance and not in the form of a stress toy!  Just remember to smile and say “cheese” when you see him. We would then love you to share your DB2 Geek photos on Twitter using the hashtag #DB2Geek.  You could be in with a chance of winning a limited edition DB2 Geek Lego man.

We will also have some top prizes to give away in our geometric quiz, so be sure to pick up a competition entry leaflet upon arrival. Let the battle between Midrange and Mainframe begin!

This year’s prizes include:

  • 1st prize: Kindle Fire HDX tablet/eReader with Amazon card
  • 2nd prize: PowerUp smartphone-controlled powered paper airplane
  • 3rd prize: Amazon gift card

The DB2 Geeks will be handing out a limited number of invitations to our drinks reception, so remember to ‘Seek a Geek’ at the earliest opportunity on Monday 10th November. The drinks reception will be taking place later that evening from 8pm in the Benada Restaurant, 2nd Floor of the Clarion Congress Hotel.

We hope you can join us. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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The Top Five Reasons for Choosing Remote Database Support – Proactive Vs Reactive

#3 Proactive Vs Reactive

Expert DBA skills are often needed on different projects and so DBAs can find themselves spending more time on non-core functions. This means that the vital monitoring and management of the database can be sidelined.  Overworked DBA teams may not have time to proactively monitor the database.  Instead, only reacting once a problem has occurred and business users are already feeling the effects.

It is important when taking out a remote support contract, to check whether the service provider can offer the option of proactive monitoring. This takes away the concern of problems cropping up unexpectedly and more often than not potential issues are noticed and dealt with before users are even aware of an issue.

It is important when taking out a remote support contract to check whether the service provider can offer the option of proactive monitoring.

Download the white paper – Top Five Reasons for Choosing Remote Database Support 

Find out more about RemoteDBA from Triton Consulting

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DB2 10.5 “Cancun” Experiences: Iqbal Returns to the DB2Night Show

Triton’s very own Iqbal Goralwalla, Head of DB2 Midrange and Managed Services, will be presenting once again on DBI’s DB2Night Show. Iqbal will share early experiences in using DB2 10.5 FP4 “Cancun”.  This will include the use of Shadow tables to facilitate analytical queries on predominantly transactional systems, performance improvements on point queries using Ingest and ELT, thoughts on pureScale “lite”, and some more if time allows!

Register to join the DB2Night Show audience on Friday 17th October at 4-5pm GMT and find out why Iqbal is so excited about the DB2 10.5 “Cancun” release and get real time answers to your questions.

Iqbal has also written a series of articles on DB2 10.5 with BLU Acceleration and the latest “Cancun” release which can be found here


Posted in DB2, DB2 10.5, DB2 LUW, Iqbal Goralwalla | Tagged , , | Leave a comment