Can database tuning do enough to reduce costs?

The majprity of customers have significant potential for reducing resource consumption through tuning.  This is especially true for those with older applications that haven’t been actively maintained for a while or who have lost some of their deep DB2 skills through retirement or redundancy.

By implementing key tuning procedures, ongoing software costs can be reduced and mainframe upgrades deferred. In addition, application performance will be enhanced and overall TCO reduced.

Tuning Challenges
One of the major challenges in any environment, but particularly with client/server applications, is determining which component is responsible for poor response times, although the tools for this are improving. I often liken this to the classic board game of “Cluedo”; one has to logically and methodically eliminate potential culprits until you’re left with the guilty party! Another related challenge is “skills silos”, where a client has the individual skills necessary to resolve a particular issue but no single person has the whole picture and internal culture and/or politics prevent the individuals from communicating and collaborating effectively.

The growing trend towards DB2 workloads running on ERP applications such as SAP and Siebel is also bringing some very different challenges to more traditional workloads.

In recent years the Financial Services industry in particular has been hit hard by audit and compliance regulations. When adding audit trails to existing applications it is very easy to increase the path-length of some transactions by up to 30%. It is critical therefore that these changes are properly designed and implemented to minimise the performance impact.

Performance Culture
It is vital that organisations recognise the business value of designing applications for performance from the outset. The best way to ensure this happens is to instil a “Performance Culture” throughout the organisation. This includes ensuring the availability of good skills and expert advice from the beginning of the application development life cycle, formalised design reviews to validate anticipated performance against requirements and a proactive monitoring and tuning strategy once the application goes live.

The benefits of DB2 mainframe tuning can be felt across the entire business. From the CFO, who will see significant reduction in IT spend, through to the IT teams, who benefit from improved application performance and thus improved customer service, a thorough tuning exercise can indeed improve business performance.

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