Thursday, January 31, 2013

My money, SEPA payments, DB2 z/OS, and pureXML

A new article about how DB2 pureXML is used to process SEPA payments has been published on IBM developerWorks. SEPA is the short for Single European Payment Area, an unification and simplification of cross-border payment processes within the European Union/Euro region and associated countries.

In the article Jane Man shows some tricks in handling documents, extracting information, and updating XML documents. Some of the problems they ran into are also discussed.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Puzzling: Enterprise Amnesia vs. Enterprise Intelligence (IBM Redbook Video)

A very interesting video featuring IBM Fellow Jeff Jonas has been published on the IBM Redbooks site. The title is Enterprise Amnesia vs. Enterprise Intelligence. Jeff talks about how organizations have trouble making sense out of the growing amount of data, how Big Data changes some of the existing laws ("physics").

In the video a puzzle is used as metaphor and practical example on how context information can be used to make sense of data. What was also interesting to me was the use of Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles for his experiment (watch the video!). The company Ravensburger is located in Ravensburg in direct vicinity to Friedrichshafen. Interesting to see how old fashioned stuff from the Lake Constance region helps understand leading edge IBM technology for Information Management. Still puzzled? Watch the video...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

VIP jets, clouds, and DB2 on cloud

Two years ago I wrote about the "parking problems" at the meeting of the World Economic Forum. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is taking place in Davos, Switzerland, and many of the participants have to fly in through the Zurich (ZRH) or Friedrichshafen (FDH) airports. (I have not been invited so far, but could go there by car. Any invitations...?)

This year's meeting is about to start and so it happens that out of the clouds business jets descend to Friedrichshafen and more helicopters can be seen. With that impression on my mind I came back from an after lunch walk and asked myself: Where is a good overview of cloud offerings for DB2? Well, it seems it is on this page at IBM developerWorks. Offerings like the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise and services like the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud and RightScale are listed. There are also some cloud computing resources at the bottom of that page.

While I continue to wait for an invitation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, you can directly get started with DB2 on the cloud.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Genealogy of RDBMSs, 30 Years of DB2

This year DB2 celebrates its 30th anniversary. There is a flash book "IBM DB2 - The Past, Present, and Future: 30 Years of Superior Innovation" that you can download. The book was already distributed in printed version at the IOD Conference in Las Vegas last October. One chapter of the book gives a nice walk down memory lane to the beginnings of the relational data model and DB2.

To add to it, I wanted to point you to the HPI Genealogy of Relational Database Management Systems. It is a chart/poster that folks at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut put together. The poster shows many of the current and former database systems (including DB2, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, MaxDB, MySQL, Netezza, Greenplum, ...), when they were released, how they were merged, rebranded, forked, acquired, etc.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Parents at the playground and DB2 components

Right now it is not the time for outdoor playgrounds in Germany, but nonetheless: Have you ever watched parents on a playground? They make up an excellent analogy to how some of the DB2 components work.

When you are at a playground with a group of parents and kids, usually the kids play and the parents talk. However, as a background process parents (in most cases) take note of what the kids are doing. If one of the own children falls, gets hurt, scratched, has a mouthful of sand, or other health issues, the observing parent arrives, fixes the problem. The child goes back to playing, the parent back to talking.
In DB2 this is called the fault monitor facility. It keeps DB2 up and running in case of "exiting prematurely" (a.k.a. crash). Commands like db2fmcu and db2fm help setting up the facility. Once it is set up, try a "kill -9" on the db2sysc process and see what is happening...

Another interruption to the socializing parents (I want to use that term as this is social media... ;) occurs when the kids cannot get along sharing a showel, a toy car, or are fighting too heavy about something else. In that case, a parent shows up and tries to make sure everyone gets along well again.
In DB2 and other database systems we have a similar concept called deadlock detection. With many DB2 databases now making use of currently committed semantics for the cursor stability isolation level, deadlocks should be rare.

Not the situation as above, but making sure your child is not kept too long in the queue for the swing or other critical playground equipment is another critical aspect of parenting. That concept is called database monitoring and lock waits are something to keep an eye on.

So the next time you are on the playground socializing, tell others about DB2...