Management Tools a number of useful, new graphical tools come with DB2 8.1. Configuration Advisor, for example, helps database administrators set up new databases based on workload expectations, and database monitoring of operational databases is now centralized in a new Health Center application (
Health Center suggests actions to fix problems it finds and has a Web module for desktop Web browser or personal digital assistant access. The new DB2 Development Center provides a graphical tool for building DB2 stored procedures (in SQL or in Java) or user-defined functions that dynamically turn IBMs MQSeries, XML or any OLE DB data source into a format that looks like a native DB2 table. This tool can also be integrated with Microsoft Corp. and IBM IDEs. The current DB2 7.2 release has about 150 database parameters that require a database restart. The 8.1 release cuts that number to about 100, allowing more database administration tasks to take place without bringing down the database and disconnecting all users and applications. One thing in particular that has always irritated us was the requirement to restart the database to activate new buffer pools. With Release 8.1, we could activate them immediately after creating them. Those using DB2 for data warehousing will appreciate the ability to cluster data based on multiple independent keys (or columns); the current clustered index option physically groups disk blocks using just a single clustering key. Pre-computed queries (using summary tables) can be used by the optimizer in more cases, as well. DB2 8.1 also introduces data compression to shrink the size of databases on disk for more efficient disk I/O, but the compression applies only to null and default column values, not to all repeated data values. West Coast Technical Director Timothy Dyck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health Center (along with its Health Monitor server-side data collection engine) tracks various database engine statistics and can e-mail or page administrators when database usage passes particular thresholds. The tool can also run a database script automatically when an alarm is triggered.