DB2 now provides a wizard for determining a course of action when intervention is required. The Recommendation Advisor can provide an immediate solution or examine the problem that caused an alert in more detail to give the administrator other options. For example, when table space utilization in one of our test databases exceeded a threshold, Recommendation Advisors more detailed examination of the problem included suggestions to explore storage utilization, in addition to the more practical recommendations to add new table space containers.The Activity Monitor keeps tabs on application performance, so administrators can configure DB2 to improve database performance as well as optimize query performance. It includes a number of preconfigured reports, such as "Applications with the largest total sort time," that include recommendations for solving a problem, or it can launch a tool to help solve a performance problem. In addition, we were able to configure a number of other database management and maintenance tools to run automatically. For example, Version 8.2 performs automated statistics collection, which enables it to maintain the necessary table statistics for a given workload. The HADR features in version 8.2 provide data replication using synchronous, near-synchronous and asynchronous modes. Setting up a standby database proved easy using the HADR wizard in the Control Center. DB2 allowed us to establish a secondary database, convert that database to the primary database when the original primary went offline, and re-establish the original hierarchy after recovering and synchronizing data between the two databases. The HADR features allow DBAs to copy log files to the secondary server as part of the replication process and can automatically apply the log files to the secondary server. In addition, when the primary server is offline, DB2 now allows the client to find the secondary database through a client library. This eliminates the need for a third-party failover management application. For Visual Studio .Net developers, Version 8.2 includes an add-in for the Visual Studio .Net application development suite that allowed us to quickly build tables, indexes and views using a wizard or the code editor directly within Visual Studio. In addition, developers can now build DB2 CLR (Common Language Runtime) procedures from within C# or Visual Studio. A plug-in is available for Eclipse that allows developers to create tables and indexes. DB2 8.2s other notable improvements include a new ability to tap into Windows group and domain authentication, as well as other authentication schemata. Ultimately, Version 8.2s authentication recognition will make it easier for organizations to better manage applications for groups and cross-domain applications. However, although we welcome this new capability, its another catch-up feature for DB2 that will keep the product on par with, and not ahead of, its database competition. IBM offers DB2 in a number of editions, with optional features providing companies with flexible alternatives. For example, the $369 Personal Edition can be used in remote offices and replicated back to a central database in the home office. The Workgroup Server Edition and Express Edition can be enhanced with options, including HADR capabilities, for $6,000 per server. Adding the database partitioning feature to the Enterprise Edition costs $7,960 per processor. Next page: More options, more complexity.
By letting administrators launch the Recommendation Advisor directly from the wizard, Version 8.2 enables them to eliminate the potentially time-consuming step of having to search for the appropriate tool in the Control Center.