Clustering in Stinger

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-05-07 Print this article Print

Kuchleins also interested in the Stinger release for the high-availability features promised by its database clustering technology. Initially, hes looking at a simple active/passive setup, where one database server can pick up from the other in the case of a failure. Hes not currently looking at a more involved cluster situation in which multiple nodes form a path to a larger database instance and thus doesnt have to worry about modifying applications. Things do get tricky when you have to partition data across multiple nodes.
Often, users have to modify applications to guarantee that distribution of data happens the way they want it to happen—i.e., distribute the data such that all of the transactions for customer X wind up on one node, for example.
The autonomic features in Stinger are also reportedly much improved. The database engine has been made smarter and is freer to allocate resources as it sees fit. Thats a 24x7 engine, folks, and the difference between it and DBAs is that it doesnt need sleep. Another time/drudgery saver is that the next version of DB2 will be smart enough to know when it needs to update certificates. It knows how many updates, inserts and deletes are occurring against tables, and it can figure out when it needs to update—removing one more thing from the list of what DBAs have to worry about. Kuchlein didnt have much to say about the business-intelligence software included in Stinger, but he told me theyd probably look at it down the road when they have a free five minutes. He opined that BI is one of those many things where were seeing more hype than ROI. One issue he has with BI software is the hassle of keeping production and reporting systems in sync, for example. IBMs Patricia Selinger pointed out to me that Stinger offers the option of keeping data in one place, though, so perhaps things will change at Clarity when Kuchlein has those five minutes to spare. To read IBM database guru Patricia Selingers feedback on Stinger and the upcoming "Masala" update of DB2 Information Integrator, click here. The command-line interface was the one sticking point in Stinger, as far as Kuchlein is concerned. What hed like to see is auto-completion and the ability to edit commands instead of having to stick oft-used commands into a script, which is "a bit of a pain in the ass." Conversely, another beta user I talked with credited Stingers GUI tools with weaning him off of his command-line addiction. Philip Nelson of ScotDB Ltd., a database consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland, has steered clear of the GUI tools since DB2 Version 6, in which they were "just dreadful," he told me. Each year, he goes to the International DB2 Users Group conference—and each year he complains about the GUI tools—and finally, finally theyre getting better, what with the Design Center now being a "good, useful tool to have." Still, he said, he sometimes thinks IBMs lab people forget that not everybodys running the fastest hardware. The GUI tools are a Java application, and when youre running an old laptop, Java can be a bit slow. Command-line clunkiness and GUI tool kludginess: Theyre not deal breakers, but at least with feedback thats a little negative, we know were hearing from unbiased beta testers. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at for the latest database news, views and analysis. Be sure to add our database news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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