you are a developer or DBA and are interested in DB2, take this
opportunity to preview emerging technologies that are still in the lab.
wants to collaborate with you early in technology conception,
prototyping, and iterative development cycles. These technologies may or
may not be aligned with announced products. The features or
technologies in the download do not represent a commitment or obligation
on the part of IBM.
Momi’s presentation encourages DBAs to practice and prepare for possible problem areas that can cause a DBA to be under enormous pressure. Good advice in terms of preparing for a recovery after a disaster and more. Momi’s wise tips can also be found in a blog: B-Advised DB2 Blog
JB – CIO – Best Practices
Many of us, including me, thought that CIO was Chief Information Officer, but in the context of JB’s presentation it means Concurrent I/O. As usual JB covered the topic very thoroughly and very convincingly. I don’t think that JB has a blog, but don’t worry, I’m hoping to turn her into an author so she can share her talent of explaining complex topics with everyone.
Mary – How the DB2 Load Utility is Like Green Eggs & Ham
Mary is also an amazing presenter and is a pro at making topics very interesting with appropriate comparisons to popular interests. In this case, she encourages people to try something new, like was done in the Dr. Suess book “Green Eggs & Ham”. She encourages you to use named pipes to load data. Mary is a former Oracle user and has discovered the power of DB2 and has become a huge fan. I couldn’t find a blog for Mary… but she’d be good at it!
Thiru - Data
Thiru dug deep and found another command that is not very well known but is very useful. This time he taught us about using DB2cat. I also couldn’t find a blog for Thiru, but I do know that he attended the DB2 Symposium in Dallas earlier this week, so hopefully he’ll be active in local DB2 events in the future.
We judges, Martin Hubel, Klaas Brant, and myself had a very tough time deciding which of the bottom two presenters we were going to keep. There were many conversations going on between the judges. Then Scott did the poll and found that the audience was pretty split as well. In the end we chose Thiru. We really wanted to keep both, but needed to follow the rules. This ends Mary’s amazing run and anyone who saw her presentations over the past couple of months will agree with me that Mary will do very well at anything she chooses to do!
Once again 100% of the audience said that they learned something new that would be helpful in their job! What a big win/win experience this has been: audience is learning & contestants are fine tuning their presentation skills.
Beginning tomorrow you can participate in IOD virtual sessions... from your desk... for free.... whether you attended the conference in person or not. Personally I love attending these virtual conferences and have a good headset and mic to get the most out of the experience.
Which sessions should you choose? There have been many blog entries describing the sessions that took place, so take advantage of this information and choose the sessions that you most want to see. My recommendation is the Malcolm Gladwell session. He only spoke for half an hour, which is my only complaint! I could listen to his stories for hours, so I hope that in the future he is invited back to speak at the conference, but is given a large time period.
Malcolm's session is playing tomorrow... Tuesday Nov 10 at 11 EST. Don't miss it!
At the Information On Demand Virtual experience, you will learn how you can: - Transform data into a trusted strategic asset using an information agenda - Improve business performance with data analytics and optimization techniques - Accelerate information intensive projects for immediate ROI
Date: November 10, 2009 Time: 8:00 am Pacific Time Cost: Complimentary
I'm not sure how many people from the z/OS platform will read this BLOG, but since this is one of the many products I support in terms of skills, I'll add it here. I still find our z/OS certification program to be a well kept secret, so if you know people who support this platform, do them a favour and tell them about it!
To get certified as a Database Administrator for DB2 on z/OS, you must pass two exams: Exam 700 DB2 V8.1 Family Fundamentals, and Exam 702 DB2 V8.1 for z/OS Database Administration.
To prepare for Exam 700, you have a choice of several books, but I'd recommend one of the two:
If you have already passed the DB2 V7 Family Fundamentals, Exam 512, then you do NOT need to retake Exam 700. These exams are considered equivalent. Of course, you may take the V8 exam if you want to ensure that you understand all the Version 8 features.
Besides the books, the following tutorials are available to prepare for Exam 700:
DB2 UDB V8 Family Fundamentals Preparation This series of six tutorials is designed to help you prepare for the DB2 Version 8 Family Fundamentals Exam 700 to attain the certification, IBM Certified Database Associate DB2 Universal Database V8.1 Family. You can link to all the free tutorials from http://www.ibm.com/software/data/education/selfstudy.html#2.
In my experience, many z/OS people are not very fond of Exam 700 since it includes some questions that are true for all platforms that look to be specific for the Linux, UNIX or Windows platforms. It is also my observation that people trained on z/OS do VERY well on this exam. The exam covers SQL, Security, and Concurrency, so pretty basic material.
To prepare for Exam 702, the book that is recommended is:
Books can be expensive… I know because I’m an avid reader and having go used to using a library! I tend to look for books on sale but also I have switched primarily to ebooks as the price is normally quite a bit lower than the printed book.
Check out the great prices offered by IBM Press for a wide selection of eBooks: There are 58 books in the list! Here are a few that I want to highlight:
Get the details behind these new product releases as announced on April 3.
Learn about powerful new features such as:
Storage Optimization Advances, including Adaptive Compression and
Multi-Temperature Data Storage, which are designed to optimize your storage
environment and system performance.
SQL Compatibility enhancements that make it even faster and easier to
migrate from Oracle Database to DB2.
Time Travel Query, which provides native temporal support, enabling you to
better support your business and more easily meet compliance and data retention
Real-time operational data warehousing, with features such as data ingest
and query performance enhancements, designed to enable better and faster
NoSQL capabilities that help you implement models beyond relational, such as
unstructured XML data and RDF graph triple data. Handling these new types of
data along with your relational data is becoming a requirement in
Watch for additional webcasts that will be offered throughout 2012 to provide
in-depth discussion on the features in these releases.
This is the kick-off Tech Talk and you are strongly encouraged to attend.
If you are interested in getting certified, and I think you should be if you are working with a product as complex as DB2, you should join this show. Roger has been involved in the DB2 certification program for years now. He takes part in the exam development as a subject matter expert. He and the other experts create the questions that appear on the exam.
Roger takes creating questions very seriously since once he’s finished creating questions for the actual exam, he makes up a whole set of sample questions that appear in his books. He gives you the answer to the questions in the book and explains why the correct answer is correct. I think this is a great way to learn the material, don’t you?
Roger also teaches this material in the form of a Crammer Course. Many DB2 conferences throughout the year my feature Roger and his Crammer Course.
With this checklist, you can track your progress on following the steps required to earn a certification. One of those steps is called Assess. Studying can take a lot of time and energy, and certification exams are usually $200!...so how can you make the most of your time and money?
1) Take an assessment exam for $10 (USD) to find out if you are prepared and if not, where to focus your studying.
Assessment tests are delivered by the Prometric Web-based test delivery tool.
Tests cost $10 USD per attempt. VISA, Master Card and American Express credit cards are accepted, and entered directly into the Prometric system.
Assessment exams are similar to the certification exam in that it is in the same format (multiple choice), done on the same testing software, and score reports that break down your score by section.
There is an assessment exam that corresponds to each certification exam.
All five of these certification prep guides were written by members of the exam development team. That is, they created the questions for the certification exam that you are about to take! Also, each chapter of the book corresponds directly to a section on the exam. So, if you take the assessment exam and find out that you are week on a single topic, you simply need to read the chapter that corresponds to the topic where you need improvement. Lastly, the authors created a set of sample questions for the book that provides you with the correct answer to the question as well as an explanation as to why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect ones are not.
All six of these books... and many more, can be read and searched electronically. Safari Online and Books 24x7 are two popular electronic book engines where these books are available. Why would you want to read a book electronically? You might not want to read an entire book electronically, but if you are browsing books to find out which one you should buy in print, searching and reading parts of the book electronically makes sense and may help you make the best choice on your purchase.
Also, if you are mostly prepared for the exam, but just want to do a bit of review before taking the exam, you might consider doing the review electronically. At the very least, I'd suggest reading the summary for each chapter, answering the sample questions that are found in the book, and reading the description for the answers. This can be done quite easily electronically.
Safari Books Online is a great electronic book engine and right now, you can receive a free 15-day trial. With Safari Books Online, you can search for a particular keyword, read the entire book cover to cover, or simply ensure that this is the book you need before you buy the printed version. Hurry! This offer has been held over until the end of 2009.
Books 24x7 is another great electronic book engine. IBMers world-wide can access books via this engine, free of charge. You can reach the site through many internal home pages. Many other companies and schools also have subscriptions to Books 24x7. Check with your company to see if you have a free subscription.
On today’s DB2Night Show, we had the second set of competitors who are competing in the DB2 has Talent Competition. This week we had 6 amazing competitors who made it difficult for we judges (Martin Hubel, Klaas Brant, and I) to choose who would move on to the finals.
Before I tell you who was chosen to move on as a result of this episode, let me tell you a bit about all the competitors.
Vijay’s presentation was titled “Keeping Critical OLTP Databases Up and Running”. Vijay’s primary tip was to gather data when your database is running well and at peak. Having this data available will help you decipher problems when the database is running slower than it should. I’m reading the book “Switch” right now and one of the things the authors recommend that people do in their every day life is to look at the bright spots… that is, analyze a situation that goes well and find out why so that you can repeat it. It seems to me that Vijay’s presentation was suggesting that people do just that. Well done.
Mustafa presented “Consolidating Three Databases into One”. Mustafa ran out of time… but only by a few minutes. It seemed that the last couple of slides were critical to the presentation, but as it was, it was difficult to follow. Klaas gave Mustafa some advice to improve and I think that the presentation would be much better once Mustafa takes Klaas’ advice.
Ahmad was next with the presentation “OLTP Queries Timing Out”. Ahmad gave a very creative solution for searching for character strings in a table. He showed how he brought the search costs down significantly in his query. After Ahmad presented, both Klaas and Martin mentioned that they have many customers who were looking for solutions to this common problem.
Sameer presented “Optimizing Application Performance and Performance Monitoring”. This presentation was filled with incredible tips. Many incredible tips. The only thing I wanted to see in addition to what Sameer provided was examples and what if scenarios as to why these tips should be used and why they are better. Sameer says that he had a much bigger slide deck with that kind of content, but cut it out to fit in the 4 minutes he was allotted.
Greg’s presentation “Want to Improve Your DB2 Availability” was A++ on the definitions of HADR and HACMP, but there weren’t enough examples and pictures, so people with short attention spans, such as me, had trouble following. With a bit more effort, Greg’s presentation would have taken him to the finals.
Raja was last today. Presentation: “A Miss is as good as a Mile”. Did I get the title right? It doesn’t seem to make sense to me right now. Raja very nicely laid out problems related to performance and came up with solutions and clear details on how to get from problem to solution.
So, who did we choose? We decided that we liked Raja’s and Ahmad’s presentations best of all and asked the two of them to come back in March. We also decided to invite Sameer back next week to give us his presentation again next Friday after he takes the advice that he was given in this week’s show.
Did you miss this episode or last weeks? No worries! These are recorded and you can watch the replay. You’ll be glad that you did. One of the polling questions that we had today asked the audience if they learned something in today’s show that they didn’t yet know. 93% of the audience responded saying that they did in fact learn something valuable in the show. Even if you are an experienced DBA, I would say that you could learn something from these shows. The creativity of the people on the front line are amazingly creative!
There is a new white paper that I recently learned about that I thought I would pass on to you:
Continuous access to Read on Standby databases using Virtual IP addresses
The DB2® High Availability and Disaster Recover (HADR) feature is a database replication method that provides a high availability solution for both partial and complete site failures. HADR protects against data loss by replicating data changes from a source database, called the Primary, to a target database, called the Standby.
The HADR reads on standby (HADR ROS) feature, allows applications to access the current Standby databases for reads. With the HADR ROS feature, read/write applications can access the HADR Primary database, and read-only applications can access either the HADR Primary or the HADR Standby database. This enables you to offload some of the read-only workloads running on the Primary to the Standby.
This paper shows how you can use the HADR ROS feature in conjunction with Virtual IP addresses to ensure continued, automatic connectivity for read-only clients.
I’ve already read the book and highly recommend it. It covers everything that you need to know & do in order to get an article or book published. What makes this book so different than others of the same sort is first of all Roger’s extensive experience in writing technical books and articles and second his explanation of an author contract. I personally find legal contracts to be very difficult to understand and I have little interest in putting in the effort to understand all the terms that appear in an author contract. Roger put the effort in, and it shows. He goes through each clause and term that you’ll encounter and explains it in a very understandable way. In addition, Roger gives examples of what he’s encountered throughout his career and how the various clauses in the contract affected the situation.
Getting the skills to write well isn’t nearly as hard as you think. Here are the basics that Roger covers in his book:
1. Schedule time to write. If you wait until you’re “in the mood to write”, you’ll never get anything done! Set goals for how much you want to accomplish and move to another section if one is causing you grief. Reward yourself as targets are reached.
2. Have a strong outline before you start to write. I know it sounds cliché, but the more up front planning you do, the easier the writing will be. Even for technical documents, you should “tell a story”. Have a beginning, say a problem that needs to be solved; a middle, the search for a solution; and an end, a strong conclusion.
3. Let some personality show through in the writing. There are some cases where dry, factual writing is required, but where it’s not, let the writing be conversational or slightly casual to be of interest to the reader. Always think of your reader. Even if the writing is just for a school paper, the last thing you want to do is to bore the reader so that the ending is never reached.
4. Diagrams and tables are useful, but ONLY if they are tied tightly with the text. Don’t put them there just for filler because they’ll never be looked at. The best idea is to add reference numbers to the diagrams and have text to lead the reader from one point to the next. If that sounds like too much work, maybe the diagram isn’t really needed.
5. No one’s writing is perfect… every author needs to review and revise their work many times. Most authors get quite tired of reading what they’ve written by the time it is “finished”.
To make revision as easy as possible, Roger suggests that each time you go through your draft, look for one specific thing at a time. For instance, the first time through, check that you are using the active voice instead of passive. Next, go through and look to make sure headings and lists use parallel wording. Next, look for words that are commonly spelled incorrectly that will not be caught by a spell checker. And so on.
6. For everyone, but especially if you are English-second language, consider reading the text out loud or have the computer read it to you. You may be able to hear problems in the wording easier than you can read them. Also, look at past comments you’ve received on writing assignments. Likely you often make the same errors every time you write, so pay close attention to how your previous errors were corrected, and go through your document to specifically focus on improving these problem areas.
8. One last piece of advice. If you’re writing a technical document, your goal is not to make it “beautiful”… your goal is clarity. You want to ensure that anyone who reads what you’ve written understands your technical messages.
There are a lot more details that will help you, so I encourage you to get a copy of Roger’s book.
Data in Action, the second semi-annual virtual conference August 19 at 8:00 AM PDT / 11:00 AM EDT
This is the premiere data management event for IT managers and executives.
What is a virtual conference?
I attended a few earlier this year and was extremely impressed! This new technology delivers live audio and/or video with award winning speakers AND allows you to interact with speakers, product experts and other attendees.... all WITHOUT leaving your office! Really... all you need is a computer, speakers or headphones... and a bit of time. Time is the difficult one in this list, but this is a far shorter commitment on your time than attending a conference live.
This conference will feature effective data management solutions for smarter business outcomes. Hear from Donald Feinberg, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst from Gartner, about the state of the DBMS software market and data management challenges facing businesses today. The topics that Mr. Feinberg will examine include; the problem of exploding data volumes, new computing paradigms for handling this explosion, data management cost reduction techniques and technologies, and the perspective of the DBA now and in the future.
Following Mr. Feinberg will be a moderated panel of customers and partners who are leveraging the unique and desirable features only available in DB2 9.7.
This is one event you won't want to miss. Get your questions answered through 2 interactive (webcast) sessions, 8 exhibit booths, and live chat. IBM and it's business partners are helping companies around the globe with industry-leading data management technologies and their world-class expertise. Learn how your company can achieve smarter business outcomes and reduce underlying IT costs.
Attendee incentives include a complimentary memory stick for the first 97 attendees, which includes information on the cost savings of DB2 over Oracle. IBM employees are not eligible for this incentive. Also a DB2 9.7 Discovery DVD for everyone who completes the event survey. The DVD includes trial code and tutorials. I look forward to seeing you there. If you do come... please ping me and tell me you read my blog :)
8:00 am PDT / 11:00 am EDT General Session: Current Trends in the Data Management Market Donald Feinberg, Gartner, VP Distinguished Analyst
9:00 am PDT / 12:00 pm EDT General Session: Learn From Your Peers: Moving to DB2 in Days Not Weeks IDUG Moderator with DB2 Early Adopter Customers and Business Partner Panel
10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT Chat: Where do you find training and information about DB2 9.7? IDUG Moderator
Exhibit Zone 8:00 am PDT / 11:00 am EDT to 12:00 pm PDT / 3:00 pm EDT
Explore the Booths and Solution Provider Pavilion including:
Earlier this year I wrote a blog entry entitled Year of the e-Book. Indeed it has been a very popular year for people trying or switching to ebooks. In the recently published article Top Trends of 2010: Growth of eBooks & eReaders, author Richard MacManus states that “eBook sales almost doubled over 2010 and now make up 9% of total consumer book sales”.
Although this is significant, there is still a long way to go before ebooks become widely accepted. I’ve owned my Kindle for a year now and my son has a Sony, so from personal experience, two bookworms from different generations were able to make the switch and love the experience. When I ask people if they’ve considered one of the ebook readers, they tell me that they would never be able to give up the feel of an actual book in their hands. My answer to this is that most of us have converted from snail mail to email, so the conversion from printed books to ebooks will happen eventually, but it will need people to first step outside their comfort zone.
One of the things I really liked about Richard’s article was his comparison between printed books and ebooks. I’ve copied his pros & cons here to add my own opinions:
1. Social Highlighting 2. Notes 3. Look-up of words 4. Ability to Tweet & Facebook quotes 5. Search
I’ve used all of these features on my kindle, but would like to add that my favourite features are 1) the ability to get sample books. When I’m out with people and we’re discussing books that we recommend, I can easily build a wish list of books by getting sample chapters for free from amazon.com. On a recent vacation, I read 5 of the samples that I had recently downloaded and decided that 4 of the 5 were books that I was interested in reading further. 2) The price of a new release in kindle format is much cheaper than the hardcover. Along with this is the weight. My wrists hurt when reading those heavy hard cover books! So now I don’t need to wait for the paperback or trade version of the book, I can read it inexpensively and weightlessly on my kindle!
I still share books with others… mostly other people lending me their printed books. I will still pick up used books when I see one that I’d like to read. But for me, most of the books I’ll buy it the future will be gifts or keepsakes. At the IOD conference I was able to get books signed by the authors. Even though I already owned e-versions of these books, I purchased the printed copies to get their signature. I purchased a few as gifts as well. One guy had the Freakonomics authors sign his Kindle in permanent marker!!
There are so many choices for e-readers now and the prices appear to be dropping, so I presume many people will be getting these as gifts this Christmas. If you do get one, step outside your comfort zone and give it an honest try. You might learn that you like it… like I did!
How about technical books? Well, I’ve noticed that some of the kindle sample books for technical books are not perfect yet. One book I downloaded, I ended up with only the Front Matter. I guess looking at the TOC is important, but I wanted to see what the chapters and diagrams looked like. I contacted the publisher to suggest that they fix this.
Not all publishers have put their books in Kindle format. There are still issues that need to be worked through with the profits and graphics quality. The ipad fixes the graphics quality… so that might make technical ebooks more accepted.
From my perspective, all of our books are in electronic format. Really if you think about it, IBM has been a leader in electronic formats for information. IBM Redbooks have been a major source of high quality content for forty years now. Product documentation with IBM products such as DB2 has been delivered in electronic format through the Information Center or online help for more than 10 years now. Our published books are made available in Books 24x7 and Safari Books Online which are electronic book libraries. IBM subscribes to Books 24x7 meaning that all IBM employees can access published books electronically, at no charge. All IBM Press books and all of our Certification Study Guides are available in Kindle format as well as epub format that can be used on any e-reading device.
Check out another blog entry I wrote entitled “The Mainstreaming of e-Books” that gives a bit more information about some of the e-readers. Also check out my blog entry from yesterday “DB2 on Campus Book Series” which is a set of books that are only available in electronic format.
About 6 weeks ago, IBM and Jeopardy made history by pitting a computer against human Jeopardy champions to see if IBM had created software that could “understand” the context in natural language. The project is dubbed “DeepQA”. Did you see the shows? There were three Jeopardy episodes and several on the background of creating the computer Watson. You can see the replays on Youtube.
I heard a story about a case that took medical professionals 6 months to diagnose. They fed the symptoms to Watson and diagnosed the issue in less than 30 minutes. Can you imagine how helpful this will be?
pureXMLDB2 pureXML technology (Product Web site)This is the main DB2 product Web site for pureXML. Information Management and XML technology developerWorks domain (IBM community Web site)This is the main developerWorks Web site from which you can access articles, online tutorials, and other technical resources about DB2 and XML standards and technologies. IBM DB2 9 pureXML Guide (IBM Redbooks, html and pdf)This IBM Redbooks publication describes the pureXML data store, hybrid database design, and administration. It explains what XML schemas are, how to use industry standards to implement them, and how to manage XML schemas. It covers how to use SQL/XML, XQuery, and XPath for querying XML data by providing easy-to-understand examples and how to use XML technology efficiently in business applications. Get started with XPath (Tutorial)This tutorial introduces the W3C standard XPath Version 1.0. This tutorial is intended for people who do not know XPath or who want a refresher. If you plan to use XSLT, you should take this tutorial first. You will learn what XPath is, what the syntax and semantics of the XPath language are, how to use XPath location paths, how to use XPath expressions, how to use XPath functions, and how XPath relates to XSLT. DB2 9: pureXML Overview and Fast Start by Cynthia Saracco, Don Chamberlin, Rav Ahuja (IBM Redbooks, html and pdf)This IBM Redbooks publication provides a concise introduction to pureXML, with short, precise examples and explanations that provide a distilled version of the knowledge essential to start working with pureXML. This book is a compilation of many of the IBM published articles on pureXML. Native XML support in DB2 (White paper, pdf)This white paper provides a technical overview of XML support in DB2 products. It explains how XML data has been stored in relational database systems in the past using data type mappings and explains the limitations of these approaches. It then introduces the concept of pureXML and what it means for XML data to be stored natively within a database. It explains the benefits of this approach and how this implementation can be complemented with features such as XML indexes, a full XQuery language, SQL/XML, XML schema support, and utilities that support the bulk loading of XML data. pureXML in DB2 9: Which way to query your XML data? (Article)This intermediate-level article discusses DB2 pureXML support and compares the two methods by which you can query XML data in a DB2 database: SQL/XML and XQuery. By providing examples, this article explains the relationship between these two query access language syntaxes, the circumstances in which each method is preferred, the benefits of using each independently, and the use of them together to perform more complex queries. pureXML wiki (Wiki)This Web site contains links to numerous articles, demos, webcasts, and other information about DB2 pureXML published by IBM and other parties Alphaworks DB2 pureXML download and demo site (Download)This Web site contains industry-specific DB2 pureXML software offerings and resources. DeveloperWorks DB2 pureXML forum (Forum)This DeveloperWorks forum is one of the fastest ways to get any pureXML questions answered.
Thanks to Farzana Anwar for pulling this list together!