Also among the 'recommended practices' that I often present on DB2 for z/OS stored procedures is this one:
- Don't call the metadata stored procedures
Many invocations of DB2 for z/OS stored procedures come from a Java(TM) or a CLI application. The software stack for these programs accessing DB2 for z/OS is through a "driver" program. These driver programs have SQL packages bound to DB2 for z/OS, and in the case of the application invoking a stored procedure, there is a fair amount of code executed in the driver program.
For a CLI program (the term CLI is often used interchangeably with ODBC) -- this is usually something running from a Microsoft(TM) application accessing DB2 for z/OS. The DB2 connect software that includes the driver for DB2 for z/OS has some smarts in it so that if the application is coded using incorrect data types for the stored procedure being invoked, the driver recovers and invokes the SQLPROCEDURECOLS metadata stored procedure on DB2 for z/OS to find out what the data types are and then re-sends the stored procedure call to DB2 for z/OS. Yes, you got it right, this means that a poorly coded application can invoke 3 stored procedure calls for every SQL CALL it's trying to do -- one to the original SP, one to SYSIBM.SQLPROCEDURECOLS, and then again to the original SP with the correct parm types! How do you recognize this? Well, you could run a client-side DRDA trace and it will show up there. Or you can look at statistics at the server. Or you can set the value DESCRIBEPARAM=0 in the db2cli.ini file on the client, and let the applications get the error SQLCODE -301 because now the driver won't do the metadata PS call and instead will let the application fail due to using the wrong datatype. Same result if you issue a -STOP PROCEDURE (SYSIBM.SQLPROCEDURECOLS) ACTION(REJECT) command on the DB2 for z/OS server.
For a Java(TM) program, the current driver is the DB2 Universal Java Driver, and it will not invoke the metadata stored procedure. So this is an excellent reason to switch to the current driver, because the older version of the driver went through the CLI code path and had the same problem as described above.
Note that if you invoke a stored procedure from the command line (the CLP), that code will always invoke the SQLPROCDURECOLS stored procedure since the command line doesn't provide anything for what data type the arguments are.
Now, if you are stuck with a CLI program that you can't modify, what can you do to improve the performance of SQLPROCEDURECOLS? Well, APAR PK57017 just shipped which reduces the size of the package for this stored procedure, so you can free up some EDM pool usage and get a small CPU usage improvement. You can also be sure you run RUNSTATS so that the data access for this SP is the most efficient it can be. I have also heard rumors of some customers creating additional indexes on the tables used by SQLPROCEDURECOLS, but I don't have any specifics on that, sorry.[Read More]
Too many blog posts start with "It's been awhile since I've posted here", so I'm gonna skip that part and pretend that we've been talking regularly all along, OK ?
Firstly, yes, I'll be at IOD
this year! I've missed a couple due to being completely heads-down on helping get this cool new product out, so it will be great on a personal and professional networking level to reconnect with many of you. I'm there to help represent an IBM product called IBM Content Analytics
affectionately known as "ICA". It's part of our Enterprise Content Management suite. ICA integrates very well in an enterprise but at its core it is a standalone product - no prereqs. I hope that we get a chance to chat about it if we run into each other at IOD, I promise to keep it fun and friendly. :-)
The value proposition for IOD is one of unlocking insight with business value from your text content. Of course there is amazing technical capability behind it, and that's where my time is spent. Remember those old ads for the Evelyn Woods Speed Reading
courses (kinda funny that it's still around, huh!)? Conceptually, it's like this ICA system knows how to do that, because it can just go and "read" anything and everything you've got, and then tell you what the important things are across the whole smash of documents. You aren't searching, you're being presented the hot terms, words, phrases, words that come from a list you provide, and
how they are trending over time (you get to choose the date for analyzing trends - received date? incident date? date extracted from text? hire date? birth date? -- get the picture?). ICA also shows you how other terms, phrases, words correlate to what you've already identified. Right away out of the box, ICA will show you insight -- and it connects to all different enterprise sources
. We've got a great suite of built-in capability for text analytics and intuitive visualizations for your insights. And then on top of that, ICA is completely customizable, too - make it find the insights/concepts you are interested in, display them how you need to, get instant results for a document, export analytics results to your favorite reporting tools, and oh, so much more!
My technical lead focus on 2010 has been on the ICA tooling and customization capabilities - how to add new custom text analytics, how to use the LanguageWare Resource Worbench
to customize ICA, and how to make sure the sources of text are represented the way you want them. In that vein, I led a team of brilliant capable students in an Extreme Blue
project this summer who really helped us to show how you can unlock the value in your data using this platform. And I've been having a lot of geeky fun designing and giving demos to lots of different clients.
Come learn more if you'll be at IOD. It's easy to search this ECM roadmap
for Content Analytics sessions, and that's where you'll find me hanging around, plus I'll be at the Expo pedestals. Or let's catch up over a beverage - it's been too long!
When I describe native SQL procedures in DB2 9 for z/OS, I often hear variations of these types of questions:
- Doesn't the external WLM-managed infrastructure provide some throttling of stored procedures? What's going to happen when this is gone?
- Can DBM1 handle the same amount of concurrent stored procedures as multiple WLM-SPAS?
- User routines only use below the bar storage, so how much below the bar storage is available in DBM1 for these native SQL procedures?
In order to answer this, I have to explain a little bit about how DB2 handles native SQL procedures. They are simply packages, with "runtime structures" for the SQL statements to be executed. So, when you invoke a native SQL procedure, DB2 finds and loads the package and executes the statements.
In contrast, an external stored procedure with SQL needs a complete language environment for the user program, and then that external program comes back to DBM1 to get its package loaded and SQL statements executed. That's what needs to be "throttled" - the external program execution environments and their associated TCBs. When an incoming stored procedure request is queued for WLM, the DB2 thread is suspended in DBM1. Many customers have experienced delays and DBM1 storage problems when their WLM goals weren't adjusted properly and the queued requests built up. The solution is to either adjust the WLM goals, or else adjust the limit on DB2 threads (local and/or distributed).
With native SQL procedures, the thread will just switch packages when the call statement is processed and run the procedure - no queuing. The storage used for the local variables is above the bar and managed with efficient algorithms. The maximum concurrent first-level native SQL procedures is effectively the same as your setting for maximum DB2 threads. (What I mean by first-level is that a native SQL procedure may have a nested call to another native SQL procedure, so the actual number of concurrent native SQL procedures may be even higher).
So, I guess the way I'd answer the questions is:
- Yep. When it's gone, SPs will run much more efficiently
- Yep - in fact likely more
- n/a - SQL procedures aren't "really" user routines - they are a pre-defined set of SQL statements, and they don't use below the bar storage
Of course I recommend that you test your native SQL procedures in your environment and measure for yourself, and do capacity planning based on the results of your testing. Native SQL procedures will use some DBM1 storage, after all, and how much depends on what statements and what variables are used in the program.
Oh, and if you didn't recognize it, the "What, me worry?" is a reference to the signature quote from Alfred E. Neuman. It's more than a little tongue-in-cheek.[Read More]
I've received a few questions about text search in DB2 9 for z/OS lately, so I thought I'd share the basic information here.
Prior to DB2 9, there was an offering called "DB2 Text Extender". This was an early attempt at text indexing that runs on z/OS. It is dependent on some z/OS code called "Text Search". Later on, the team that worked on the extenders also released something called "DB2 Net Search Extender", aka NSE. DB2 for Linux, Unix, and Windows had a significant upgrade with NSE, but that same upgrade was not shipped for DB2 for z/OS. So DB2 for z/OS customers have not had a significant upgrade to text search since "DB2 Text Extender" in DB2 V7.
In DB2 9, there is a completely new text search solution. Text search is provided by a built-in engine function called CONTAINS. This solution requires an external text search server that runs on a Windows or Linux operating system, which is provided as part of the DB2 Accessories suite. It is not a direct replacement of Text Extender function, so applications and administration policies need to be updated for this change. The best source for detailed information about this is in the information center topic Administering IBM text search for DB2 for z/OS
. And I have an earlier blog entry
about the announcement.
What about the DB2 Text Extender? It's not available in DB2 9 for z/OS. That means you won't see an equivalent for DB2 V8 FMID JDB881C. And you won't need IBM Text Search FMID-HIMN230 in DB2 9 for z/OS either, because that was a prerequisite for the DB2 Text Extender.
The above is all specific to DB2 for z/OS. DB2 for LUW 9.5 FP 1 ships the same Omnifind text search server, and DB2 LUW still ships support for their NSE as well.
Now that we've got that all cleared up :-), next we'll evaluate some use cases for text search applicability.[Read More
Among the 'recommended practices' that I often present on DB2 for z/OS stored procedures is this one:
- No more than 512 SP's in a WLM
Let me explain why I recommend this. It's actually at the bottom of the list, and that's because it doesn't come up that often. But it has, and when it does, it can cost in I/O. DB2 has a Language Environment table of load modules in each stored procedures address space. For stored procedures defined STAY RESIDENT YES, we only have room for 512 load modules in that table. A load module has to be in the table in order for DB2 to invoke it. So, starting with the 512th, we'll delete it from the table after we call it, even if it's STAY RESIDENT YES. And come to think of it, we have separate tables for TYPE MAIN and TYPE SUB.
So to be completely accurate, the recommendation could actually say something like this:
- No more than 512 different load modules for STAY RESIDENT YES SP's in a WLM application environment, that are all either PROGRAM TYPE MAIN or PROGRAM TYPE SUB and invoked during the lifetime of a single instance of a WLM-SPAS.
For that last bit, remember that different invokers of a stored procedure that end up classified in different WLM enclaves will not have their SPs run in the same instance of a WLM-SPAS.
What's a WLM-SPAS? It's what I use to abbreviate a "WLM-established stored procedures address space".
And this post has motivated me to get a more recent copy of my stored procedures recommended practices presentation out online![Read More]
Even though I don't work daily on DB2 any more, I thought this might be a helpful post.
Last night I was online, shopping coincindentally on Cyber Monday, for presents for both my Dad's birthday and my nephew's birthday.
A work colleague happened to catch me online to ask some questions. Now, these answers are not from a book, just what I said right out of my head -- JUST as I would if you and I had this conversation. Here is our Lotus Sametime conversation, verbatim, no editing. updated: one minor edit marked by  -- OK, and I also put in the html tags and made the requester anonymous, of course. So -- sure, I could have said more about the virtues of data sharing and WLM. They are many! Forgive me, it was nighttime and I wasn't in a "marketing" mood.
In any case, please enjoy the truthiness of this exchange.
Dec 1, 2008
8:25:22 PM coworker Hi, do you have time to give me a 101 lesson on db2 z stuff?
8:28:11 PM me right now?
8:28:19 PM coworker yes
8:28:38 PM me what do you need to know?
8:29:07 PM coworker ok here come the stupid questions...
8:29:10 PM what is data sharing?
8:29:58 PM me it's 2 DB2 subsystems that share one set of data, for availability and scaling beyond one machine
8:30:06 PM 2 or more that is
8:31:02 PM coworker ok so that leads me to another question, can you explain subsystems, lpars ? what is it like in windows world?
8:31:46 PM me a subsystem is a DB2 installation
8:32:18 PM an lpar is a "logical partition", kind of like a VM on windows...
8:32:59 PM coworker can you install anything else on a subsytstem?
8:33:12 PM how do subsystems and lpars relate to each other?
8:34:34 PM me a subsystem is just db2's code, it runs in an operating system which is in an LPAR. other programs (like IMS and websphere) can be installed in that same operating system instance in that same LPAR
8:36:49 PM coworker oh oi see, i'm getting confused with the subsystem term to mean a z/OS OS term
8:36:50 PM got it
8:36:57 PM so tell me about hypersockets?
8:37:56 PM me they are a "fast pipe" for TCP/IP between LPARs on a physical z box - like a 1GB network but faster (don't know the exact numbers)
8:39:10 PM coworker so is this DRDA or no?
8:39:15 PM or using db2 connect
8:40:30 PM me DRDA communication messages travel over over TCP/IP, so if both sides are in LPARs, then they can go over the hypersockets - such as Linux on z on one side in an LPAR, and DB2 z on the other side in an LPAR
8:41:27 PM coworker so when 2 lpars communicate they do not use TCp/IP, they use hypersockets
8:41:30 PM is this correct?
8:42:32 PM me they do use TCP/IP, which travels over the hypersockets as a physical path - like a network wire
8:42:53 PM now... 2 datasharing members don't use either, if that's what you're getting at
8:43:12 PM they use the coupling facility to communicate
8:43:21 PM coworker is this built into z/OS or db2?
8:43:26 PM me z/OS
8:43:26 PM coworker the copuling faciloity
8:43:29 PM i see
8:43:50 PM me it's a separate feature of z - parallel sysplex, which is what datasharing is built on
8:44:25 PM coworker how come a customer would want to use data sharing? benefits? cons?
8:45:26 PM me benefits are availability, since all of db2 maintenance can go on one member at a time so they can keep their data available
8:45:49 PM also scalable, since the number of threads to connect to one db2 is limited, the other threads can go to another db2 -- they share all the data
8:45:51 PM coworker o i c
8:46:02 PM ok got it
8:46:08 PM me good!
8:46:13 PM coworker wait one more question hahaha
8:46:15 PM me k
8:46:17 PM coworker tell me about workload mgmt
8:46:22 PM tha'ts a z/OS thing right?
8:47:05 PM me yes - it helps balance when there's more than one subsystem on the LPAR, also helps balance priority between different db2 threads and even helps choose which data sharing subsystem gets a connection based on how busy the systems are
8:47:57 PM coworker how come this is such a big advantage over windows let's say
8:48:06 PM doesn't all operation systems do this
8:48:56 PM me no - windows doesn't let you set the priority of different programs/users/etc (as far as i know)
8:50:52 PM coworker yes you can via task manager
8:50:55 PM although not sure how smart it is
8:51:15 PM what makes z/os workload mgmt so sophisticated
8:51:21 PM i'm just wondering what's the big deal
8:52:28 PM me it's got a pretty complex set of rules and levels of priority, frequent sampling, decaying priority over time, different rules for different times of day, etc. That said, I didn't know it was considered that big of a deal
8:54:30 PM coworkerhahahaha
8:54:36 PM thanks for your db2 z/os 101
8:54:43 PM me any time[Read More]
As many of you know, I changed jobs early in 2008 to switch my developer focus from DB2 for z/OS over to unstructured text technologies. Since many DB2 folks are heads-down in structured data, that whole "content"side is a bit of a mystery. Sure, you know about search, and you likely have a vague understanding of what it means to have a text index supporting keyword search. But really, there's so much more...
I've been learning a ton about all of this, which is to be expected after over a year (!) in this job. I have some terrific colleagues in text analytics, in research, development and services, who continually amaze me with their breadth and depth of knowledge, as well as their passion for the topic and their eagerness to help customers.
I happen to love linguistics, so this job is a great fit for me. I love to read, and the turn of a phrase in a book or a song lyric brings me joy. I like to think about the best way to phrase things and ways to interpret sentences. The more I interact with non-native English speakers, the more I appreciate both the beauty and the limitations of language, and the inherent difficulties in both generating and understanding sentences. I truly enjoyed all my study of French in school, too. It's always been such an intellectual snobbery to say something like "the French have a word for that", but anyone who knows more than one language knows it to be true -- language translation is never exact and concepts cannot always be expressed well, even in one's native language. Bottom line is that it's so interesting for me to dig into and help shape the technology and rules around extracting meaning from unstructured text.
Last month I was talking with a long-time friend and colleague who was here with her company at the IBM Silicon Valley Lab for a technology briefing. She and I have had several conversations at conferences over the years on topics like O-O databases, Java, XML, as they were emerging towards mainstream over the years. In the briefing, we talked a bit about unstructured data in the context of the Information Agenda, and one of their company's thought leaders said that unstructured data inclusion is implied. Cool, but, um, how exactly? Their (very reasonable) response when I probed a little further was that they needed to hook up with the business guys on that. YES! That's where I think we all absolutely have to start -- what is the unstructured data, and what questions do you need answered from it for business value. Then we go into more of the logistics around that.
Specifically, just this week I've worked on a couple of items that can help me bring some meaning to what text analytics is all about to folks who haven't been exposed to it deeply. The first was working on a report for a well-known analyst group, where we describe our information access technologies and offerings for unstructured data. And the second is a new offering that I hope will become available soon, to help quantify needs and specific business value that can be derived from unstructured data. If you are curious about any specifics, a great place to start digging into and even playing with some text analytics technology is the LanguageWare capabilities, system text and UIMA.
If you're interested in this kind of stuff, please let me know, or contact your local IBM rep and ask them (and tell them to ask me if they want a starting contact!) I'm passionate and eager to help! :-)[Read More]
I often get asked about an architecture where a stored procedure is used for a single SQL statement. This is one of the most common errors in designs using stored procedures. It's always best to amortize the CALL overhead by including several SQL statements and even some business logic in every stored procedure. But folks that come to DB2 for z/OS from other DBMS's still do this.
A new twist on this is with our DB2 9 for z/OS support for native SQL procedures. Folks ask me, well now is it OK to have a single SQL statement in a native SQL procedure?
The thing is, the native SQL procedure is still a package for DB2 to load or at least switch to. So there really still is overhead, not to mention the network time to get over to DB2, as most apps will have to invoke several stored procedures to accomplish their logic. And guess what? Those applications typically invoke the same stored procedures in the same order with the same application logic in between. So... why not make that whole set a single stored procedure?
Bottom line: even with native SQL procedures executing in the DB2 engine rather than the WLM-managed address space, I still recommend an architecture with multiple SQL statements and some business logic rather than a single SQL statement per procedure.
If you do have an architecture with single SQL statements in stored procedures, that's not to say it won't work - it will work, just not as efficiently as it would if you follow the above advice. And even if the single-threaded app performs OK, it won't scale as well as having more SQL statements and logic in the stored procedure, due to longer-held locks over network transmissions as well as some database engine serialization required for external SQL procedures (that part at least is gone in DB2 9).
SQL procedures are absolutely strategic and I do recommend an architecture based on them. The advice I've given other customers is to determine the ones that are invoked most often, analyze the patterns of when they are invoked together from the same applications(s), and work to at least combine those into a single stored procedure with several SQL statements and some logic. If you implement SQL procedures on V8, the switch to DB2 9 native SQL procedures is a snap - drop and create and go, with no change to the code.
So, go, create, reuse, and be happy. :-)[Read More]
I heard an interesting story on the news last week, about how the individual states of the U.S. were graded on how they use information. The state I live in, California, got a C+. How can this be, with our advanced technologycenters in Silicon Vallley?
I found the article online here and found some interesting things, although nothing specific about California.
The article says:
When all is said and done, a state’s skillwith information is found at the intersectionof three distinct operations: the willingnessto share data, the capacity to generategood information, and the ability toget those who should use the data to do so.
Well, that sounds a lot like stuff that I have talked about when describing IBM's Information on Demand strategy. Is your organization good at doing this? I particularly noted the last point in the article, because some of the states complain that their legislators just aren't interested in using the data! Maybe we information professionals have to make that easy (and fun?) to do.
What about the highest-graded states? The article had this to say about one of them:
In Washington State, Governor ChristineGregoire held a series of town hallmeetings on the budget to communicate resultsto citizens and follow up on the budgetarypriorities she had previously establishedwith much citizen input. “We wantto give concrete information about whethera difference has been made or hasn’t"
Yep... this is what everyone wants to know. What did we say we'd do? Did it make a difference? In fact, I've been trying to get this type of information from my financial analyst for some time!
What about states that were graded worse than California?
Some state employees in Rhode Island arestill operating with typewriters—electric, ofcourse, but still a far cry from the ability toshare information in a database. NewHampshire has such weak data-sharing systemsthat it doesn’t know how much itspends each month—kind of like an averageJoe who’s lost his checkbook.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Wyoming. Itstransportation department has linked geographicinformation systems to financialsystems and now knows with exact specificityhow money is being spent, down to thecost of the salt used between each milemarker on the state’s snowy roads.
OK, well, perhaps that is an example of too much information! :-)[Read More]
We made a change in DB2 9 for z/OS in order to better package java(TM)code. We now ship DB2 java code such as that required for our XML schema registration and text search password encyrption, to be installed in an HFS/ZFS directory like /usr/lpp/db2/db2910_base
If your installation lets SMP/E default to that directory, then the same set up you use for Java stored procedures in DB2 for z/OS V8 will continue to work. But if you change that, then you need to set a new ENVAR in your JAVAENV dataset such as "DB2_BASE=/usr/lpp/db9a/db2910_base" so we can find our code. Otherwise, you'll see this error when the WLM-SPAS tries to start up: java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: com.ibm.db2.dsnx9.JARLoader
I know, there are an awful lot of "moving parts" to setting up for running java stored routines. You need the DB2 universal java driver, the z/OS JVM, and JCL and a JAVAENV dataset. The stored procedures redbook has a good chapter on setup. It's a complex environment, but a very powerful one, too![Read More]
I was pointed to this interesting article
from the New York Times, about a new technology invented by two software engineers, Jonathan Lindo and Jeffrey Daudel, to be able to "replay" the events that led up to a system crash. Not that I really want to see my "blue screen of death" from yesterday again, but if it would help identify the problem and get a fix, I could probably live through it a couple more times.
Reading the article, I was struck by a couple of points. They quote Lindo as saying that the inspiration came to them as "Wouldn't it be great if we could just TiVo this and replay it?" And then it says this:
Innovation by analogy is a powerful concept, says Giovanni Gavetti, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School who, with his colleague Jan W. Rivkin, has published research on how businesses can use analogic reasoning as a strategic tool. Human beings are analogy machines, he notes, dealing with new information by comparing it to things they already know something about.
That's true, I often try out analogies when I'm trying to understand or explain something. And I can really see how that could lead to innovations, as well as to some odd product evolutions. For a consumer example, I love how the iPhone lets me listen to my voicemail messages in any order, instead of sequentially, which must have been a leftover paradigm from when messages were stored on an analog tape. I can picture someone saying - "why can't I access my messages like I read my email?" - and voila - innovation.
Then I started wondering just how much you could tinker with the crash replay. Could you start eliminating concurrently-running applications, for example, to see if any of them contributed to the crash? And could you test a fix with the replay to see if it fixes the crash?
I also wonder whether IBM's customers would voluntarily seek out software like this to help them narrow down problems. It's not from IBM, and I really don't know any more about it than is in the article above. It's from a company called Replay Solutions, and it runs on several versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. So, no mainframe support yet (grin). But you could ask them about it!
Announced today: New pricing options for DB2 for z/OS running new workloads! All you data center folks who lament to us that pricing for "other" databases can't be compared to DB2 for z/OS - rejoice!!
Announcing today, and already found here is this gem of a news item tidbit:
IBM is also announcing the immediate availability of DB2 for z/OS Value Unit Edition, which provides a new one-time-charge offering that enables the deployment of new application workloads. This offering strengthens the role of System z as a cornerstone for key business initiatives such as SOA, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and packaged applications such as SAP. DB2 for z/OS Value Unit Edition and IBM Information Server enable System z clients to further deliver trusted information for their dynamic warehousing requirements.
Just updated: Here is where you can find the gory details.
Is this cool or what? Doesn't this just remove the last and final objection that the application architects have for leaving DB2 for z/OS out of the running for those new applications?
Now, lest you think I am somehow reflecting a non-developer perspective, look, I have spent most of my efforts in DB2 for z/OS developing the kinds of new technologies designed to attract new workloads, and since even I have heard the pricing objection, isn't it perfectly fair for me to mention this in my DW space? And heck, since I am a developer, not a pricing person by any stretch of the imagination, if this has gotten my attention, you know it's big news!
Bring on those new workloads! And then come to us in development and tell us what you need to bring more work onto z, OK?
I know that many of you are getting ready to attend the IOD conference
next week in Las Vegas. Alas, I will not be there, but that doesn't stop me from giving you advice about how to get the most out of a conference. After all, you are spending your time there, and your company's money, so you might as well make the most of it.
Earlier this month, I was fortunate to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Keystone, Colorado. I was notified of my participation only two weeks before, and I wasn't aware of this conference at all. I made my reservations and printed out the conference agenda, which I reviewed on the plane on the way there.Most conferences give you access to the agenda ahead of time, and it's a good idea to print that out and have a look at it.
As for me, after one quick pass through it, I started by putting a "dot" next to anything I might be interested in, and a "star" next to anything that was a 'must see'. Then I started to notice some trends emerging. I came up with these goals for the conference, based on what was in the agenda:
- meet other IBM women (this was, after all, a Women in Computing conference, and IBM was sending me)
- text analytics technologies
- women in technology issues, including attracting more students
- social networking and collaboration
- cool stuff other than the above
To that end, I circled the name of any IBMer, and labeled each of the rest of what I noted as one of the above. Now, I realize, this approach might seem a bit, well, organized -- particularly for me. But it really worked, particularly to keep my attention and also keep a balance of different topics, as well as provide a tiebreaker when there were multiple sessions at the same time - I just look at the balance of the other sessions I've been attending.
Another thing you want to do while you're there is talk to other people about what they've seen, what they are going to see, etc. It's so easy to miss something or misinterpret something in an agenda.
If you keep a good balance between "use right now" and "good to know for the future" topics, you can help keep your brain from overflowing - that's always a danger at a multi-day conference![Read More]
We are often asked where to find the sample files for our text analytics tutorial. It's a small set of IBM quarterly reports. I've uploaded them here, just click on that to download them. Happy coding!!
Some of my IBM colleagues have created a pretty cool idea - that we, the community of folks with an interest in IBM's information management technology, should designate a day to connect virtually online. This means not just reading content, but actually taking a step further and participating.
I've always seen online social networking tools as extensions of what is done better in person, and a pretty good substitute for when it's just not practical to be in person. This goes back years and years, to online forums, prodigy (remember that?), etc. If you think of your participation online as much like an in-person event as you possibly can, you'll benefit the most possible.
Say, for example, if you attended a talk at a conference, and you gained a lot of useful knowledge from it, and then found your self face-to-face with the speaker right afterwards, you'd say "thanks, I learned a lot from your talk". And if you were sitting at lunch and someone said "Do you know anyone here who can help me with an SQL issue", you'd point them across the room to where your favorite SQL expert sat. Or, you'd do your best to answer the SQL issue yourself.
What we're thinking is that perhaps if we picked a day and asked everyone to speak up in just one small way, we might get some folks more comfortable with participating online, and everyone would benefit - make some contacts, get some questions answered, reconnect with someone you met in person, etc.
So, this Wednesday October 1, get out there to your favorite Information Management online sites and find a way to speak up. There are more ideas and links mentioned here.[Read More]
I think that most of you reading this work for large companies, and our U.S. large companies tend to have pretty active legal departments. One of the hot topics these days around litigation is the investigation of email to answer legal requirements for evidence. Yep, they're likely keeping all of your email, and are required to comply when asked to provide the relevant ones as part of a lawsuit. Getting that set right is a big deal.
Now, I'm not a lawyer. I do happen to come from a family of lawyers, but that's not really here nor there for this discussion. The group where I work in IBM's Information Mangement has just produced a pretty cool part of the eDiscovery puzzle. It's called eDiscovery Analyzer. As you can see in the announcement letter, it works in conjunction with other IBM products to analyze email content in a repository.
The cool part is what's under the hood here. Based on the open, unstructured information management architecture-based search and text analytics (known as UIMA to those who know and love it), this product processes the text inside as well as the associated information about all the emails. This processing in turn allows a legal email analyzer person to work with and filter based on extracted entities from the email, such as people and company names, and stuff like sender, recipient and date. Combine that with powerful free-text search and you really have some amazing capability to categorize, gather, flag... this really helps a legal staff when they're asked to provide exactly what's needed and no more.
Now... what if you had this kind of capability on other information besides legal email repositories in your enterprise. What would you do with it? What other business problems could this kind of technology solve for you?
I found out about this one last week, and I think it sounds pretty interesting. IBM is holding a data management 'virtual conference' on February 25th. This one sounds like it's a lot more than just a webinar, as there is a show floor with virtual Expo Pedestals as well as speakers and the chance to chat with experts.
The screen shots that I saw look intriguing, although I admit that I don't yet have an exact sense of what it will be like to "be there". What I do know is that travel budgets are likely to range from tight to non-existent for everyone, but the need for knowledge and personal technical contacts is greater than ever.
Here's the agenda:
8:00 AM ET Show floor opens
11:00 Understanding the Foundations of The Information Agenda
12:00 Noon Chat with the experts
1:30 PM Integrated Data Management Revolution with Merv Adrian of Forrester Research
2:30 PM Chat with the experts
6:00 PM Show floor closes
If you haven't seen much on the Information Agenda, it's worth a look. It's all about trusted information and getting the right information out of the silos and working for the business. Over my years in the Information Management area of IBM, I've seen this message evolve and it continues to make more sense to me - how about you? The way I see it, if you're responsible for one silo of information, making that available for the business to benefit from should be one of your main objectives, well, that along with ensuring the security and reliability of that information.
Here's what the Expo Solution Pedestals will have:
Information AgendaLower Costs with IBM Data ServersOptim Data GrowthArchitect and Developer ProductivityDBA Efficiency and Autonomics
Along with the fact that there's no travel cost, the virtual conference is free to attend! Interested? Register now!
. And let me know how you liked it, did it work? It's easy to say that this can't fully replace a real in-person conference experience (after all there's no beer), but I like the idea of supplementing the real ones with other ways to stay connected and informed. This should be a step up from a webinar, as there seem to be many opportunities to interact real-time.
Now... how are they going to handle free swag from those pedestals? :-)[Read More]
Hi all, and welcome to my new blog!
All this week, I am busy at the International DB2 User's Group conference here in Athens, Greece. The two topics I'm presenting are "Native SQL stored procedures in DB2 9 for z/OS" and "Java stored procedures".
I was very glad to get the chance to get across this key point in yesterday's presentation on native SQL stored procedures -- yes, when they execute they are eligible for redirect to the zIIP processor, but only when they are invoked from a remote client, and then at the same percentage as other DDF work. Lots of presentations lately have stated this a bit more broadly, leaving people with the wrong impression. So, let's be clear - when a remote thread comes into DB2, it executes on an enclave SRB, and DB2 dials the zIIP redirect to a certain percentage. A DB2 9 native SQL procedure executes on the invoking execution block and not on a WLM-SPAS TCB - that's one of their big advantages. Thus, when a native SQL stored procedure is invoked from a remote client over a TCP/IP connection, it runs on the enclave SRB and thus picks up that same DDF zIIP redirect percentage. On the other hand, when a native SQL stored procedure is invoked locally on z/OS, it is executed on the TCB that PC'd in from CICS or batch, and that is not eligible for zIIP redirect.
Lots of other good stuff going on here - tomorrow is a DB2 for z/OS Special Interest Group as well as our IBM query panel.[Read More]
Last week in Athens I attended a presentation by Julian Stuhler of Triton Consulting
. I was of course aware of the support, but more from a DB2 internals point of view. It was great to get an external perspective on it from someone who has been working with it.
The key information is that spatial data can be points, lines, or polygons (including multi-part polygons). If you think about it, this is really powerful. One example that Julian used is that an address is a point, and a flood zone is a polygon. So now you can ask "is the house in a flood zone", which is "is this point inside the polygon"? Cool stuff! I can really imagine how this could be used by some situational applications to use data in DB2 alongside other data.
Complete documentation on the spatial features can be found in this book
I had the pleasure this week of participating in a couple of live IBM Academy of Technology events - the first for me in several years. It was great to reconnect with some of my colleagues, and get a chance to talk over IBM technology and client engagements.
Our academy president, Rashik Parmar, had arranged for a session with Bill Gajda from Visa. Bill's role at Visa includes mobile strategy as well as global innovation. We had a frank and open discussion about Visa's use of data, who their customers are, and IBM's technology role.
Please note that any errors in here are likely mine, I didn't take notes, I was far too engaged and inspired thinking about all the data (!) during the discussion.
Clearly, credit card transactions are "big data". I don't recall the exact numbers, but here's an article from over 5 years ago which references 300 million transactions a day. Bill Gajda told us that Visa keeps around 5-7 years of past transactions. They primarily use this information for real-time fraud scoring of individual transactions. So, when you charge something, Visa gets the approval request, and attaches a score which indicates the likelihood that the transaction is fraudulent. This is based on several factors, such as your usual spending patterns and the location of the transaction. That is the primary use for the historical data. Bill also told us of a partnership they did with The Gap, where if a Gap customer in their loyalty program opted in with their phone number, Visa would tell the Gap when a purchase was being made nearby a Gap store, and then The Gap could text an offer to their customer for a discount at the Gap. I was able to find an article describing that, and was surprised to see it was from 2011! Now, if you're a geek like me, you'll think for a second about how the data flows. (This is just Peggy speculating, I have no further knowledge of the internals of this...) So say you charge your lunch on your Visa card, and the approval data flows to Visa, then after Visa processes the approval, it also looks at the zip code and compares it to a list of zip codes it has from The Gap of their store locations (I'm making this easy by Zip code rather than a lattitude/longitude based proximity lookup). When there's a match, Visa initiates a message to The Gap to tell them you're close to a Gap store... and Gap then sends you a text message with a promotion. Phew! Do you think Visa also has a indicator on your credit card that you're a Gap customer? They must... I can't imagine they do this on "every" Visa transaction... ! Actually, I guess there is "Gap Visa" card, so it's probably those which are targeted.
I don't know about you, but I have fun thinking about this kind of stuff. Some other interesting facts I learned are that Visa doesn't have your name or personal information - that data all resides with the issuing bank. One of my colleagues asked Bill Gajda whether if a person has multiple Visa cards, does Visa have information across the cards. At first, he answered "yes", but then with another colleague's question about matching the names, he said "no" - Visa has no idea that you are the same person when you have multiple cards. Interesting thought about whether we could perhaps match spending patterns to identify who might be the same person? That might not be something Visa wants to do, of course, I was thinking of it more as a theoretical exercise. Also, Visa doesn't really consider cardholders customers, despite its advertising budget - its customers are the issuing banks and the accepting retailers, so they are the ones who would be likely consumers of the volume of data or aggregated insights from it. Tho I guess the banks already have it, too.
In any case, again, data about people and their habits is big data and big business. I personally don't find any of this "scary" but I guess some people might. I just like people, so data about people is interesting data to me. I might those who do find it scary might just have to take a closer look at some of those tiny print privacy agreements!