Triton Db2 Geek

Confessions of a DB2 geek

IBM Gold Consultant Program and IBM Premier business Partner

Pure Genius! pureScale has arrived!

February 24th, 2010 - by

Since its introduction to the market in the mid-90s, DB2 for z/OS data sharing became the gold standard for enterprise data-serving scalability and availability. Customers using DB2 on midrange platforms have long been calling for similar capabilities. This has now arrived in the form of DB2 pureScale.

Based on the industry leading System z data sharing architecture, DB2 pureScale integrates IBM technologies to keep critical systems available 24/7. The technology is currently built on IBM Power Systems with other platforms available in the future. DB2 pureScale allows organisations to have multiple database servers in a system that all share a common set of disks providing both scalability, availability and application transparency.

Data Sharing Dinosaurs
Mainframe has been around since the dawn of time hasn’t it?! And the mainframe dinosaurs are bringing some of their data sharing experience over to midrange systems.

Data sharing on the mainframe is a shared disk and memory solution based around a cluster of data sharing members, the shared memory is implemented in separate technical footprints called a coupling facility and that caches shared locking and buffering information.

Architecturally pureScale looks very similar to mainframe data sharing. Some of the product components are named differently but in essence it’s the same technology lifted from the mainframe to midrange.


What else is out there?
pureScale fits squarely into the portfolio of “data resilience”. There are a range of high availability solutions currently on the market. Firstly you have Q-rep which sits at the lower end, then HADR, clustering, and the next step is data sharing or pureScale. (For a more in-depth look at high availability solutions for DB2 take a look at this article – High availability technologies for DB2)


Capacity on demand
With capacity on demand you’re able to introduce additional processors to ramp up available capacity when needed. PureScale allows you to expand on capacity from a lpar to whatever capacity is needed. The challenge for the midrange platform has always been expanding capacity for DB2. So if your database engine requires more than a P595 you’re going to be looking at re-architecting your application and database, which is a major undertaking, or the alternative is simply that you’re constrained. Now pureScale allows you to extend beyond your existing footprint without making those application changes. With pureScale you can create a cluster with one or more members and whilst the service is up introduce additional members to provide additional capacity as you require it without bringing the service down.


Application Transparency
Unlike other high availability solutions, with DB2 pureScale there is no need to alter your application code.  DB2 pureScale is application transparent so if you wish to increase resilience for your business critical applications, without the distruption and cost of having to alter aplication code, then DB2 pureScale is the answer.


Lower Costs
Although we don’t yet know the full pricing details it looks as though there is going to be a pay as you go type of costing to the additional members. This means you’ll only pay for the capacity you are using which is far more attractive than simply buying more tin. You’ll be able to customise costing to your business needs rather than buying up hardware and not using it.


The magic bullet?
“For those needing true 24/7 availability this is an enormous release and has plugged a gaping hole that has been in the architecture of DB2 on midrange for some time.” James Gill, DB2 z/OS Expert

For example, if you’re a retailer with a high volume online transaction environment then pureScale is going to be absolutely ideal for you. You’ll be able to increase capacity when you need to at the really busy times like Christmas and the January sales and scale back at the times when you’re experiencing less demand. Plus, we’ve not mentioned here the need for continuous availability, pretty much every organisation would like continuous availability but for online retailers it’s essential.

Click here to download the webcast – pureScale for the retail sector.

Traditionally DB2 has been very cost competitive against Oracle and assuming that is maintained this will be very attractive to customers with a large data web presence.


Death of the mainframe
Although this is a massive leap forward for the midrange market this doesn’t spell the death of the mainframe. Mainframe’s ability to deliver on flat out I/O bandwidth is second to none. It is an incredibly rich computing environment and those customers who are running mainframes have invested heavily not only in hardware and software but also people and skills.

PowerHA pureScale is an exciting example of how tried and tested technology can be brought across from the mainframe to benefit organisations running DB2 on midrange platforms.

Keep an eye out for our Workload Manager piece coming soon which will look at yet another technology which has made its way from the world of mainframe to midrange.

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