The purpose of this month’s
column is to look at the status of the DB2 for
z/OS community. I thought it might be useful to
examine what versions are available and will
soon be available, and what it might mean for
DB2 users. Of course, I’ll do all of this from
the perspective of my opinion only. After all, I
don’t work for IBM.
First of all, the most
current version of DB2 is still Version 8.
Although IBM has begun discussing DB2 9, there
has been no announcement yet. The
beta announcement for DB2 9 was made
on May 2, 2006. When will it become GA? Well,
according to Roger Miller at IBM, DB2 9 will go
GA (and I quote) "When it's ready." And that
makes sense, doesn’t it? You wouldn't want to
use it before it was ready!
So, when will it be ready?
My guess is probably sometime before July 2007.
But that is just a guess on my part. If you are
interested in learning about DB2 9, I discussed
the highlights of that release in the last issue
DB2 9 for z/OS went GA in March 2008, soon
after this article went to press.)
OK, so what about the
status of Version 8? Well,
V8 went GA almost three years ago way
back in March 2004. V8 is one of the biggest
releases of DB2 for z/OS in the history of DB2.
There are more lines of new code in V8 than
there were total lines of code in V1 of DB2 back
in 1985. So it is not an insignificant task to
formulate a plan for migrating your DB2
subsystems to V8. Of course, if you haven’t
already, you’ll have to do just that very soon.
The end of marketing for
V7, which means it is no longer sold by IBM,
occurred on March 5, 2007. And although DB2 V7
is still serviced and supported by IBM, it will
be withdrawn from service very soon. In early
February 2007, IBM announced that DB2 V7 will go
out of service on June 30, 2008. That is only
about a year away. So if you have not yet
developed your migration plan for DB2 V8, now is
So, what is the status of
the DB2 community today? Well, and remember,
this is only my opinion, I’d say that for many
users DB2 is ahead of them. Many users are
struggling to keep up and do not use, and even
worse, do not understand all of the features and
functionality that DB2 offers.
Oh, sure, there are some
shops that have had V8 in production for years
now and are eagerly awaiting the next version.
But this is the exception rather than the rule.
If you are still on V7, you are behind the
curve, and should complete your migration
planning for V8 as soon as possible.
But there are shops that
have recently migrated to V8 that are still
behind the curve. It has taken longer for DB2
shops to embrace V8 than for any previous
version of DB2. In the past it never took almost
three years for a new version or release of DB2
to become the primary operational version in the
My informal polling
indicates that only recently has the production
installed base for V8 reached 50 percent. I
think there are two reasons for this. Number
one, of course, is that IBM significantly
re-engineered the “guts” of DB2. As such, users
were cautious with their migration plans, and
But I think there is
another ancillary cause – the risk versus reward
equation. Although V8 offers a lot of benefits
in terms of scalability, new features and
performance options, it comes at a price.
That price is planning to
ensure that the transition is smooth. You need
to worry about things like the new modes (CM,
ENFM, NFM) introduced in V8, the fact that older
COBOL compilers are no longer supported, the
conversion of your catalog to Unicode, and
managing the REBIND process for all of your
packages and plans. And don’t forget to check on
your Coded Character Set Identifiers (CCSIDs).
There is the potential for data corruption if
you have multiple CCSIDs within one encoding
scheme. But, believe me, this short discussion
is nowhere near an exhaustive list of the things
you need to address as you migrate from V7 to
The point is, many shops
were (and some still are) operating “good
enough” on V7 so there was no need to rock the
boat by forcing a V8 migration. But now that we
know when V7 will no longer be supported, the
boat must be rocked. The time for a 100 percent
installed base for V8 is nigh. If you haven’t
already, you should immediately start developing
your DB2 V8 migration plans.