Site icon Steven Astorino

Db2 – 30 and 40 Years Strong

On June 7, 1983 a product was born that would revolutionize how organizations would store, manage, process and query their data. 

Over the past 40 years Db2 has been on an exciting and transformational journey. In 1969, retired IBM Fellow Edgar F. Codd published his famous paper “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks”. His paper and research went on to inspire Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce to create Structured Query Language (SQL). 

Db2 was announced in 1983 and V1.1 launched on MVS in 1985.  Don Haderle (retired IBM Fellow and considered to be the “father of Db2”) viewed 1988 as a seminal point in its development as DB2 version 2 proved it was viable for online transactional processing (OLTP), the lifeblood of business computing at the time.

Thus was born a single database and the relational model for transactions and business intelligence.

Success on the mainframe led to ports on OS/2, AIX, Linux, Unix, Windows, and other platforms running on both IBM and non-IBM hardware. And so Db2 (LUW) was born in 1993. 2023 also marks its 30th anniversary.

Db2 helped position IBM as an overall solution provider of hardware, software and services. Its early success, coupled with IBM WebSphere in the 1990s put it in the spotlight as the database system for several Olympic games — 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, and 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. Performance and stability were critical as any failure or delays would be visible to millions of viewers and the world’s press as they waited for event scores to appear.

Built on decades of innovation in data security, scalability, and availability, Db2 keeps business applications and analytics protected, highly performant, and resilient, anywhere. Forrester’s 2022 Total Economic Impact Report for Data Management highlights the impact Db2 and IBM data management portfolio is having for customers, which include:

Db2 (LUW)

IBM Db2 (LUW) is the cloud-native database built to power low latency transactions and real-time analytics at scale, providing customers with both self-managed and fully managed (SaaS) options on the cloud. It provides a single engine for DBAs, enterprise architects, and developers to keep critical applications running, store and query anything, and power faster decision making and innovation across organizations. For the past three decades, Db2 has provided stability and dependability for customers’ data management solutions. Its robust architecture and proven performance have given businesses uninterrupted access to critical data while powering their enterprise-level applications.

Db2 v11.5 was a significant leap forward in data management, empowering organizations to unlock the full potential of their data. 

AI-Infused intelligence in Db2 v11.5 enhances data management through automated insights generation, self-tuning performance optimization, and predictive analytics. It leverages Watson machine learning algorithms to continuously learn and adapt to workload patterns, delivering superior performance and reducing administrative efforts. In addition, robust tooling and integration with popular development frameworks enable rapid application development and deployment. Developers can leverage features like REST APIs, JSON support, and enhanced SQL compatibility to easily build cloud-native applications. Db2 v11.5 is a proven, versatile, and AI-ready solution. 

Db2 Universal Container (also known as Db2u) is a containerization technology based on microservice architecture. In this environment, each component is separated into services that run in one of more containers. This architecture improves fault isolation, as applications can remain largely unaffected by any failure of a single microservice. It is also easier to deploy. Provisioning, scaling, and redundancy control are managed automatically. Db2 can run on RedHat OpenShift and Kubernetes environments, ROSA & EKS on AWS, and ARO & AKS on Azure deployments are also supported.

Customers can also choose Db2 SaaS: Db2 on Cloud and Db2 Warehouse on Cloud. Db2 on Cloud is a fully managed service for a high performance, transactional workload. Db2 Warehouse on Cloud, on the other hand, is a fully managed elastic cloud data warehouse with our columnar technology. Both services offer independent compute & storage scaling, high availability, and automated DBA tasks. integration

At Think, IBM announced is a new open, hybrid and governed data store optimized for all data, analytics, and AI workloads. It is built on the open lakehouse architecture and brings together the commodity Cloud Object Store, open data/table formats, and open source query engines. will be fully integrated with Db2. In particular, will be able to access Db2 tables using Db2 connector, while Db2 can also access data directly by cataloging its metastore.

Db2 for z/OS

Mainframes continue to store much of the world’s most valued data. The platform is capable of 110,000 million instructions per second, which (doing the math) translates into a theoretical 9.5 trillion instructions per day. With such high-value data, much of which holds highly sensitive financial and personal information, the mainframe is a potential target for cyber criminals. Thankfully, the IBM Z platform is designed to be one the most securable platforms. In fact, the IBM z16 is industry’s first quantum-safe system.

The invention of parallel sysplex and Db2 data sharing remains a seminal moment in the history of databases and a staggering technological achievement, clearly demonstrating the advantages gained from the deep integration and synergy that exists between software and hardware on the IBM mainframe, delivering the ultimate in scalability and continuous availability for today’s, and tomorrow’s, mission-critical workloads.

Db2 for z/OS version 13, released May 2022, brings further leading-edge innovation to reinforce Db2 for z/OS as a foundation for enterprise computing within the hybrid cloud world.

Db2 13 for z/OS delivers significant advances in all critical enterprise database success factors: availability, scalability, performance, security, and ease of use. The value of Db2 13 is also maximized by synergy with surrounding tools and technology. The latest advances in IBM Z hardware couple with AI technology through SQL Data Insights to deliver first of its kind semantic SQL query support for unprecedented business value from data. New and improved application development tooling and new capabilities such as AI infusion for enhanced operational efficiency in addition to IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator query acceleration and Data Gate complement the new capabilities in Db2 13 to provide the most complete, intelligent, and intuitive database environment yet.

Db2 for z/OS is able to deliver enterprise-scale hybrid transactions/analytical processing (HTAP), thanks to patented consistency and coherency model and its heterogeneous scale-out architecture.

The ability to ingest hundreds of thousands of rows each second is critical for more and more applications, particularly for mobile computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) where tracking website clicks, capturing call data records for a mobile network carrier, tracking events generated by “smart meters”, and embedded devices can all generate huge volumes of transactions.

Many consider a NoSQL database essential for high data ingestion rates. Db2, however, allows for very high insert rates without having to partition or shard the database — all while being able to query the data using standard SQL with Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability (ACID) compliance on the world’s most stable, highly available platform.

In 2016 Db2 for z/OS moved to a continuous delivery model that delivers new capabilities and enhancements through the service stream in just weeks and sometimes days instead of multi-year release cycles. This delivers greater agility without compromising the quality, reliability, stability, security requirements expected and demanded by its customer base. Coupled with this, Db2 continues to invest in availability, performance, and scalability to cope with the most demanding workloads of today and the future, supporting millions of inserts a second, trillions of rows in a single table and more.

Db2 for z/OS is the data server at the heart of many of today’s data warehouses, powering IBM analytics solutions such as Cognos, SPSS, QMF, ML for z/OS, IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator, Data Gate and more. Db2 for z/OS has created a sense of “Data Gravity”, where its high value prompts organizations to co-locate their applications and analytics solutions with their data – this helps remove unnecessary network and infrastructure latencies as well as helping reduce cost and security vulnerabilities. The sheer volume and velocity of the transaction workloads, the richness of data in each transaction, coupled with data in log files is a potential gold mine for machine learning and AI applications to exploit cognitive capabilities and work more intelligently and more securely. And so, Machine Learning for z/OS was released, built on open-source technology, leveraging the latest innovations while making any perceived complexities of the platform transparent to data scientists through the IBM Data Science Experience interface.

Let’s Celebrate!

After four decades, let us all applaud Db2 and Db2 for z/OS’s unwavering reliability, its pioneering spirit, and its impressive impact on the world of data management. Db2 has been a trusted companion for businesses, consistently adapting to the evolving needs of enterprises and enabling them to thrive in the digital era. 

Let us also applaud the technological innovation and quality that has been the hallmark of Db2 from the start and its impact upon the world of data management. Db2, whether on z or LUW, is the trusted platform for business, continuously adapting to the evolving needs of the world’s most demanding enterprises, enabling them to thrive in the digital and AI era.

Db2 stands ready to embrace new challenges and opportunities within AI in the hybrid cloud data ecosystem. With its rich legacy and relentless commitment to innovation, Db2 will continue to shape the future of data management and inspire generations to come. 

Thank you to the many talented people that have participated in the success of Db2’s past, present, and future.

I would like to also thank my coauthors Namik Hrle, Vikram Murali, Haakon Roberts and Dr Michael Kwok for their contributions to this blog post.


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