IBM Tweaks DB2 Workload Pricing

New processor could reduce the cost of exposing Big Iron DB2 to CRM, ERP, and other workloads

It was only a matter of time. Eighteen months ago, IBM Corp. announced its zSeries Application Assist Processor (zAAP), a special zSeries processor engine for J2EE workloads. zAAP isn’t so much optimized for J2EE performance as for pricing: It makes it much more affordable to run J2EE workloads on zSeries.

Last week, Big Blue did the same thing for database workloads, announcing a new z9 Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) for its flagship mainframe systems. IBM officials position zIIP as a zAAP-like engine that can lower software costs for BI, ERP, and CRM workloads.

In addition, IBM said that it had generated more mainframe-related revenues in its most recent quarter than at any time since the fourth quarter of 1998. On top of this, officials said, Big Blue enjoyed its largest-ever quarter in terms of MIPS shipped—with 28 percent year-to-year growth in overall capacity. Finally, IBM gave mainframers a preview of its upcoming DB2 for z/OS version 8 (i.e., vNext) database release.

zIIP News

A few weeks ago, Colette Martin, zSeries program director for IBM, hinted that such an offering was in the works.

“We are also looking at specific workloads and looking at specific areas where we may do additional price/performance improvements, and I think as time goes on you’ll see us make the kind of enhancements similar to what we did for the zAAP for other types of z/OS workloads,” she commented. “COBOL applications typically are seen in terms of data-serving types of workloads and back-end types of processing, so if we looked at it, we wouldn’t necessarily look at COBOL per se, but we would look at in terms of database connectivity and such.”

Enter zIIP, an engine similar to zAAP and IBM’s integrated facility for Linux (IFL) that promises to reduce the cost of running select database workloads on zSeries.

How select? IBM says organizations can tap zIIP to support network-connected BI, CRM, or ERP applications—including those running on z/OS, Unix, and Linux (x86 and zLinux)—that are accessing DB2 for z/OS 8 (via SQL calls using DRDA over a TCP/IP connection). The caveat is that organizations can redirect portions of such queries to DB2.

Similarly, IBM says organizations can tap zIIP for use in select data warehousing scenarios—specifically for requests that use DB2 for z/OS 8 star schema parallel queries. Once again, they can redirect portions of these queries to the zIIP; ditto for DB2 utility functions that are used to maintain index maintenance structures (e.g., Load, Reorg, and Rebuild Index).

As for DB2 for z/OS 8, IBM officials said the company will support enhanced XML functionality and boast tighter integration with WebSphere. Elsewhere, DB2 8 ships with a new Trusted Security Context, support for database roles, and improved auditing and encryption capabilities. Other new features include fast table replacement; partition by growth; SQL improvements; and native support for SQL stored procedures.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.