Compuware Delivers Mainframe DB2 Performance Tool

How to get even more oomph out of IBM’s zIIPy new DB2 processor engine

Looking to get even more oomph out of IBM Corp.’s new zSeries Integrated Information Processor (zIIP)—Big Blue’s newest specialty processor engine? You’re in luck. Compuware Corp. last week announced a new DB2-friendlier version of its Compuware Strobe application performance management tool.

zIIP—the successor to IBM’s hugely popular Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) and zSeries Application Assist Processor (zAAP) engines—gives adopters a means to inexpensively offload DB2 processing from general central processors to zIIP. Although Big Blue announced zIIP in January of this year, it didn’t become generally available until June, when IBM delivered DB2 V8 for z/OS and the appropriate PTFs for z/OS versions 1.6 and 1.7.

IBM believes zIIP will help bring database workloads back to the mainframe, while industry pundits—including Gartner Inc.—say zIIP helps recast the mainframe as a more affordable play.

Strobe, Compuware officials say, can help on the application end, improving response times for both distributed and mainframe-based applications. The revamped Strobe helps pinpoint the source of DB2 DDF SQL statements with high CPU usage, as well as those that have delayed overall response. It also helps DBAs determine if recent code changes have degraded performance.

“Today, many companies are actively working to reduce their IT costs. Compuware Strobe products are a key element of Compuware’s MIPS Recovery Solution, designed to reduce MIPS and CPU consumption by reducing application inefficiencies that erode performance,” said Bruce Klenk, Strobe product manager with Compuware, in a statement. “Making applications more efficient reduces the demand for MIPS and CPU, resulting in lower hardware and software costs.”

For example, Compuware officials say, developers and DBAs can use DDF source information to quickly identify problem applications and eliminate poorly performing SQL code.

More Strobe Updates

Compuware last week also announced updated versions of its AutoStrobe and iStrobe tools. The improved AutoStrobe lets code jockeys measure new and changed modules to determine whether code changes have altered or degraded application performance. The new version of Compuware iStrobe features additional reporting options and other recommendations to help improve performance troubleshooting.

Compuware’s timing couldn’t be better. Shortly after zIIP became generally available, Gartner analysts Mike Chuba, Dale Vecchio, and John Phelps cited it as one of the key drivers that has helped recast the mainframe as a surprisingly affordable proposition—for new and existing customers alike.

“The System z9 BC and z9 [Enterprise Class] are the first IBM servers to offer the zIIP, which frees up computing capacity and lowers software costs for selected DB2 workloads,” the trio points out. With zIIP, IBM officials say, Big Blue hopes to encourage organizations to bring it all back home—at least with respect to RDBMS processing—to the mainframe.

“You’ve seen the surveys that show that if you take a billion-dollar company, most of them have multiple databases. In some cases, they have over 100 different data structures, so what some of them are considering doing is consolidating. They go through a process that says, what’s the best platform to consolidate on? When IDC surveyed CIOs, 30 percent of the time they said they were going to migrate their database management systems to z/OS,” said zSeries GM Jim Stallings in an interview this summer.

“The zIIP makes it extremely easy for a customer that has a mainframe to not get a different database management system [provided they’re running DB2]—they can just move it to [DB2 on] z/OS. They’ll get the same performance, if not better.”