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CA expedites required DB2 10 upgrades for z/OS

CA Technologies has updated its z/OS management products to handle DB2 10 upgrades

Just in time for what will be a large number of required migrations, CA Technologies has updated its software for managing DB2 databases running on IBM z/OS mainframes.

"DB2 is a very rich environment, and is very specific about how you work with it from an application perspective," said Mark Combs, a CA distinguished senior vice president for mainframe operations. "With DB2 10, IBM introduced a lot of good new features, but it requires work" to upgrade a database to take advantage of them, he said.

CA has updated two of its software packages for managing DB2 on z/OS, namely CA Technologies Database Management Solutions for DB2 for z/OS, now at version 16, and CA Mainframe Chorus for DB2 Management, now at version 2.5. Both packages have been updated to manage DB2 version 10, which IBM released in April.

Gartner has estimated that 75 percent of the DB2 databases running on z/OS will need to be upgraded within the next 18 months. IBM support for DB2 version 8 ended this year and support for version 9 will end in June 2014. "There is a fairly intense push to get people to version 10," Combs said.

Adding to the work of upgrading is the fact that many mainframe administrators tend to be older and close to retirement, which means the upgrade duties may fall to the less-experienced junior staff, who might appreciate helpful tools for getting the job done. "Our tools have been upgraded to easily manage this transition," Combs said.

The CA Technologies Database Management Solutions for DB2 for z/OS is a collection of software applications for managing running copies of DB2 on IBM's mainframe systems. It includes tools for improving performance, backing up DB2 databases and executing routine administration tasks.

With release 16, a number of components have been updated to ease migrations to DB2 10, such as the Plan Analyzer tool. Each DB2 database has something called a plan, which contains instructions for the database on how to access certain sets of data as quickly as possible. To upgrade to a newer version of the database, the administrator has to rebuild, or "rebind," the plan, Combs said. Plan Analyzer can now inspect the current plan and offer suggestions as to the best way to rebind the plan for the upgraded database.

Another feature is for scheduled reboots of the database. DB2 10 allows administrators to make more configuration changes to a database without needing to restart the database immediately. The CA software will keep track of the changes that have been made and can schedule a good time to restart the database, perhaps during a time of minimal use. The software can also analyze the configuration and offer a list of possible changes to speed performance.

Version 2.5 of CA Mainframe Chorus for DB2 Management has a number of DB2 updates as well. The software repackages the traditional mainframe green-screen format into a more user-friendly visually oriented look and feel. The new interface could be useful for younger administrators who may not be as familiar with the traditional ways of the mainframe, Combs said. New features here include better data analysis, improved search capabilities and the ability to tap into external knowledge sources, such as user forums.

The price for each package varies greatly, depending on configuration. Typically implementations will cost "in the tens of thousands of dollars," Combs said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com


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