The Advantages of DB2

By Alan Hughes

IBM’s DB2 has been around for a number of years and has matured into a robust relational database management system (RDBMS). While DB2 has its share of competitor, such as Oracle, MS SQL and MySQL, it continues to enjoy strong market presence. This staying power is due to several advantages that DB2 offers.

Powerful Structure Query Language

DB2 has a more powerful Structured Query Language (SQL) dialect than Microsoft’s SQL offering. DB2 has features such as object tables, before triggers, Java method support, multiple user-defined functions and support for arrays. None of these features are supported by MS SQL. SQL allows direct access to the data via the database management interface of DB2. It also can be imbedded in the code of application programs written in other languages, such as COBOL and Java. This flexibility and feature list combine to make DB2 a powerful relational database management system.

Multiple Platform Support

IBM produces versions of DB2 that run on all available platforms, rather than just Windows-based platforms. Included in the DB2 list of supported platforms are AIX, HP-UX, Linux and Sun. This ability to run on a variety of hardware/software platforms brings a flexibility to the table that other database engines do not offer. IBM also offers DB2 as part of a pre-configured bundle along with the operating system. This combination produces better performance since the operating system is configured for DB2 database support out of the box, saving the system administrator time.

Self-Tuning Memory Management

Database tuning is part art and part science, and normally takes a significant amount of a database administrator's time. Part of this configuration job entails configuring memory for the various workloads to achieve the best performance. During the day access is typically via online applications, with random access to records across the database. At night, the workload typically changes to a batch format, with sequential processing of records being the norm. DB2 Version 9 offers a feature called Self-tuning Memory Management (STMM), which allows the database to automatically change the memory allocation when there is a change in the workload. This optimizes performance by making adjustments on the fly to the database memory and buffer pools with no requirement for human intervention..

IBM Support

A major advantage of DB2 is that it is an IBM offering. Developed many years ago at IBM’s database labs, DB2 has gained feature after feature over the years. IBM produces software updates and patches on a controlled basis after thorough testing. IBM’s high-quality software support is a factor in DB2’s popularity, along with the system stability that results from that support. IBM’s research and development dollars continue to improve the product making DB2 an ideal choice for a RDBMS.