IBM DB2 - love it or leave it - It's binary
December 08, 2015

IBM DB2 - love it or leave it - It's binary

J.R. Bullington | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with DB2

We currently use DB2 as one of our major database platforms across the organization in multiple different capacities. We have it in different environments, use it for testing of new software features, and use it to support legacy software. This software addresses the need to support legacy Java with the technology of a robust mainframe.
  • DB2 maintains itself very well. The Task Scheduler component of DB2 allows for statistics gathering and reorganization of indexes and tables without user interaction or without specific knowledge of cron or Windows Task Scheduler / Scheduled jobs.
  • Its use of ASYNC, NEARSYNC, and SYNC HADR (High Availability Disaster Recovery ) models gives you a range of options for maintaining a very high uptime ratio. Failover from PRIMARY to SECONDARY becomes very easy with just a single command or windowed mouse click.
  • Task Scheduler ( DB2 9.7 and earlier ) allows for jobs to be run within other jobs, and exit and error codes can define what other jobs are run. This allows for ease of maintenance without third party softwares.
  • Tablespace usage and automatic storage help keep your data segmented while at rest, making partitioning easier.
  • Ability to run commands via CLI (Command Line Interface) or via Control Center / Data Studio ( DB2 10.x+) makes administration a breeze.
  • You cannot run multiple secondary nodes or cluster without additional software purchases; in some cases third party tools. This drastically increases your overall capital investment. The only way to accomplish a true HADR scenario is to set up NEARSYNC in one datacenter and do logshipping to another datacenter. Downside: You have to wait for the final log ship to complete before your DB is back up.
  • Licensing is prohibitively expensive! If you are not grandfathered in, IBM licensing for a multi-datacenter, PRIMARY, SECONDARY, and Disaster Recovery (DR) setup can be in the multiple $100,000 range.
  • Data Studio is built on IBM's Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool, built on Eclipse. So the download is in the multi-GB range and it includes a ton of bloatware not needed for your standard database maintenance. Control Center is a simple, powerful tool at a quarter of the disk space.
  • Support for DB2 is very hard to come by without paid IBM support. Even then, opening PMRs does not solve problems as the response time for any PMR is always more than two (2) hours, even for enterprise-level paying customers. They always want the most inane log files that have nothing to do with DB2 or its operation, or they want core dumps during the issue. This becomes useless when the issue is "our database just crashed and you can't get those logs right now because I do not want to replicate the cause!"
  • DB2's SQL syntax, while ANSI in CRUD opertaions, is different than Oracle. PostgreSQL, MySQL, and even MS SQL. One must become accustomed to a different syntax for LIMITs, cursors, record counting, stored procedures, user-defined functions, and even table / index creation or altering.
  • We inherited DB2 as a standard database platform when our company was founded, so we have been stuck with it. There are only negative impacts on the use of DB2.
  • We cannot find qualified candidates to help support it. You will occasionally receive a résumé of someone with DB2 experience, but they have either never run it in Linux or without a GUI, never run it via command line, or has only a very basic understanding of DB2 administration.
  • Licensing always continues to increase year-over-year.
We did not select DB2. We are currently attempting to phase it out of our architecture due to licensing costs, lack of support, and we are trying to unify on a single database platform.
DB2 is built on mainframe technology. If you are going to be running a mainframe - it's great for your uses. It also integrates well with other IBM products like IBM Datapower and IBM WebSphere.

If you are running websites or web services with it, then maybe it's time to investigate a newer, easier to use technology.

Using DB2

You have to be well versed in using the technology, not only from a GUI interface but from a command line interface to successfully use this software to its fullest.
Do not like to use
Difficult to use
Requires technical support
Slow to learn
Lots to learn
  • Control Center
  • Task Scheduler
  • DB2 Registry values when initially working with a database.
  • DB2 Command Line Interface when using a DB2INSTANCE
  • Moving a database or instance from one server to another is particularly challenging, especially when using multiple partitions and tablespaces.