DB2 for i - rock-solid and easy to use
September 17, 2019

DB2 for i - rock-solid and easy to use

Roberto Etcheverry | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with DB2

I will be writing about DB2 for i. That is the name for the DB2 version that is tightly integrated with the IBM i operating system. Not to be confused with DB2 LUW (Linux Unix Windows) or DB2 for z/OS. That those three DB products share the name leads to confusion regarding syntaxis, capabilities, and interoperability.

Customers that use IBM i leverage all the features of the DB even when they don't realize it. Since the DB is part of the OS, everything lives there.

A tape drive? an object in a library. A customer record? an object in another library.

This DB engine has decades of code behind it but it still manages to keep up and innovate with new features at each release.

DB2 for i doesn't require as much administration as the other kind of databases since the system has some leeway to auto-tune itself. Even then, what IBM recommends is a Database Engineer and not a DBA, since they don't really administer the DB but work with the developers to ensure optimal performance out of the system.


  • Extremely stable, DB2 for i on POWER Systems has superb uptimes.
  • Great HA/DR capabilities, integrated in the OS and provided by IBM and other vendors.
  • The toolboxes for managing the system via SQL are great.
  • SQL Index Advisor and other tools help you tune the system with automatic reporting.


  • Marketing. Sharing the DB2 name between LUW, z/OS and i (which is a product for another review) is a search engine nightmare.
  • ROI on DB2 for i is hard to calculate since it's integrated into IBM i but having the ability to micro-partition the machine and spin up additional LPARs without licensing issues (within the entitled capacity, of course) brings flexibility.
  • A lot of great tools are bundled with IBM i, and most of them are DB2 related. DBEs have most of the tools they need to monitor and tune the database right from the start.
DB2 for i scales very well. There are solutions to cluster the DB (DB2 Multisystem, is one) but I haven't seen them in our customers.
DB2 for i has very good performance and great tools to monitor and tune that performance as well. IBM Navigator for i, an integrated management interface, allows for real-time monitoring of user-defined parameters. Index Advisor, SQL Plan Cache and other ACS tools allow the DBE to further tune the performance and even change those settings depending on the time of day or workload running.
DB2 for i is extremely stable. I've experienced system slowdowns and performance issues on badly configured systems or badly configured system accessing the DB but that's it, never had a problem caused purely by the software. Support is also pretty good.
DB2 for i is well suited for most backbone workloads, especially those that need very high availability. Some customers might use DB2 for i as the main DB serving data and microservices. Others might have entire application stacks running on WebSphere Application Server or even on PHP.


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