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Db2 for z/OS Solutions

Db2 for z/OS Business Challenges

In spite of massive investments of money, time, and resources into critical Db2® for z/OS® projects, most still run late and far over budget. Plus, despite strenuous coding and testing efforts, the resulting application quality is often poor. The Softbase product line provides productivity and quality gains by putting the right tools in the right hands, the application developer. Although Database Administrators can use and benefit from these tools, the focus is on the Db2 for z/OS® application developer.

Traditional Application Development Lifecycle

The SoftBase product line enables our customers to code, test, and deploy reliable, well performing DB2 for z/OS applications in a fraction of the time that it takes them now.


Code Db2 for z/OS

Code Complex Db2 SQL faster

Db2 SQL can be complicated, especially when writing query SQL. Db2 Query Build can quickly create join SQL by naming tables and specifying a join type. A menu driven interface is available to also specify Subqueries – correlated or simple, UNIONs, bill of material explosions, GROUP BY, HAVING and table expressions.


Execute and Explain SQL from within the application program itself

Debugging SQL in source code is far easier than running the application only to find that the correct result set is not being returned or the proper rows are not changing. Even getting the proper data types for host variables can be challenging. Using Db2 SQL Debug the application programmer can execute the SQL from within an ISPF Edit or View session of the source code. Prompts for host variable values show the data type Db2 is expecting. SQL may be modified and executed repeatedly until correct. Then SQL can be EXPLAINed and the access path analyzed. Using SQL Debug in conjunction with DB2 Catalog Guide, all three determinants of Db2 access path selection are available to the application developer: SQL, the access paths, and the statistics on those access paths. This can yield SQL analyzed for performance when it is coded and easier to change.


Test Db2 for z/OS

Test faster using Subsets of replay capable test data

The initial test set up using an entire copy of the production database is time consuming and expensive. Db2 Subset allows application developers to extract and load subsets of test data that represent important test cases. These test cases can be documented and repeated for future use. They can even be combined with other test cases.


Test safer using privatized test data

Production data is a corporate asset as well as sensitive to customers. Db2 Mask hides important information like Social Security numbers, names, addresses, salaries etc.


Modify and See Test Data in familiar ISPF session

Even the best subset tool cannot set up all test cases. Tailor test cases and test data using Db2 Edit. See test data and results using the view capability. Use familiar ISPF Edit commands to manipulate the data quickly and easily.


Test Db2 Applications Together or independently using fewer resources

SoftBase's TestBase™ provides a revolutionary new patented technology for test data management called Slice™ that enables all Application Developers and QA Personnel in a shop to test together within one set of DB2 objects without impacting each other’s results. TestBase can dramatically accelerate your DB2 application testing by:

  • Enabling Application Developers to run far more tests with small subsets of realistic business data from DB2, VSAM and QSAM data sources
  • Quickly generate regression test data to validate previous code changes
  • Testing together, only one copy of test data needed - Application Developers can retrieve and refresh their test data whenever they like without having to contact their DBAs!
  • Satisfying all Data Privacy mandates by quickly removing and replacing any confidential or sensitive test data


Test date and time logic without changing the system clock or the modules that support it

Many applications have rigorous date and time issues that require extensive testing. Softdate/z for z/OS makes testing with forward and backward dates and times simple. They can be local to a specific CICS region or Db2 Subsystem or even a CICS user or batch job. This date and time capability can be important in deployment re-runs as well as testing.

Softdate/z includes unique support for virtual dates beyond 2042 where the IBM mainframe clock stops in 2041. This way, long-term policies and long-dated contracts can be tested such as:

  • Life insurances, trauma insurances, children's insurances, superannuation's
  • 30, 40, 50 and 100 year mortgages and leases


See important Db2 catalog data without lock contention

Many customers have been hesitant to provide application developers with access to the Db2 Catalog for fear of lock contention. This increases DBA’s workload as they become the keepers of the catalog and coding catalog queries becomes an additional daily task. Db2 Catalog Guide provides this information without contention issues. This can be important in deployment as well as testing.


Deploy Db2 for z/OS

Prevent painful Db2 performance surprises

Locate new and changed SQL statements that perform poorly without running expensive Db2 performance traces or extracting and analyzing SMF data. Performance information is put into the hands of the application programmer using Db2 Batch Analyzer. The performance results are available almost immediately after the batch job completes execution. The Db2 Batch Analyzer ISPF interface is used to present the captured performance data, providing drilldown capabilities for data analysis. Armed with the performance data and the information from Db2 Catalog Guide, the application programmer can quickly resolve performance issues without DBA assistance.


Prevent long and painful Db2 rollbacks and recoveries

Long running batch jobs can be a source of frustration in a production environment – especially when a problem arises. The job must rollback to the last commit or if there was no commit, to the beginning of the job. Once the rollback completes, output physical sequential files must be restored to their original content and the job re-run. Db2 Checkpoint / Restart allows the job to commit if need be and to restart at that new commit point. Input and output physical sequential files are re-positioned automatically.


Streamline batch processing

Using the IBM TSO™ attach facility, all job steps use EXEC PGM=IKJEFT01 or one of the alternate entry points of TSO™. Using Db2 Attach from SoftBase, they become the actual program that is used in the RUN PROGRAM statement of the TSO™ attach. In addition, you can:

  • Monitor SQL performance and get precise control of DSN trace output
  • Reduce contention problems in jobs and utilities with patented ENQ serialization
  • Allow application concurrency with Auto Commit
  • Improve application reliability by reducing or eliminating concurrency problems and deadlock timeouts
  • Obtain accurate job accounting data, JCL return codes, and abend codes
  • Set Db2 special registers like CURRENT SQLID
  • Multi-Row Fetch allows multiple rows to be returned with a single fetch. It can improve performance when large amounts of data are being retrieved. In most cases, this SoftBase solution requires no changes to application code.


Resolve Db2 lock contention

When Db2 jobs or online regions contend for the same Db2 resource, one of the tasks is usually locked out and receives a -911 SQLCODE. The application that was locked out, the victim, is the only application that receives a message, making it difficult to resolve the issue without a review of the Db2 started task or the z/OS system log. Db2 DeadLock Advisor provides messages in the joblog of both the holder of the lock (the participant) and the job receiving the -911 (the victim). This information can be used as a starting point to determine what contention occurred and the resources involved.