Finally (ie as of 16 March 2007) mainframers can get their hands on DB2 9.1 and start to use the promised XML facilities that it has to offer.
IBM has been talking about Viper – the codename for DB2 9 – on Windows, Unix, and Linux servers for a while now (July 2006), but now it is available on mainframes (although, of course, the Windows, Unix, and Linux version would run in a mainframe Linux partition).
The new big thing in this version is PureXML, which is IBM’s name for its XML facility allowing XML documents to be stored in such a way that the hierarchical information is retained and the XML document itself can be queried. Previously IBM had two less-than-efficient approaches available. Users could either store the whole XML document in a single database field, which made it impossible for SQL queries to work. The alternative was an approach called shredding in which the XML document is broken up into chunks and these chunks are then stored in different columns in the same row of the database. This approach made queries possible, but it has stopped being an hierarchical XML document that can be used elsewhere. Of course it could be recombined, but that uses more resources and puts the database under pressure.
So, PureXML allows the XML data to be stored, the data to be indexed, and SQL queries to scan the document – a huge improvement for users. It is particularly beneficial for sites who are adopting Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) because so much information is stored as XML to allow all the different applications and even different systems to work together successfully. It allows the formation of composite applications using the services made available from these applications and systems.
Sales of DB2 9.1 for mainframes should also help IBM sell those zIIP co-processors. The System z9 Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) is a specialty engine directed toward data serving workloads. zIIP is designed to boost the performance of DB2 because it processes only DB2 routines.
Also enhanced is the DB2 QMF (Query Management Facility), which has a new Web interface. And various DB2 tools have minor changes so they support DB2 V9.1 for z/OS. These include the DB2 Utilities Suite.
It looks like IBM is onto a winner with this.