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DB2 10.5 with BLU Acceleration

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Analytics has greatly advanced with BLU Acceleration’s Column Store, Compute-Friendly Encoding and Compression, Parallel Vector Processing, Core-Friendly Parallelism, Scan-Friendly Memory Caching, and Data Skipping.

 

IBM BLU Acceleration is a collection of technologies from the IBM Research and Development Labs that accelerate analytics and reporting. It is one of the most significant pieces of technology that has ever been delivered in DB2 and, arguably, the database market in general; it delivers unparalleled performance improvements for analytic applications and reporting using dynamic, in-memory optimized, columnar technologies.

 

Simple to Implement and Use

Arguably, one of the most important design principles of BLU Acceleration was simplicity and ease of use. As a result, a significant amount of autonomics and intelligence around BLU Acceleration has been built into the DB2 engine. Basically, all a user needs to do to take advantage of this technology is configure a DB2 10.5 database environment for BLU Acceleration (by assigning the value ANALYTICS to the DB2_WORKLOAD registry variable), create the tables needed, load them with data, and then run queries against them. It’s that simple. Database administration procedures and the SQL language used remain unchanged, as do system commands, utilities, and the DB2 storage model.

 

Because of the way in which BLU Acceleration has been designed, there is no need to create indexes, multidimensional clustering (MDC) tables, materialized query tables (MQTs), statistical views, materialized views, or partitioned tables to improve query performance. And without these auxiliary objects, administrative and maintenance efforts are greatly reduced.

 

Column Store

The most prominent feature found in BLU Acceleration is a new, in-memory, columnar table type. Unlike row-organized tables, which store data for complete records (rows) in pages and extents, column-organized tables store data for individual columns in pages and extents. Figure 1 shows how data for a row-organized table is stored; Figure 2 illustrates the storage methodology that is used for a column-organized table that has similar characteristics.

 

 060616Sandersfigure1

Figure 1: How data for a row-organized table is stored

 060616Sandersfigure2

Figure 2: How data for a column-organized table is stored; the Tuple Sequence Number (TSN) is a logical row identifier that is used to “stitch together” values from the different columns that form a row.

 

Storing data by column offers several benefits to analytic workloads. For one thing, such workloads tend to access a subset of the columns found in one or more tables. So, by storing data using a columnar approach, DB2 only has to move data for the appropriate subset of columns from disk to memory (as opposed to having to move data for an entire row). This ensures that only the data that is needed is retrieved from disk with every I/O operation that’s performed. And, because more data values can be stored on a single page, fewer I/O requests are required. Another benefit is that column-organized tables tend to compress very efficiently—the probability of finding repeating patterns on a page is high when the data on that page comes from a single column.

 

Compute-Friendly Encoding and Compression

Another key feature of BLU Acceleration is the way in which data for column-organized tables is encoded and compressed—column-organized tables are compressed automatically, using a technique known as approximate Huffman encoding. With this form of compression, values that appear more frequently are encoded at a higher level than values that don’t appear as often. Using a serial stream of zeros (0s) and ones (1s), each value is assigned eight bits. Then, the encoded data is packed as tightly as possible into a collection of bits that equal the register width of the CPU being used. Figure 3 illustrates how this type of compression works.

 

 060616Sandersfigure3

Figure 3: How approximate Huffman encoding works

 

Another compression optimization technique that’s used in BLU Acceleration is a process known as offset coding. Offset coding is very useful with numeric data; instead of trying to compress a set of numbers like 100, 101, 102, and 103, DB2 will store the first value (100) and then it will store the appropriate offsets from that value (1, 2, 3, and so forth) for the remaining numbers in the set.

 

Generally, compression for column-organized tables can be anywhere from 3 to 10 times better than that of similar row-organized tables. More importantly, data stored in column-organized tables does not have to be decompressed before it can be used in many SQL operations—operations that perform predicate evaluations, joins, and data grouping can work directly with encoded data. This enables DB2 to delay the materialization of compressed data for as long as possible, which leads to a more effective use of CPU and memory, along with a reduction in disk I/O.

 

Parallel Vector Processing

Another important feature of BLU Acceleration is its ability to exploit a leading-edge technology that is found in many of today‘s modern processors: Single-Instruction, Multiple-Data (SIMD) processing. SIMD instructions are low-level CPU instructions that enable an application to perform the same operation on multiple data points at the same time. BLU Acceleration will auto-detect when DB2 is running on a SIMD-enabled CPU and automatically exploit SIMD to effectively multiply the power of the processor. For example, suppose a query designed to produce a list of all purchases made in December is executed. Without SIMD, the processor must evaluate the query predicate (i.e., does MONTH = 'December'?) one value at a time. Each value for MONTH (for example, September, October, November) would be loaded into its own processor register, and multiple iterations of the instruction would be required. With SIMD, the results for all three months could be obtained with a single instruction, provided the values are loaded into the same register. This results in faster predicate processing. Figure 4 illustrates how the scenario just described might be processed by a SIMD-enabled CPU.

 

 060616Sandersfigure4

Figure 4: SQL query predicate evaluations with a SIMD-enabled CPU

 

Although the example just presented demonstrates how SIMD helps with predicate evaluation, it’s important to note that SIMD exploitation can be used to do scans, joins, grouping, and arithmetic operations. Also, in the previous example, three data values (September, October, and November) were used for display purposes only; the actual number of data elements that can be processed by a single instruction is determined by the size of each element.

 

Core-Friendly Parallelism

Core-friendly parallelism refers to BLU Acceleration’s ability to take advantage of the growing number of cores found on CPU processors to drive multicore parallelism for queries. This is accomplished through the use of several comprehensive algorithms that determine where data that will be revisited should be placed in CPU cache, as well as how work should be shipped across every socket. To maximize parallelization and throughput, all processor cores, memory, and threads available is utilized.

 

Scan-Friendly Memory Caching

Most databases employ variations of what are known as Least Recently Used (LRU) and Most Recently Used (MRU) paging algorithms to keep data that was recently accessed in memory and to remove older data when space for new data is needed. But these algorithms do not work well with analytical workloads. That’s because analytical workloads are likely to start at the top of a table and scan their way to the bottom. And if the table is large, the LRU algorithm will remove pages that were read at the start of the scan to make room for those read at the end. Consequently, the next time a scan of the same table is initiated (say, to perform an aggregation or join operation), memory is searched for pages that were read from the beginning of the table, and when they’re not found, they have to be retrieved from disk.

 

To resolve this issue, a special “scan-friendly” memory caching algorithm was developed and incorporated in BLU Acceleration. This algorithm works by detecting “interested” data patterns that are likely to be revisited, and then holding pages with similar data patterns in memory as long as possible.

 

Data Skipping

The last important feature that’s available with BLU Acceleration is the ability to skip ranges of data that are not relevant to an active query. For example, if a query needs to calculate the total dollar amount of every order placed during the month of January, BLU Acceleration can go straight to the data that contains order information for just that month and skip over all non-qualifying data. That’s because as operations are performed against column-organized tables, BLU Acceleration generates metadata that describes the minimum and maximum range of the data values found in “chunks” of data records. (The ranges are associated with approximately 2,000 records.) This metadata is then stored in a special internal table known as a synopsis table and is updated automatically as INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE operations are performed.

 

When an analytic query is executed, BLU Acceleration examines the appropriate synopsis table(s) to identify “chunks” that contain data the query is looking for. It then goes straight to those “chunks” and retrieves the data desired.

 

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from DB2 10.5 Fundamentals for LUW: Certification Study Guide, chapter 2.

Roger Sanders

Roger E. Sanders is a DB2 for LUW Offering Manager at IBM. He has been working with DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows (DB2 for LUW) since it was first introduced on the IBM PC (as part of OS/2 1.3 Extended Edition) and is the author of 24 books on relational database technology (23 on DB2 for LUW; one on ODBC).

 

For 10 years, Roger authored the Distributed DBA column in IBM Data Magazine (formerly DB2 Magazine), and for three years, he served as president of the Triangle DB2 User’s Group (TriDUG), a regional DB2 user’s group that meets in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Roger has also written articles for publications such as Certification Magazine and IDUG Solutions Journal (the official magazine of the International DB2 User’s Group), authored DB2-related tutorials and articles for IBM’s developerWorks website, presented at a variety of International DB2 User’s Group (IDUG) conferences and regional DB2 User’s Group (RUG) meetings, taught numerous classes on DB2 Fundamentals and DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Database Administration, and participated in the development of 23 DB2 certification exams.

 

From 2008 to 2015, Roger was recognized as an IBM Champion for his contributions to the IBM Data Management community; in 2012, he was recognized as an IBM developerWorks Master Author, Level 2 for his contributions to the IBM developerWorks community. He lives in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.


MC Press books written by Roger Sanders available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

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    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.