What's New in DB2 for i with TR2 for 7.2

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Something for everyone! Which one is your favorite?


Once again, it's time to talk about the Technology Refresh timed enhancements to DB2 for i. When I reflected on how I would describe this topic in a "short and sweet" manner, I thought about a recent business trip I made to Indianapolis. While looking for a present to bring my family, I happened upon the Rocket Fizz candy store. One of the many great things about this store is their wall of saltwater taffy. You (the customer) get to pick and choose from the many flavors to savor. I crammed a bag full of these tasty bites and, upon my return home, was greeted ever so warmly by my sweet-tooth family. What does this have to do with DB2 for i? Much like my favorite candy store, we have a wide array of enhancements for you. Something for everyone, regardless of your specific area of interest. Read on and see if you find something sweet.


With the announcement of IBM i 7.1 Technology Refresh (TR) 10 and IBM i 7.2 Technology Refresh (TR) 2, IBM is sharing the details of enhancements that will be available soon. This article and the IBM official announcement content is shared with you in advance of these enhancements being generally available. If you follow our DB2 for IBM i Group PTF schedule page, you can see our up-to-date plans, dates, status, and more.


We have supporting detail for all IBM i TR10 and TR2 timed enhancements within the IBM i Technology Updates wiki in developerWorks. The landing pages for these enhancements are:


This is the best place to start, because it contains the complete list of enhancements with direct links to the details. The timeline slide that appears in Figure 1 merely scratches the surface of what's new.


042815ForstieFig1 - DB2 for i TR-timed enhancements


Figure 1: DB2 for i enhancements follow this timeline (updated for TR2/TR10).


We have many new flavors for you in DB2 for i, including:


  • Enhanced SQL for Data Definition Language (DDL)
  • New IBM i services
  • SQE performance improvements
  • New database performance controls and insight
  • And more…

This is an overview article. I'll leave plenty of room for industry pundits to have a turn.


Create or Replace Table (SQL Statement)


One of the most important value statements for this database is that DB2 for i is "easy to use." This is an all-too-often-heard claim. How does the addition of table replacement make DB2 for i easier to use? Simply stated, a replaced table engages the database to discern and implement the necessary set of alter actions to transform the existing table into the new definition. By focusing on maintaining the master source for SQL tables, DB2 for i clients can avoid the time required to assess and implement the perfect combination of alters to achieve the desired outcome. In this way, DB2 for i is easier to use than other databases, where it can be typical to have an expensive administration team, diverting IT spending in the wrong direction.


Having one more option on an SQL statement that already has uncounted options may seem a bit mundane at first, but before you firm up your opinion, consider a couple things first. When OR REPLACE is used on a CREATE TABLE statement, the database is put in control of transforming your existing table into a new form while not losing anything important along the way. This is the latest example of something referred to as data-centric computing. For anyone unfamiliar with this term, the idea is to avoid handling many complex steps as a user in favor of having the database do the job.


If you're not convinced that transforming a table involves a complex set of tasks, refer to the check-marked list in Figure 2. Why is there a first-place ribbon on the figure? Similar to the Regular expression support added with TR9/TR1, DB2 for i is the first major database to have table replacement support on the CREATE TABLE SQL statement.


042815ForstieFig2 - create OR REPLACE table


Figure 2: Create OR REPLACE Table SQL statement.


Considerations Abound


When replacing a table, DB2 for i lets you guide the replacement technique via the optional ON REPLACE clause. There are three options at your disposal:



    This is the safest option to use because you are guaranteed not to lose any rows in the table.
    Columns can be added, dropped, and altered.
    If the table is not a range partitioned table, PRESERVE ALL ROWS and PRESERVE ROWS result in equivalent behavior.
    If the new range partitioned table has a match by partition name or by the exact range boundaries, the rows are preserved. Otherwise, the rows are deleted and no delete triggers are fired.
    Columns can be added, dropped, and altered.
    All rows are deleted and no delete triggers are fired.


You can (and should) read all the details within the updated CREATE TABLE documentation within the SQL Reference. The syntax is explained and, more importantly, the "REPLACE rules" table answers some of the questions you're eager to ask. When a table is replaced, the new definition of the table is compared to the old definition and logically, for each difference between the two, a corresponding ALTER operation is performed. When DB2 for i determines that a column or constraint needs to be removed, it uses RESTRICT processing rules.




  • Columns cannot be dropped if any views, indexes, triggers, materialized query tables, row permissions, column masks, or constraints are dependent on the column.
  • Unique constraints cannot be dropped if any referential constraints are dependent on the constraint.


Another critical resource is found under ALTER TABLE documentation. Search for "Cascaded Effects" to find a table that explains how the restrict effect is applied for different operations.


To make it a little easier to become focused on master table source, we also enhanced the QSYS2.GENERATE_SQL() procedure to return the master source when called with options CREATE_OR_REPLACE_OPTION => '1' & DATABASE_OBJECT_TYPE=> 'TABLE'. This differs from typical generate DDL processing for tables by including all the constraint definition within the CREATE TABLE statement, as opposed to generating a set of trailing ALTER TABLE ADD CONSTRAINT statements.


New IBM i Services


DB2 for i-supplied IBM i Services are quickly becoming a mainstream topic. Don't take my word for it; read what others are saying:



With the TR-timed DB2 PTF Group, new IBM i Services come in the form of views, User-Defined Table Functions (UDTFs), and procedures. These services extend what's possible with SQL in the following operating system subject matter areas:


  • Java
  • Librarian
  • Security
  • TCP/IP
  • Work Management


Let's briefly examine what's new and enhanced. All the new and enhanced services are being added to both IBM i 7.1 and IBM i 7.2.



042815ForstieFig3 - IBM i Services Timeline


Figure 3: IBM i Services timeline, updated with new TR2/TR10-timed services


Work Management Services


These new and improved services enable new forms of systems management using SQL.



Service Name

SQL Type




Work with Active jobs




Return additional detail about a specific job



Details about the scheduled job entries.


Example 1 gives a glimpse into what's possible now with these new services. Now that the active jobs are at the fingertips of your SQL queries, you simply need to construct the high-value questions and DB2 for i will help you answer them.


ACTIVE_JOB_INFO includes four parameters. As you see in the example, IBM i 7.2 users get an extra advantage of named and default parameter support for functions. This allows the function to be invoked with no parameters, if you want the default behavior. If you don't want to use a specific filter, don't specify that parameter.


Example 1: Find the longest-running SQL statement (IBM i 7.2)















Example 1 sample query results:

042815ForstieFig4 - ACTIVE JOB INFO example output


Anyone using IBM i 7.1 will need to always pass all four parameters. If you don't want to use a specific filter, pass the empty string for that parameter.





    Establish a new baseline for elapsed time measurements. Specifying YES on this parameter has the same effect as pressing F10=Restart statistics from the Work with Active Jobs (WRKACTJOB) command.
    Subsequent executions that do not specify YES will be able to observe elapsed interval detail. See the details about the UDTF return table layout in developerWorks or in Knowledge Center.
    Optional list of up to 25 subsystem names separated by exactly one comma. The filter determines which subsystems to use to return job information. If this filter isn't used, information for all subsystems is returned.
    Find jobs by a specific name, generic name, or by a special value as shown in the following table.


JOB_NAME_FILTER Special values



Return information for the current job


Information for all jobs is returned


Information for all jobs with a job name that matches the current job is returned


Information for all active subsystem monitors is returned


Information for all active system jobs is returned




    Optional list of up to 10 user profile names, separated by exactly one comma.


When multiple filters are used, they are logically ANDed together to return entries that match all the filtering criteria.

The SCHEDULED_JOB_INFO catalog returns detail normally accessed through the Work with Job Schedule Entries (WRKJOBSCDE) command. By having an SQL alternative interface to this detail, programmers can interrogate job schedule detail and administrators can use SQL to level check that a production partition's scheduled jobs match those on the failover partition.


TCP/IP Services


Have you ever been frustrated by having an ad hoc query appear in QUSRWRK that consumes more than its fair share of system resources? If so, this service can help you. The SET_SERVER_SBS_ROUTING procedure can be called to indicate the alternative subsystem that this user should use whenever they form a connection using DRDA, DDM, and/or Host Server.


The configuration choice is retained within the *USRPRF object, allowing it to survive save and restore operations. Further, the support even works against a group profile or supplemental group profile.



Service Name

SQL Type




Relocate Host Server and DRDA users into a specific subsystem, different from the default subsystem (QUSRWRK).



Review existing alternate subsystem configuration



Java Services


The first set of Java services includes a catalog alternative to the Work with JVM Jobs (WRKJVMJOB) and a companion procedure to change the settings for certain JVM jobs. These services are intended to help anyone responsible for maintaining and monitoring the ongoing status of Java-based applications.



Service Name

SQL Type




Query live statistical and setup information related to all active Java Virtual Machine (JVM) jobs.



Take actions against specific JVM jobs.



Librarian Services


The OBJECT_STATISTICS() UDTF was one of the first services created and is often used as a building block because it can find objects. For this TR, we had a flurry of activity and enhancements to make it even more useful:


1. When being used to search for libraries, we now support special values on the library name input parameter:


  • *ALLUSRAVLAll user libraries in all available ASP groups
  • *ALLUSRAll user libraries in *SYSBAS and the current thread's ASP group


2. New and improved data being returned in the following columns:


  • OBJLONGNAMEChanged to return the related SQL name, if one exists
  • TEXTUnicode comment detail for libraries
  • SQL_OBJECT_TYPEThe associated SQL object type, if relevant.


3. Search by Object Name (IBM i 7.2 only). An optional third input parameter can be used to designate the SQL or system name of the target object. This style of usage results in a better performing query, if you know the name of the object.



Service Name

SQL Type





Find objects and its attributes.



Security Services


This new catalog provides easy access to see the detail normally accessed via the Display Server Authentication Entries (DSPSVRAUTE) command. Note that with the command interface, you have to invoke the command one user at a time, whereas the catalog will show you the configuration detail for all users on the partition.



Service Name

SQL Type




Display Server Authentication Entry information


Performance Improvements


Two enhancements have been made to the SQL Query Engine (SQE).



  1. Index Merge Ordering (IMO) is an SQE enhancement where a multi-key radix index can be used by the optimizer in places where it couldn’t before. Index access to data is all about speeding up the query, so this is a good thing.


Note: This enhancement is eligible when First I/O is used as the optimization goal, the query returns a large result set, and non-equal predicates are used on the WHERE clause.


  1. I/O bound LEFT or RIGHT OUTER JOIN queries can be implemented more efficiently by reducing random I/O on indexes.
    Note: The SQE optimizer will do this automatically.


Performance Analysis


Database performance analysts, we've got something for you too. The following enhancements aim to improve the productivity of what can be a very complex task.



  • IBM i Navigator's Show Statements is enhanced to include CPU and I/O average columns. This additional detail makes it possible, and easy, to directly factor in CPU and/or I/O metrics in real-time analysis.
  • IBM i Navigator's Analyze support is enhanced to include new Job Name Summary detail to allow you to see summary detail grouped by job name.
  • IBM i Navigator's Analyze table and index summary support is extended to include specific statements and summary actions. Once you find an interesting table or index, it will be easier to see the relevant performance details.
  • Database statistical catalogs for indexes (SYSINDEXSTAT, SYSPARTITIONINDEXES, and SYSPARTITIONINDEXSTAT) are enhanced to contain more detail. These catalogs contain extended detail on the state and build detail for indexes.
  • IBM System Limits support is extended to include object tracking of database indexes. This automated tracking detail can be used to study trends and the top consumers.


Database Administration


Do you sometimes need to rebuild large, important indexes? If yes, we have two performance improvements that will help.


  1. DB2 for i will react to priority changes made while an index is being built in parallel.
    To build an index in parallel, you need to own and use DB2 Symmetric Multiprocessing (option 26). DB2 for i will recognize that the job's run priority has changed and will refresh that change in the parallel build worker tasks.
    This capability permits the administrator to speed up or slow down the index build activity.
  2. Enhanced index build logic for highly concurrent environments.


The following table shows the basic understanding of how the job priority of the index build job affects how the database will process the build activity. High-priority settings (1-19) are intended for time periods where there isn't high contention for the index.




Job Priority

Index keys Processed Before Looking for Held Users

Wait Time


Process many keys at a time

Wait less time before trying to get the seize


Process a few keys at a time
(same as previously)

Wait the same amount as previously


Process two keys at a time

Wait a longer time than previously













JSON DB2 Store


No, we're not selling t-shirts in our store. With the JSON DB2 Store, you'll be able to store and retrieve JSON from a DB2 for i table. This is the first step to integrate JSON data with DB2 for i. We plan to explain this technology with an article on developerWorks.


Many Flavors, Which Is Your Favorite?


I generally don't like sweets that much, but I must confess that I did enjoy the saltwater taffy. I didn't fare too well at remembering which flavors I selected, so my family had to rely on their good sense of taste to discern each flavor.


My brief overview has ended up being somewhat lengthy. All these words and I still haven't mentioned all of our enhancements. Please, visit the landing pages mentioned earlier and stop by Rocket Fizz if you have a chance.


Send me an email or tweet so that I know whether you think any of this was sweet.


Scott Forstie is a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM. He is the DB2 for i Business Architect, working on all things related to the database on IBM i.  He also is the content manager of the IBM i Technology Updates wiki ( where IBM i operating system enhancements are described. He can be reached at or followed on Twitter @ @Forstie_IBMi.







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  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using as a pre-built development environment



  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.


  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn 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

    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.



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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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.