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IBM Db2 Database OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM Db2 Database is #4 ranked solution in top Relational Databases. IT Central Station users give IBM Db2 Database an average rating of 8 out of 10. IBM Db2 Database is most commonly compared to Oracle Database:IBM Db2 Database vs Oracle Database. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 28% of all views.
What is IBM Db2 Database?
DB2 Enterprise for Linux, UNIX, and Windows is the ideal data server for the most demanding workloads. New XML support is designed to help firms minimize the time and effort it takes to persist and use their XML data reducing development costs and improving business agility.

IBM Db2 Database was previously known as DB2.

IBM Db2 Database Buyer's Guide

Download the IBM Db2 Database Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

IBM Db2 Database Customers
Knorr-Bremse, Mizuho Bank Ltd., Australian Government Department of Defence, SCHWENK Zement, Friedhelm Loh Group, YAZAKI Europe Limited, Ekornes ASA, Baldor Electric, VSN Systemen BV, Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC, PLANSEE Group, TE Connectivity, Hansgrohe SE, Openmatics, University of Toronto
IBM Db2 Database Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about IBM Db2 Database pricing:
  • "Db2 is less expensive than Oracle."
  • "Among Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and Db2, Microsoft SQL Server is the cheapest one, and Oracle is the most expensive one. Db2 is in the middle. As compared to SQL Server, its price could go down. It will be good for customers."
  • "We did not buy it. It came with our hardware without any complimentary maintenance. If I compare Db2 Database with Oracle Database, its price is lower than Oracle Database."
  • "We don't see what the specific price of the DB2 license is because we pay for the backup license as a package."

IBM Db2 Database Reviews

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SH
Mainframe Technical Manager/Service Integration Lead at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Very scalable with high availability and excellent technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "I like that its true active-active. For example, if there are two instances within a cluster, we can take one of them down and there's no failover or switch over. There's no primary and secondary, it's true active-active. We can take one side down and we can upgrade that with new maintenance or a new version, obviously testing coexistence beforehand, without impacting the business."
  • "We just want a bit more integration with Linux. That said, we are already seeing Linux more readily available on the mainframe environment."

What is our primary use case?

It's not the Db2 LUW, which is Linux, Unix, Windows. It's the mainframe. It's the active-active, high availability environment that we need for the aggressive SLAs that we've got here in Saudi Arabia.

What is most valuable?

I like that its true active-active. For example, if there are two instances within a cluster, we can take one of them down and there's no failover or switch over. There's no primary and secondary, it's true active-active. We can take one side down and we can upgrade that with new maintenance or a new version, obviously testing coexistence beforehand, without impacting the business.

In a distributed world, you've got lots of different prerequisites you've got to be managing here. Not just the database - possibly the VMs that the database is in and the OS that the database is running on, Linux or Windows, as well as the storage.

I like its high availability. It's well supported by IBM. It's used by a lot of the larger business organizations globally within banking, finance, credit cards, insurance, retail, and government.

We're proving that it's got that high availability and robustness. We can prioritize the workloads that are coming into that database management system, using the features of the IBM z/OS environment. That way, if this transaction's coming in off the network that is in and out, they will be given priority over somebody doing a lengthy query that's coming in from the network that you would consider to have more batch-like tendencies. 

We like that it's using separate specialized CPU engines to manage the locking and the sharing of data via a coupling facility. This stays on the CPU that we would be licensed for. We call them specialized engines that you don't license. They're not paying your licensing costs. Whereas, for example, in other database management environments for high availability, they communicate between themselves over an IP network. The CPU would be higher for them. There's no special process or capability that allows taking that CPU and that communication between them. It has to, if you've got four nodes of a database management system, one of them would have to lock on a row in a table or whatever, it's going to have to propagate that information to the other three nodes on the mainframe side. It would just put it into what we call a coupling facility, and the other Db2 members or instances in the same cluster would be able to check that and see that, no, we can't update that yet, we'll have to wait.

There are lots of different things we use it for. We use it for data replication, which means that we've got an always-on alternate Sysplex cluster several thousand miles away that is propagating the data to that Db2 over there using replication services at the software level rather than, if you physically replicate data and the Db2 or the Oracle environment, physically using storage replication, you've in effect got a cloned copy of that environment. It's going to fire up at the remote site, looking for the network that's at the local site. There are lots of things you would have to do there to do that. Plus the RTO time to actually get that alternate Db2 at the DR side could be 40-45 minutes depending. Whereas we can do this capability and we call it always on, where the RTO is about a minute.

What needs improvement?

The good thing is that there are improvements coming with later function levels for the z/OS Db2. I'd like it if, with the operating system that we've got, z/OS, on the mainframe, it would allow us to refresh the hardware to run Linux dockers on the mainframe. This means this might give us opportunities for different ways of coming into the Db2 environment in the future. We just want a bit more integration with Linux. That said, we are already seeing Linux more readily available on the mainframe environment.

Not only have we got the premium operating systems on OS. We can run LPARs on the same mainframe footprint that is also supporting Linux. This is what has improved and made the mainframe environment more competitive.

We're also looking at AI for Db2 as well, and machine learning for the future. We know that AI has come out, that we're going to get that, and we're going to evaluate that product next year for Db2.

That said, I haven't got any real complaints about Db2 on the mainframe. For the most part, a lot of the problems we have nowadays are to do with communication between the various teams that you would class as stakeholders.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working in a mainframe environment since 1991. I got involved in Db2, in the mid-nineties back in the UK. I've supported the database team regarding the system programming side of things, however, I used to be involved in it quite a lot operationally as an ops analyst lead. I've not actually worked with other database management systems on other platforms. However, some of my team support them. I occasionally have to look at these sites to understand the products and what their advantages and disadvantages are.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes it's how you go about system management processes within the environment, and not always the product itself. If, for example, we're going to put maintenance onto the Db2, we would do that in a sandbox environment first. We would test that the Db2 that we've put the maintenance on can exist or coexist in the same cluster as the ones we haven't put the maintenance on. That's the first thing.

We would test functionally and can regress that maintenance in case we introduce a defect, or it causes an application defect. Coexistence and regression are very important in the sandbox.

After we've signed that off, we would move it into the development environment where they've got all the different development services, integration, UAT, dev-test, pre-production, model production, et cetera. We would let the development workloads test the Db2 instance there and see that that's working. If that's okay, then we upgrade the other Db2 instance in the cluster. Finally, we put it into the production environment.

Therefore, you're not going to do a big thing. You're putting your maintenance in on 50% of the database environment so that you've got ability and capacity on the other side where you haven't made that change. And you've already proved coexistence and regression, should there be a defect identified through the application.

I like the way that Db2 allows us to do that. Certain DBMS environments, you have to upgrade them all to the same level. Some of them have to be patched quite regularly due to security. However, in the mainframe, it's not too bad.

When I first came here, they were putting the maintenance and the new release, they would do it across the whole cluster. Which, if we had a problem with some of the applications that are running in there, we would have to regress that, which would probably mean an outage. There are operational or system management processes that we've tuned and we've improved so that we're mitigating against any service disruption.

The way the IBM z/OS Db2 environment's designed does allow coexistence. It does allow us to upgrade 50% of it, or 25% of it, and leave it running alongside one that's back level - as long as we've proven our coexistence.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've got a two-way Db2 cluster at the moment. With two members in that cluster, we could have up to 32 members in that cluster. It's got outward scalability as well.

It's got the ability to have up to 32 members within that data sharing group or that cluster. So you could run one of these on a separate Z server, Z mainframe, which would give you quite a lot of CPU capacity. I don't know whether there are any environments out there that would need or have that. Some of the world's largest banks - maybe in America or in Asia - might have a configuration like that. For us, we're across multiple processes, and we've got the ability, should we enable for cloud at a later date, to be in a position where we can just scale-out with little disruption, by just adding more LPARs with Db2 members in. We just have to make sure that we've got the processing capacity on the mainframe to support the additional workload.

How are customer service and support?

IBM technical support is pretty good. We haven't had issues with them from the operating system, from the KICKS, from the MQ, from the Db2. When I compare it to, for example, Oracle tape, we don't get the same level of support there. There's a lot of collection of log information and things like that. We have to escalate that case or that incident to the second or third level within that organization. We tend to find that IBM, on the other hand, is pretty good with that. I can't comment on other areas other than experience with Oracle, which sometimes isn't that good.

How was the initial setup?

The mainframe environment does not that often require that we have to set up another Db2. If you're creating a brand new Db2 cluster or data sharing group, then there is a bit of work in that.

The IBM manuals for this and our localized documentation assist the engineers and consultants in building a Db2. I don't consider any issues regarding a build of a Db2.

The mainframe environment from a security perspective is one of the key fundamental selling points of the mainframe environment. It is relatively secure assuming that the security people that administer the RackF database, the external security database, are actually configuring it right. Then we deploy role-based access controls. When they're doing this sort of activity database, people would have to liaise with other areas within the infrastructure and support to configure that Db2. Obviously, with any Db2 you need security permissions. They would need to discuss with the storage team how much disc space they're going to need and to discuss with the performance team and capacity team to make sure that they're going to profile that environment. They would need to discuss with the automation team to make sure that the Db2 is shut down when we need to shut the system down and that it's started up properly when the system's reloaded, or if it is in an unplanned activity, that we can restart it in light mode. Furthermore, the automation tool is monitoring that Db2 instance to make sure that it's healthy. Ultimately, there are lots of different teams that would be involved in this. 

For the most part, the setup is simple. If somebody wants a new database or schema, we could just quickly do that within that environment. If we need a brand new, separate Db2 environment, that would be more complicated, however, we have the procedures and processes in place for that.

We could have just one systems programmer doing that maintenance. That said, from my perspective, I engage a lot of the teams. Once we've put that maintenance into the development environment and we leave it for a week against one member and leave the other member back level, we would do full performance analysis to see that, with all the transactions that are running there, there's no additional CPU and there's no deterioration in response time and that the Db2 member itself is looking healthy, it's not having any resource shortages, there's no virtual memory or physical memory increases or deviations or anomalies.

We'd engage with the performance and capacity team. I recently engaged with the distributed team, for example, the middleware teams, to make sure that if anything is coming off the web through the web servers, they are aware of our change so that they can monitor and support us.

While it's one person that's doing the change, he might be working with a few junior engineers to do training. We tend to engage a lot of teams across the activity to make sure that everything looks okay and we're not impacting SLAs.

Furthermore, we have a 24 by seven operations team and they do all the operational side. You wouldn't get a Db2 systems programmer in production stopping and starting the Db2. That would be done by the operators.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In the 90s, there was a big problem with the IBM mainframe environment and there was a big push to move the middleware off the mainframe and put it on cheaper distributed hardware. What happened then was the workload was coming in over the network. This was what we called dynamic SQL coming into Db2 - which was a bit more resource-intensive to what it was with traditional legacy style workloads that were static SQL coming into the Db2 environment, that we could see the CPU on the mainframe.

In the old days, in the 90s and before that, we were charged quite expensive amounts for licensing the software on the full capacity of the mainframe they're running on.

Now, what they introduced mid-nineties/late-nineties was these specialized processes like a coupling facility. There was a Z integrated information process called a zip. This supported workloads coming in off the network from web servers coming into Db2, and we know that these workloads are traditionally resource-intensive. They're not as efficient as static SQL. This meant that in the old days, our licensing costs would shoot up as we would have to upgrade the mainframes and it would make it more expensive.

IBM introduced these specialized processes and the zip allows the workload to be dispatched on that specialized processor. Not all of it - maybe 40% to 50% of a transaction is eligible to be dispatched on a zip. This means that we don't need as much of the standard mainframe engines to support the business workload. Anything that's running on a zip, we don't have to pay licensing fees.

This was something that made the mainframe more competitive again. Furthermore, with the mainframe we have now we can have the forerunner to virtualization (VM), which is what I started on back in the early 90s, known now as ZVM. Having ZVM means that you can run virtual machines in that OS. It acts as a hypervisor. It runs virtual machines in that OS that could be separate Linux instances.

The flagship or premium operating system on the mainframe is z/OS. It used to be called MVS, multiple virtual storage. We're going to be able to evaluate next year within Linux Dockers, in them LPARs, alongside all other tasks that we've got running such as Db2, such as KICKS. It is going to make it really interesting in the future.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have been comparing Oracle RAC against the z/OS Db2.

I tend to see that there's a lot of bias for people, depending on, for example, if they work for an Oracle database management system. In that case, you tend to get a lot of people that are biased towards the Oracle. Likewise, you'll get that with Db2 LUW or Db2 z/OS. They don't tend to know what the other environment can do. That said, looking at it from an infrastructure and system programming background, as my background is really system programming and storage and hardware infrastructure, it's trying to get a general view on what the database management system can offer for SLAs, high availability when it's patched, and how often it would have to be patched. I want to know, for example, if there are a lot more security defects and fixes with one environment as opposed to another so that we're not interrupting our hosted business in the environment when we're doing our maintenance and new releases of software.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a partner of IBM. I used to be an IBM employee until August when I switched over to a partner company.

I'm not would say totally biased towards IBM. We do like to look at other vendors' hardware and software. For example, we use Oracle hardware on the mainframe environment for the tape. Oracle took over Sun which took over Storagetech, which is a mainframe and distributed tape solution. We do have a mixture of IBM and non-IBM software and hardware.

I'm a technical manager at the moment, and I'm supporting a team that's running Db2 across multiple sites within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We are moving to the private cloud, however, at the moment, it's on-premise between multiple data centers dispersed within Saudi Arabia. They don't want to be looking at any cloud services from suppliers where they do not have control of the data. We are looking at maybe next year a private cloud infrastructure for the mainframe Sysplex environment.

I'd advise new users to make sure they know what you're doing. Don't guess. There's a lot of people working out there in IT that like to tell people that they know what they're doing. From my experience, they don't know what they're doing, and they can make a complete mess of it. I see it a lot over here in the Middle East. They need to be aware of what they're doing. They need to be following proper procedures and processes.

When they're upgrading to the production environment, they should be raising a high severity ticket with the supplier. For example, if we're changing the version of Db2 in our production environment on 50%, or one member, I would inform the team to raise a high severity ticket so that we've got IBM support on hand should we encounter any anomalies. I would be saying that the same to the Microsoft SQL team, to Db2 LUW, to Oracle, that sort of thing. That would mitigate risk.

They should also properly test it. They should make sure that they follow all the functional tests, which we call IVPs, which are scripted tests that you can run to prove that it looks okay. You should be engaging with the application team in non-production first to see that they're not having any problems with the application. You should try and see if there's a performance team or monitoring team that's able to look at the performance of it. You should be talking with the middleware team, like the webserver teams, the .NET, the KICKS, and making sure that all their processes are working with that database. And then you migrate it into production.

I'd rate the solution at a ten out of ten. The product, the support of the product, the high availability that it offers, the active-active, plus how we're managing it, has been great. We're having fun with it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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SM
Senior Systems Architect/Analyst/Developer at a logistics company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Extremely scalable, extremely stable, and unhackable

Pros and Cons

  • "Your iOS, your throughputs, your performance cycles, you cannot touch it with Microsoft or with Oracle scalability-wise. That is far and away the most scalable systems and the highest performing systems of the set of them."
  • "Their view of it is they're maintaining it, they're continuing to upgrade it, they're continuing to grow it, however, they don't go out and try and sell that as an architectural solution the way they do Linux and Unix."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution as the main data store warehouse for the corporation.

What is most valuable?

It's great as a backend database system utilized to store the data for the entire corporate structure.

Due to the fact that we're going to go with the hardware-specifics of the fact that it's bundled in IBM i, it's exceedingly reliable, as the architecture of the IBM i just does not go down.

It runs very well. It runs very solid. It does everything that I expect it to do. It offers all of the standard RDBMS functionalities and capabilities. I consider Db2 to be a direct competitor with Oracle and SQL servers any day of the week. The difference is what flavor of Db2 you're going to run. You're going to run the Linux Unix, are going to run the IBM i version, and then it comes down to, for me, the IBM i, due to the fact that the architecture does not fail. It does not go down. It does not get hacked. There's never been a successful hacking of an IBM i architecture. You're looking at an environment where your data is extremely secure, compared to a lot of the other RDBMS systems.

The solution is configurable and has what you would consider to be a desktop management configuration capability too. You can partition it off, and you can set up different instances of it and such. The interface is more than adequate. There's nothing great about it, there's nothing poor about it. It's more than capable of doing what you need to do if you do need to do DBA maintenance kind of work to it.

What needs improvement?

It's going to be a much smaller marketplace for this product, and most significantly, IBM doesn't target marketing to that marketplace. Their view of it is they're maintaining it, they're continuing to upgrade it, they're continuing to grow it, however, they don't go out and try and sell that as an architectural solution the way they do Linux and Unix. That's because once you get inside of the IBM architecture, up until about six or eight years ago, it was not open source. You were tied to the development language of either COBOL or the development language of RPG if you wanted to develop on that platform.

Now, it now supports Java and PHP, and it does open source, but for those reasons, IBM was never looking to market or push that as a viable solution. They didn't push the IBM i as a direct competitor to Oracle, they pushed their Linux Unix versions of it, their IBM Z series against Oracle and SQL server, as it's a more direct head-to-head comparison. The IBM i architecture is the one-off if you will. You're not going to see a lot of people looking at it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for 25 years at this point. It's been a while. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable and reliable. The hardware does not fail, the software does not fail, and so the reliability is there, however, the reliability isn't necessarily Db2, it's the fact that it's the IBM i that has the reliability. Db2 is inheriting that, and again, is staying up and running because of that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The system scales very well. It runs the new power nine chips and it's about to run the new power 10 chips that IBM is releasing as well. For that reason, the current systems out there are 16 CPU Power 10 processors that can have terabytes of memory associated with them. It performs extremely well in the environment. 

The system is very scalable to very large magnitudes. There are some very large Fortune 10 and Fortune 15 companies that run Db2 systems and can attest to the scalability

How are customer service and technical support?

IBM's technical support is fine and their people are good. When you give them a call they get after it. We're satisfied with the level of service provided. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. Due to the fact that it's bundled inside of the system, you don't have to do any special implementation. As soon as you have the system up and running, and the operating system running, Db2 is already running. There was an instance of it running on the architecture at that moment. There's absolutely zero setup in that environment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's hard to separate out the exact pricing. It's bundled; you can't compare head-to-head against Oracle and SQL server at that point, as the costing is embedded inside of the purchase of the operating system software.

What other advice do I have?

We're not a software provider, we're an end-user.

When you start talking about Db2 on Linux and Unix, the current version is version 17.3 or 17.4. The IBM i, the versioning doesn't work the same way, it has to do with the operating system levels that you're running, as to which version of Db2 you're in. It's integrated in with the system, operating system. It's not actually an independent version of Db2, it's integrated in with the operating system on that platform.

Db2 is different in our architectural world than standalone Db2. It's not like standing up an instance of Db2 would be the same as it would in Oracle, or a Microsoft SQL instance, on a Windows 10 server or a Windows 2008 server or whatever it may be. It's the fact that it's bundled in with the software, with the operating system, with the hardware, when you buy that machine. Since it's all bundled inside of it, we're having to go out and independently do things with it. It's inherent, it's bundled. It's probably not the best example of Db2, because even when IBM goes out and talks about Db2, they talk about Db2 zOS, which is the Linux Unix installation. You very rarely see them talking about the IBM i installations. In fact, in even the documentation I was reading in the comparisons, it was comparing the Linux Unix IBM Db2 against Oracle, and against the Microsoft SQL Server.

If you're looking at an alternative to Oracle or to Microsoft SQL server, look at Db2, and then once you're in Db2's world, take a look at IBM i against the IBM Z, and compare the two of them. The stigma that the IBM i has, is that RPG language barrier. Since that barrier has now been removed, you can do everything that you can do on the IBM Z as well. The stability of the platform is what people need to look at. There is a trade-off of uptime and never been hacked operating system against versus Microsoft and Oracle in the news every single day. Microsoft cloud just made a comment in the last 48, 72 hours about their cloud services being hacked. That's just something you do not see happening with that IBM series architecture.

Since Db2 rides inside of very secure architecture, people should probably give it a very good, hard look, compared to Oracle and Microsoft, and say, "Hey it might not be as popular. It might not be as big a deal, but if my data is more secure, and I don't have downtime and I have performance, is it something that we should be looking at?" 

I've been at companies that have looked to move off of that, and when they've looked at the Oracle solution, and, no matter how you power it, and no matter how you scale it, whether you scale it up or you scale it wide, the performance is simply just not there compared to what the IBM systems offer through their Db2, whether it be the i or the Z through what they offer internally in their performance capabilities. Your iOS, your throughputs, your performance cycles, you cannot touch it with Microsoft or with Oracle scalability-wise. That is far and away the most scalable systems and the highest performing systems of the set of them.

I'd rate the solution at a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Learn what your peers think about IBM Db2 Database. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,529 professionals have used our research since 2012.
MA
Senior System Analyst at Thakral
MSP
Top 20
Almost maintenance-free and less expensive, but lacking in the area of development tools and resources

Pros and Cons

  • "it is very stable and runs smoothly once it is deployed and it is almost maintenance-free."
  • "The technical support team is not very good when compared to the efficiency of Oracle's support."
  • "The application development requires a Java developer and not every company has these resources."

What is our primary use case?

The primary uses for this product have to do with the card management system for banks. We are working mostly in the financial sector and banking sector, so there are some card management systems there that we often work with. There are some databases for which we see value in using Db2, so we are working with this solution.  

What is most valuable?

One of the things I like most about Db2 is that it is almost maintenance-free. I do not have to maintain it, unlike a modal database. I have been using modal databases for a long time and those are more sensitive. It is almost 15 years now that I have been using modal databases and it is almost tedious to use modal databases by comparison. I have been using the Db2 more recently and both database types are in use in my company. With a modal database, I have to check to see how or if the data is coming through. But in Db2, it is not as much of a headache. It is also easier to understand than modal database structures.  

What needs improvement?

One thing that is a little bit difficult for me — other than when using Oracle — is creating database replication with Db2. It is not so easy. That feature could be improved.  

Another thing is that if part of the environment in Db2 goes down, I have to restore all of it. That is something that is just in the environment for the Db2 relational database. The restoration is very difficult because every node has internal storage. If one node is corrupted all have to get restored.  

If you compare Db2 to Oracle, both are enterprise-class. However, the development tools for Db2 are not as good. For example, if I want to develop an application in Db2, I have to use Java. That is not so easy because someone has to know the Java platform and a few other things to develop an application on Db2. But the difference is that if you choose to use Oracle there are some tools like Oracle Developers Suite that you can use to develop applications. It is very easy and very straightforward to develop an application in Oracle because of the development tools. It is harder when using Db2 by comparison.  

There are some things that are not in Db2. I have to do more to develop an application. Some things are easy to do with Db2 development. Like if I have an application where there will be three or four tables. I can do that with Db2, or I have to do it with other Java development tools. That is the catch: for most of the people who know Java, this development is easy for them. But those who do not know Java can have a very hard time. In that sense, IBM should work on that aspect of their product to make it easy to develop applications. They can do this by providing users with a development suite. If they do that, then I think Db2 has the potential to grow more in our market.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Db2 for almost eight years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of Db2 is good. It is very stable. Once we have the installation complete and the team is done with the job, there are some customers who go five years without having to do anything to Db2. It is very stable and runs smoothly for them the entire time.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

With scalability, I do not have as much experience as other teams in our group because I am on the sales end. I do not have experience on that side. Because we are a business partner of IBM, we all understand the use of Db2. In our company, the main focus is always on what the customer wants and what kind of applications they want to build. As we are working in the financial sector, they have DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) and these requirements need to be fulfilled. What the customer wants ends up determining which database we suggest that they go for. In that sense, our market is mostly Oracle. But if they are trying to keep their budget concerns in check, then we will go for Db2, because it is less costly than Oracle.  

How are customer service and technical support?

I find the technical support team is not so aggressive as Oracle. If I put in a request or a ticket it takes time for the team at IBM to reply. Almost always at that point, they are not replying with an answer. I have to do something to give them more information. They could be more efficient in the way that issues are handled. With Oracle, it will not take even half an hour and they take a readout and give you a solution. Oracle's support is very straightforward.  

I think that IBM needs to do better in training its support service to improve response time and efficiency. They should have a better structure to their support request responses and better procedures to follow. Right now, these procedures are not in place.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

In my scenario, I have installed both Db2 and Oracle for different use cases. I have not personally found that much of a difference. But I think the difference between this Db2 is what the customer wants. Some want to work on Db2 and some want to work with Oracle.  

One feature I like in Db2 is the self-maintenance feature. That maintenance feature or something like it is not found in Oracle. With Db2, it is safe to use self-maintenance with any data and that is the main feature in Db2 that I like.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for Db2 is really straightforward. Their deployment and integration are very easy and straightforward. The environment takes a maximum of 40 minutes for installation. I have done it by myself. The complete deployment is not so easy that it is a simple repetition to do the same way on every site, but two or three weeks will be all that you need for an enterprise installation.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is done by our pricing team and the quotes are given to the client's finance team. So in that sense, I do not have direct experience with the pricing models. I can say that Db2 is less costly than Oracle because I am selling both and I am doing enterprise sales for both. When a customer gets a quote during the buying process, I can see the pricing. The pricing for Db2 is always less than Oracle.  

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate IBM Db2 Database as a seven-out-of-ten.  

Most of the time recommending Db2 is harder than recommending Oracle because of the situation in our country. Whenever I propose Db2 to a customer, the customer will ask what they need to have to develop applications on Db2. I have to say to them that they need to have a Java developer to work on that. If the customer already has some Oracle databases, this makes introducing Db2 even more difficult because they already have the resources for Oracle development. Suggesting Db2 is difficult in our country because most of the people already have Oracle now. So suggesting Db2 is difficult because development on Db2 is not as easy as Oracle and finding the resources to work with it is not as easy. The question we have to answer all the time is who will do the development if the customer does not have a Java developer resource already.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
JurajHrapko
IT Architect at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Offers a valuable Database Partitioning Feature and has good performance

Pros and Cons

  • "Very good for performance and scalability."
  • "There could be better integration with some cloud solutions."
  • "The GUI interface is not particularly friendly for those who do not have experience with the product."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use for our Db2 database is for OLAP (Online Analytical Processing). Our department is using it for data warehousing and data analysis.  

We are deploying some of our enterprise systems to Azure. We would like to migrate data there and most of the systems will be running on the infrastructure as a service, so we will have lots of servers. Migrating data from Db2 becomes an important matter.  

Our target currently is to create the infrastructure which would include the servers, the backup solutions, the databases, application servers and whatever else we need.  

How has it helped my organization?

Db2 enables us to analyze big amounts of structured data in DataWarehouse solutions.

What is most valuable?

The feature that is one of the most valuable in Db2 is the DPF, or the Database Partitioning Feature that use Massive Parallel Processing architecture. We have deployments where one database is deployed on multiple physical servers. It is not exactly like RAC from Oracle. The purpose is not the availability but the performance and scalability of the DPF.  

What needs improvement?

Integration with other services could use some improvement. Currently, we are using Informatica ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) and the data is not loading as expected between the Db2 database and Informatica. Our goal is to eventually migrate the data to Azure servers and evaluate how it will perform. Currently, we are doing a POC (Proof of Concept) on this migration, but the second step cannot be completed without a dependable data load.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Db2 for a long time. Maybe 15 years.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

DB2 is very scalable offering multichoice of possiblities - massive parallel processing and also  clustering.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have technical support from IBM. If I had to evaluate their services, the quality really depends on the person that gets the ticket. There are some very good specialists on the technical support team and some that are not so good.  

If the ticket is critical, it will go to a queue and the IBM team will help you out very quickly and efficiently. Of course, sometimes critical problems are difficult and take some time to resolve.  

If I had to rate technical support overall, then I would give them about an eight-out-of-ten.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are a typical enterprise with the typical array of databases. Primarily we use Db2 and MS SQL, and some others. We have reporting tools like Business Objects, Power BI and Micro Strategy. We also have data warehouses. So we have ETL tools and then we need to have the backups, scheduling, and monitoring. We are using more than one database type for different reasons, so it is not exactly that we have switched away from something else to Db2.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. I think that installing the Db2 is not that complex and it should not be a problem for a skilled DBA.  

What about the implementation team?

Usually, we use our own team to maintain our products and we do not require outside services from vendors.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As we have experience with a variety of database types any one of them could play into our architecture. I was hoping to have PaaS backup solution for the Db2 that we plan to deploy to Azure. But current plan is to back up the Db2 database to storage instead to some service in cloud. Doing it this way we would need to do a work-around and manage the backups by scripting and manage the retention and the sizes and disk drives. It is not optimal and it would be better if we could just send the backup to some kind of API or service in Azure and just configure it to back up images and files. In our testing, that is currently not working with Db2.  

I was looking for this kind of migration solution for the Db2 database, but I could not find it — which surprises me. I looked at the Tivoli Storage Manager, which supports the Db2 backups to the API, but they do not have that kind of PaaS service in Azure.

What other advice do I have?

I have experience working with both Oracle and Db2. Comparing the two products, I would recommend Db2. Both Oracle and Db2 have some unique features that separate them. Although they are different, in comparing the two databases, they are both enterprise grade databases with lots of good features. But from my point of view, Db2 is much better.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Db2 as an eight. It is not rated higher because I think that there are things that can be improved. It is currently not perfect. The graphical tools are not good. It is very common for GUI interfaces in IBM products to be lacking. For the first-time user who has no experience with it, the GUI will not seem very straightforward. If you had to work with it for four years, then you get used to it. But for the first-time users, it is not that user friendly.  

If some of the user-interface features can be enhanced, it could be a nine. Db2 is a good database. It is for structured data and there is always room for improvement. It requires an experienced person to handle it.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Basil Ndolo
Product Development Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5
Futuristic, feature-rich, fast support, and perfect for environments that require scalability

Pros and Cons

  • "It has a good feature called pureScale, which is just for scalability. It is a perfect solution for environments where scalability is going to be an issue."
  • "Microsoft SQL Server is comparatively very simple to use. I wish IBM would move towards making Db2 easy to use for both basic and advanced users. This is where I see room for advancement. Db2 is also more expensive than Microsoft SQL Server, and its price can be reduced. The replication feature needs to be there in Db2. Microsoft provides similar functionality in SQL Server. IBM also has similar functionality, but it exists in a different product. So, to have the replication ability, you have to buy a different product. It makes sense to have this functionality within Db2 instead of a different product. It will also be helpful in terms of competition. In Africa, the problem for Db2 is competition. Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server have been in this market for a very long time. These companies have built the ecosystem and the brand within this market for a very long time. So, they are very popular with users. Db2 or IBM came a little later in the game, and that's where the problem lies. They also don't do a lot of marketing for it, which is also a problem."

What is our primary use case?

I am an ex IBM employee, and I used to be the brand ambassador for Db2 in Africa. So, I do understand how it works because I've used it with customers. Currently, I am mostly supporting some of the Db2 customers in Kenya.

I am now using version 11.1, but I used version 10.5 for the longest time. 

What is most valuable?

It has a good feature called pureScale, which is just for scalability. It is a perfect solution for environments where scalability is going to be an issue.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft SQL Server is comparatively very simple to use. I wish IBM would move towards making Db2 easy to use for both basic and advanced users. This is where I see room for advancement. Db2 is also more expensive than Microsoft SQL Server, and its price can be reduced.

The replication feature needs to be there in Db2. Microsoft provides similar functionality in SQL Server. IBM also has similar functionality, but it exists in a different product. So, to have the replication ability, you have to buy a different product. It makes sense to have this functionality within Db2 instead of a different product. It will also be helpful in terms of competition.

In Africa, the problem for Db2 is competition. Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server have been in this market for a very long time. These companies have built the ecosystem and the brand within this market for a very long time. So, they are very popular with users. Db2 or IBM came a little later in the game, and that's where the problem lies. They also don't do a lot of marketing for it, which is also a problem.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since 2012. It has been nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. The 10.5 Fix Pack One was not very stable. We also had Fix Pack 4, also called Cancun Release, which was very stable. As the product has evolved, it is more stable now than it was a couple of years ago.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is a perfect solution for environments where scalability is going to be an issue. I am supporting two banks. They use Db2 for their core banking system. There are more than 500 users per bank who use this solution every single day.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have worked with IBM, and I have seen their support teams. They are very passionate about supporting their users. Whenever there is a problem, they have a team that is there 24/7 to ensure that their customers are supported. They are very fast and very technical in solving problems.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used SQL Server, IBM Db2, and Oracle Database. Microsoft provides usability. SQL Server is very easy to use and adapt. The only problem is that it only lives within the Microsoft Windows operating system, whereas Db2 is available on Linux, Unix, Windows, and Linux for mainframes. 

When comparing IBM Db2 and Oracle Database, I would go for IBM Db2 because it has complete functionality. A lot of features available in IBM Db2 are not there in Oracle Database. IBM Db2 has time travel queries that are not available in any other solution. From the perspective of a software developer or a database developer, there are more functionalities in IBM Db2. It is more futuristic.

How was the initial setup?

It is very technical to deploy, but once you configure and make it work, it is a perfect solution for an environment where scalability is going to be an issue.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Among Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and Db2, Microsoft SQL Server is the cheapest one, and Oracle is the most expensive one. Db2 is in the middle. As compared to SQL Server, its price could go down. It will be good for customers.

What other advice do I have?

I would love to expand its usage in the future. We are looking to migrate the finance industry customers in Africa to Db2, especially from Oracle to Db2. 

I would rate Db2 an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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YS
Global Infrastructure service manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Good results, robust stability, and good support

Pros and Cons

  • "Db2 Database has given us good results since we have started to use it. We predominantly use IBM hardware, and this is one of the reasons why we started to use Db2 Database. Db2 Database has a very good HADR capability. High availability resilience is also good in this solution. It also has pureScale, which allows you to upgrade one node to get very good and high-level resilience. If you are using a database on five nodes, you can take one node down, upgrade that, and let that node up. You can then bring the second node down, upgrade that, and so on."
  • "The only drawback that we see in Db2 Database is the crash recovery. When there is a crash and somebody has to do the recovery, Db2 Database first stops, and then it does any crash recovery. In Oracle Database, crash recovery happens within the database. The database is not shut down."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for our SAP system.

What is most valuable?

Db2 Database has given us good results since we have started to use it. We predominantly use IBM hardware, and this is one of the reasons why we started to use Db2 Database. 

Db2 Database has a very good HADR capability. High availability resilience is also good in this solution. It also has pureScale, which allows you to upgrade one node to get very good and high-level resilience. If you are using a database on five nodes, you can take one node down, upgrade that, and let that node up. You can then bring the second node down, upgrade that, and so on.

What needs improvement?

The only drawback that we see in Db2 Database is the crash recovery. When there is a crash and somebody has to do the recovery, Db2 Database first stops, and then it does any crash recovery. In Oracle Database, crash recovery happens within the database. The database is not shut down.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for five or six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Initially, there were hiccups, but now, it is a robust database. The only limitation that we have found is crash recovery. In terms of bugs, every database will have some bugs that will hit you. I don't see much in terms of bugs in Db2 Database. Whatever known bugs are there, we get those issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are really very good. Overall, if I have to give a rating, I will give them an eight and a half or a nine out of ten. Their response to our requirements is quite good. They have good resources at the technical end. They take us very seriously. It might be because we are one of the largest accounts. I don't know what happens with medium-scale industries or small-scale industries. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We migrated from Oracle Database to Db2 Database because it was quite a good and cost-effective solution. Oracle Database was coming out to be expensive.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex altogether. It was complex because we were moving from Oracle Database to Db2 Database. A lot of code changes were required. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We did not buy it. It came with our hardware without any complimentary maintenance. If I compare Db2 Database with Oracle Database, its price is lower than Oracle Database.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend Db2 Database to others because, as time passed, they have made a lot of changes, such as crash recovery. The time of crash recovery is reduced by almost 60% to 70%. Db2 Database also has Db2 BLU, which actually is in-memory. We have not explored this particular feature, but I would recommend others to explore it. With Db2 BLU, it becomes equivalent to HANA. We are seeing it being used a lot in large banks etc.

Among Oracle, Db2, and SQL databases, I would rate Oracle first, Db2 second, and SQL third. I personally believe Oracle is the most robust database. Db2 is the second robust database.

I would rate Db2 Database an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Wira Chinwong
Service Director at scsi co.,ltd
Real User
Top 5
Easy to set up and maintain but lacks backup capabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is easy to install and simple to maintain. The most valuable aspect of the solution is its general user-friendliness for users of all kinds."
  • "It would be ideal if the solution offered backup functionality. Many similar tools already do, which means Db2 is somewhat behind the curve in terms of what a customer might expect from it."

What is our primary use case?

I handle implementation. I install the Db2 Database before I send it to the developer or the application team. Also, sometimes, I have to migrate the database from one platform to another.

What is most valuable?

The solution is easy to install and simple to maintain. The most valuable aspect of the solution is its general user-friendliness for users of all kinds.

What needs improvement?

The solution could improve the centralization aspect of the tools.

It would be ideal if the solution offered backup functionality. Many similar tools already do, which means Db2 is somewhat behind the curve in terms of what a customer might expect from it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I'm an implementer of the solution in Thailand. I have been working with Oracle Db2 and SQL for more than 10 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable so long as you don't have to make any changes to it. I haven't seen any bugs, or glitches on it. I haven't experienced crashes either.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite scalable. A company shouldn't have issues with expanding it if they need to.

We typically implement the solution for small to medium-sized organizations.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is not the best. I would rate them five out of ten. 

The issue is that in order to make a ticket, you may have to call and then you end up being on hold. Sometimes, the person who answers doesn't know how to resolve your issues so it can be frustrating. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I also have experience with Oracle databases. I find Oracle to be a bit better than Db2 if I'm honest. They have a lot of functionality, for example, and can handle backup and recovery of data. This is not possible on Db2.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is very easy to set up. It's not complex at all.

Deployment takes about one to two hours or so. It's not a long or arduous process by any means. 

You only need one person to deploy and maintain it.

What about the implementation team?

I handle the implementation myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't know too much about the pricing of the solution. There may be extra fees on top of just the licensing fee. I'm not sure.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I'm looking at other databases right now. I'd prefer something with a backup functionality, which Db2 lacks.

What other advice do I have?

We're currently IBM partners. 

I use the solution extensively. 

I'd like other companies to know it's quite easy to set up and maintain. If they are looking for something fairly easy to jump into, this may be it.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
AV
System Administrator at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Robust, stable solution with good technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "We had a crash of the backup system and the IBM DB2 was always up and consistent. It's robust, and for us, it was always up and running."
  • "The licensing fees can be reduced."

What is our primary use case?

We are not using this with other users, it is dedicated to our backup solution.

We only have one instance, one user, one service, and we don't have any other users or clients that we connect to.

A database system is a tool used for reporting and to monitor if it is running or if there are any issues. We can set alarms and warnings. It is a backup system that manages the backup.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it is robust. We had a crash of the backup system and the IBM DB2 was always up and consistent. It's robust, and for us, it was always up and running.

The database is deployed using the command line, so we did not test any other tools, aside from DB2 using the command line interface.

What needs improvement?

Because this solution is a big data database only dedicated to the application server, it is very difficult for us to assess areas of improvement. We use the database, so we don't have any other requirements or need to use it in any other way.

The licensing fees can be reduced. While we don't see the breakdown, we know that IBM licenses for the backup system are very expensive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with this solution for ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We don't have experience with scalability because the server is also a dedicated server and the physical hardware has always been dedicated from the beginning. After five years, we made a technical upgrade and have been the same since.

How are customer service and technical support?

My colleague has the primary responsibility for the backup system and he has had to open tickets on two occasions. Each time, they were okay and the issue was resolved. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is simple and straightforward. It's easy to install with no special configuration for a big data database. They make things simple.

It took less than an hour to deploy.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost is embedded in the price of the backup solution. We know that the backup solution is quite expensive and with each inside license, there is also a database license.

We don't see what the specific price of the DB2 license is because we pay for the backup license as a package.

What other advice do I have?

This is a robust and stable product but it's expensive.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: