Big Blue Looks to Help You Understand Data

It’s one thing to have a lot of data to mine in a data warehouse. It’s quite another to actually understand how it’s being used.

That’s where IBM’s new DB2 Warehouse Performance Management Suite comes in. The new release works with IBM’s recently released DB2 Warehouse 9.5 and is designed to provide enhanced tools for understanding usage.

“The big driver behind this is that we see customers dealing with increasing growth and use of their warehouses. Managing growth and understanding data usage has become increasingly complex,” Marc Andrews, program director of IBM’s data warehousing group, said. “It’s important to understand how the warehouse is being used.”

IBM said DB2 Warehouse Performance Management Suite is designed to help data warehouse managers understand which applications are accessing the data, the frequency of access, and what the impact of those users and applications are on performance.

Andrews argued that if an enterprise can understand data warehouse usage, it can improve data warehouse utilization. These days, that’s a must, given how data warehouses are not just for historical analysis and planning anymore. Their roles have expanded.

Andrews said that data warehouses are now being used for more proactive business intelligence activities in real time. In his view, traditional warehouses have not been able to address both sets of needs because they can’t deliver performance required for real-time performance application while at the same time handling the continued need for strategic planning applications.

Part of the answer includes managing underlying resources, which is what IBM has already delivered in DB2 Warehouse 9.5 with workload management capabilities.

IBM has also provided monitoring and control capabilities for the underlying infrastructure of data warehouses with the IBM Tivoli solution. Andrews said that Tivoli is used at a lower level in the infrastructure than the new DB2 Warehouse Performance Management Suite.

“Tivoli looks at the overall utilization and helps you to do load management. What it hasn’t focused on is the actual data,” Andrews said. “DB2 Warehouse Performance Management Suite takes it to the next step and provides insight into which data is being accessed more frequently, what info is being accessed, by what communities and [then checks] the impact.”

IBM is up against industry heavyweights in this sector, such as Oracle, HP and Teradata. So what sets Big Blue’s approach apart? Andrews argued the detailed view of underlying resources in DB2 Warehouse Performance Management Suite, for one.

“A lot of our competitors are doing performance management like we do with Tivoli,” Andrews said. “Not many are offering this detailed view of underlying resources.”

That said, IBM’s DB2 Warehouse Performance Management Suite includes technology integration with AppFluent, a third-party vendor.

“AppFluent does work with Oracle and other databases,” Andrews said. “So a customer could buy it and run it, but the other warehouse vendors haven’t integrated it directly so that’s the differentiator. We’ve integrated more tightly with our own system monitoring and understand not only usage but also the impact of usage.”

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Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.

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