IT Management

The amount of information gathered continues to snowball as we put data collector technology in many new areas. Business analytics addresses what to do with all that data, but as the amount of information increases, the time to process it to gain actionable insights also increases. The longer it takes to process information to identify actionable insights, the greater the chance of missed opportunities for decreasing costs or increasing revenues.

It’s for these reasons that the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS (IDAA) was introduced. IDAA can help you process vast amounts of data in a fraction of the time it used to take. This means you gain insights faster and can make timelier business decisions, such as when and how to introduce new products and services.

Imagine performing deep analytics on millions of rows of data in just seconds. What may have taken hours in the past is now at your fingertips with lightning speed. Instead of starting a report in the morning and hoping it completes before you leave in the evening, you can run five, 10, even 20 such reports—before lunch! Stop pinching yourself; it isn’t a dream. What seemed impossible previously is now routine.

IDAA is an accelerator appliance that attaches to your IBM zEnterprise mainframe system running DB2 for z/OS. When users send complex queries to DB2 on z/OS, it redirects them to the appliance, which processes these queries orders of magnitude faster because of the specialized, advanced technology within the Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and the advanced data partitioning of the appliance. Actually, this appliance isn’t entirely new since it’s based on the Netezza technology IBM acquired in late 2010 (see Figure 1). Little has changed in the appliance itself, but integration of the device with DB2 for z/OS is the basis of the IDAA technology.

 

In early testing, performance of the IDAA solution has been astounding. Most queries ran more than 100 times faster and some more than 1,000 times faster—in fact, one query ran almost 2,500 times faster! It’s easy to see how these numbers can translate into dramatic improvements in productivity. But productivity isn’t the only business value the IDAA provides; there are many tangible benefits in offloading complex queries to the specialized IDAA appliance.

Time to Value

Special-purpose, “black box” appliances are usually created in a way that simplifies their use. They limit the amount of configuration tasks needed to realize tangible value. The IDAA appliance is no different since the underlying Netezza technology is designed to limit the amount of setup needed.

With the proper planning, the time from install to running complex queries takes less than a week. No special indexing must be done on the data. There’s little tuning needed for the Netezza technology, and there’s no complex storage setup. Once you define which tables will be offloaded through the IDAA studio, you can quickly initialize the data on the appliance and make it available for queries.

There are no application changes needed to take advantage of IDAA since DB2 for z/OS will transparently handle the query requests and determine if it’s eligible to be offloaded. Queries can arrive from a wide variety of reporting tools such as Cognos, Business Objects, and Crystal Reports. IDAA is simple to install and configure.

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