IT Management

Companies using analytics to gain additional business insight often outperform their peers, as is often seen in their financial results. The ability to analyze information at the speed of thought is being viewed as a core competency and a source of competitive differentiation because the organization with better and faster insight is in the best position for success. This is especially true in the financial and retail industries: Enter the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS. The IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS allows you to bring analytics closer to your operational data sources. Organizations can obtain the results of analytic queries much more rapidly than previously. This opens up unprecedented opportunities to use the mission-critical data already residing on your zEnterprise platforms.

When used together, DB2 Analytics Accelerator, DB2 for z/OS and zEnterprise form a self-managing hybrid environment that can run online transaction processing (OLTP), online transactional analytical processing (OLTAP) and online analytical processing (OLAP) workloads concurrently and efficiently. In such an environment, high-volume business transactions, batch reporting and complex analytic queries can run together in mixed workload environments while providing extraordinary performance at a reasonable cost. This hybrid infrastructure blends the best attributes of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) using DB2 for z/OS, along with the best of massively parallel processing using Netezza technology. This combination can allow you to leverage existing people, processes and zEnterprise infrastructure to enable new business opportunities.

The IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator for z/OS is a high-performance appliance that integrates zEnterprise and IBM Netezza technologies to accelerate data intensive and complex queries. According to IBM, complex multidimensional queries can run as much as 2,000 times faster than the same query running natively on IBM DB2 for z/OS. DFSMSdfp enhancements included in z/OS V2.1 can help reduce the CPU time used for accelerator load processing by up to 30 percent. Queries that took hours can now complete in seconds. As part of its unique design, the DB2 Analytics Accelerator includes new breakthrough technologies to direct queries typically found in business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing applications, as well as operational applications that are infused with analytic intelligence, so that each query lands in its optimal setting for maximum speed and accuracy.

The DB2 Analytics Accelerator appliance connects to the zEnterprise via two 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections. Given the fact that most customers will have multiple processors connecting to the DB2AA via their OSA Express 4S/5S channels, connectivity via switching is the likely architecture. This switched architecture will, for high availability purposes, always include at least two switches; i.e., a switched fabric. Enter Ethernet fabrics.

Ethernet Fabrics

An Ethernet fabric network is a type of Ethernet that is aware of all its paths, nodes, requirements and resources. Ethernet fabrics are able to automatically manage themselves to scale up or down, depending on demand. They also eradicate the need for the challenging and comparatively less-efficient Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), and the redundancies it creates. Compared to classic hierarchical Ethernet architectures, Ethernet fabrics provide the higher levels of performance, utilization, availability and simplicity required to meet the business needs of data centers today and into the future. Ethernet fabric systems can be incorporated with pre-existing networks

In an Ethernet fabric, the control path replaces STP with link state routing, while the data path provides equal-cost multipath forwarding at Layer 2 so data always takes the shortest path using multiple interswitch link (ISL) connections without loops. Combined with the fabric’s control plane, scaling bandwidth is made simple. For example, it becomes possible to automate the formation of a new trunk when a new switch connects to any other switch in the fabric. If a trunk link fails or is removed, traffic is rebalanced on the existing links non-disruptively. Finally, if an ISL is added or removed anywhere in the fabric, traffic on other ISLs continues to flow instead of halting as with STP.

With this architecture in place, a group of switches can be defined as part of a “logical chassis,” similar to port cards in a chassis switch. This simplifies management, monitoring and operations since policy and security configuration parameters can be easily shared across all switches in the logical chassis. In addition, because information about connections to physical and virtual servers and storage is now known to all switches in the fabric, the fabric can ensure all network policies and security settings continue to be applied to any given virtual machine no matter whether it moves or where it resides.

In Ethernet fabrics this network delivers high wire-speed performance and high-network resiliency. In addition, Ethernet fabrics are efficient. All paths between switches are fully active, and traffic is continuously routed to use the most efficient path. The network topology is scalable, flexible and dynamic—changing quickly as the needs of the business change. And, if appropriate to the application, IP and storage traffic can be converged over a common network infrastructure, further reducing cost. Network administration is simplified since all switches in the fabric can be managed as a single entity or individually as needed. Lastly, Ethernet fabrics are self-forming, and self-aggregating. By simply having an administrator add a switch to the fabric, ISLs are automatically configured and aggregated.

Combining the powerful, self-managing, high-performance IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator with an Ethernet Fabrics switching architecture (such as the IBM Brocade VDX 6740 converged switch) to zEnterprise processors is an ideal solution for your zEnterprise-based analytics environment.