IBM’s DB2 Query Management Facility (QMF) has been a stable, perpetually reliable workhorse for DB2 query and reporting for many years. However, as other Business Intelligence (BI) technologies evolved, QMF has taken a back seat to some newer trends in BI, such as sophisticated dashboards, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) support, graphical reports and more, which have become the standards by which BI tools are evaluated. IBM’s release of QMF Version 10, however, is a game-changer.
This article examines many new features available to new and existing QMF customers. The core product has been enhanced to leverage new features of DB2 and z/OS, but the really exciting news is that QMF V10 is now equipped for consideration as a front-running BI tool.
New features include:
- Sophisticated dashboard support
- More than 150 new analytics functions
- OLAP support
- Graphical queries and reports
- Sophisticated and unique new graphs and charts
- New metadata definition capabilities
- Access to any Java Database Connectivity (JDBC)-enabled database (e.g., IMS V11 and others).
QMF was initially designed to be a straightforward query and reporting tool. The assumption was that the information provided to the users from source tables was suitable for all reporting purposes. It was intended to provide relief from the constant pressures users placed on IT to produce reports.
As shown in Figure 1, QMF doesn’t look or feel like what most perceive it to be. Here we show an interactive dashboard with a variety of graphical objects displaying data in a variety of formats. The individual objects may be showing data from a single source or multiple sources from different platforms.
The emergence of BI technologies provided new features and functions beyond standard reporting basics. IF-THEN-ELSE logic and newly calculated values from base table or query information are the norm. There are other requirements for any modern BI tool that were needed in QMF. IBM enhanced the standard package and many analytics features, including increases in buffering, query sizes, and more. Many restrictions were removed to ensure a more efficient processing environment.
The workstation version is written in Eclipse and uses the familiar Eclipse interface style, which provides the ability to expose or hide multiple panes and functional areas that can all be customized or dragged and dropped to suit user needs. Given the ability to access and use existing QMF objects from a workstation or Web interface, the many saved objects users have invested in may now be applied in a more modern, interactive, graphical environment.
The QMF family includes two distinct packages:
- QMF Classic Edition is the standard TSO/CICS traditional mainframe interface.
- QMF Enterprise Edition includes QMF High Performance Option (HPO), QMF for Workstation (rich client for Windows, Linux, and Solaris), and QMF for WebSphere (thin-client for Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, iSeries, Linux on System z, and z/OS).
If you’ve invested in QMF or evaluated it in the past and found it somewhat short on certain features or functions, here are some of the significant new features you should evaluate as part of any modernization, upgrade, or acquisition strategy: