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IBM Information Management released long awaited Fixpack for DB2 9.7 also known as Cobra. This fixpack comes with
really impressive list of fixes. This list of fixes is not complete list of fixes included in fixpak. IBM, as usual, omits some included fixes from being listed. This is really annoying because our and customers DBA can not easily check (without running their testcases) if their received fixes from IBM support are now included and considered to be production quality. PMR is usually set to resolved/fixed with note that fix will be included in future fixpak most time it even mentions target fixpack number, but still it is confusing to not see their fixes properly listed in fixpak changelong. IBM should work harder and don't waste DBAs time due to incomplete documentation. I do not want to comment if this is done on purpose or it is just mere incompetence of release manager.

Most awaited feature of this Fixpak was Oracle PL/SQL support in DB2 Express Edition (rest of Oracle compatibility features were already included) and this feature was delivered as expected. There were quite a lot of interest for this feature because DB2 Express Edition (not to be confused with DB2 Express-C which is Free product) is quite popular in small sized companies because it is often delivered as part of another application. DB2 Express it is far more popular than Oracle Standard One, which is very rare to see in production environment - Oracle Standard (more expensive version) is used instead. I never understood why Oracle Standard is used in places where Oracle Standard One is sufficient. It is probably custom in Oracle community. There were a closed beta program for Fixpak 1 which was used by some impatient Oracle to DB2 porters.

There are also some new features added in Fixpak 1. Long awaited reads on HADR standby (using uncommitted read isolation level and some other restrictions), Note that backups are not supported on standby. On Oracle compatibility front CLP Plus was updated to 1.1. It still have highly inaccurate timing (controlled by set timing on), don't rely on it for your microbenchmarks, use db2batch utility instead. Another important change is related to detaching table partitions. I have not tested it yet so i am not quite sure if this means that new detach command is slower.

Last new feature which i want to show you is ported from DB2 for i5/OS or z/OS. It looks very simple but it have really deep impact for DBA - LASTUSED timestamp on Tables, Indexes, Packages and MQTs. Using this timestamp you can drop unused database objects. It is highly useful for indexes because it leads to performance enhancement - db2 does less index maintenance. It was my long term favourite feature on other DB2 editions and now i am happy that it is available on LUW too. For more detailed list of new features go here.

I am really impressed by changes in this fixpak and it is another reason why you should have purchased db2 support, because without purchased db2 support you have no legal right to apply new fixpacks. I always had and still have feeling that DB2 gives you really good value for your money.

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