I blogged a couple of times about PBG table spaces (introduced with DB2 9 for z/OS) while I was working as an independent DB2 consultant, in one entry comparing them with partition-by-range (PBR) table spaces and in another briefly mentioning them among several new physical database design options provided by DB2 9. One advantage of a PBG table space versus a traditional segmented table space (PBG table spaces are also segmented) is the ability to run utilities at a partition level (the exception to this rule being LOAD, which has to run at the table space level for a PBG table space). On the surface, the option of REORGing a single partition of a PBG table space looks pretty attractive, but there is a catch, and it does have to do with space, as my DBA friend discovered.
Here's the deal: by definition, a new partition for a PBG table space won't be allocated unless the table space's existing partitions are full. So, if you run an online REORG for, say, partition 4 of a ten-partition PBG table space, that partition is likely to be quite full (depending on delete activity, which might have created some "holes" in pages of the partition, and on the table's clustering key, which would influence placement of newly inserted rows -- more on that momentarily). If the table space was created with non-zero values for PCTFREE and/or FREEPAGE, the REORG utility will attempt to reestablish that free space, and if the partition's data rows and the reestablished free space will not fit in the partition's shadow data set, the REORG job will fail. That was the situation that my friend brought to my attention. What did he do? He resolved the problem by setting the value of a relatively new ZPARM parameter, REORG_IGNORE_FREESPACE (introduced last fall via the fix for APAR PK83397), to YES. When the value of REORG_IGNORE_FREESPACE is YES (the default is NO), REORG TABLESPACE will ignore PCTFREE and FREEPAGE values when reloading data rows into a PBG tablespace if either of the following is true:
- The utility is reorganizing a subset of the table space's partitions
- The table in the PBG table space has one or more LOB columns
If free space is not reestablished, the rows unloaded from a partition will almost certainly fit into the shadow data set during a REORG. [I say "almost" because for a table with varying-length rows (and rows in a compressed table space are varying-length even if there are no VARCHAR columns), I can imagine a very unusual scenario in which rows unloaded from a partition might not fit back in after being sorted in clustering key sequence, even with free space parameter values ignored. So, REORG_IGNORE_FREESPACE = YES should take chances of an out-of-space condition on REORG or a partition of a PBG tablespace way down, if not all the way to zero.]
Now, you might be thinking, "Why is there even the possibility of this out-of-space condition when one partition (or a subset of partitions) of a PBG table space is being reorganized? Can't REORG take rows that won't fit back into the target partition after reestablishing free space and put them in other partitions that have unused space?" The fact of the matter is that REORG doesn't work that way -- it doesn't move rows from one PBG partition to another unless the whole PBG table space is being REORGed.
As a coda, I'll tell you that the DBA to whom I've referred repeatedly in this entry ended up asking whether it was even worth it to reorganize partitions of the table in question. That is a very good question to ask. It's easy to get into a REORG-if-it's-unclustered mindset, but in fact some tablespaces don't need to be REORGed. The one with which the DBA was dealing gets plenty of inserts but is rarely read, and when it is read, performance just has to be OK -- it doesn't have to be great. CPU resources in such a case can be saved by cutting way back on REORG frequency (if not eliminating REORGs altogether) and optimizing insert performance either by switching to a continuously-ascending clustering key or by altering the table with the APPEND YES option introduced with DB2 9 (this causes DB2 to ignore clustering when inserting or loading data into the table). Bottom line: don't REORG a table space (or partitions thereof) "just because." Make sure that the benefits of reorganizing an object justify the CPU (and disk space) used during REORG processing. While keeping an object well organized is usually a good idea, in some situations disorganization really isn't a big deal. Think it through, and act accordingly.