Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DB2 Data Sharing: What do you Know about Member Subsetting?

DB2 for z/OS data sharing is great technology. One of the things that makes it great is the ability of a data sharing system to automatically spread work across DB2 members so as to optimize load balancing, throughput, and availability. For this we can thank the z/OS workload manager (WLM), the DB2 group attach capability (for local-to-DB2 applications such as batch programs and utilities), and the Sysplex awareness built into DB2 Connect, the IBM Data Server Driver, and other DB2 clients (for remote data requesters).

Nice as it is to let the system spread work around the Parallel Sysplex, there are times when you'd like a particular workload to run on a subset of the members of the data sharing group. Here's a real-world example from a DB2-using organization that I support: the company has a business intelligence, or BI, workload (fairly complex data analysis queries) that targets tables also accessed by "run the business" OLTP and batch programs. To keep the BI queries from interfering with the highly performance-sensitive operational application programs, the organization restricted the analytic workload to a single member of their 6-way data sharing group. This workload isolation was easily implemented: the BI queries were issued by remote requesters, and the client systems connected to the one DB2 member to which the analytic SQL statements were restricted, versus connecting via the location name of the data sharing group (connecting to the group's location name causes requests to be spread across all of the group's DB2 members).

All well and good -- to a point. Yes, the high-volume online and batch programs with stringent performance requirements were insulated from the more dynamic BI application workload, but the analytics users were not protected from system outages as were the other users of the DB2 data sharing system. Here's what I mean by that statement: suppose that DBS1 (a made-up name) were the subsystem to which users of the BI application were required to connect. If that subsystem were to be unavailable for some reason, the BI users would get connection failures and might be out of luck for a while. In contrast to that situation, the operational application users (whether connecting locally via the DB2 group attach name, or remotely over the network using the group's location name) were assured of successful connections as long as any of the member DB2 subsystems were available (thanks, in the network-attached case, to the use of dynamic virtual IP addressing, which I briefly described in a blog entry from my independent DB2 consulting days, and about which you can read more in the IBM "red book" titled "DB2 9 for z/OS: Distributed Functions" -- most all of which is applicable to DB2 10, as well).

So, how to keep a given application workload from running on all members of a DB2 data sharing group without taking from that application's users the super-high-availability benefits conferred by DB2's shared-data technology? The solution to that challenge is something called member subsetting, and it was introduced -- for network-attached requesters -- with DB2 Version 8 (I'll cover member subsetting for locally-attached applications momentarily). Implementation of member subsetting for DRDA requesters involves creating one or more location aliases that map to subsets of the DB2 subsystems that comprise the data sharing group. For example, suppose that application ABC is to be restricted to members DBP1 and DBP2 of a 5-way data sharing group that has a location name of LOCDB2Y. In that case, a location alias associated only with members DBP1 and DBP2 could be created. Let's say that the location alias so defined is named LOCDB2X. If application ABC connects to location LOCDB2X, SQL statements issued through the application will execute only on subsystems DBP1 and DBP2 (there's your workload isolation); further, requests to connect to location alias LOCDB2X will succeed as long as one of the two associated subsystems is available -- so, if DBP1 is down due to a failure situation or a planned outage (perhaps a software maintenance upgrade), LOCDB2X connection requests will be handled by subsystem DBP2 (there's your high-availability set-up). Pretty sweet.

Setting up a location alias in a DB2 Version 8 or DB2 9 environment involves updating the communication record in the DB2 bootstrap data set (BSDS). That's done by executing the DB2 change log inventory utility (aka DSNJU003) with an input statement that would look something like this (referring to names I've used in my example, this statement would be executed via DSNJU003 on member DBP1 -- the statement for member DBP2 would look the same, but with a different RESPORT value):


The location alias would have the same IP address as the group's location name. All members of the group listen on port 1237, but only members DBP1 and DBP2 would listen for requests directed to port 8002. Sysplex workload balancing for the subsystems to which location alias LOCDB2X works as it does for the overall group, except that the list of available subsystems returned to the DB2 client (e.g., the IBM Data Server or DB2 Connect), sorted in descending order of processing capacity as assessed by WLM, includes only DBP1 and DBP2.

Very good stuff, here, with one hitch: DSNJU003 can only be executed when DB2 is down. DB2 10 delivered an online means of defining a location alias via the new command -MODIFY DDF. Again using the names referred to previously, a location alias mapping to subsystem DBP1 would be dynamically created through the issuance of this command on DBP1 (the command would also be issued on DBP2 to map the alias to that subsystem):


The -MODIFY DDF command would be executed again to specify a port number for LOCDB2X -- one option pertaining to a location alias can be specified per issuance of the command. Dynamically added location aliases are initially in a stopped state by default, so the last command issued to activate the fully-defined location alias would be (and again, this command would be issued on each subsystem associated with the alias):


And, the story keeps getting better: DB2 10 provided a way to implement member subsetting for locally-attached applications (those being applications, such as batch jobs, that run on the same Parallel Sysplex as the DB2 data sharing members). This DB2 10 feature is called subgroup attach. A subgroup attach name for a DB2 10 subsystem can be specified via the SUBGRP ATTACH field of installation CLIST panel DSNTIPK. It can also be added by modifying the IEFSSNxx member of SYS1.PARMLIB and the IPLing the associated z/OS LPAR (details can be found in the DB2 10 Installation and Migration Guide, available online at

So, if your organization has a DB2 data sharing group and you want to achieve both application workload isolation AND super-high availability for users of said application, implement member subsetting via a location alias or a subgroup attach. It's like having your cake and eating it, too.


  1. Hi Robert,
    We have a requirement in our environment to restrict the connections to one particular member of DB2 data sharing group.
    The requests are submitted from window server through JDBC driver which connects DB2 through DIST addresspace. Did this location alias setup can work for JDBC type connections?

  2. Hi Robert, I have updated DDF alias for one of the DB2 member in BSDS as below. But getting TCP/IP error when try to test the connection to DB1ZLOC from a Db2 product installed in windows machine.


    1. I don't know why you are getting a TCP/IP error. You might need to open a case with IBM Support in order to find out why the TCP/IP error is occurring.