Anyway, the aforementioned DBA was looking for answers to these questions:

- How much data can be stored in one LOB column?
- What is the relationship between a base table space and a LOB table space?
- How can one control the amount of disk space that will be occupied by data stored in a LOB column?

**Maximum amount of data that can be stored in a single LOB column**

The short answer: 66,584,576 gigabytes. That's slightly less than 64 petabytes, which would be 67,108,864 GB. It's a little less than 64 petabytes because a LOB table space can have a maximum of 254 data sets, and you'd need a 256-data set LOB table space to get to the precise 64 petabyte figure.

Here's how this maximum amount of data could be stored in a single LOB column:

- A base table space could have up to 4096 partitions.
- As previously mentioned, there will be a LOB table space for each partition of an associated base table space (actually, there is one LOB table space per partition per LOB column, but I'm assuming here that the table in question has a single LOB column); so, there would be 4096 LOB table spaces associated with a base table space with 4096 partitions.
- One LOB table space can be comprised of up to 254 data sets (as noted above), each of which can reach a size of up to 64 GB.

THEREFORE, the maximum amount of data that can be stored in one LOB column is:

(4096 base table space partitions)

X (1 LOB table space per partition for the column)

X (254 data sets per LOB table space)

X (64 GB per LOB table space data set)

= 66,584,576 GB

**Relationship between a base table space and a LOB table space**

First, it's important to keep in mind that a LOB table space is a unique DB2 for z/OS database object. I like the way that Jay Yothers, a longtime member of IBM's DB2 for z/OS development organization, put it (the acronyms PBG and PBR refer, respectively, to partition-by-growth and partition-by-range universal table spaces): "LOB table spaces are not PBG, PBR, classic partitioned, segmented, or simple. LOB table spaces are LOB table spaces."

Second, remember that the base table space / LOB table space relationship is all about the partitions in the base table space. So, if the base table space is non-partitioned or is partition-by-growth with MAXPARTITIONS 1, there will be one LOB table space associated with the base table space (assuming, as before, that the table in the base table space has one LOB column).

For a range-partitioned base table space, the number of associated LOB table spaces (per LOB column in the base table) will be equal to the NUMPARTS value for the base table space.

For a partition-by-growth base table space, if MAXPARTITIONS is greater than 1 and a new partition is automatically added to the table space by DB2, a new LOB table space for the partition (per LOB column in the base table) will be automatically created by DB2.

**Controlling the space occupied by data in a LOB column**

I pointed out that one LOB column can hold up to 66,584,576 GB of data. What if you don't want that much data to be stored in a LOB column? No problem -- you have several means of controlling the amount of space that will used to store LOB data in a table. Among these are the following:

*Limit the number of base table space partitions.*The fewer the number of base table space partitions, the fewer the number of associated LOB table spaces.*Limit the size of the data sets comprising the LOB table space(s).*The DSSIZE specification for a LOB table space controls the size of the data sets that comprise the LOB table space. DSSIZE can be nG, where G represents gigabytes and n is 1 or a multiple of 2 between 2 and 64, inclusive.*Limit the length of a value that can be placed in a LOB column.*When a base table is created, a LOB column can be defined as (for example) BLOB(100K). In that case, no value larger than 100 KB could be inserted into the LOB column.

Another LOB space consumption control capability is LOB inlining, introduced (as I pointed out in the opening paragraph of this entry) with DB2 10 for z/OS. The significance of that and other LOB-related features of DB2 10 is such that they deserve coverage in a separate blog entry. I'll try to get that entry posted within the next couple of weeks.

One more thing: you can find a lot of very good information about LOBs in a DB2 9 environment in an IBM "red book" titled "LOBs with DB2 for z/OS: Stronger and Faster." It's available on IBM's Web site at http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/sg247270.html?Open.

I hope that the information in this blog entry will be useful to you. Check back in a week or two for an overview of LOB-related enhancements delivered in DB2 10 for z/OS.

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