Mainframe Blog

Going Back to School with Db2

Ryan Smith
by Ryan Smith

Most of us are aware of how financial institutions, airlines and insurance companies worldwide use Db2 to bring their customers consistently fast, reliable, secure access to their data. But let’s consider a different use case that feels extremely relevant this month as students, moms, and dads alike all prepare to head back to school. Did you know that Universities rely on Db2 to do manage student applications and data? The main student systems on campus store the student data in Db2. Every time there is an update or change in a student’s data the database is accessed and updated in real time. Student schedules, teacher schedules, class schedules, adds/drops and grades are all examples of how during the fall, the back to school data frenzy can cause high CPU consumption.

Recently a major California university experienced a massive increase in CPU consumption in the two weeks before classes were set to start. This increase in CPU consumption lasted throughout the following week as student’s schedules were being finalized. By using BMC’s Next Generation Utilities for Db2, the university was able to provide 24×7 availability by optimizing their Db2 data to improve performance.

Students expect to have constant access to their data and schedules. In this day and age slow is the new broken. If you manage data properly, you can keep systems running optimally. Unfortunately, mainframe staffs and budgets have been shrinking at the same time that demand for digital applications and data is at an all-time high. Given this crunch, businesses with mission critical mainframe systems need new tools and approaches to manage their data.

In our example here, the Db2 distributed address space for the University system was affected. The student systems were consuming excessive CPU and the problem was exasperated by inefficient SQL. If inefficient SQL is being executed when Db2 is under high demand, the whole system can slow down. The students were accessing the class scheduling system from anywhere, at any time of day or night using multiple devices from desktops to mobile phones. Hanging a sign saying, “System down for maintenance, come back later” is just not an option at any time of year, but especially at this critical time. The university, like most businesses, needed 24×7 availability and instant response times at reasonable costs.

So how do you keep all this data available at a moment’s notice without causing a slowdown in the student applications and systems? The quick-thinking university DBAs were able to weather the storm by using BMC NGT Utilities and BMC Performance for SQL to ensure 100% availability and high performance to all student application and data throughout the enrollment period. At this University the mainframe is a shared resource. Other systems and applications such as Payroll, Financials and Records were able to keep operating normally without any interruptions to service due to the proper data management strategies employed by their IT staff.

If you find yourselves struggling with today’s digital demand and needing to provide uninterrupted, seamless service to your demanding end users (nothing says frenzy like a senior registering for classes!), new approaches to data management can help. Like this intrepid University IT staff, you can find more, automated and innovative approaches like BMC’s Next Generation Technology for Db2. It is the only data management solution industry-wide that can enable 100% availability. Implementing BMC Next Generation Technology solutions for Db2 is the best way to ensure that your organization can keep up with the demands of today and position itself for the future. To learn more, visit our Data Management for Db2 on z/OS web page.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

About the author

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is the Solutions Marketing Manager for Db2 Solutions at BMC Software. Ryan has over 15 years of integrated marketing experience and has been with BMC for 5 years. He has experience across web, search, social, digital media and email marketing automation.