Thursday Nov 06, 2008

DB2 Express-C on OpenSolaris

DB2 Express-C is a free version of IBM DB2 database server. But it is not a crippled or trial version of DB2. It shares the same code as the other commercial DB2 editions and it has a very generous license, which doesn't impose limits on your database. This means there are no connection limits, no database size limits, and no user limits. It supports 2 cores and 2 GB RAM for absolutely free. Compared with SQL Server 2005 Express and Oracle 10g Express Edition that have limitation on DB size, DB2 Express-C has the most generous offering.


In Allan Packer's blog “Are Proprietary Databases Doomed?”, he pointed out that for some companies database licenses have become their single biggest IT cost. The impact is probably greater on small and medium-sized companies that don't have the same ability to command the hefty discounts that larger companies typically enjoy from database vendors. Fortunately we have more choices today. If you don't want to cost an arm or leg on databases, you can either come to the camp of Open Source Databases, or for any reasons you don't want the Open Source Databases, DB2 Express-C could be a good option for you.


The latest version of DB2 Express-C v9.5 for Solaris 10 x64 had been released for months. You can get it from here. Besides Solaris 10 for x64, you can also deploy Express-C on OpenSolaris. OpenSolaris contains the subset of the source code for the Solaris Operating System, but with an open source license. It is a viable alternative to Linux but with more unique features. Among the familiar Sun features are the powerful DTrace dynamic tracing tool and the impressive ZFS filesystem, neither of which are likely to make it to Linux due to licensing and personality conflicts.


If you are familiar with Solaris 10, then there is no gap for you to use OpenSolaris. Actually it is more easier to install and deploy OpenSolaris, either on your x64/x86 server, or on your laptop, or on your SPARC server (yep, the coming OpenSolaris 2008.11 release will support SPARC).


To deploy DB2 Express-C V9.5 on OpenSolaris, you don't need to bother to read any installation/configuration documents for these two products, if you know how to deploy DB2 UDB on Solaris 10. The DB2 utilities for Solaris platform such as db2osconf and db2ptree work the same way as DB2 UDB on Solaris 10. Any everything else just works fine as well. Because there is almost no change in the way of installation and configuration, the only exception is that DB2 Express-C doesn't support non-root installation.


Since OpenSolaris supports Solaris Containers technology, you can consolidate DB2 Express-C with other applications in different containers on a single server. Dedicated CPUs and memory caps can be assigned to each container for resource isolation. For e.g.,


global# zonecfg -z myzone
zonecfg:myzone> add dedicated-cpu
zonecfg:myzone:dedicated-cpu> set ncpus=1-2
zonecfg:myzone:dedicated-cpu> end
zonecfg:myzone> add capped-memory
zonecfg:myzone:capped-memory> set physical=2g
zonecfg:myzone:capped-memory> set swap=20g
zonecfg:myzone:capped-memory> end
zonecfg:myzone> exit


DB2 Express-C plus OpenSolaris provides a reliable, secure and scalable data server solution, and it is costs-free!

Who says that – The best things in life are free!

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This is a blog to talk about technical information regarding running IBM DB2 database on Solaris.

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