IDUG Report: DB2 and Mainframe Continue Strong Performance

Years ago, before I started my career or gave my speech at the first IDUG conference, many declared the mainframe dead.  When I was going to college, the uninformed were saying the mainframe was old technology.  The new z13 mainframe is not old, IBM just continues to improve it with proven technology and the fastest CPUs to provide the most dependable computing platform.  The mainframe keeps working for more corporations serving their transactions, mobile, and social applications around the world.  Sales of the new z13 mainframe were even one of the bright spots in IBM’s latest quarterly results as talked about in this Bloomberg article (

The January announcement of the new z13 mainframe with its many state-of-the-art features shows that the mainframe continues to lead the computing industry.  A list of new z13 mainframe features ( shows a summary of all the latest capabilities that other platforms will be striving to develop or software emulate for many years to come.  All the mainframe ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability) qualities are available in the z13 mainframe today while other hardware and software platforms struggle to provide basic performance and need a distributed cloud of storage and CPU processors to provide ACID platforms capabilities that still don’t match the mainframe.

At the latest IDUG conference last week, the DB2 for z/OS Version 11 and upcoming new VNext are providing capabilities to exploit all the new z13 specialized processors, storage, and memory capabilities within the new z13 mainframe.  These were detailed in the many great presentations from users, consultants, and IBM developers

One of the most important features that addresses the huge expansion of transactions coming from the mobile and social world is the enhancements in the z13 for DB2 Java application capabilities.  The z13 mainframe has improved CP processor assist for cryptographic function (CPACF) applications used in secure DB2 11 for z/OS Java applications.  These CPACF capabilities gives a huge performance boost for security to enable Java transactions through the specialty z13 CP processors that can also be utilized to improve other transactions by as much as 50%.  The combined performance improvement by using these z13 CPACF capabilities and the Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) processing provide extra processing power for security and overall improved throughput for your Java workloads.

Another one of the performance improvements within the z13 mainframe and leveraged by DB2, is the improvement in the I/O system.  The z13 improves I/O performance with FICON Express16S and with the DS8870 storage that can substantially reduce DB2 transactional latency.  By removing the DB2 I/O latency, I/O bound batch DB2 jobs can save tremendous amount of elapsed time–as much as 32% in some IBM tests.

In addition to reducing DB2 elapsed time, the new z13 mainframe extends the existing large page frame support for larger buffer pool memory allocations.  The z13 extends its existing supports of 1-MB large pages, 4-KB pages, and page frames to support page-able 1-MB large pages, large pages that are 2 GB, and large page frames.  All of these large page frames can easily support large buffer pool allocations as the z13 mainframe can configure and utilize up to 10 TB of main memory.  By having large buffer pools and support through larger page frames, DB2 synchronous I/O can be avoided and dramatically reduce overall CPU and processing time for OLTP and batch DB2 workloads.

The new z13 mainframe improves all types of DB2 workloads through its new features.  Download the full z13 Technical Guide here ( and read all the details.  Or you could have attended the IDUG DB2 Technical conference last week and heard all the details and many more performance opportunities through the DB2 V11 for z/OS, DB2 10.5 for LUW and DB2 BLU Accelerator presentations.  IDUG is a tremendous educational experience for your DB2 personnel and if you haven’t had the opportunity to attend put it on your calendar for next year as soon as possible.


Dave Beulke is a system strategist, application architect, and performance expert specializing in Big Data, data warehouses, and high performance internet business solutions.  He is an IBM Gold Consultant, Information Champion, President of DAMA-NCR, former President of International DB2 User Group, and frequent speaker at national and international conferences. His architectures, designs, and performance tuning techniques help organization better leverage their information assets, saving millions in processing costs.

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