zIIP and zAAP Your DB2 Performance

Many years ago, IBM System Z announced the introduction of additional new specialty processors. The first System Z specialty engine introduced for data sharing was the internal coupling facility (ICF), next the integrated facility for Linux (IFL), next the application assist processor (zAAP) and the latest is the integrate information processor (zIIP). All of these specialty engines take the burden off the general processors, reducing the software licensing costs within System Z environments.

The savings from the zIIP and zAAP specialty engines are especially dramatic when processing different types of DB2 workloads. Within the System Z environment, the zAAP engines are available for Java workloads and XML System services. This Java processing is especially important for the System Z application server workloads running on WebSphere, Tomcat and other Java web and application processing. Next, as the unstructured world of data integrates into database systems, the XML processing workload offloaded to zAAP engines continues to assist the growth within everyone’s environment.

The zIIP engines are especially great for handling some very popular and intense processing within DB2. The first is for the processing of remote DB2 access processing, parallel SQL query work, IPSec network encryption, additional XML services, and assisting with the DB2 utility sort processing. It is critical to understand and analyze the quantity of these types of processing used by these specialty processors in your environment.

At a recent client, the DBAs saw large requirements of these types of workloads and prompted the capacity planners to dig into the zIIP and zAAP utilization analysis. Analysis discovered that the environment workload was maxing out the zIIP engines and the workload was taking capacity from the general processors. The client ordered and installed more zIIP processors and reduced their general processor utilization by providing more zIIP capacity. This also reduced their overall applications response time and provided more overall capacity at a minimum of cost.

The zIIP and zAAP processors utilization is not always on the radar but needs attention periodically. The analysis should dig deeper into the overall utilization of these specialty processors and analyze whether additional specialty engines might relieve the burden on your general processors. Not only will these zIIP and zAAP processors relieve the stress on your general processors, but they can also reduce your overall peak CPU utilization and your MSU software licensing costs. This will save your company money while zIIPing and ZAAPing your DB2 performance and your overall application environment.


Dave Beulke is an internationally recognized DB2 consultant, DB2 training and DB2 education instructor.  Dave helps his clients improve their strategic direction, dramatically improve DB2 performance and reduce their CPU demand, saving millions in their systems, databases and application areas within their mainframe, UNIX and Windows environments.

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