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IBM Data Server Driver Package for Mac Available!

13 Feb

The IBM Data Server Driver Package (ds driver) has been our best practice client package for DB2 LUW and DB2 Connect customers for quite some time, and also for Informix customers looking for a common driver and the latest support in the .NET environment.

I am pleased to announce that we now have a version of the ds driver available for Mac! As of right now, the download is inside the dashDB console in Bluemix.

dashdb-mac

It is not being restricted to Bluemix and dashDB, that is simply the first place we have made the download available. I expect an additional download which is more convenient for non-Bluemix customers shortly and will update this blog when it is in place.

The simplest instructions for installing this driver package are in the dashDB docs:

http://www-01.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SS6NHC/com.ibm.swg.im.dashdb.doc/connecting/connect_driver_package.html

Double click the dmg file, then double click the installer. In addition to runtimes for the standard database APIs (JDBC, ODBC, PHP, etc.) there is also CLPPlus – our command line tool for database scripts – simply navigate to /Applications/dsdriver/bin and run clpplus from there.

We intend to spiff this up more over time, right now we just wanted to get something out there that folks could use to run RStudio with dashDB and experiment with against our other servers. We are looking for feedback, especially on any applications you are trying to use that you may have trouble connecting to. We are interested in hearing about those that work also 🙂

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Support for EF 6.0 and IBM Data Servers (DB2, Informix) on nuget

20 Oct

The IBM driver team has been hard at work on separating out our .NET Entity Framework Provider so that we can move to the new nuget release path as recommended by the Entity Framework team.

I am very pleased to report that this work is complete and there is now a beta of the IBM Data Server Entity Framework Provider, supporting EF 6.0, on nuget.  Support will be via the developerWorks forum here https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/forums/html/topic?id=301875f8-5111-47a6-90e4-1165b36253ad , please make note of the prereqs for the beta.

This is an important milestone – this vehicle will allow independent updates to the Entity Framework support, as long as corresponding .NET provider updates are not required.

Brent.

Video Available for Step by Step with IBM Data Server / DB2 Driver Setup on Windows

26 May

One of the most common interactions I have with customers is around our best practices with client packages – what sets of drivers to install, especially on Windows client platforms. For most of our enterprise customers, be it LUW or DB2 connect for DB2 for z/OS or IBM i; the best practice is to use the IBM Data Server Driver Package (ds driver), and have the catalog info and driver properties in the db2dsdriver.cfg file.

Starting back in V9.7 we created a step by step “validate page” to help get folks going with both the ds driver, as well as the dsdriver.cfg file. This has proven to be one of the most popular pages in our info center, and I am please to announce that we have taken this one step further and now have a video walk through available:

For those interested, the latest step by step validate page is here:

http://pic.dhe.ibm.com/infocenter/db2luw/v10r5/topic/com.ibm.swg.im.dbclient.install.doc/doc/r0058814.html

I am interested in any feedback about this video, or anything else we can do to improve up and running with our drivers.

Brent.

Client Drivers for DB2 and DB2 Connect – What Level to use …

22 Apr

I wanted to take the opportunity to post an update about my recommendation for driver levels for DB2 Connect and DB2.

First off, the timeframe for this is V10.1 FP2 is available, and V10.5 has been announced. This post will hold valid up until V10.5 is available.

The quick and dirty answer is the latest available driver level we have made enhancements to is V10.1 FP2, thus that is the simple answer.

For a bit more involved answer, given we enhance our drivers about every 6 months, consider the enhancement path our drivers have gone through:

… V9.7 FP4 -> V9.7 FP5 -> V9.7 FP6 -> V10.1 FP2 -> V10.5 GA -> ?

From the above, you can see that the next set of enhancements above what is currently available will be V10.5. Customers in the DB2 for z/OS V11 ESP have been given betas of DB2 Connect V10.5 drivers to test new function against DB2 for z/OS V11. We will not be adding features to the drivers in subsequent V10.1 fixpacks – new features will go into V10.5.

From a driver point of view I just look at us dropping some new function approx every 6 months, the version numbers change to follow the LUW server schedule. I do know that for many customers moving across versions is more of an issue than moving to a FP of the same version, thus for a customer on a high V9.7 FP (FP6 or later), I would want them to carefully consider the content of V10.1 FP2 before upgrading, knowing that the next set of function after V10.1 FP2 would be in V10.5. This is not a statement of any lack of confidence in V10.1 FP2, it is my “simple answer” recommended level, it is simply a statement to avoid customers from making two version upgrades in a row.

For customers using .NET. this is harder as V10.1 FP2 has our support for VS 2012 and .NET 4.5, and we also have a beta for EF 5.0 that runs with V10.1 FP2. Given we will not add new features to V10.1, the eventual GA support for EF 5.0 will not come in V10.1.

I hope this helps lay out the choices.

Brent.

Using server side Javascript with node.js and DB2

4 Jan

One relatively new alternative we see folks considering for app servers is server side JavaScript with node.js. My colleague Praveen has created a blog entry with a step by step description of setting up node.js and using it with the node-odbc interface, the Unix open source driver manager and our DB2 ODBC driver.

https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/pd/entry/using_ibm_db2_from_node_js4?lang=en

This specific example just happens to reference DB2 Express, but any of our client packages (for example IBM Data Server Driver Package – ds driver) can be used. This will also work with DB2 LUW and with a DB2 Connect license DB2 for z/OS and IBM i. Our common drivers also support Informix servers.

I am interested in any feedback folks have on the use and importance of solutions such as this.

Brent.

License Management for DB2 Connect

25 Oct

I have been speaking with many customers about the various DB2 Connect Editions, and license management for each edition.  I wanted to try and provide some visibility into a recent enhancement we made that makes license management much easier for our largest DB2 Connect customers.

Customers that have DB2 Connect Unlimited Edition for z/OS basically license their DB2 for z/OS to be “open for business” to all users.  Users can connect directly (eg. someone using a spreadsheet app from their laptop), app servers can connect on behalf of a multitude of users, and either of these can be direct connect or utilizing a DB2 Connect Server.

Up until recently, direct connect carried with it the burden of having to supply a license file at the driver side – either a jar file for Java, or a .lic file for non-Java.  This can be a bother to implement, as DB2 Connect is licensed per version, and thus version upgrades require license file updates, etc.  Note that moving across FP levels (eg. V9.7 FP5 -> V9.7 FP6) does not require a license upgrade.

What we have recently done is enabled DB2 Connect Unlimited Edition for z/OS customers to effective store their proof of entitlement at the host itself.  This is done once per data sharing group, and effectively creates a “token” in the catalog to represent the DB2 Connect license.  All our drivers at V9.7 FP3 have been updated to search for this token, thus enabling direct connect without requiring license distribution to the individual drivers.

For customers upgrading their DB2 Connect from V9.7 -> V10.1 – they simply update the “token” at the host – our drivers have been coded to support a token at current level or higher (eg. a V9.7 driver will recognize a V9.7 level token or any higher level).  A V10.1 driver will not recognize a token before V10.1.

This can greatly reduce the effort associated with distributing license files for a DB2 Connect version upgrade – the token upgrade can be performed in advance of any planned driver upgrades, and when drivers are later upgraded, the new token is in place.

The “fine print”:

  • this server based activation only applies to DB2 Connect Unlimited Edition for z/OS
  • responsibility still rests with individual customers to only activate systems that are part of their entitlement
  • drivers must be at V9.7 FP3 or later to be able to “call home” and look for this token
  • this only applies to drivers connecting directly to DB2 for z/OS – connections utilizing a DB2 Connect Server still require licensing to be present on the DB2 Connect Server

Client Drivers – V9.7 FP6 or V10.1 GA

11 Sep

As many of our customers are aware, our general practice is to deliver new features to our client drivers with each FP of the latest LUW server.  This gives us roughly a release every 6 months to drop new function.

It is often the case that the actual GA itself of a new LUW release will not have any new driver function over the latest FP of the previous release – this is the case currently with drivers in V9.7 FP6 vs V10.1 GA.

This is not a negative statement at all with V10.1 GA drivers, but simply the reality that the code stabilization necessary for a major release like V10.1 would mean a delay in delivering new driver features.  Thus, after V9.7 FP5, we chose to put new features in V9.7 FP6.  As a result, V9.7 FP6 has more driver functionality than V10.1 currently, and it is my recommendation that customers use drivers at V9.7 FP6 level for client workstations.  Expect this to continue to be my recommendation until the end of 2012.  Our V9.7 FP6 drivers were fully tested and are fully supported with with V10.1 servers, including support for new V10.1 features such as binary XML.

For customers installing a V10.1 server, and running applications on the server itself, they should simply use the drivers that are part of the V10.1 install, and not install an additional client package on the server machine.  It is generally my recommendation not to have multiple code levels on the same machine (eg. V9.7 FP6 ds driver with V10.1 GA server).