In the first part of this series on DB2 health checks, DB2 Health Checks - Part One, I discussed the general concept of a health check and their basic importance in terms of maintaining a smooth-running DB2 environment.
Today, I want to briefly look at how DB2 health checks are usually done... if they are done at all.
The Scope of a DB2 Health Check
Some people mistakenly view a DB2 Health Check as being performance-focused only. Yes, performance is an important aspect of a health check -- and I admit that performance is generally the area that causes an organization to undergo the health check process. But the overall health of the DB2 environment needs to be addressed by the health check. In addition to performance-related issues (system, database and application), this can include:
- fault tolerance
- use of automation
- process review
- people skills (DBA, sysprog, development, etc.)
Considerations Before Undergoing a DB2 Health Check
DB2 health checks are important and crucial to the on-going stability of your systems, but there are issues:
- Health checks can be costly (consulting engagements)
- When a consulting company conducts a health check the analysis usually is done off-site, so your DBAs do not learn the techniques used by the consultants as they massage and analyze the data
- Health checks generally are valid for a specific point-in-time and can become obsolete quickly
Conducting DB2 Health Checks
DB2 health checks typically are conducted by IBM personnel, a DB2 consultant, or a larger services firm. The engagement begins with experts/consultants interviewing the DBAs, submitting questionnaires as needed and collecting data from DB2. After collecting the data the consulting team goes off site and analyzes the reams of collected data. There may be intermittent communication between the consulting team and the on-site DBAs to clear up any lingering questions or to clarify things during the analysis phase. After some time (usually a week or more), a report on the health of your DB2 environment, perhaps with some recommendations to implement, is delivered.
What happens next is all up to you. After reading the report you can ignore it, implement some or all of the recommendations, conduct further in-house investigation for the feasibility of implementing the recommendations, or send it along to management for their perusal. But there is a deadline involved. After all, your systems are not static. So the health check report is only as good as the point-in-time for which it was delivered. Time, as it always does, will creep up on you. If you wait too long, the recommendations become stale and you might not be doing the proper thing for your environment by implementing changes based on old information.
Of course, when too much time has gone by after the health check, you could always engage with the services company and consultants again, requiring additional spending.
Is another way?
Stay tuned, as we'll look at some other options in upcoming installments of this blog series on DB2 health checking...