Data Server Manager

Dean Compher

31 May 2016



Data Server Manager (DSM) is a tool that consolidates many of the monitoring, tuning, configuration and administration tools for DB2 and adds some nice new features as well.  It allows you do to these tasks for all of your DB2 (LUW and Z) databases in one centralized tool.  This tool is great for hybrid cloud implementations where you have DB2 on premises databases and DB2 and DB2-like databases in the cloud including dashDB, DB2 on Cloud because it provides a central console for managing all databases regardless of where they live.  So if you are already using tools like Optim Performance Manager, Optim Configuration Manager, Optim Query Tuner, Optim Query Workload Tuner and others then switching to DSM may be a good choice for you. 


DSM comes in two flavors – the free “Base” edition and the full-featured “Enterprise” Edition.  If you own any DB2 Advanced Edition, dashDB, SQLDB, or DB2 on Cloud Advanced, then you already own the enterprise edition of DSM.  If you don’t own any of these you can still use the base edition and get value from it.  If you own a combination of advanced and non-advanced editions than0 you should consult the DSM Enterprise Edition license terms to review how it can be used in your environment. 


The DSM server is installed on a server or VM and you access it using a web browser.  In addition to connecting to database servers, the enterprise edition can also connect to database client machines and control how they are configured as well.  Here is a diagram showing an example configuration of DSM.


Figure 1. Monitor and Configure Hybrid Cloud Environment



If you wish to connect the DSM server to dashDB or DB2 databases using SSL, then see this great article by Mark Latondre describing how to connect DSM using SSL

DSM installs and configures all components for you including the repository database (enterprise edition) and web server that allow you to connect your web browser.  As part of the install you can change the default ports on which the server listens, but otherwise you don’t do any web server configuration.  The repository database allows you to keep a history of performance readings and configuration settings to allow to see trends over time or see if a configuration change happened.  Along with these features, several others are integrated as well to give you one place to do most of the monitoring and administration of your database.  The features can be placed in the following broad categories. 



Database Administration


With both the Base and Enterprise editions you can do a significant amount of administration of your databases.  Much of this is similar to the IBM Data Studio client.  Data Studio still has some administration features that DSM does not, but the main difference is whether you want to do your administration using a thick client (Data Studio) or a browser based client (DSM).  With both DSM editions you can explore the objects in your databases and create, drop and alter them; view and edit DB and DBM configurations; create, edit and run SQL commands using and SQL editor and syntax checker; manage roles and privileges and configure DB2 encryption. 


In addition to these administration tasks, with the Enterprise Edition you can also track configuration and object changes over time, take base lines, compare configurations between databases and past baselines and synchronize configurations and objects.  The ability to synchronize configurations and schemas is particularly useful when moving changes to production to ensure that you don’t miss anything.  DSM also comes with a SQL Editor and a scheduling tool to run scripts and utilities a specified times. 


Health and Performance Monitoring


In the Base Edition you can do basic health and performance monitoring and alerting plus you get the ability to force applications and cancel problem queries.  With the Enterprise Edition you also get all of the features of Optim Performance Manager in an easy to install package.  Along with general monitoring, you get several performance and health indicators with built-in alerting thresholds that you can alter.  DSM provide smart monitoring where it can determine “normal” ranges of measurements and alert you about outliers.  This is done automatically after the system has been running for a while.  This is one of the areas where IBM is building analytics into our products.  To do this DSM records a history of may readings for a configurable amount of time.  This allows you to graph performance over time to see if things are going in a good direction.  It also monitors and reports storage access patterns and usage.  You can have monitoring reports generated automatically and e-mailed to a distribution list of your choosing.  Finally with the Enterprise Edition, you can install a DSM client on your database clients to monitor end-to-end performance in queries to help you determine if performance problems are occurring at the application, network or database.  It also monitors the storage to show the hotspots and where you may be running low on storage. 


Performance Management


With Enterprise Edition you can do several things to proactively manage the performance of your on-premises and cloud databases including tuning single queries or an entire workload of queries to get recommendations for indexes, MQT’s, statistics and other recommended actions and objects.  The features of Optim Query Tuner or Optim Query Workload Tuner have been built into the DSM.  This is a very useful tool to determine what objects would help a particular set of queries and then determine their impact on the larger database throughput.  You can also look at the visual explain of queries.  DSM also allows you to monitor WLM defined workloads.  Another innovative thing that it does is that it can interrogate the catalogs in your databases and determine if any tables could be significantly reduced with compression.  Also when the health and performance monitoring tools determine a problem, DSM can guide you through problem determination.


Database Client Management


Sometimes performance changes result from changes made on the clients, so DSM provides a way to track client configuration changes and even compare configurations between different clients.  Further, with the right components installed on the client machines, you can control the client configurations centrally from your DSM console. 


If you would like to do further reading on DSM I recommend the following links. 



Even if you have used Optim Performance Manager, Optim Query Workload Tuner or other product before and didn’t like them, it is time to try DSM.  Many improvements in the ease of use an installation have been made and you should be pleasantly surprised. 




There are several other interesting features of the Data Server Manager.  If you find any features that you particularly like please post them to my Facebook Page or db2Dean and Friends Community


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