db2Dean a.k.a. Dean Compher a.k.a “The Dean of DB2” is here to answer your DB2 Questions !
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Welcome to db2Dean’s web site. I’m Dean Compher an IBM IT Specialist who, along with my team, helps customers and prospective customers with DB2 on Linux, UNIX and Windows (LUW) technical questions and issues. As this page makes painfully clear, I am a DBA and not a web designer, but I would be happy to get your DB2 questions answered or talk to you about the great features of DB2 or IBM Integration Products. If you are looking at a new database solution or want to compare us to your existing database vendor, please do not hesitate to contact me about getting a presentation or just to ask questions. My e-mail address is dean@db2Dean.com
I am located in Utah and primarily serve DB2/LUW customers in Utah and Nevada, but I can forward requests to my peers in other technology and geographic areas as well. My team also covers Big Data and Informix and products. There are questions that I get on a regular basis, and I will write articles relating to them here. I hope that you find them useful. I also welcome suggestions for future content. Click here for more information about me.
DB2 for LUW and Z
24 February 2010
Updated 27 May 2015
Over time new tools have been added to help you get support and find support information for your IBM software including database software. These changes include updates to the Support Portal and tools you can download. In some cases you can even do a live chat with support after opening a ticket with them. You can customize the Support Portal to have the information about the products that you use the most at your fingertips. You can even choose to get automatic notifications of important information through RSS feeds and Twitter. These tools can be used to help you prevent problems as well as to expedite the resolution of problems you may encounter.
Where to Start
The IBM Electronic Support site is great because it lists the most useful tools for getting help and support. Check out the various tabs on this site to see lots of information including tools to help you prevent problems. In the table below, I’ll show you some of the tools I think are most useful.
In addition to the Tools & Resources tab the Electronic Support Page also includes thetab with a high level description, an tab that links you to the Support Portal and an tab that has additional support options.
Use the Support Portal
Thisis a great place to start when you are looking for resources for a particular product. From the Support portal home page, you select a product and you will be presented with a page of links to all sorts of useful things for that product including fix packs, manuals, knowledge center, troubleshooting documents and all sorts of other stuff. To get started you can click the “My Products” link and it will give you a list of just the products associated with your IBM ID or you can click the “Browse for a product” link to search all products. Once you have done this a few times, you can just click the down arrow by the Product finder box and you will see the products you have chosen in the past.
One of the links on the support portal is the “Service requests for hardware and software (PMRs)” link for opening Electronic Service Requests or on line PMRs. I prefer opening PMRs on the web to opening them on the phone because I can quickly paste all of the relevant information instead of having to relate complex error codes and message to a call center person. However, you must be registered to open a PMR. You do not want to do the registration process during a system outage, so get that done now! See my article entitled, Enable Yourself tofor registration details.
Since my 2007 article where Isome new tools have been introduced that you may want to investigate. Here is a list of them with short descriptions.
The IBM Support Assistant (ISA) is a software tool that you download and install on your workstation and on your database servers to help you automate data collection for PMRs and to help you determine the causes of problems on your own with built in tools. ISA Light is not available for DB2 yet, so don't bother with it. However, make sure to use thefor your flavor of DB2 and get the latest fix pack for the support assistant by clicking the link for the latest version at the .
The Electronic Service Agent (ESA) is installed on your System x or System p system and automatically reports hardware and Operating System problems to IBM Support. If your database runs on either of these hardware platforms, then you might want to talk to your System Administrator about using it. It also reports an inventory of your systems to IBM Support and updates that inventory list as you add systems.
If you would like to do even more reading on IBM technical support, please see the following links:
Getting DB2 Help
18 May 2007
Updated 27 May 2015
In this article I discuss how to get help for DB2 from a very general perspective. This includes getting answers to questions and troubleshooting problems. There are a variety of resources available including:
The trick is determining the fastest way to get the information that you need. In this article, I will give you some pointers to the best time to use each of these resources.
In general, the more self-sufficient you are, the faster that you can find answers to your specific questions like, “What options are available for the backup command?” The DB2 IT Specialists are a smart bunch, but each has his or her area of expertise and will typically have to research your answer and might be at a conference on the day you have a question. This is why it is important to become familiar with the available manuals. The title of each is pretty self-explanatory. So if, for example, you are trying to determine a good backup strategy, then you might want to read the “Data Availability Guide and Reference”. The list of titles is relatively short and they can be found in the manuals links below for the indicated version. I recommend reading through the list to determine what is available. The DB2 Technical Libraries can be found at:
Another good resource is the DB2 Information Center. More recently we have begun calling these the “Knowledge Centers” but they are the same thing. This is a web page where you can do searches. There is one for each DB2 Version. I am also amazed at how useful Google is in finding DB2 information and I frequently use it. You know their famous URL, but here are the DB2 Information Center Links:
Of course if you want to further discuss what you read in a manual or web page, or can’t find what you are looking for, then contact your friendly IT Specialist. This is where they really shine. Do not let what I say here discourage you from contacting your IT Specialist whenever you want – I am just trying to provide some useful tips on getting you help the fastest way possible.
Another good resource for finding answers to specific questions is to open a Problem Management Record or PMR. Support now usually calls them an SR (Service Request). A PMR that is opened on the IBM web site is called an Electronic Service Request or ESR. Many people think that PMRs and ESRs are only for problems, but you are paying for support and part of that support is Q&A support. Please just be aware that the support crew is much better at answering specific questions than general ones. Since PMRs/ESRs get routed to teams in areas with specific knowledge of the product, they can frequently answer questions faster than your IT Specialist. When I was a customer I would frequently open ESRs to get questions answered. I preferred ESRs to PMRs because I find it easier to provide very technical information by typing or pasting it into a web page rather than telling it to someone over the phone. You can also attach supporting files to an ESR. I found that I typically got very fast responses to my specific questions by opening an ESR.
Another great place to find information about a particular product is the support portal where you can enter a product and see links to all of the manuals, white papers, troubleshooting documents and so forth. Please see the “Using the Support Portal” section of my Support Updates article.
The manuals in the technical libraries listed above can often provide a great source of information on general topics if the manual for your topic exists such as reading the “Performance Guide” to determine how to get the best performance out of your database. However, there are many times that it is difficult to find comprehensive information on a topic of interest. For general questions such as “Can DB2 do this?” or “Where can I do more reading on that?” you should contact your IT Specialist.
Non Critical Troubleshooting
I define non-critical problems as ones where I don’t need to provide an immediate fix to keep business going. However, you can feel free to define it as you like. For problems where you get an error code like “SQL0911N” the Message Reference is always the place to start. It will not only tell you what the error means, but for many codes it will also tell you how to fix the problem. There are so many codes that the Message Reference is broken into two volumes. Volume 2 contains all error codes with the SQL prefix and all of the SQL State Codes. Volume 1 contains all other codes like “DBI” or “CLI” prefixed messages. The Message Reference volumes can be found in the technical libraries and are at:
I also like the results that I find by using Google to search on the error codes. There are often useful suggestions that it will find that are not included in the Message Reference. I have not had good luck searching the Information Centers on error codes.
For error codes for which you can’t find a good solution to or problems without error codes such as odd messages showing up in the db2diag.log file or other strange behavior, I really recommend opening an ESR and attaching the db2support output. The db2support command is handy as it gathers all of your DB2 system information such a DB and DBM configurations along with diagnostic information including the contents of the db2dump directory and zips it up into one file. Again, I prefer the ESR to the PMR because I can get all of the information to the analyst quickly and get the ball rolling on my problem while I go back to work.
While we are on the topic, I want to caution you to watch your test system for things like “odd” stuff showing up in your db2diag.log file or trace files showing up in your db2dump directory or even instance crashes that are easy to fix by just starting the instance again. DO NOT IGNORE THESE SYMPTIONS! It is better to spend 15 minutes to gather the db2support information and upload it to an ESR than to spend hours in the middle of the night when the problem occurs again in production. By this I mean that it does not take long to get the problems into the hands of an IBM support analyst who can diagnose the problem. It is always good to know what is causing these problems and to put fixes in place before potentially moving those problems into your production environment.
So you didn’t follow db2Dean’s advice and now you are getting called on a down production system that will not start. Unless you really know what the problem is and how fix it, I highly recommend getting a severity 1 ESR opened immediately. To get the fastest response, I recommend the following steps:
From hard experience I found that the above steps when followed in order provide the fastest results. Gathering the diagnostic information and uploading it first gets the analyst working on your problem faster than calling first. Of course, getting the system up is the most important item, but ask the support analyst to keep the ESR open even after the system is up to find the cause of the problem. The last thing that you want is for the problem to occur again and you are just tempting Murphy’s law if you don’t get to the root of the problem and fix it. This may take some time and the support analyst may request additional information about your system, but the effort is worthwhile. If you get any pushback or you get the feeling that your problem is not being pursued adequately then contact your IT specialist with the PMR number and ask him to follow up. We have ways of getting action on your behalf. Even if you get your system started by just starting the instance again, you should open an ESR to get to the root of the problem for the reasons stated above.
ESRs are wonderful things, but before you can use them you must register with IBM. To enable the registration to occur you must know your customer number and who your Site Technical Contact is. This is the person in your company designated by your company to IBM when the software was purchased as the person who allows access to the ESR system. If you don’t know your customer number or your Site Technical Contact, then you can contact your IBM Software Sales Representative or IT Specialist to get it. For instructions for how to register and open ESRs, please click here.
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