IBM Db2 Database Review

Almost maintenance-free and less expensive, but lacking in the area of development tools and resources

What is our primary use case?

The primary uses for this product have to do with the card management system for banks. We are working mostly in the financial sector and banking sector, so there are some card management systems there that we often work with. There are some databases for which we see value in using Db2, so we are working with this solution.  

What is most valuable?

One of the things I like most about Db2 is that it is almost maintenance-free. I do not have to maintain it, unlike a modal database. I have been using modal databases for a long time and those are more sensitive. It is almost 15 years now that I have been using modal databases and it is almost tedious to use modal databases by comparison. I have been using the Db2 more recently and both database types are in use in my company. With a modal database, I have to check to see how or if the data is coming through. But in Db2, it is not as much of a headache. It is also easier to understand than modal database structures.  

What needs improvement?

One thing that is a little bit difficult for me — other than when using Oracle — is creating database replication with Db2. It is not so easy. That feature could be improved.  

Another thing is that if part of the environment in Db2 goes down, I have to restore all of it. That is something that is just in the environment for the Db2 relational database. The restoration is very difficult because every node has internal storage. If one node is corrupted all have to get restored.  

If you compare Db2 to Oracle, both are enterprise-class. However, the development tools for Db2 are not as good. For example, if I want to develop an application in Db2, I have to use Java. That is not so easy because someone has to know the Java platform and a few other things to develop an application on Db2. But the difference is that if you choose to use Oracle there are some tools like Oracle Developers Suite that you can use to develop applications. It is very easy and very straightforward to develop an application in Oracle because of the development tools. It is harder when using Db2 by comparison.  

There are some things that are not in Db2. I have to do more to develop an application. Some things are easy to do with Db2 development. Like if I have an application where there will be three or four tables. I can do that with Db2, or I have to do it with other Java development tools. That is the catch: for most of the people who know Java, this development is easy for them. But those who do not know Java can have a very hard time. In that sense, IBM should work on that aspect of their product to make it easy to develop applications. They can do this by providing users with a development suite. If they do that, then I think Db2 has the potential to grow more in our market.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Db2 for almost eight years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of Db2 is good. It is very stable. Once we have the installation complete and the team is done with the job, there are some customers who go five years without having to do anything to Db2. It is very stable and runs smoothly for them the entire time.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

With scalability, I do not have as much experience as other teams in our group because I am on the sales end. I do not have experience on that side. Because we are a business partner of IBM, we all understand the use of Db2. In our company, the main focus is always on what the customer wants and what kind of applications they want to build. As we are working in the financial sector, they have DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) and these requirements need to be fulfilled. What the customer wants ends up determining which database we suggest that they go for. In that sense, our market is mostly Oracle. But if they are trying to keep their budget concerns in check, then we will go for Db2, because it is less costly than Oracle.  

How are customer service and technical support?

I find the technical support team is not so aggressive as Oracle. If I put in a request or a ticket it takes time for the team at IBM to reply. Almost always at that point, they are not replying with an answer. I have to do something to give them more information. They could be more efficient in the way that issues are handled. With Oracle, it will not take even half an hour and they take a readout and give you a solution. Oracle's support is very straightforward.  

I think that IBM needs to do better in training its support service to improve response time and efficiency. They should have a better structure to their support request responses and better procedures to follow. Right now, these procedures are not in place.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

In my scenario, I have installed both Db2 and Oracle for different use cases. I have not personally found that much of a difference. But I think the difference between this Db2 is what the customer wants. Some want to work on Db2 and some want to work with Oracle.  

One feature I like in Db2 is the self-maintenance feature. That maintenance feature or something like it is not found in Oracle. With Db2, it is safe to use self-maintenance with any data and that is the main feature in Db2 that I like.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for Db2 is really straightforward. Their deployment and integration are very easy and straightforward. The environment takes a maximum of 40 minutes for installation. I have done it by myself. The complete deployment is not so easy that it is a simple repetition to do the same way on every site, but two or three weeks will be all that you need for an enterprise installation.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is done by our pricing team and the quotes are given to the client's finance team. So in that sense, I do not have direct experience with the pricing models. I can say that Db2 is less costly than Oracle because I am selling both and I am doing enterprise sales for both. When a customer gets a quote during the buying process, I can see the pricing. The pricing for Db2 is always less than Oracle.  

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate IBM Db2 Database as a seven-out-of-ten.  

Most of the time recommending Db2 is harder than recommending Oracle because of the situation in our country. Whenever I propose Db2 to a customer, the customer will ask what they need to have to develop applications on Db2. I have to say to them that they need to have a Java developer to work on that. If the customer already has some Oracle databases, this makes introducing Db2 even more difficult because they already have the resources for Oracle development. Suggesting Db2 is difficult in our country because most of the people already have Oracle now. So suggesting Db2 is difficult because development on Db2 is not as easy as Oracle and finding the resources to work with it is not as easy. The question we have to answer all the time is who will do the development if the customer does not have a Java developer resource already.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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