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1999


XML Marks the Spot.
Database Trends, December 1999.

XML is getting a lot of publicity these days and if you believe everything you read, XML is the panacea that will solve all of our problems. This article take a look at the reality of XML within the context of data management.


Linux and the DBMS.
Database Trends, November 1999.

The day of the Linux DBMS is upon us. The computer industry’s desire to have an alternative to Microsoft, coupled with Linux’s strong reputation for reliability, have created an apparently strong market for Linux. But just how strong is it? And what will the future hold for Linux database management systems?


E-Business Requires eDBA.
Database Trends, October 1999.

E-business is infiltrating every aspect of corporate culture. As our companies evolve into e-businesses, our data availability requirements change. This impacts the DBA and causes his job to change. This article briefly discusses some of the changes required to morph your DBA staff into an eDBA staff.


Profile of an eDBA.
DB2 Magazine, Fall 1999.

With billions of dollars of revenue at stake, databases supporting e-businesses are putting new demands on DBAs. Luckily, there’s a new class of DBAs putting Web skills to work to save the e-commerce day. Do you have what it takes to be an eDBA? This article discusses the changes needed for DBAs to become eDBAs.


What's In A Name?
Database Trends, September 1999.

Establishing and enforcing naming conventions requires significant thought and preparation to ensure success. What amount of effort should be extended in the creation of appropriate database naming standards? This article discusses the issues.


Using Nulls in SQL Server.
SQL Server Update, September 1999.

Nulls are one of the most controversial features of the relational model. However, nulls can be very useful when implementing databases where data values may be unknown. This article looks at nulls from a SQL Server perspective and gives some practical guidelines for null usage.


The IT Skills Shortage.
Database Trends, August 1999.

Most IT folks realize that there is a real shortage of skilled IT professionals. But just how serious is the IT skills shortage? This article takes a look at some US government facts and figures and analyzes the situation.


Using CASE Expressions.
SQL Server Update, August 1999.

CASE expressions are often over-looked but can be extremely useful to change very complex query requirements into simpler, and sometimes more efficient SQL statements. This article examines SQL Server's implementation of the CASE expression.


Mixing DB2 and Object Orientation?
IDUG Solutions Journal, Summer 1999.

Many organizations have adopted object-oriented programming standards and languages because of the claimed advantages of the OO development paradigm. But what does OO mean for DB2 databases? This article explores some of the issues that arise when you mix relational DB2 databases and object orientation.


The PDA DBA.
Database Trends, July 1999.

Personal Digital Assistant devices, better known as PDAs, are fast becoming a necessity for business in the late 1990’s. Whether your PDA of choice is the industry leader (the Palm Pilot from 3Com) or one of a vast array of hand held, palm top devices running Windows CE, your PDA may soon have a database management system running on it. This article discusses what PDA databases will mean to your IT and DBA organizations.


Data Warehousing Guidelines for DB2.
DB2 Update, July 1999.

More and more organizations are building their data warehouses using DB2 for OS/390 because of the scalability, reliability, and robust architecture that it provides. You can use the following guidelines as rules of thumb when you're designing, implementing, and using your DB2-based data warehouse.


SQL Server and the Procedural DBA.
SQL Server Update, July 1999.

As SQL Server applications advance into corporate applications, more application code is being stored in the database. This may take the form of a stored procedure, a trigger, or a user-defined function. Regardless of the form, a proper methodology for handling these server code objects must be established to effectively administer application code that is stored in the database. This article discusses these new code-based objects from a SQL Server perspective and suggests a useful re-definition of the role of a DBA in this changing environment.


Managing the Information Tsunami.
Database Trends, June 1999.

We may live in the Information Age, but sometimes it can seem like the Dark Ages.  Businesses today are awash in a flood of data coming from all types of sources. So how do we manage this information?  The sad truth is, usually we don't! This article examines the growth of available data and the lack of available time to absorb it.


Using the Identity Property.
SQL Server Update, May 1999.

SQL Server developers can use the identity property to automatically generate sequential database keys. This article discusses the technical details of using the identity property appropriately.


Through The Looking Glass.
The Data Administration Newsletter, April 1999

In this day and age of downsizing and rapid change, sometimes you can find nuggets of career advice and wisdom in the strangest places. This article finds them in a children book and a TV sitcom. Give it a chance, you could learn something!


The Living Mainframe.
Computing News & Review, April 1999.

There is a lingering perception in some parts of the IT industry that the mainframe is dead. Nothing could be further from the truth. The market for mainframes and mainframe computing is healthy. This article explores the growth in the mainframe market.


ERP Requires DBA.
Computing News & Review, March 1999.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is all the rage these days. Some of the largest software vendors on the planet are offering ERP solutions. These include companies like SAP, Oracle, and PeopleSoft. To fully succeed with ERP, the discipline of database administration must be firmly in place. This article discusses DBA with an ERP twist.

 

Triggers and DB2 Version 6.
DB2 Update, March 1999.

IBM is adding trigger support to DB2 for OS/390 in Version 6 (announced in May 1998, to be generally available in June 1999). But just what is a trigger? If you have never had the opportunity to use them, their power may elude you at first. However, once you have used triggers, living without them can be unthinkable! This article will show how DB2 is implementing trigger support in V6 and give you hints on how to implement triggers in DB2.

 

The Need for a Procedural DBA.     (link no longer active)
IDUG Solutions Journal, March 1999.

DB2 now supports database objects such as triggers, user-defined functions, and stored procedures that contain procedural code. As you begin to implement database objects that contain procedural code, you will need to implement different techniques to manage those objects than the traditional DBA role. This article discusses those needs from a DB2 perspective.


What is Knowledge and Can It Be Managed?
The Data Administration Newsletter, March 1999

Knowledge management is over-hyped and misunderstood. It is not a technology, but an amalgamation of strategy, technology, and people. This article attempts to clarify and explain some of the confusion surrounding the growing discipline of knowledge management.

 

Raw Iron: The Database Appliance.
Computing News & Review, February 1999.

In December 1998, Oracle Corporation and Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced an agreement to combine components of Oracle8i into the Sun Solaris operating system. This agreement basically outlines the creation of a "database appliance." But what does it really mean for the industry? This article investigates the potential for Raw Iron.

 

Using Views in Microsoft SQL Server.
SQL Server Update, February 1999.

Views are a very useful feature of relational technology in general, and Microsoft SQL Server specifically. They can greatly ease data access and system development when used prudently. Unfortunately most users do not adhere to a systematic and logical approach to view creation. This minimizes the advantages of views. This article will provide useful guidelines for implementing views wisely in Microsoft SQL Server.

 

The Database Wars.
Computing News & Review, January 1999.

Recent announcements by Oracle and Microsoft have stoked the fires of the database wars. Microsoft announced SQL Server 7.0 and claims to have tackled its scalability problems. Oracle scoffed, challenged Microsoft to a shoot-out, and announced plans to bypass the operating system. This article analyzes these announcements.


The Buffer Pool.
PLATINUM SYSJOURNAL, Winter 1999.

General column containing information, news, and tips pertaining to DB2 for OS/390.

1998


Managing and Improving the IT Infrastructure.
Computing News & Review, December 1998.

In the past decade information technology has evolved from mainframe-only computing to complex, highly distributed computer systems that span every desktop and department across multiple regions, countries, and even continents. Distributed computing provides many benefits, but along with these benefits come significant challenges. This article discusses the significant difficulties involved in managing your applications, databases, desktops, networks, and systems in an integrated fashion, and suggests a solution.

 

Using Check Constraints To Simulate Domains.
The Data Administration Newsletter, December 1998.

All of the popular RDBMS products provide table check constraints: Oracle, Informix, DB2, Sybase, and Microsoft SQL Server. Check constraints enable enhanced data integrity without requiring procedural logic (such as in stored procedures and triggers). This article examines the basics of database check constraints and discusses how they can be used to simulate a relational domain.

 

Storage Impact of Type 2 Indexes.
DB2 Update, December 1998.

What is the storage impact of migrating to Type 2 indexes? The answer, not surprisingly, is "it depends!" There are quite a few differences between Type 1 and Type 2 indexes that impact storage. This article discusses these differences and gives recommendations.

 

Using Constraints in SQL Server.
SQL Server Update, December 1998

Microsoft SQL Server provides many different types of relational constraints to help enforce data integrity. This article discusses the types of constraints (i.e.. referential, check, etc.) available and gives advice on how to implement them.

 

SQL Analysis and Review.
Computing News and Review, November 1998.

A critical imperative for assuring efficient applications when relational databases are involved is a formal and thorough analysis and review of the SQL being used by the applications. This article discusses why this is so and provides guidance on how to accomplish effective SQL tuning.


The Pros and Cons of Procedural SQL.
SQL Server Update, November 1998.

One of the biggest benefits of using a relational database management system is the ability of SQL to operate on sets of data with a single line of code. However, this very capability also limits SQL's functionality. Procedural dialects of SQL, such as Transact-SQL, used by Microsoft SQL Server, can overcome these limitations.

 

The Future of SQL.
IDUG Solutions Journal, October 1998.

The future of SQL may be bright but its present is under fire. This article discusses the features of SQL that make it so compelling, the current perceived threats to SQL as a database access language, and what the future of SQL holds for SQL.

 

Evaluating DBA Tool Vendors.
Computing News and Review, October 1998.

DBA tools are required by most organizations to ensure efficient and effective database applications. This article discusses what qualities to look for from vendors of such tools to make sure you get the appropriate level of quality, support, and functionality.

 

Dealing with Fragmentation and Disorganization.
Oracle Update, October 1998.

With SQL data modification is easy using insert, update, and delete statements — the RDBMS takes care of the actual data navigation and modification. But to accomplish this the RDBMS handles the physical placement and movement of data on disk. This can cause performance problems due to suboptimal data organization. This article discusses the need for reorganization of Oracle data structures due to fragmentation and disorganization.

 

Preparing for DB2 Version 6.
DB2 Update, October 1998.

DB2 Version 6 is scheduled for a June 1999 general availability date from IBM. This new release includes many new and exciting features, but the most important item for every DB2 shop is to understand what is not in this new release. For the first time IBM is removing features from DB2 that can impact your production applications and DB2 subsystems. This article examines each of the features to be removed.

 

Character Versus Numeric Data Types.
DB2 Update, October 1998.

Most DBAs have faced the situation in which a code is required to identify products, accounts, or some other business object, and the code values are always numeric and will stay that way. This article discusses the benefits and drawbacks of using character and numeric data types in this situation.

 

Referential Integrity in Microsoft SQL Server.
SQL Server Update, October 1998.

This article analyzes the referential integrity (RI) features provided by Microsoft SQL Server. RI is examined from a conceptual level first, and then from a practical, implementation oriented viewpoint. The DDL necessary to create tables using declarative RI is discussed as is using triggers to implement complete referential integrity.


Managing DB2 for OS/390 Performance - Really.
DB2 Magazine, Fall 1998.

An overview of DB2 performance management... with  a brief discussion of Platinum DB2 performance products.


Defining Database Performance.
Computing News and Review, September 1998.

DBAs are accustomed to dealing with database performance problems. But before you can implement a truly successful database performance management plan, you need to define what is meant by "database performance." This short article provides a basic definition.

 

Java: Hype or Hope?
IDUG Solutions Journal, August 1998.

So you've heard that Java is going to transform the world of IT? But do you understand its import and impact on database management? This article tries to slice through the hype surrounding Java by investigating what Java means to the world of DB2 for OS/390.

 

Data Warehousing Guidelines for DB2.
Enterprise Systems Journal, August 1998.

More and more organizations are building their data warehouses using DB2 for OS/390 because of the scalability, reliability, and robust architecture that it provides. You can use the following guidelines as rules of thumb when you're designing, implementing, and using your DB2-based data warehouse.

 

A.N.A.R.C.H.Y.
Computing News and Review, August 1998.

Does it seem that every time you finally catch up with the latest industry acronyms and buzzwords, another batch of them suddenly appear? In the business of IT this feeling is probably more common than in most. This article takes a humorous look at the increasing number of confusing acronyms computer users face on a daily basis.

 

Software Scrubbing Bubbles.
Computing News and Review, July 1998.

As database management becomes more and more complex, organizations need to offload DBA tasks to the computer. This requires proactive, intelligent database administration software that acts as a sort of software scrubbing bubble. You remember that old commercial where the scrubbing bubbles clean the bathtub — the bubbles "work hard so you don’t have to!" In this case, the computerized DBA tools work hard so the DBAs don't have to.

 

Accessing DB2 Over the Internet.     (link no longer active)
DB2 Update, June 1998.

This short article provides an overview of the technology required to access data from DB2 for OS/390 over the web.

 

Finding DB2 Information Using the Internet.
DB2 Update, June 1998.

There is a wealth of DB2 information accessible via the Internet... if you know where to look for it. This article focuses specifically on sources of DB2 information available online through the Internet. It covers web sites, mailing lists, newsgroups, and more. Useful for all DB2 users.

 

The Procedural DBA.
Oracle Update, June 1998.

As Oracle advances into the object/relational age, more application code is being stored in the database. This may take the form of a stored procedure, a trigger, a user-defined function, or a data cartridge. Regardless of the form, a proper methodology for handling these server code objects must be established to effectively administer application code that is stored in the database. This article discusses these new code-based objects from an Oracle perspective and suggests a useful re-definition of the role of a DBA in this changing environment.

 

Tools for a Comprehensive Database Environment — Part 1, Part 2.
The Data Administration Newsletter, June 1998, September 1998.

The administration and maintenance of database applications is time-consuming if you use only the standard features of the DBMS. Fortunately, many tools that enhance the functionality of relational database management systems are available from third party vendors. Be sure to read both parts of this two part article to cover all of the tools addressing database management and administration.

 

Wanted: New Type of DBA.
Computing News and Review, June 1998.

Modern database management systems are engineered to manage not just data, but application logic as well. The logic may take the form of triggers, stored procedures, user-defined functions, constraints, and complex object. In order to effectively manage the modern DBMS, a new type of DBA is required. This article discusses the new roles required of DBAs in this changing environment.

 

The Most Important Thing is Performance.
Computing News and Review, May 1998.

With any database application the issue that will cause the most trouble for DBAs is performance. This article focuses on the types of database performance problems you may encounter and ways to analyze, monitor, and tune the database for optimal performance.

 

DB2 and the Year 2000.
DB2 Update, May 1998.

Ensuring Year 2000 compliance is a pervasive issue throughout the IT industry. Yet, there are many aspects to ensuring this compliance, especially for DBMSs like DB2 for OS/390. This article addresses the year 2000 crisis as it impacts DB2 from various perspectives including administration and development, data administration, staffing, performance and tools.

 

The Age of the VHDB.
Computing News and Review, April 1998.

Databases are growing in size and the increased volume of data complicates database administration. This article discusses the pace of database growth and how to manage in the VHDB (Very Huge Database).

 

Finding Oracle Information on the Internet.
Oracle Update, April 1998.

The IT world is increasingly becoming an online world. Instead of relying on unresponsive support lines or the over-worked local expert, try using the resources outlined in the article for answers to your Oracle questions.

 

Data Warehouse Administration: The Challenges Never Stop.
IDUG Solutions Journal, March 1998.

The issues that DBAs face when they manage and monitor a data warehouse are both similar to, yet distinct from, typical database administration. This article discusses some of the differences DBAs will encounter as they administer data warehouse databases.

 

Death Valley Days for the DBMS?
Computing News and Review, March 1998.

Some of the major DBMS vendors have felt the sting of bad news, but does this mean that the days of rapid growth for adopting and using databases has passed? This article discusses the landscape for DBMS tools in the wake of recent news.

 

Changes to the System Catalog for DB2 Version 5.
DB2 Update, March 1998.

With each new release of DB2, IBM modifies and tunes the system catalog and directory structures. This is done for many reasons including the addition of new features and to make old features more efficient. This article provides an overview of the changes and additions made to the DB2 catalog to support Version 5. Most useful for performance analysts and DBAs.

 

What's In A Name: Database Naming Standards.
The Data Administration Newsletter, March 1998.

Establishing and enforcing naming conventions requires significant thought and preparation to ensure success. What amount of effort should be extended in the creation of appropriate database naming standards? This article discusses the issues. Useful for DBAs and database designers.

 

Data Warehouse and Data Mart Administration.
Computing News and Review, February 1998.

Sometimes people forget that a data warehouse is a special-purpose database — and databases require administration. This article discusses the twists that data warehousing puts on database administration.

 

Openness Complicates Database Management.
Computing Canada, January 26, 1998.

As organizations implement heterogeneous database management systems and use the DBMS for an increasing number of purposes, complications accrue. This short article discusses this complexity and provides some tips on how to manage it.

1997


Large Partitioned Table Spaces.     
DB2 Update, November 1997.

This article discusses the issues of table space partitioning in DB2. It provides tips, techniques, and guidelines for implementing partitioned table spaces, as well as in-depth coverage of the new large table space feature of DB2 V5. Useful for all DB2 users.

 

DBMS Trends into the 21st Century.
IDUG Solutions Journal, November 1997.

Database management systems are getting more and more complex as new features are added and new ways are found to utilize them. This article summarizes the major changes impacting DBMS products today and over the course of the next few years. Useful for all DBMS users. This article kicks off the new Face Off column for IDUG Solutions Journal.

 

The Capability Maturity Model - From a Data Perspective.
The Data Administration Newsletter, December 1997.

The Capability Maturity Model (CMM), published by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), is a well-established, defined model that characterizes the software development maturity of organizations based on their practices and procedures. However, it does not address the maturity of organizations with regard to the manner in which data is managed. This article introduces the reader to a data perspective of the Capability Maturity Model.

 

Data Definition Guidelines.
InformIT, October 1997.

This article is an excerpt from my book, DB2 Developer's Guide. It covers the section on DDL guidelines and naming conventions for DB2 objects.


The Oracle Environment.
Oracle Update, October 1997.

This article provides a concise introduction to the environment of the Oracle DBMS in terms of its architecture and components. Useful for all ORACLE and RDBMS users. Co-authored with Christopher T. Foot.

 

DB2 Performance Planning and Engineering.
IDUG Solutions Journal, August 1997.

Most organizations monitor and tune DB2 performance in a reactive manner. This article discusses how to implement proactive performance engineering for applications before the application is implemented. Useful for DB2 performance analysts and DBAs. Co-authored with Richard Bolesta.


Denormalization Guidelines.
The Data Administration Newsletter, June 1997.

Normalization is the process of putting one fact in one appropriate place. This optimizes updates at the expense of retrievals. This article itemizes several reasons why denormalization of data may be necessary and provides guidelines for successful implementation.


To Partition or Not to Partition, That is the Question.
DB2 Magazine, Spring 1997.

Advertorial on the benefits of using DB2 partitioned table spaces.

1996

Stored Procedure Guidelines for DB2.
DB2 Magazine, Winter 1996.

Both of the major implementations of DB2 (DB2 for MVS and DB2 for Common Servers) provide support for stored procedures. In this article, I discuss tips and tricks for implementing useful stored procedures, as well as guidelines for proper stored procedure administration.

 

Managing Systems in the Age of the Web.
PLATINUM Edge, September 1996.

As the web and Internet computing become pervasive, the way we manage information systems will need to adapt to include web technology. This article discusses the many ramifications of this oncoming change.


Optimizing DB2 Outer Joins.
DB2 Update, August 1996.

Although coding outer joins in DB2 may appear to be straightforward, there are techniques that can be used to optimize their performance. This article discusses several ideas to aid outer join performance. Most useful for SQL developers and application programmers.


Procedural SQL.     (link no longer active)
Enterprise Systems Journal, July 1996.

As SQL migrates from a query-only language to a procedural language, understanding the basics of procedural SQL will become an intrinsic component of the database professional's job. This article discusses the impact of procedural logic on SQL. Useful for anyone using SQL and RDBMS technology.


Distributed Query Optimization.
Technical Support, July, 1996.

Distributing data using RDBMS technology is quite popular, but few current products enable distributed joins — and those that do are not efficient. This article discusses the challenges of distributed querying and table joining.


Security Enhancements in DB2 V4.
DB2 Update, June 1996.

Several useful security and authorization techniques were introduced to DB2 with Version 4. This article discusses these features and their impact on DB2. Most useful for DBAs and security analysts.


Using Variable Character Data in DB2.
DB2 Update, June 1996.

Database designers frequently run into trouble when deciding whether or not to implement DB2 tables with variable character columns. This article briefly discusses the "pros and cons" of VARCHAR and provides some useful SQL statements to monitor the effectiveness of variable vs. fixed columns. Useful for database designer, performance analysts, and DBAs.


Storing Procedural Logic in the Database.     (link no longer active)
Sybase Technical Journal, Spring/Summer 1996.

Sybase pioneered the concept of storing procedural logic within a database using stored procedures and triggers. Increasingly, organizations are adopting this technique within their client/server applications. This article offers guidelines and examples of how and when to effectively use and administer server code objects using Sybase SQL Server. Most useful for programmers, analysts, and DBAs.


Tools for a Comprehensive DB2 Environment.  (or click here for PDF)
IDUG Solutions Journal, Issue 2, 1996.

Although DB2 for MVS, as offered by IBM, is a complete, full-function RDBMS, users quickly realize that the functionality to adequately support large-scale database development is not provided by DB2 alone. This article examines the burgeoning DB2 add-on product market identifying key product categories and their benefits. Useful for all DB2 users.


Industry Trends Impacting Database Administration.
Computing News and Review, May 1996.

As the IS organization evolves from one of centralized control to an open, heterogeneous environment, the role of database administration necessarily expands. This brief article provides an overview of the DBMS industry. The article highlights pervasive trends (data warehousing, data mining, OO, the Internet) and discusses how these trends impact database administration. Useful for all database professionals.


DB2 Version 4 Catalog Revisions.     (link no longer active)
DB2 Update, April 1996.

With each new release of DB2, IBM modifies and tunes the system catalog and directory structures. This is done for many reasons including the addition of new features and to make old features more efficient. This article provides an overview of the changes and additions made to the DB2 catalog to support Version 4. Most useful for performance analysts and DBAs.


Dealing with Data Outhouses.
DM Review, March 1996.

Although data warehouses are currently all the rage, few professionals consider the problems that "dirty data" can cause for a warehousing project.


DB2 Version 4 Security and Authorization Enhancements.
PLATINUM Edge, March 1996.

A synopsis of the enhanced security functionality provided by DB2 Version 4. Includes a discussion of plan level authorization for dynamic SQL programs.


DB2 Version 4 Dirty Read Capability.     (link no longer active)
DB2 Update, February 1996.

The ability to read data without taking locks is a common requirement of RDBMS products. Until Version 4, DB2 did not provide this feature. This article discusses the capabilities and ramifications of using dirty reads in DB2 programs and SQL statements. Useful for application designers and programmers, performance analysts, and DBAs.


DB2 Version 4 Check Constraints.     (link no longer active)
DB2 Update, January 1996.

DB2 Version 4 provides the ability to code limitations on the values that can be stored in DB2 table columns. This is accomplished through the use of check constraints. This article outlines the capabilities of check constraints and gives advice on their proper usage. Most useful database designers and DBAs, but of general interest for most DB2 users.


Reorganizing the System Catalog in DB2 Version 4.
IDUG Solutions Journal, Winter 1996.

Of the many new features added to DB2 Version 4 one of the most eagerly awaited by DBAs is the ability to REORG the DB2 Catalog and DB2 Directory in a systematic manner. This article discusses the steps to take to utilize the new V4 features to accomplish catalog reorganization. Useful for DB2 database administrators and systems programmers.

 


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