Author: Kevin Jacquier
IBM recently announced their new BLU Acceleration feature of IBM DB2. BLU Stands for “Big Data, Lightning Fast, Ultra-Easy”. This is a feature of IBM DB2 version 10.2, not a new product. Therefore, it requires minimal ramp up time to get started. Here are some of the highlights of the DB2 BLU.
Simply put, “BLU Acceleration” generates DB2 tables in a “column based” rather than the typical “row based” architecture. There are many benefits to it, which are highlighted below. One significant advantage that IBM DB2 has with BLU Acceleration is that it can be queried as both Row Based and Column Based tables in a single database. There are other Column Based database products (SYBASE IQ) that only support the Column Based architecture.
When compared with the existing Row Based table architecture of IBM DB2, the BLU Acceleration feature provides amazing performance improvements, reduces disk space tremendously, supports extremely large volumes of data, and does not require indexing thus simplifying the maintenance.
I have included a list of testimonials on user adoption of this feature. All seem to be very positive. To date, the only negative comment I have found is that BLU Acceleration loses its power when most of the columns of a table are queried. This is not a downside to BLU Acceleration as it still performs as good as the Row Based tables; it just loses some of its power. Typically this would only occur when users start running massive data dumps, which they should not be doing anyway.
The IBM Redbook titled, “Leveraging DB2 10 for High Performance of Your Data warehouse” has a lot of great information regarding DB2 BLU Acceleration. The link to a PDF version of this book is provided below:
Some analysts are calling IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration to be “As Good as Hadoop for Big Data”. The link below goes into this further:
Based on an IBM Press release, the following are highlights of BLU Acceleration:
- Dynamic in-memory technology that loads terabytes of data in Random Access Memory, which streamlines query workloads even when data sets exceed the size of the memory.
- “Actionable Compression,” which allows analytics to be performed directly on compressed data without having to decompress it. Some customers have reported as much as 10 times storage space savings.
- An innovative advance in database technology that allows DB2 to process both row-based and column-based tables simultaneously within the same system. This allows much faster analysis of vast amounts of data for faster decision-making.
- The simplicity to allow clients access to blazing-fast analytics transparently to their applications, without the need to develop a separate layer of data modelling or time-consuming data warehouse tuning.
- Integration with IBM Cognos Business Intelligence Dynamic Cubes to provide breakthrough speed and simplicity for reporting and analytics. Companies can analyse key facts and freely explore more information faster from multiple angles and perspectives to make more-informed decisions.
- The ability to take advantage of both multi-core and single instruction multiple data (SIMD) features in IBM POWER and Intel x86 processors
This is built into DB2 10.5, not a separate product, which means the time it takes to get started is incredibly fast. So it offers in-memory processing, analysis of compressed data, and simultaneous processing of columnar or row-based tables. It’s skipping data that isn’t relevant and saving space by compressing data. Very cool stuff, but just how fast is it? The following link discusses this in detail:
A demonstration of IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration used in conjunction with IBM Cognos Dynamic Cubes is provided in the following link.
During a technology preview, IBM demonstrated that a 32-core system using BLU Acceleration could query a 10TB data set with 100 columns and 10 years of data with sub-second response time. “First we compress the data in the table by 10x resulting in a table that on disk is only 1TB in size. The query then only accesses 1 column so 1/100 of the columns in the table (1% – 10GB of 1TB). So using data skipping we can skip over 9 years and only look at 1 year (now 1GB of data). Now divide across 32 cores for the scan, each core processes only 32 MB of data. Scan will happen faster on encoded data (say 4x faster than traditional) as fast as 8MB of data on traditional system. Therefore, in the end each core is only processing 8MB of data which is no issue to get a sub-second response from.” References in a press release had similar results, with improvements ranging from 10 to 45 times that of pre-BLU results.
If you are interested in learning more about DB2 BLU, or see opportunities for implementing it within your organization, contact FYI Solutions. We have over 30 years of experience with business analytics and database technology.
Here are some quotes from Companies using BLU Acceleration:
The below quotes were taken from the following link – See more at:
“When we compared the performance of column-organized tables in DB2 to our traditional row-organized tables, we found that, on average, our analytic queries were running 74x faster when using BLU Acceleration. The best outcome was a query that finished 137x faster by using BLU Acceleration.”– Kent Collins, Database Solutions Architect, BNSF Railway
“We were very impressed with the performance and simplicity of BLU. We found that some queries achieved an almost 100x speed up with literally no tuning!” – Philip Källander, Chief Technical Architect – Datawarehouse & Analytics at Handelsbanken
“Wow…unbelievable speedup in query run times! We saw a speedup of 273x in our Vehicle Tracking report, taking a query from 10 minutes to 2.2 seconds. That adds value to our business; our end users are going to be ecstatic!”
- Ruel Gonzalez – Information Services, DataProxy, LLC.
“Compared to our current production system, DB2 10.5 with BLU Acceleration is running 106x faster for our Admissions and Enrollment workloads. We had one query that we would often cancel if it didn’t finish in 30 minutes. Now it runs in 56 seconds every time. 32x faster, predictable response time, no tuning…what more could we ask for?” – Brenda Boshoff, Sr. DBA, University of Toronto
“10x. That’s how much smaller our tables are with BLU Acceleration. Moreover, I don’t have to create indexes or aggregates, or partition the data, among other things. When I take that into account in our mixed table-type environment, that number becomes 10-25x.” -Andrew Juarez, Lead SAP Basis and DBA, Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated
“While expanding our initial DB2 tests with BLU Acceleration, we continued to see exceptional compression rates – our tables compressed at over 92%. But, our greatest thrill wasn’t the compression rates (though we really like it), rather the improvement we found in query speed which was more than 50X faster than with row-organized tables.” – Xu Chang, Chief DBA Support – DB2 and Oracle Databases, Mindray Medical International Ltd
“With DB2 10.5 using BLU Acceleration we were able to reduce our storage requirements by over 10x compared to uncompressed tables and our query performance also improved by 10x or more. In comparison to a competitive product, DB2 10.5 with BLU Acceleration used significantly less storage and outperformed them by 3x.”
- Paul Peters, Lead Database Administrator, VSN Systemen B.V.
“When Adaptive compression was introduced in DB2 10.1, having achieved storage savings of up to 70%, I was convinced this is as good as it gets. However, with DB2 10.5 with BLU Acceleration, I have been proven wrong! Converting my row-organized, uncompressed table to a column-organized table gave me a massive 93.5% storage savings!” – Iqbal Goralwalla, Head of DB2 Managed Services, Triton
“The BLU Acceleration technology has some obvious benefits: It makes our analytical queries run 4-15x faster and decreases the size of our tables by a factor of 10x. But it’s when I think about all the things I don’t have to do with BLU, it made me appreciate the technology even more: no tuning, no partitioning, no indexes, no aggregates.” -Andrew Juarez, Lead SAP Basis and DBA, Coca-cola Bottling Consolidated
“DB2 BLU Acceleration is all it says it is. Simplicity at its best, the “Load and Go!” tagline is all true. We didn’t have to change any of our SQL, it was very simple to setup, and extremely easy to use. Not only did we get amazing performance gains and storage savings, but this was achieved without extra effort on our part.” - Ruel Gonzalez – Information Services, DataProxy LLC.
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