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Hosting DB2 on Solaris Zones

At my current client, a large, well-known dot com, we successfully use Solaris Container (Zone) virtualization technology to host DB2  version 9 instances for all lifecycle stages: Production, Stage and Development. This is significant; it is my understanding that there are very few companies using Solaris Containers to host DB2 server instances.

We have installed DB2 v9 fp4 on several Solaris Zones of flavor Solaris 10 11/06 s10s_u3wos_10 SPARC, SunOS 5.10. The underlying hardware is a T2000 Sun Fire. Separate global zones are provided for each lifecycle stage: Production, Staging and Development. Eight non-global zones are installed for every global zone by company standard. The Production DB2 non-global zone is allocated 10 CPU and 8 GB of memory, 8 GB of swap.

High availability [] on the zones is provided by Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) .

Production has been very stable for seven months now since our January 2008 implementation. I believe the implementation of DB2 version 9 using Solaris Containers has been very successful, and I would recommend this hosting option to other DB2 users.

The ability to quickly modify zone memory and CPU allocation has been a big advantage over non-virtualized environments where I have administered DB2. It has also resulted in huge cost savings for the customer, and VCS has been a great failover technology in conjunction with Solaris Zones. Zones and Containers FAQ


  1. Peter Suhner

    Hi Jeffrey,
    I fully agree – we (a large insurance company) have been running dedicated DB servers with DB2 8 on Solaris 8 for many years. By June 2008 we upgraded the whole environment to DB2 9 (currently FP4) and virtualized it on Solaris 10 Zones (all in one go). Hardware is T2000 for Development and Education, and M5000 for Acceptance Testing and Production. We have a nice add-on framework on the OS level to simply move zones around between servers with only a few minutes downtime. This enhances the flexibility and gives us optimized load distribution. Even more: As our SLAs allow for some downtime in case of a crash, this allowed us to get rid of the previously used Veritas cluster. SAN is RAID 10 and mirrored anyway and now we can easily bring the zone up on a different server within minutes.

    The stability and performance of this environment is just fine. Pro: Machine resources can be allocated and limited on a Zone level. Con: Pity this is true for memory and CPU only, but not (yet) for I/O. As databases are mainly I/O bound, this is a bit of a flaw up to now.

    Still: A great environment for DB2. BTW: our Oracle environment is set up completely identical.


    Posted on 20-Dec-08 at 16:20 | Permalink
  2. Thanks for your comment, Peter. The main reason I posted about DB2 under Solaris Zones is that IBM does not broadcast DB2’s support for virtualization – in fact the IBM reps with whom we worked during license purchase were very unclear whether Solaris Zones were supported. I am sure that docs exist out there somewhere on the maze that is the IBM website, but I haven’t found them yet.

    Posted on 20-Dec-08 at 21:06 | Permalink
  3. Peter

    There’s some stuff around from Sun. I found an IIUG presentation by Phil Philbin which contains references to some more material on the topic (search for Phil Philbin, Solaris 10, DB2). But apart from this, I haven’t come across much documentation.

    Posted on 21-Dec-08 at 12:25 | Permalink

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