IBM dashDB Local FAQ

When it comes to next-generation data warehousing and data management, the IBM dashDB family offers a range of options that all share a common technology.  dashDB Local is one of the new offerings and this blog provides a series of answers to your questions!  Please feel free to jump in at the bottom in the comments to add your own questions and we will respond.

      1.  What is the dashDB family?
        IBM dashDB is a family of next generation of database and data warehouse technologies that help you respond very quickly to application needs.  Originally in data warehousing, IT professionals assembled hardware software and storage to handle their large data sets for analytics needs.  This was risky, costly and time consuming.  This gave way to the data warehouse appliance that provided an optimized system for data warehousing and analytics.  The appliance was so successful that many consider it to be the backbone of their analytics architecture.But the world of analytics is expanding and new technologies are needed to handle more requests, more data sources and even self-service needs.  Hybrid data architectures are coming to the forefront to handle these increased needs. The dashDB family plays a key role here:

        • dashDB for analytics – as a fully managed cloud data warehouse
        • dashDB Local – as a configured data warehouse delivered via container technology to enable flexible deployment
        • dashDB for transactions – as a fully managed database as a service for transactional workloads.

        This family is designed to help you respond to new needs very quickly.  It also shares a common engine to help you leverage the same skills across different deployment models and application types. For more information on dashDB, visit dashDB.com.

      2. What is dashDB Local?
        dashDB Local is in-memory, columnar data warehousing software, supporting wide range of analytic workloads—from datamarts to enterprise data warehouses. It is deployed using Docker container technology, supporting a software defined environment such as private cloud, virtual private cloud or infrastructure of your choice, thus enabling hybrid Cloud configuration. dashDB Local can be deployed in minutes—making it fast and easy to deliver an auto configured data warehouse with built-in Netezza and Oracle compatibility.
      3. What is Docker?
        Docker is container technology that simplifies packaging and distribution of the software in a complete filesystem that contains everything needed to run: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries – anything that can be installed on a server. This guarantees that the software will always run the same, regardless of its environment.
      4. What is the difference between Docker and VMware?
        VMWare is virtualization technology, while Docker is the container technology used for simplified packaging and distribution of software.   While Docker Container provides operating system-level process isolation, VMware virtualization lets you run multiple virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical server (thus providing H/W level abstraction). Unlike VMware, Docker does not create an entire virtual operating system (thus making it lightweight to deploy and faster to start up compared to VMs). Both technologies can be used together, for example, Docker containers can be created inside VMs to make a solution ultra-portable.
      5. Is dashDB Local generally available?
        Yes it is. You can find a free trial of it at ibm.biz/dashDBLocal.
      6. On which platforms is dashDB Local supported?
        Today, dashDB Local runs on any platform that Docker engine is supported such as Linux, Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, and Cloud providers. More details can be found here and well as on the Docker site.
      7. On what platforms is dashDB Local supported?
        dashDB Local software is packaged and deployed using Docker container technology. Thus, dashDB Local can be installed on any platform where Docker engine client is supported. This includes Windows, Macintosh and variety of Linux platforms. Deploying IBM dashDB Local on Windows or Macintosh requires a Linux VM, in which you run Docker. By downloading the Docker Toolbox, which includes a GUI and a VM, you can accomplish this easily. Please refer to the dashDB Local knowledge center (documentation) for further details.
      8.  Is dashDB Local available on IBM Bluemix Local?
        Bluemix Local is managed by IBM on a clients’ infrastructure. There are no plans to offer dashdB Local on Bluemix Local at this time.
      9.  How long does it take to install dashDB Local?
        dashDB Local is based on Docker container technology, which allows setup and installation in less than 30 minutes. Today, the SMP version or MPP version of dashDB Local can be installed in less than 15 minutes.  This can be done on a range of servers from a simple laptop to a production-grade server. Since various components, such as LDAP security and DSM monitoring, are already bundled into a single container installation, there is a tremendous time savings and a more streamlined and efficient process.
      10. What  components are packaged and installed with  dashDB Local?
        dashDB Local is comprised of the following software components packaged in the Docker container, thus simplifying deployment and speeding up the overall setup. At the core is the dashDB analytics engine, tuned for columnar and in-memory workloads, built-in Netezza and Oracle compatibility, an LDAP server for user access management.  IBM Data Server Manager, which acts as the key monitoring component, is also included to provide key features such as query history monitoring, database performance monitoring and OS level monitoring.
      11. Is dashDB local available outside of Docker public hub?
        Soon, a standalone version of dashDB Local will be available on IBM Fix Central and will  leverage the Docker download command on the host OS. This will remove the dependency of pulling the dashDB Local image from the private, access-controlled repository on the public Docker hub. This will also alleviate challenges where a firewall port to access the public docker hub cannot be opened.
      12. What are the minimum prerequisites to install dashDB Local?
        You can find the documented prerequisites for dashDB Local in the Knowledge Center.  Some of the key requirements focus on Docker client and POSIX-compliant storage files systems, as documented. An additional key requirement revolves around opening access to the following network ports or on the firewall. Ensure that the following ports are opened and defined on all nodes in the cluster and defined in each node’s /etc/hosts file.60000-60024, for database FCM
        25000-25999, for Apache Spark
        50022, for SSH/container OS
        50001, for database connection with SSL
        50000, for database connection without SSL
        9929, for communication tests
        9300, for web console status
        8443, for web console HTTPS
        5000, for System Manager
        389, for LDAP
        22, for SSH/host OS
      13. How does Apache Spark fit into the dashDB Local architecture?
        dashDB Local lets you dramatically modernize your data warehouse solutions with advanced analytics based on Spark. It is installed and configured within the dashDB Local container, thus making it fully integrated, supporting a variety of use cases.Spark applications that process relational data can gain significant performance and operational QoS benefits from deploying and running inside dashDB Local. It enables end-to-end analytic solution creation, from interactive exploration and machine learning experiments; verification of analytic flows; easy operationalization of Spark applications through to hosting Spark applications in a multi-tenant enterprise warehouse system; and integration of Spark applications with other applications via various invocation APIs. It allows you to invoke Spark logic via SQL connections and can land streaming data directly into tables via deployed Spark applications. It can run complex data transformations and feature extractions that cannot be expressed with SQL using integrated Spark.
      14. I have a running dashdb local instance where I’ve set DISABLE_SPARK=‘YES’ in the options file. How can I tell if this option took affect and the actual memory the db is using?This can be confirmed during the startup of dashDB Local container. When Spark is disabled, you will see in the docker start output “Spark support is going to be disabled.” When Spark is enabled you will see”Current spark share : XX% of total memory. “
      15. Is the SPARK setting available as an install time switch, or can I enable and disable spark every time I start the database by changing this?
        The SPARK feature can be enabled/disabled any time. You can change the DISABLE_SPARK setting anytime again and just restart dashDB local in the container (docker exec -it dashdb stop/start).
      16. Is there currently a maximum number of nodes for dashDB Local?
        Currently, one can create up to 24 node MPP cluster in dashDB Local.
      17. Can I upgrade from the GA trial to the production version of dashDB Local?
        Yes, you can upgrade/update the post-GA trial version to a production grade version. Once the product is purchased, a permanent license can be applied to update the license.
      18. How can I get support for dashDB Local ?
        Upon purchase of dashDB Local, clients are entitled to support via email or phone. One can open a PMR with the IBMs support ticketing system. IBM will support the dashDB Local container and all of the components inside it. For Docker specific issues, clients should contact the Docker support team. The IBM support team will assist in identifying the problem and advise accordingly.
      19. If I run into docker issue, would IBM support handle it for me?
        IBM will support the “dashDB Local container”, but not the Docker engine itself. It is the client’s responsibility to subscribe to Docker support.  Customers can leverage Docker CS engine (from Docker) or Open source docker RPMs that come with the Linux distros (such as Red Hat). Docker will provide commercial support only for Docker CS engine and not for Docker RPMs and it is the customer choice of a relevant support path regarding docker components.
      20. How often are dashDB Local updates/fix packs made available?
        dashDB Local is based on an agile development cloud model and the intent is to roll out container updates frequently. This will not only make it easier to stay current with the latest bug fixes, and newest features. The updates are handled via container update process and will take less then 30 minutes, similar to the container setup.
      21. Can dashDB Local be installed on Amazon AWS or Azure/ AWS ?
        dashDB Local can be installed on the infrastructure of your choice, as long as that infrastructure supports Docker container technology. dashDB Local is client-managed and can also be installed in your data center and any virtual private cloud infrastructures such as Amazon AWS EC2 or Microsoft Azure platforms.
      22. What kind of storage is required for dashDB Local?
         dashDB Local requires a posix-compliant clustered file storage system. This is applicable for the MPP cluster only. For a standalone SMP installation, this is not a requirement. You can use standard local disks for a SMP dashDB local node setup.Cluster file system is a file system that is configured in a way to group servers and resources together to have concurrent access to a single file system. The key to a cluster file system is that the cluster appears as a single highly available system to all the end users. This increases the storage utilization rate and can result in high performance.
        Some common examples of clustered file storage system are :
        – VERITAS Cluster File System(VxFS) Sun Solaris, HP/UX
        – Generalized Parallel File System (GPFS) IBM AIX, Linux
        – GFS2 Red Hat only
      23. Is Oracle compatibility available in dashDB local?
        Yes, Oracle compatibility is supported in dashDB Local. You can enable applications that were written for an Oracle database to use dashDB™ Local without having to be rewritten. To use this capability, you must specify that dashDB Local is to run in Oracle compatibility mode prior to initial deployment.Before you begin, the /mnt/clusterfs/ directory must already be created. To perform this task, you need to have root authority on the host system OS. By default, Oracle compatibility mode is not enabled. To enable it, you explicitly make an entry in the /mnt/clusterfs/options file prior to deploying dashDB Local. Run the command below and then follow the normal steps around container deployment/initializationecho “ENABLE_ORACLE_COMPATIBILITY=’YES'” >> /mnt/clusterfs/options

        For more details:
        http://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SS6NHC/com.ibm.swg.im.dashdb.doc/admin/local_oracompat.html
        http://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SS6NHC/com.ibm.swg.im.dashdb.doc/admin/local_setup.html#setup

 

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