How Up to Date is Your IBM Data Studio? by Phil Nelson

At the time of writing (July 2015) the latest version of Data Studio is 4.1.1.0 and it is common thinking that with that version installed that you have the latest public version of IBM Data Studio. Going into IBM Installation Manager and searching for updates would also give this impression, since no updates will be found.

It isn't widely known that IBM regularly ships, approximately every three months) fixpacks for IBM Data Studio containing both bug fixes and new functionality. These must be downloaded and installed individually, rather than becoming visible automatically within Installation Manager, although I'm not sure why this should be the case since Installation Manager is perfectly capable of being used to do this.  This article will describe the process for acquiring and downloading the latest fixpack and also describes some of the new functionality provided since Data Studio 4.1.1.0 was released.

First you must acquire the fixpack software.   This can be found by searching Google for “IBM Data Studio Fixpacks”.   This leads to an IBM support document - http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27015690

This in turn has a link to IBM Fix Central, where you can filter for fixes based on Data Studio versions and operating systems.  You will eventually be offered a zip file to download.   The latest fixpack for Data Studio 4.1.1.0 at the time of writing was “APAR5”, released at the end of June 2015.   The zipfile for APAR5 is called DS411_APAR5_v20150615_2249Patch.zip.  It contains all fixes since the base Data Studio 4.1.1.0 - in other words each fixpack is cumulative (the same as a regular DB2 fixpack).

You do not need to unpack the fixpack to install it. IBM Installation Manager is able to handle the zipfile directly. Simply open up Installation Manager and choose from the menubar File / Preferences. The first tab is “Repositories” and here you choose “Add Repository” button.  Browse to and select the zipfile and then choose “OK” to dismiss the preferences dialog.  Now if you take the “Update” link from the main Installation Manager screen you will be able to install the fixpack in the usual way. Note that if you a newer fixpack becomes available you can install this without having to remove the older fixpack first.

If you have used Data Studio 4.1.1.0 at all then the installation is now complete. If you have installed a fresh copy of Data Studio and are applying the fixpack immediately then an extra step is needed before Data Studio can be used.  You will need to find the launcher for Data Studio in the “Start” menu (on Windows, or equivalent on Linux), edit its properties and add “ -clean” to the “Target” (the complete application to execute). After this you can start Data Studio normally.It is actually easier and safer to start the base Data Studio once before applying the fixpack than have to go through this process.

Since the zipfile is in standard Installation Manager repository format, it can be added to a corporate deployment repository in the usual way, so that users can be automatically upgraded using standard automation software.

You may have noticed on the Fix Central page that fixes for the Java (JDK) bundled with Data Studio are also made available through this route. Sometimes these fix security vulnerabilities in the JDK itself, but often these also contain JDK fixes required to support fixes supplied with the Data Studio fixpack Installation instructions for applying these are in this IBM technote - http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21691806

The technote advises updating the control files to point to the new installation of the JDK, and that if another fixpack is applied to Data Studio this will have to be repeated (because the fixpack will ship a new version of the eclipse.ini pointing at the original location).  I have found it easier to simply rename the old version (perhaps to jdk-orig) and install the new version into the original jdk directory (this is particularly easy on Linux, where logical links can also be used).

As we said previously, there is no need to unzip the fixpack to install it.  However if you wish to see the fixes and enhancements shipped with the fixpack you will find these in a file called readme.txt within the zip file. Also inside the zipfile you will find more detailed installation instructions (as “Hotfix Guide.pdf”). There is also a directory called QueryTunerServerConfig which contains sample JCL and new DBRMs for the InfoSphere Optim Query Workload Tuner (for z/OS) functionality that you can use within Data Studio if you have a license.

As we said before all the fixes and enhancements in a fixpack are detailed in the readme.txt. Where there has been a PMR opened against a problem then the PMR reference is documented, so if you want more information on a particular item you may be able to use this to get to this.  You will also sometimes find the APAR numbers for fixed problems or the RFE (Request For Enhancement) number for an added feature. Other items have been fixed without formal PMRs, either because they have been discovered by internal IBM testing or have been noted by the Data Studio team during regular discussions with customers (the Data Studio team is, I have found, very open to discussions with “power users” both about requirements and issues.

Some notable fixes and enhancements include:

  • Fixes for a number of security vulnerabilities including some related to SSL/TLS support
  • New versions of the JDBC drivers (with associated new functionality)
  • Toleration support for DB2 for LUW native encryption
  • Support for some DB2 for z/OS features, particularly archive tables
  • Allow setting values for special registers in the connection wizard

It is the last of these which first made me aware of the existence of fixpacks for Data Studio.   We were investigating the use of “SET SESSION AUTHORIZATION” to enable teams of programmers to work on the same stored procedure codebase within DB2 for LUW. Although we could work out how to achieve this from a raw JDBC connection, and also using a CONNECT_PROC, there did not seem to be a way to set special registers in a JDBC connection within Data Studio. Thankfully we were able to make contact with the Data Studio development team and they have added this enhancement in the latest fixpack. It will be generally useful in a wide range of circumstances (for example, on z/OS you will now be able to issue a “SET CURRENT SQLID” on connection if you wish).

So hopefully you will now be able to bring your Data Studio fully up to date. If there are still issues you are experiencing, or enhancements you would like to see then I would encourage you to raise these with IBM through the usual support channels. Remember that although IBM Data Studio is free it is fully supported as part of your DB2 support contract.

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