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Status Needs more information
Workspace IBM i
Categories Db2 for i
Created by Guest
Created on Sep 15, 2022

improve performances of DB2 sequences

I like the principle of DB2 sequences, but there is a big problem with the implementation of it on IBM i.

Indeed, the command CREATE SEQUENCE does not generate a real DB2 object, It generates an IBM i object of DATA AREA type.

However, DATA AREAs have poor performances in terms of access time, both in reading and writing. This prohibits using them on batch jobs performing multiple INSERTs per second.

To correct this, DATA AREAs should be replaced by real DB2 objects, specially optimized to provide much better performance

Idea priority High
  • Guest
    Oct 31, 2022
    IBM would like more details about how you are using sequences.

    The situation you are describing appears to be about the locking that is performed when allocating the next sequence value. Sequences must acquire an exclusive lock on the *DTAARA object to serialize multiple competing jobs asking for new values. No matter how sequences are implemented, this lock requirement must exist.

    The CACHE value that is part of the sequence definition can help performance by allocating a block of sequence numbers to a job when a request is made. Rather than only having one value provided to a job, a block of values is allocated from the sequence, This cache is maintained by SQL and used as future requests from that job are made. This lowers the number of lock requests needed by a job, causing less interference with other jobs. For example, if the CACHE value is set to 100, when a job requests a sequence value 100 values are taken from the sequence. The job will not need to lock the *DTAARA again until all 100 values have been consumed.

    The downside of this CACHE behavior is that if a job does not use all of its values, the unused values are lost.

    Now for the questions we have.
    What is the full definition of the sequence that you are using?
    select * from qsys2.syssequences where sequence_schema = 'mylib' and sequence_name = 'myseq';
    How many jobs do you generally have competing for sequence values?
    Would using an IDENTITY column in your table be an alternative that fits your application?

    While it is unlikely that we would implement a new version of sequences, we are interested in ideas that can help improve the performance of applications that use them.


    Db2 for i development team
    IBM Power Systems Development
  • Guest
    Oct 5, 2022

    The problem is not about obtaining the sequence numbers. The problem is the lock of the underlying IBM i objects used for DB2 sequences, that are data areas. When you run several jobs in parallel using the same DB2 sequence on an IBM i, you find that some of the jobs are blocked by the locks produced by the competing jobs. The resulting degradation of performance is significant when you work on big volumes of data.

  • Guest
    Oct 3, 2022
    IBM needs more information to further assess your Idea.

    We provide caching ability for sequences for improved performance. Are you aware of this? If so, is there a reason it does not satisfy your needs?

    From the SQL Reference https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/i/7.5?topic=statements-create-sequence :


    Caching sequence numbers: A range of sequence numbers can be kept in memory for fast access. When an application accesses a sequence that can allocate the next sequence number from the cache, the sequence number allocation can happen quickly. However, if an application accesses a sequence that cannot allocate the next sequence number from the cache, the sequence number allocation will require an update to the *DTAARA object.

    Choosing a high value for CACHE allows faster access to more successive sequence numbers. However, in the event of a failure, all sequence values in the cache are lost. If the NO CACHE option is used, the values of the sequence are not stored in the sequence cache. In this case every access to the sequence requires an update to the *DTAARA object. The choice of the value for CACHE should be made keeping the trade-off between performance and application requirements in mind.


    Db2 for i development team
    IBM Power Systems Development