DB2 Viper Install
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Review:How easy is it to install DB2 Viper Express C edition
Feature: IBM tries to make a potentially complicated process straightforward

As we have noted in our DB2 overview article, we believe that IBM's DB2 is one of the best database values available with its dual XML-hierarchic and SQL-relational database capabilities integrated fairly tightly together in the Viper edition. The key DB2 advantage is that Express C version can be developed and deployed with no cost on a dual core server with up to 4GB in memory and no limit to the number of users. This is a real value worthy of exploring in full detail.

But the question is how easy is it to install and develop database applications in DB2. In this review we examine the install and startup process for DB2 in fairly complete coverage. It all starts with making sure you have a system equal to the task by checking out the system requirements for DB2 Express C on your chosen OS and server hardware and then downloading the appropriate software.

Go here to skip preliminaries and do the Install right away
Go here for starting to get DB2 Express C info:

to get all the information on DB2 Express C, what you can do with it, and most importantly the system requirements. As you might expect, for Windows users there are a couple of small flies in the ointment.
db2Specifically, IBM DB2 does not work with any version of Windows 2000. It now supports a Windows XP Home edition, the most common edition of XP but there are some changes to get around the lack of IIS in Windows XP/Home making XP/Home the largest of the Express C downloads. There is a small workaround opportunity. If you can get a copy of VMWare and IIS, you can set up a virtual machine under XP Home that will run DB2 Express C no holds barred.

A much cheaper (and faster to implement) alternative is to dual boot your machine and run a Linux partition with Suse Linux 10 or Redhat's Fedora 5, both freely downloadable, and go from there. You can also get a free copy of VMWare for various configurations of XP and software and then configure the OS of choice that way also. Users of XP Media Center are in luck, that version of Windows supports DB2 Express C. Finally, DB2 Express C has a Vista capable version as well so all of the currrent MS officially supported versions of Windows are supported by IBM.

We will continue this install of DB2 onto Windows XP Media Center edition and then will follow with a Linux version. There are two more important points before the download gets started. First, the base download is in the 350MB range so a very fast dial up or better broadband is going to be needed. IBM has a Discovery Disk which takes 3-4 weeks to arrive and since we have still not gotten ours - we cannot conform that it has Express C.

The second point is that you are not done with your downloads. There are about five to seven additional tools and utilities you may want to download depending on what you want to do
dbv with DB2. The screen shot above shows the primary set of "optional" downloads. We summarize here why you might want to get them:
DB2 Client - is a must download for all developers supporting client side services
DB2 Developer Workbench - Eclipse based DB2 query (including XQuery) developers tool
DB2 Runtime Client - used in apps built in Workbench and WAS-Websphere Application Server
DB2 Driver for JDBC and SQLJ - used in Java apps with DB2 but also needed for queries
DB2 Driver for ODBC and CLI - used with C/C++ and .NET apps
DB2 Net Search Extender - used to enhance database search capabilities for apps
DB2 Information Center Install - essential - download these docs, at 500MB still a bargain
DB2 Add-ins for Visual Studio 2005 - a must if you are developing in .NET and Windows
WAS Community Edition - Websphere Application Server is one of many Java platforms
PHP Zend Core - if you plan to link PHP to DB2, this is essential
Tutorial on Developing Java apps - highly recommended if DB2 with Java is in your plans
Of course there are many other DB2 resources at your disposal; but these are the core ones.

Download and Install

The place to go to download DB2 Express C is here.

Notice that IBM offers you the choice of downloading through your browser or using IBM's Download Director. With Opera and IE users I recommend the use of IBM's Download Director. Even with a broadband connection both IE and Opera coughed inexplicably and lost the 350MB download midway through. With Mozilla/Firefox, you can safely use their Download Manager which has resume and retry capabilities.

Start the Install Process

Go to the directory where you downloaded the DB2 zip file. Unzip the file (db2exc_91_WIN_x86.zip in the case of Windows) to a temporary directory. Then switch to that directory and double click the setup.exe . You should see this screen:
IBM has supplied all the information about requirements and prerequisites which we have highlighted the key points about above. However by clicking on the tabs DB2 Setup Launchpad and Installation Prerequisites you can get all the late breaking details.

To get the install rolling click on the tab Install a Product and then under DB2 Express click on the the Install New button. The following screen should appear:

Click Next and the following License screen will popup:

If you are like me, sigh and click "I accept..." and then Next.
The Installation type dialog appears and take Typical option button - it is relatively easy to add advanced options later. First, remarkably many advanced capabilities like partitioning and critical tablespace locationing features are built into DB2 Express C, so you have more contol right out of the box. Second, IBM allows you to create many instances of the database with your own specially defined properties. The cost is diskspace and the need to manage start-up services closely if on the same server; but thats part of DBA work in the first place.

Click Next and the Response File dialog shown below appears:
Unless you are going to be installing many versions of DB2 Express C on many desktops just do the install for this computer and not worry about a response file for reuse in many installs.

Click the Next button and the Folder dialog appears:
Note the size of the typical build, about 500MB. I generally do not change the recommended directory for installs because some utilities and 3rd party software are default directory dependent. However, my previous DB2 8.1 install was to a chosen drive plus directory combination and I had no problems with that instance.

Decide what you want to do and then click Next. Now you get to name the instance:
This time I generally am creative in naming a database copy - but because I am doing a demo install I choose a prosaic modified name.

Click the next button and this is the first screen where you may have to do extra work.
The Instance dialog is the point where you may want to create a very specific instance of DB2, say for small scale apps or large data warehousing. But before you click the Configure button make sure you are up to speed on DB2 instance administration and their trade-offs because lots of specialized settings get invoked here.

Click Next to get to the User Settings screen. Again, developers have to be careful here.
The simplest option is to set your own local user name and password. But for some workgroup setups this is not going to cut the mustard. Check the installation guidance at the DB2 Information Center or the DB2 Wiki. for some of the details.. Also be sure to note down the username and password. You won't need the for most direct interaction with installed DB2 through Control Center or the Command line; but you certainly will need them when working with the Database Workbench and other application development steps.

Click Next and DB2 is ready for install. Check through the summary of what will be installed
if anything is amiss - you can always go back and change the specific dialog. DB2's install wizard is smart and remembers all your initial settings.

When the DB 2 is installed, it took just over a minute and a half on a 2.4GHz, 2GB of memory AMD dual core processor to do the actual install. The install step ends with s dialog box:
Now my first instinct was to rush out and fire up DB2's Control Center - the Java-based administration module that handles most DBA tasks for DB2. But I got sidetracked using instead IBM DB2 | DB2COPY1 | Set-up Tools | First Steps from the Windows XP Program menu. Boy am I glad I did. In the closing screen above in addition to offering users the option to install a DB2 add-in for Visual Studio 2005, IBM should tell developers about the First Steps - they are very helpful.

First Steps is a web application that guides users through the following processes:
Database Creation - including loading up the Sample database as well as creating your own
Database Administration - now you get to fire up Control Center with something for it to do
Application Development - a mother lode of info on IBM tools for developing with DB2
Technical Resources - shows where to get DB2 documentation and support
Product Updates - an auto update and extensions center for DB2
This is an invaluable and comprehensive set of resources. And IBM will be sending you emails as well after your download reminding you where to get DB2 Express C tools and utilities.

Each step along the way of getting familiar with DB2, I return to First Steps. The one downside is that First Steps requires an Internet connection even if you have downloaded and installed the DB2 Information Center (highly recommended). Preparing for this review I was working from a site with no effective Internet and that slowed the Application Development steps in starting to use DB2. But the Database Creation and Database Administration steps are largely self contained.
For example, to create the Sample database is just a button click away while creating your own database follows the steps of a wizard. It is dirt simple but also provides insights into DB2 Viper for veterans as well as newbies.

By the way when creating the Sample database make sure you create the XML and SQL objects database. XML is what DB2 Viper is all about. Read the free IBM System Journal on 10 years of XML and its impact on DB2 Viper here.


The DB2 download and unzip process took nearly twice as long to do as the actual install process - so some users without DSL/Broadband may want to order the free DB2 Discovery DVD. The install processes is a bit longwinded at 10 dialog screens - and users do have to be careful at the latter stages when Instance Configuration and User Account options are made available. If you are looking at DB2 for training or part of an app development project, stick with the defaults they will allow you to get up and running with the least hassles. As we do more development exercises, configuring DB2 will be discussed along the way. But the bottom line is that IBM has gone out of its way to make its free DB2 Express C version:
1)Up to date with the latest Viper/XML technology;
2)Easy to install and get started with;
3)Loaded with resources on how to use effectively.
Some people are calling IBM a software powerhouse - its database division is certainly that.

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