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Indexes on DB2

 Concept of Indexes:

An index in DB2 is a separate structure that contains a copy of selected columns or fields from a table, along with a reference to the location of the corresponding rows in the table.

Indexes are organized in a specific data structure (such as a B-tree or hash table) that allows for quick lookup and retrieval of data based on the indexed columns.

Each index entry typically consists of the indexed column values and a pointer to the actual data location.

Purpose and Benefits of Indexes:

Improved Data Retrieval Performance: Indexes allow for faster data retrieval by providing a direct path to the desired rows, reducing the need for full table scans.

Efficient Query Execution: Indexes enable the query optimizer to choose efficient access paths, such as index scans or index-based joins, leading to faster query execution times.

Reduced Disk I/O: By narrowing down the search space, indexes can minimize the number of disk blocks read during data retrieval, resulting in lower I/O overhead.

Support for Constraints and Uniqueness: Indexes can enforce uniqueness constraints by ensuring that indexed columns contain unique values or combinations, promoting data integrity.

Ordering and Sorting: Indexes can be created on specific columns to enforce a particular sort order, facilitating faster sorting and ordered result retrieval.

Types of Indexes in DB2:

B-tree Indexes: The most common type, which organizes index entries in a balanced tree structure for efficient range-based searches and equality lookups.

Bitmap Indexes: Used for columns with a limited number of distinct values, where each bit in the index corresponds to a possible column value.

Hash Indexes: Suitable for equality searches, where the index key is hashed to provide direct access to the corresponding data location.

Function-based Indexes: Created based on a function or expression applied to one or more columns, allowing for specialized search capabilities.

CREATE INDEX index_name ON table_name (column1, column2, ...)

In the above syntax:

index_name is the name you assign to the index.

table_name is the name of the table on which the index is being created.

(column1, column2, ...) specifies the column(s) included in the index.

Now let's discuss the different methods of index creation in DB2, considerations to be checked, and tradeoffs involved:

Traditional Index Creation:

This method creates an index on an existing table in a single operation.

Syntax: CREATE INDEX index_name ON table_name (column1, column2, ...)

Online Index Creation:

This method allows the creation of an index while the table remains available for read and write operations.

Syntax: CREATE INDEX index_name ON table_name (column1, column2, ...)ONLINE

Considerations before creating indexes:

Selectivity: Choose columns with high selectivity (few distinct values) and frequently used in search conditions.

Query Analysis: Analyze query patterns to identify frequently executed queries that could benefit from indexes.

Performance Testing: Perform benchmark tests to assess the impact of index creation on query performance.

Disk Space: Consider the additional disk space required to store the index structure and index entries.

Tradeoffs of index creation:

Increased Disk Space: Indexes require additional disk space, so carefully manage storage requirements.

Index Maintenance Overhead: Indexes need to be maintained and updated, which can impact insert/update/delete operations on the table.

Storage Overhead: Indexes consume storage, so consider the impact on backup and restore operations.

Query Performance: While indexes improve query performance, they may introduce overhead during data modification operations due to index updates


To mitigate the tradeoffs and ensure optimal index usage:

Regularly monitor and analyze index usage, removing or modifying indexes that are not being used effectively.

Update statistics to ensure the query optimizer has accurate information for optimal index selection.

Regularly maintain indexes, such as rebuilding or reorganizing fragmented indexes.It's important to note that the choice of index creation method, the selection of columns, and the overall index design depend on your specific database and workload characteristics. 

It's recommended to perform thorough testing and analysis, considering the specific requirements and performance goals of your DB2 environment, to make informed decisions regarding index creation and maintenance

Here are some risks and considerations to keep in mind:

Impact on Database Performance:

Creating indexes involves additional disk I/O and index maintenance operations, which can temporarily impact the performance of the database.The duration of the index creation process depends on factors such as the size of the table and the number of rows. It can range from a few seconds to several hours for larger tables.

During the index creation process, there may be increased resource utilization, including CPU, memory, and disk usage, which can affect the overall database performance and response times.

Locking and Blocking:

Depending on the DB2 isolation level and locking configuration, creating an index on a table might require locks on the table, potentially causing blocking or contention with concurrent transactions.

Locking conflicts can impact the availability of the database and might result in transaction delays or timeouts.

Downtime or Maintenance Window:

In some cases, creating indexes on large tables or in heavily loaded production environments might require a maintenance window or a scheduled downtime to minimize the impact on ongoing operations.

It is recommended to perform index creation during periods of low database activity to minimize disruptions.

Backup and Recovery Considerations:

Before making any changes to the production database, it is crucial to ensure that proper backups and recovery mechanisms are in place.

In the unlikely event of issues or unexpected behavior during index creation, having recent backup allows you to restore the database to a known good state.

To mitigate the risks associated with creating indexes on a live production database:

Thoroughly test the index creation process in a non-production environment that closely resembles the production environment to understand the potential impact and performance implications.

Analyze the workload patterns and query requirements to identify the most beneficial indexes and prioritize their creation accordingly.

Consider scheduling the index creation during off-peak hours or low activity periods to minimize disruption to the production system.

Communicate the planned index creation activity to stakeholders and users to manage expectations regarding potential temporary performance degradation.


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