Reviewed by Paul Turpin
Roger Sanders has written many DB2 for LUW certification preparation guides, and I have read almost all of them. The books were my primary study resource in preparing for DB2 certification tests. His most recent study guide, DB2 10.5 Fundamentals for LUW: Certification Study Guide (Exam 615), came too late for me to use for preparing for exam 615, but I am certain that it will be extremely valuable to those who are still preparing to take this exam (test C2090-615: DB2 10.5 Fundamentals for LUW). In addition to helping me prepare for exams, I have found Sanders’ books to be most useful references in my job as a DB2 database administrator (DBA). I still have a number of his older guides at my desk.
Both an Exam Guide and a DB2 Reference
Roger is heavily involved in the development of the DB2 tests and therefore is an expert on the information covered by the tests. His books, however, do not “teach the test.” They contain material that you need to master to do well on the test—plus much other material that will be invaluable in your job as a DBA. If you master the material in the book, you should do well on the test and in your job as a DBA.
DB2 10.5 Fundamentals for LUW: Certification Study Guide (Exam 615) is structured similarly to Sanders’ previous DB2 certification books. The book is full of useful graphics. I am a visual learner, and the graphics really help me understand the concepts that Sanders is teaching. I found the graphics to be especially helpful in Chapter 6, where the author explains referential constraints, and Chapter 7, where he explains data concurrency.
The book begins with an informative chapter about IBM DB2 certification. To help the reader master the certification material, the book concludes with an appendix of 125 practice questions, which are patterned after the real certification exam questions. The best part of the practice exam section is the detailed answer key that explains the correct answers and, in many cases, why certain answers are incorrect.
Essential Knowledge for DB2 DBAs
The exam includes a number of subjects that many DBAs do not spend a lot of time on, and the book really helps as a refresher for these kinds of topics. One such area is DB2 planning. The second chapter contains good coverage of DB2 planning and also explains the various DB2 versions. This is knowledge that DBAs often overlook in their day-to-day jobs. The certification test typically includes several questions on planning, so this is an important chapter. The planning chapter also includes information on features such as pureScale and BLU acceleration—which gets a 12-page discussion in this chapter.
Chapter 3 provides an excellent summary of DB2 security. It not only covers the basics, like authentication and privileges, but also gives a decent overview of some complex mechanisms, such as row and column access control (RCAC), column masks, and label-based access control (LBAC).
Some of the newer DB2 features like temporal (time-travel) tables, XML, and XQuery get good coverage in Chapter 5. Chapter 6, “Working with DB2 Tables, Views, and Indexes,” provides a useful overview of the most common types of DB2 objects. Chapter 7, on data concurrency, gives the reader a full explanation of all facets of data concurrency, including isolation levels, locks, and deadlocks.
I am certain that DBAs who use the book will find it very helpful first in their test study and later as a reference book. Roger’s book covers many important subjects, including those that are not typically part of a DBA’s daily routine; the book could be very helpful for reviewing these concepts.