IBM DB2 Backup Command and Native Backup Methods

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IBM DB2 Backup

The IBM DB2 database contains a set of functions to provide the safety of stored data. This set includes some powerful and versatile options to perform all the data operations needed, such as backup and restoration of an entire database.


The Most Basic Principle: Typing a Command

The simplest way to perform IDM DB2 backup is to enter from console a command like this:

db2 backup db <alias> to <destination> [some extra parameters…]

where <alias> is the selected alias name of some DB2 database, and <destination> is a location assigned for safekeeping selected data.

This method is relatively simple and consistent; it can be tuned up to perfection using some extra parameters (see IBM extended documentation for more info). Also it makes possible to write a DB2 backup script performing any backup and restoring operations needed in a sequence with any other necessary commands and operations.

Principles of work with an IBM DB2 backup command line feature can cause a headache for most modern-day users feeling GUI as a good habit. For any skilled user accustomed with the power of command line operations, however, this approach is a valuable gift, as the versatility and the level of control provided by the DB2 commands interface are up to absolute.


The command line backup option supports all basic and advanced techniques of backup, such as:

  • Full, incremental, differential and mixed backup of data;
  • A choice of destination devices includes local disk drives (fixed or removable), tape devices, a Tivoli® Storage Manager (TSM) server and storage servers from other vendors. (It looks somewhat difficult to get information if DB2 internal backup allowing to save database content on, say, local network NASes, SFTP/FTPS or Amazon S3 cloud account);
  • Allows backup DB online;
  • Control parameters of buffers and sessions opened to backup the database;
  • Compress data saved using standard or external libraries.

The IBM DB2 backup command is available for administrators of a particular DB2 system only. No any other user can backup or restore databases, nor run a db2 script containing backup commands.

It has to be mentioned that the built-in backup utility cannot perform a “hot backup” operation, so all the databases and operations must be closed before running backup operations. This consideration can seriously speed down an overall data workflow.


Another Native Tools Designed for Backup IBM DB2 Databases

The IBM® Data Studio Version 3.1 or later contains the task assistant designed for performing database backup and restoration. Under the guidance of task assistant, an administrator can control the overall options to plan and schedule any sorts of backup tasks.

A short list of these external tools includes:

  • IBM DB2 Merge Backup;
  • IBM DB2 Recovery Expert;
  • IBM Optim High Performance Unload (to store data somewhere away);
  • IBM DB2 Advanced Recovery Feature, containing all three of these options.

To fully control the backup process of databases, IBM provides a set of somewhat independent software utilities, like db2ckbkp tool to check files after backup.

This approach can set an inexperienced user deep in trouble, as users need to know first what utilities they need to perform some needed actions. And this problem can be a bit more complex, as not all versions of DB2 engine are supporting these external utilities. For example, DB2 Express edition can’t support DB2 Advanced Recovery Feature utility, the most versatile kit of native backup options available on the market.

The most complete native backup tool set for IBM DB2 is available on US market with a price tag of $35,600 (excluding tax).

Of course, it is completely possible to purchase some third-party backup utility compatible with DB2, to perform same backup activities in somewhat more user-friendly or more suitable environment.


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The Means of Using IBM DB2 Backup Feature in Practice

Between the simple DB2 backup command entered from keyboard and many options that hides upon the power of this command is a waste of useful information. So we must say only few words about overall impression caused of the IBM DB2 backup command strategy for internal backup and recovery.

These words: It is a great feature for skilled professionals!

As a common user can feel uncomfortable and perplexed by functionality of internal DB2 backup, the skilled administrator can turn it into a precious, mighty set of possibilities and options, allowing saving any database content properly and securely, and restoring it without any loss if the need arises.

Most serious problems of this software are both relatively much effort to use it and relatively high price tag. Not mentioning these considerations, the built-in IBM DB2 backup tools are the excellent addition for this popular and efficient software.

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