We’ve previously talked about expanding into Azure and how you can de-silo your data currently accruing value in your IBM i/AS400 DB2 databases. Today, I want to talk about how this works under the hood. Connecting your DB2 to Azure Cloud Analytics to unlock your data into cloud analytics for greater value works by leveraging the DB2 ODBC Driver and connecting it to Azure via a dedicated custom connection point in Azure Synapse or Azure Data Factory and then using the Copy Activity utility.
If you are connecting Azure Synapse directly to your IBM i/AS400 DB2 and your IBM i/AS400 DB2 datastore is located inside an on-premises network, or an Azure virtual network, then you will need to configure a self-hosted integration runtime to connect to it.
However, if your IBM i/AS400 DB2 datastore is a managed cloud data service, such as Skytap, you can use the Azure Integration Runtime directly and as a result, save yourself some time and effort. As a note, if the access is restricted to IPs that are approved in the firewall rules, you can add Azure Integration Runtime IPs to the allow list.
For an even more simple and diverse connection to enable additional services in the future, I recommend that you use the managed virtual network integration runtime feature within Azure Data Factory to access the on-premises network without installing and configuring a self-hosted integration runtime.
The Integration Runtime provides a built-in DB2 driver, therefore you don’t need to manually install any driver when copying data from DB2.
In Azure Data Factory and Synapse pipelines, you can use the Copy activity utility to copy data among data stores located on-premises and in the cloud. After you copy the data, you can use other activities to further transform and analyze it. You can also use the Copy activity to publish transformation and analysis results for business intelligence (BI) and application consumption.
The Copy activity is executed on an integration runtime. You can use different types of integration runtimes for different data copy scenarios:
- When you’re copying data between two data stores that are publicly accessible through the internet from any IP, you can use the Azure integration runtime for the copy activity. This integration runtime is secure, reliable, scalable, and globally available.
- When you’re copying data to and from data stores that are located on-premises or in a network with access control (for example, an Azure virtual network), you need to set up a self-hosted integration runtime.
You can monitor the Copy activity run in the Azure Data Factory and Synapse pipelines both visually and programmatically. This is achieved by using Azure Monitor, for more information on how to set this up, you can read about how Monitoring copy activity is set up in Azure Monitor’s documentation.
For more information on how to set up this connector yourself, check out this whitepaper that Microsoft and Skytap wrote to get started getting your data into Azure Analytics.
To get a quick high-level summary of what Skytap and Azure synapse can bring to your organization, check out this datasheet.