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BigFix Supported Database Versions

Technote (troubleshooting)


Database version and edition requirements for the BigFix server application.

Resolving the problem

IBM BigFix has a well-documented matrix of system requirements, including operating system versions, hypervisor versions, browser versions, and database versions. In terms of database versions, the following offerings are supported.

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 (starting in BigFix 9.5.3)
  • DB2 Workgroup Edition 10.1, 10.5.

The versions supported for a specific BigFix release are documented in the system requirements matrix ( URL). The general recommendation is to use the most current database release supported for your BigFix version, as database performance, resilience, and function tend to only improve with each new release.
It should be noted that Microsoft SQL Server Express is also included in the list of reference databases. Both DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server offer “express versions”. These are license free, limited utility offerings typically intended for low demand or proof of concept situations.

In the case of DB2 Express, there is no compelling reason to use it. It is simply a constrained version of DB2, and the license for the full version is provided for BigFix Linux deployments.

In the case of Microsoft SQL Server Express, the support matrix clearly indicates it may be used for evaluation purposes, and the customer will provide the full Microsoft SQL Server license. What does this mean in the context of a BigFix deployment? Essentially, Microsoft SQL Server Express may be used for a BigFix deployment with the following constraints.

  • The user must be aware of the Microsoft SQL Server Express constraints. The constraints for a specific version are documented in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (e.g. URL). In general, the DBMS is constrained to a single CPU socket and up to four cores, utilizing up to 1GB of RAM and 10GB of database storage. Once the Microsoft SQL Server Express limits are reached, the configuration is no longer supported by IBM BigFix.
  • In terms of the scale limits for IBM BigFix with Microsoft SQL Server Express, scale on the order of 100 devices with one or two operators is expected. Even at this level of “proof of concept” scale, system monitoring is critical to ensure system health. For example, it may be possible to exceed 100 devices with careful monitoring, but it is considered a good rule of thumb. In addition, some BigFix function such as the IBM BigFix WebUI should be enabled with care. Further detail on managing monitoring and the WebUI is provided in the following points.
  • The user must perform adequate system monitoring to ensure the database system limits are not impacting the health of BigFix. For example, once the 10GB storage limit is reached, the database will no longer be viable. When the CPU and memory limits are reached, system response times and throughput will degrade. As a result system monitoring is critical. To monitor the storage limits, the Windows file explorer may be used. To manage the CPU and memory limits, the Windows performance monitor or task manager may be used for the SQL Server process. For advanced users, the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio may be used for monitoring.
  • In the event it is desired to enable the BigFix WebUI functionality, it should be done with caution. The reason for this is the WebUI will initiate additional database workload that will increase system resource requirements. Before enabling the BigFix WebUI, the base workload should be running with some headroom with respect to the Microsoft SQL Server Express limitations (CPU, memory, and storage). If resource utilization issues are indicated, either pre or post WebUI enablement, it is recommended to upgrade to the licensed version of Microsoft SQL Server.
  • In the event the defined limits are reached, Microsoft does support an in place upgrade approach. As a result, a maintenance outage may be taken, the DBMS licensed, and service may be resumed.
  • Note: The SQL Express database is expected to support upgrades from one version of the BigFix server application to the next. In addition, it is also expected to be compatible with the BigFix tools that work on the database (i.e. Computer Remover and Audit Trail Cleaner). Functionally, the SQL Express edition of the database is not expected to be constrained. The constraint only comes from space and capacity limitations as previously mentioned.

Related information

IBM BigFix Version 9.x: Capacity Planning Performance a

Document information

More support for: IBM BigFix family

Software version: Version Independent

Operating system(s): Platform Independent

Software edition: All Editions

Reference #: 1972180

Modified date: 10 August 2017

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