Row Identifier in DB2 (V9 Onwards)

I use to wonder why we don't have something called as row identifier in DB2 as it is there in oracle or MySQL.Finally IBM added it in V9 and continued in V10.

Let me explain what row identifier is and what purpose it serves.

The RID function returns the record ID (RID) of a row. The RID is used to uniquely identify a row.

The function might return a different value when it is invoked multiple times for a row. For example, after the REORG utility is run, the RID function might return a different value for a row than would have been returned prior to the REORG utility being run. The RID function is not deterministic.

DB2 might reuse RID numbers when a REORG operation is performed. If the RID function is used to obtain a value for a row and an application depends on that value remaining the same as long as the row exists, consider the following alternatives:
  • Add a ROW ID column to the table to provide a value that can be associated with each row, rather than invoking the RID function to generate a value for a row.
  • Define a primary key for the table, using the columns of the primary key to ensure uniqueness, rather than invoking the RID function to generate a value for a row.
Example : Return the RID and last name of employees who are in department '20':
 
 SELECT RID(EMP), LASTNAME
     FROM EMP
     WHERE DEPTNO = '20';
Let me give you the practical example of use of row identifier in my shop.
We had one table in our database which didn't had any primary key to it and hence no facility to identify any unique row in the table (Agree, the table was badly designed by my DBA)
There was one program which use to insert rows in this table, but sometimes it inserts the duplicate and we didn't had any alarm for it as there is no primary key and hence no unique index.So while fetching row from this table in the program,it used to give -811 sqlcode.So to resolve this abend we have to delete two rows(duplicate) and insert one (we can't delete only one duplicate row as we don't have anything unique to identify the row ) So here it was the RID which helped us to delete the duplicate row straight away (no need to insert two rows and then insert one).

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