DB2 Errors: SQL0204N name is and undefined name

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This is a new format for me – Focusing on a single error message I’ve seen recently and probably frequently. It’s a short entry for this one. I’m not sure of the value of this. I can get most of this from the info center. But I think about when I search on things in other areas and want something in plain English … let me know what you think and if I should continue posts like this.

What this error looks like

DB21034E  The command was processed as an SQL statement because it was not a
valid Command Line Processor command.  During SQL processing it returned:
SQL0204N  "DB2INST1.CATGRPDESC" is an undefined name.  SQLSTATE=42704

Does this error mean the command didn’t work

Yes – note the “N” on the end.

Common Causes

  1. A query or command tried to access an object that did not exist.
  2. The query or command did not specify the proper schema for the object.

Unlike Oracle and ORA-00942, as of DB2 9.7, this error is not returned if you don’t have permissions on an object. If you don’t have permissions on an object, you will get SQL0551N, SQL1060N or a similar very clear error message.

There are a number of other possible causes for this error, especially when dealing with Security Labels. See the Info Center link at the end of this post for more details.

Common Solutions

  1. A query or command tried to access an object that did not exist.
    • Usually this is simply a typo and you need to use the right table or object name
  2. The query or command did not specify the proper schema for the object.
    • Some of the engineers I work with refer to this as the “alias error”. They call it that, because for certain ids, we create aliases to the application’s core tables so that those ids don’t have to specify a schema name. If we miss one (most often on creation of a new object), the developers can get this message. Yes, we educate developers on using fully qualified object names, and that is sure the preference, but the WebSphere Commerce application does not use fully qualified names, so all documentation eliminates that as well, and developers get used to working without it

Info Center Link for This Error


Lead Database Administrator
Ember is always curious and thrives on change. Working in IT provides a lot of that change, but after 18 years developing a top-level expertise on Db2 for mid-range servers and more than 7 years blogging about it, Ember is hungry for new challenges and looks to expand her skill set to the Data Engineering role for Data Science. With in-depth SQL and RDBMS knowledge, Ember shares both posts about her core skill set and her journey into Data Science. Ember lives in Denver and work from home


  1. About 4 years late but this also occurs sometimes if the table is empty of values. Don’t know all the specs as I’ve just discovered it but for anyone looking, this may help.

      1. I’m only a developer so I won’t be the best source of information. Working on a legacy program where there were simultaneous queries issued in one command and encountered this issue when one of those tables were empty. Didn’t explore it very deep so I can’t provide any more information at this time.

  2. in 11.1 SQL0204N is returned when you don’t have permissions on an object.
    on other objects SQL0551N is returned.

    couldn’t find why

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