New DB2 aimed at frugal IT managers
- By John K. Waters
Undaunted by the ongoing IT spending freeze, IBM (http://www.ibm.com) launched the latest
version of its DB2 Universal Database last week. The new Version 8.1 adds new
self-managing and self-tuning functions designed to lower the cost and time of
managing database systems. Company officials contend that the new DB2 is ''the
next stage in the evolution of relational database[s].''
This latest incarnation of Big Blue's venerable database
software comes with new so-called SMART (self-managing and resource tuning)
automation capabilities, which the company has been pushing as part of its
on-demand computing strategy. These include self-configuring, self-healing,
self-optimizing and self-protecting functions.
It also comes with enhanced business intelligence
capabilities, which IBM has dubbed ''multi-dimensional clustering.'' Clustering
data allows users to reorganize stored information for faster performance and
more insightful queries -- nearly 100% faster, company officials claim. The
company said the new version's federated data management capabilities can allow
users to access, manage and analyze data wherever it resides in the enterprise.
This feature is also said to make it possible for users to access data and
consolidate Web Services queries through a single SQL statement.
A new XML Extender (available in the ESE beta download)
is designed to provide data types to store XML documents in DB2 databases, and
new functions to work with these structured documents. According to the company,
these XML documents are stored as character data or external files and are
managed by DB2. Users can retrieve complete documents or individual
New administration tools provide support on a number of
platforms, including OS/390 and z/OS server. The z/OS DB2 Administration Server
(DAS) provides the functionality for running commands and making API calls on the OS/390 and z/OS server.
The product's launch comes during especially tough times
for software vendors. Analysts at International Data Corp. (http://www.idc.com), a Framingham,
Mass.-based research firm, are calling 2002 the worst year in the history of the
IT industry, with revenues declining by 2.3 percent. Next year looks brighter,
according to IDC, which is predicting a 5.8 percent increase in worldwide IT
spending for 2003 -- unless the U.S. goes to war with Iraq. Such a conflict
could drive down IDC's growth projections by two percent, say IDC
Job cuts may make IBM's autonomic computing features
particularly appealing in organizations where qualified IT administrators are in
short supply, observers said.
Tighter IT budgets motivated IBM to revamp the product's
pricing scheme, a company insider told e-ADT. IBM's Workgroup Unlimited Server
Edition starts at $7,500 per processor and the DB2 Enterprise Server Edition starts
at $25,000 per processor.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached