IBM Updates Flagship Database

IBM Corp. today unveiled the next version of its flagship database, DB2 Universal Database (UDB) 6.1, which will include new processor-based pricing options, LDAP support and improved management capabilities.

General availability of the Windows NT version is scheduled for July 30.

IBM also announced new mobile-user versions of DB2 UDB as well as the port of the database to the Linux and Sequent platforms. The announcements came during IBM’s annual DB2 users meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Janet Perna, general manager of IBM’s data management business, positioned the move to per-processor pricing as targeted at e-business. Enabling e-business has been IBM’s main theme for DB2 for some time.

"For the enterprise and extended enterprise editions, we’re eliminating the per-user charge and moving to a per-processor-based pricing model," Perna said. She said the pricing change would make DB2 systems easier to administer and more flexible for e-business applications. Under the new model, pricing starts at $12,500 for DB2 UDB Enterprise Edition.

Lining up with the momentum behind Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), IBM has added support for the LDAP standard for communicating with directory servers. DB2 will use LDAP to store and retrieve configuration information in an LDAP-compliant directory server.

Other new features in Version 6.1 include enhanced tools for converting and migrating data to DB2 from other relational stores, enhancements to DB2’s XML capabilities, a graphical Java Stored Procedure Builder, more use of star join optimization techniques, more automation of summary tables and a Query Patroller, which helps manage and monitor query workloads for data warehouses.

The first quarter of 1999 brought 123 percent sales growth over the year-ago quarter of DB2 on Windows NT, Perna said. Recent analyst surveys show IBM a distant, but rapidly gaining, third to Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp. on Windows NT.

The mobile versions of DB2 are currently in beta testing. The DB2 UDB Satellite Edition carries an 8 MB footprint, runs on Windows 95/98/NT and is geared toward laptop users and occasionally connected office users. DB2 Everywhere has a 50 KB footprint and runs on Windows CE and PalmOS.

IBM, which supports 23 platforms with DB2, is making its latest port to the increasingly popular Linux operating system, an open-source, low-cost flavor of Unix. Perna says IBM logged more than 34,000 downloads of the alpha version of its DB2 for Linux. The Linux version entered general availability today. -- Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.