With lots of new options for storing and analyzing data available to companies, it's not surprising IBM is releasing a major upgrade of its DB2 relational database management software and a new version of its InfoSphere Warehouse software. As Bernie Spang, IBM's director of Strategy and Marketing for Database Software and Systems, said, "The question is no longer 'I have a data challenge. Which relational database system should I use?’ Organizations may have multiple systems to address multiple types of challenges."
Spang said IBM's DB2 10, which will be available April 30, uses automation to perform some of the more mundane data management tasks so IT professionals can focus on more strategic data duties. Among the new features are adaptive compression, which instantly compresses data to make it easier for business applications to use it, and multi-temperature data management, which assesses how frequently data is needed and moves it to the most cost-effective storage option. Data that must be accessed quickly might be stored on solid-state drives, while less critical data could be stored on tape drives, for example.
"IBM's new database software allows Mindray to compress business data flowing through our SAP applications by nearly 77 percent, which means we spend less time and money on managing and storing our data,” said Eric Xu, DB2 database administrator for Mindray Medical International Limited. “This new feature is automatic and we don't have to take our data offline or require an administrator to spend time working on it, freeing up valuable resources.”
Both DB2 and InfoSphere now allow organizations to exploit some of the newer options for managing data. DB2 10 supports the Resource Description Framework (RDF) data model, while InfoSphere 10 boasts improved integration with Hadoop-based systems so data professionals can more easily combine insights from structured and unstructured data.
Another new feature is time travel query, which makes it easier to examine data as it existed in the database during any point in time, a task which formerly required programmers to create complex code.
IBM appears to be taking particular aim at Oracle with these releases. It produced a video detailing the experiences of The Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which switched its SAP databases in 2008 from Oracle to IBM and has since saved $1 million in licensing, maintenance and storage costs. Spang said IBM hopes to address perceptions that it's difficult or risky to switch database systems by focusing on compatability with code written for Oracle databases and publicizing the experiences of clients that have made the switch without having to change data or retrain staff.
DB2 version 10 is available at no cost for production environments that require no more than two processor cores and 4GB of memory. The price for larger implementations starts at $6,180 which includes a year of support. InfoSphere pricing is based on number of processors or, for the first processor, the amount of data being stored. The basic version starts at about $40,000 per terabyte, Spang said.