IBM eases data administration

Business managers will be able to take a more hands-on approach to working with their enterprise databases through a tool being developed by IBM researchers.

IBM on Tuesday will offer up for a free download a preview of its "Policy-based Data Management Tool" on the company's alphaWorks site at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com.

"What it does, basically, is it allows for business managers who define policies to manage the database," said Mukesh Mohania, a research staff member at IBM India Research Lab.

Non-technical IT administrators and managers can automate routine tasks of data administration through the autonomic, policy-based data management toolkit, according to IBM. Administrative costs can be reduced by enabling persons who are not versed in the intricacies of database management to define and manage business policies related to record retention.

"This tool reduces the cost of database administration drastically," Mohania said.

Business managers can define database policies and business objects via a GUI, according to IBM. Examples of business objects could be a core customer or credit card files.

Actions such as archiving, data deletion, or group notifications can be performed. A policy could be set such as notifying a divisional manager if a gold-level customer leaves the business, Mohania said. Additionally, conflicts in policies are detected by the tool.

Currently, if business policies change, business managers need to have the database administrator input the changes. "Now (with IBM's tool), they don't have to go through the database administrator. They can change the policy, they can define the new policy (from) their desk," said Mohania.

Database administrators still can handle tasks such as creating tables or upper-level administrative functions, Mohania said.

The tool is being built to work with IBM's DB2 database but also could function with databases such as Oracle Corp. or Microsoft Corp. SQL Server through what the company termed a simple modification. IBM research projects normally become a product within a three- to five-year timeframe, the company said.

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