IBM pushes manageability and 64-bit computing for DB2

Just a week after Gartner Inc. reported that IBM Corp. has become the market leader for database products, the vendor is beginning to unveil details about the evolution of its DB2 product lines.

Coming down the line are performance and management enhancements, including the ability of DB2 on the mainframe to more fully exploit IBM's next-generation big iron 64-bit z/0S architecture, according to Tom Rosamilia, vice president of worldwide data management development.

Rosamilia was here yesterday to address members of the Chicago-based International DB2 Users Group (IDUG) at its North American 2002 conference.

"The next version of [DB2 on the mainframe] would be the largest DB2 release ever," he said, while promising aids to make migration from previous releases easier to do. Rosamilia noted that down the line, IBM plans to focus on enhancing DB2's Online Transaction Processing capabilities, as well as its indexing and clustering features.

To help users cope with the "explosion of transactions" DB2 is now supporting, IBM will also boost useability and manageability features across the different lines to "have fewer database administrators per terabyte." On the Web development front, he said IBM would support both Microsoft Corp.'s .NET and the industry-standard J2EE specifications.

Looking to assuage fears of any Informix Corp. users in the audience, Rosamilia said support would continue for both products and customers, even as IBM begins to migrate Informix technology to enhance DB2. IBM acquired Westboro, Mass.-based Informix last year.

The planned ease-of-use features sounded especially appealing to Ann Christian, manager of application programming at the Huntsville, Texas-based Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The agency uses Version 6 of DB2 on OS/390 to handle its general business operations, the probation department and the correctional institutions, and is looking to migrate to Version 7. But it has limited resources for the project, she said, and is currently limited to testing it.

The more ease of use IBM can provide for the agency's database administration staff, the better, Christian said. She also noted that IBM's level of support for DB2 at the department has been "wonderful."

However, other mainframe DB2 users raised concerns they want IBM to address down the line as it rolls out Version 7. Joseph Burns, senior database consultant at insurance firm Highmark Inc. in Cranberry, Penn., said he wants to see IBM allow users to continue to keep DB2 online even after data fragmentation has occurred and the system is reorganizing itself.

Currently to reorganize, DB2 has to go off-line, he said, "which is not a good thing when people need to access data 24 hours a day." Other vendors already offer this feature, he said.

IBM is working to address the availability issue, said Rosamilia.

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