Trying to advance the cause of its autonomic computing and Project eLiza initiatives, IBM Corp. on Monday rolled out two new tools intended to lower the administrative costs of databases as well as improve their performance through a number of self-managing capabilities.
IBM's DB2 Recovery Expert offers administrators simplified recovery features and a range of diagnostic and self-managing capabilities designed to minimize database outages.
The second tool, called the DB2 Performance Expert, is designed to consolidate reports and analyses, and to recommend changes to DB2 performance-related information.
The new tools represent the first fruits of IBM's Self Managing and Resource Tuning (SMART) database initiative, which is a joint collaboration between the company's Almaden, Calif.- and Toronto-based research labs charged with the responsibility of accelerating autonomic computing in database technology.
IBM also announced on Monday it is expanding its multiplatform series of tools, including the DB2 High Performance Unload, which is intended to quickly and efficiently unload and extract data from DB2 that can be shared across the enterprise. The company also unveiled the DB2 Table Editor, which can access updates and delete data existing across multiple DB2 database platforms including Informix, and the DB2 Web Query Tool, which allows for users to be directly connected to multiple enterprise-class databases regardless of their location.
"The whole idea behind autonomic computing is to help database administrators reduce database complexity and improve the quality of their service. It is generally believed now that system administration can account for the lion's share of the total cost of database ownership," said John Charlson, an IBM company spokesman.
The Aberdeen Group in a recent report wrote that system administration can account for 75 percent of the overall total cost of maintaining ownership of an enterprise-class database.
Charlson added, however, that while the new tools automate what humans in the past have traditionally been responsible for, they should not result in IT workers being replaced given that there is already a shortage of trained professionals carrying out those tasks.
In another set of tools announcements on Monday, IBM rolled out 15 enhanced tools targeted at its zSeries of mainframes. Some of those include the DB2 Administration Tool, for administrators responsible for keeping DB2 performing at peak levels; the DB2 High Performance Unload tool, a high-speed DB2 utility for unloading DB2 tables from either a tablespace or an image copy; and the DB2 SQL Performance Analyzer for users who need to do extensive analysis of SQL queries without executing them, as well as tuning their performance.
According to the company's CFO John Joyce during an analyst call earlier this year, IBM's database tools business has grown to US$400 million since its inception 18 months ago, growing 240 percent in 2001. The company has invested about $200 million in the business over that period of time, Joyce said.
Some corporate users say they can confirm IBM's assertion that the new tools have helped improve database performance and availability.
"We were initially attracted to IBM's database tools for their lower total cost of ownership, but we've realized how indispensable they are for carrying out a multitude of tasks, from automating essential database maintenance jobs to helping reduce database query costs," said, Rick Buckley, database administrator for Amica Mutual Insurance. "We find we have more time for value-add projects such as enhancing systems that support our customer service efforts," Buckley said.
The new multiplatform tools will be made generally available on July 26, while the DB2 Recovery Expert will be available on Sept. 27. The zSeries eServer database tools will be made generally available by July 26.