IBM pulls curtain on DB2 7.0 for mainframes

IBM Corp. on Tuesday announced not only a new 64-bit version of DB2 for mainframes, but also new tools to support DB2 7.0 for OS/390 and IBM's zSeries.

IBM also broke some of the utilities out of the core database and is shipping them as stand-alone products.

Big Blue made four sets of utilities into stand-alone products to help control the cost of OS/390 software, according to Jeff Jones, senior program manager in IBM's data management group"The utilities have evolved into something that can stand alone. They can compete in the market," Jones said.

IBM divided the utilities into three distinct products: a package of operational utilities, a diagnostic and recovery package, and the more encompassing DB2 Utility Suite.

In addition to the utilities, IBM also announced approximately a dozen new tools for DB2 on the mainframe. The company brought to market last September nearly 35 tools, and began competing with Computer Associates and BMC, which analysts list as the current market share leader.

IDC said the market for mainframe database tools is growing at 13.4 percent annually and is expected to exceed US$2 billion by 2003.

On the tools side, IBM's offerings for mainframe databases encompass administration, performance management, and applications management, as well as recovery and replication. Jones said that the new tools incrementally enhance all categories.

"We expect every six months to announce new tools," he added.

The new version of DB2, numbered 7.0 and slated to be available March 30, focuses on providing a better engine for e-business and more support for XML, such as XML extender and a text extender that is XML-aware -- features that IBM previously added to version of DB2 for Windows and Unix.

"We put so much emphasis on Unix and Windows because we're newer there, but there are a lot of architectural things, such as availability and scalability enhancements, that start on System 390," Jones said.

Jones continued, for instance, that DB2 for OS/390 can handle nearly 1 million simultaneous users.

And one entirely new feature in DB2 for OS/390 is Crossloader, which enables customers to build a DB2 database on OS/390 with data from other relational databases.

Jones said that IBM plans to make Crossloader available for Windows and Unix in the future.

A new pricing schema accompanies the latest iteration of the database, dubbed Value Unit Pricing, which aims to be more effective for high-end customers, Jones added.

IBM also announced its 10,000th licensee of DB2 for OS/390, CommerceQuest, a Tampa, Fla.-based supplier of business integration software and services. Seattle-based Boeing was the first, in 1983, and its 777 aircraft was the first to be built on DB2 for OS/390.

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