IBM hails 64-bit database for mainframes

IBM on Wednesday is announcing a 64-bit version of its DB2 Universal Database data management platform for the zSerieseServer mainframe-class system.

Called DB2 UDB v8 for z/OS, the database is tuned for the newly announced z990 mainframe system, code-named T-Rex. "It's the largest feature and function release ever in our history," reaffirming IBM's commitment to improving DB2 for mainframes, said Tom Rosamilia, IBM vice president of worldwide data management development in San Jose, Calif.

Version 8 of IBM DB2 has more than 100 new or enhanced features focused on performance, scalability, continuous availability, application porting and security. These features take advantage of the z/OS operating system and the zSeries architecture, according to the company. The 64-bit capability in the database enables applications to run faster and increases potential address space from 2 gigabytes to 16 exabytes.

Storage limits have been lifted, the company said. Sixty-four-bit virtual storage enables one large virtual space, rather than a number of smaller hyperspaces and data spaces in addition to the address space, IBM said. Database buffer pools can be placed into memory so there is no need to go out to the disk, according to Rosamilia.

Enhancements to SQL for OLTP applications and long names support in the database catalog enable Unix and Windows applications to be more easily ported to DB2 on the mainframe, IBM said. Support also is boosted for XML, SQL and Java. The database leverages a feature of T-Rex in that Java-based data can be converted to Unicode data format for multi-language support.

Other improvements include Online Schema Evolution, which enables altering of the database on the fly without service disruption, and Multilevel Security, enabling a single image of data to be shared by multiple enterprise departments with mixed security levels. "Online Schema Evolution says that while the database is up and running, I can change things in the database so it provides continuous availability," Rosamilia said.

DB2 UDB v8 for z/OS is expected to ship later this year or early in 2004.

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