IBM to ship DB2 integration software next week

IBM will announce general availability next week of DB2 Information Integrator, new software intended to help businesses pull together data stored in multiple locations and to query that data as if it were stored in one place, IBM said Thursday.

Information Integrator was released in beta in February and will be showcased at two IBM events next week -- its International DB2 User Group meeting in Las Vegas and its Software Symposium in Munich, both of which kick off Monday. The product will be available Tuesday from IBM and its resellers, priced at US$20,000 per processor and $15,000 per data source connector, IBM said.

The software aims to make it easier to build applications that pull data from multiple sources, including relational databases from IBM, Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp., Sybase Inc. and Teradata. For example, a company could develop a call center application that includes up to date customer information stored in a CRM (customer relationship management) system, e-mail and other locations.

The development work is made easier with Information Integrator because the product eliminates the need for much of the hand-coding that's usually required to link the disparate data sources, according to IBM.

The product eventually will support the emerging XQuery specification for querying XML (Extensible Markup Language) data, although the initial release supports only SQL queries because XQuery has not yet been ratified as a standard, said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for IBM DB2 information management software. Formalization of that standard is "likely to take us into next year," Jones said.

Information Integrator is based on IBM's "federated" data management model, in which information is left residing in multiple systems and accessed using various integration technologies. By contrast, Oracle has promoted a more centralized approach to integration where customers store all of their data in one or two large databases. Oracle argues that its approach is less expensive and easier to manage.

DB2 already can federate data among other DB2 and Informix databases, and other data repositories that support OLE DB interfaces, but IBM's "full heterogeneous story is being wrapped into" DB2 Information Integrator, Jones said.

Information Integrator is for building applications that make database calls using SQL and, eventually, XQuery. IBM also offers a product called DB2 Information Integrator for Content, aimed at developers working with less structured data such as image and video files, e-mail libraries and other content -- "things that are less structured and typically not addressed with SQL," Jones said.

Information Integrator for Content represents a renaming and repositioning of IBM's existing Enterprise Information Portal product, according to a white paper on IBM's Web site, although Jones said it also includes some new technology.

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