IBM buzzing about Stinger database beta release

IBM on Monday began an open beta phase for the upcoming release of DB2 Universal Database, codenamed Stinger, which features ease of administration through autonomic computing technologies.

Overall, the database, due to ship by the end of the year, has more than 200 new features, IBM said. Autonomic technologies in Stinger enable automatic deployment and maintenance on the fly, completing certain tasks 6.5 times faster than if done manually, according to IBM. This performance boost is provided through DB2 Design Advisor, which tunes the database as the workload fluctuates to automate changes in the database structure as well as backups and restores. DB2 Design Advisor also makes suggestions on management of complex queries.

"The Design Advisor actually analyzes workload, queries [and] structure of the data and makes recommendations [on] how to optimize performance," said IBM's Bob Picciano, vice president of database technology.

Additionally, high-availability data replication in DB2 marries technology from Informix and DB2, according to IBM.

An ISV that uses DB2 as a back end data platform for his company's software said features such as self-tuning and automation will make DB2 more desirable for smaller customers.

"This is really going to take DB2 down to the perceived market where SQL Server has been [strong]," said Craig D owning, vice president of product management at Accpac.

Linux clustering in the product enables automatic partitioning and optimization of large databases on many servers in minutes as opposed to hours, the company said. Stinger adds support of 64-bit Linux on the iSeries, formerly AS/400, and pSeries, formerly the RS/6000, hardware platforms.

An analyst said Linux backing gives IBM and Oracle an advantage. "IBM and Oracle continue to battle on Linux, basically a battlefield that Microsoft can't compete on," said Mike Schiff, vice president of data warehousing and BI at Current Analysis.

Schiff added IBM's improvements in ease of use will make the database more accessible. "DB2 years and years ago had a reputation of you've got to be an expert [to use it]," Schiff said.

SQL enhancements in the product enables writing of stored procedures using .Net languages such as Visual Basic .Net or C#. Also, developers can use DB2 as a back end database for Visual Studio to develop .Net applications and Web services, Picciano said.

For Java developers, Stinger is J2EE 1.4- and JDBC 3.0-compliant, according to IBM. A Type 4 JDBC driver is featured, as are Rational XDE plug-ins for the Eclipse and WebSphere development environments.

SQL statement size support in Stinger increase from 64KB to 2MB, for use with third party applications.

The DB2 Client Reroute feature, which switches users to a mirrored database, enables users to stay up and running if there is a scheduled maintenance performed on the database or if a database server fails. Services-oriented architectures are boosted through Stinger through improved security, according to IBM.

Additionally, IBM with Stinger will have an Express version of the database, for smaller IT staffs with limited technical understanding.

Support in Stinger for geospatial data that is location-, time-, and space-aware enables customers in government, defense, and transportation industries to build spatial applications, IBM said. The DB2 Geodetic Extender provides for more powerful and accurate geospatial applications for land and asset management as well as business development applications that rely on geographical, physical or time-based data requirements.

Whereas Oracle has been emphasizing grid technologies with its recent Oracle10g database, IBM believes its ancillary DB2 Information Integrator technology allows IBM databases to participate in multi-platform grids as opposed to what Picciano describes as Oracle's single-vendor solution.

"Oracle's grid support is only available for other Oracle databases in a homogeneous environment. Their grid support is great as long as everything else in your grid is an Oracle databases," Picciano said.

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