IBM to optimize DB2 Universal Database management system for Starfire servers

Federal data centers soon can buy IBM Corp.’s DB2 Universal Database management
system optimized for E10000 Starfire servers from Sun Microsystems Inc.

The Gigaplane crossbar servers accept up to 64 UltraSparc processors.

IBM officials said the optimization, which could take up to six months, will require
changes to about 10 percent of the database management system’s code, which IBM
reserves “to optimize for the operating system and the hardware underneath,”
said Jeff Jones, IBM program manager for data management marketing.

He said the move “is not shifting emphasis from our own RS/6000 [servers] to
Sun’s, but instead taking advantage of market demand. We’re driven by what
customers tell us they want.”

Jones said NASA and Defense Department contractor Charles Stark Draper Laboratories of
Cambridge, Mass., have installed DB2 Universal Database for SunSoft Solaris as the
centerpiece of a high-volume technical data-sharing application with nine aerospace
engineering firms participating.

Draper Labs, he said, is one of the first engineering organizations to build high-end
extranet applications using Java Database Connectivity application programming interfaces
to DB2. “It kind of took us by surprise,” he said.

Jones said DB2 Universal Database incorporates recent work by IBM engineers on
operating clusters. “We expect to be giving Oracle [Corp.] some real trouble pretty
soon,” he said.

Other Solaris software tools used in DB2 applications, including DB2 OLAP Server for
Solaris, will also be available soon, he said. IBM has begun beta tests of the DB2 OLAP
Server for Solaris, which uses the Essbase multidimensional analysis tool from Arbor
Software Corp. of Sunnyvale, Calif.

Jones said the DB2 OLAP Server stores n-dimensional cubes in DB2’s relational rows
and columns. “We maintain the logical feeling of a cube,” he said, “but the
stuff is actually stored in relational tables.”

IBM also has started beta tests of its Intelligent Miner Version 3 for Solaris.
“All this news together should be interpreted as IBM committing more of its data
management portfolio to Sun,” Jones said.

Sun Microsystems reseller Merisel Inc. of Segundo, Calif., will bundle IBM’s DB2
Universal Database Enterprise Edition and the Java tool set from InfoSpace Inc. of San
Mateo, Calif., on Sun Ultra Enterprise 450 servers. InfoSpace makes Web-based Structured
Query Language tools for DB2 Universal Database.

IBM prices the licenses for DB2 Universal Database Enterprise Edition the same on all
platforms—Solaris, IBM OS/2 and AIX, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX or Microsoft Windows NT. A
server license for 50 users is $8,000.

Jones said DB2 Universal Database Version 5, the third generation of IBM database
technology, comes from the convergence of two former IBM products: DB2 Common Server and
DB2 Parallel Edition.

The first generation was the OS/2 Extended Edition Database Manager.  

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