IBM rolls out universal database system that links external files with native files

IBM Corp.’s year-old DB2 Universal Database will compete with the Oracle8i
database management system that Oracle Corp. plans to deliver late this year.

“Our approach is a bit different,” said Janet Perna, general manager of data
management for IBM Software Solutions. IBM DB2 Universal Database 5.2 has a built-in
DataLinks Manager to link external files.

External files share “the same data integrity and manageability” as native
DB2 files, Perna said. Oracle8i has a different architecture to manage non-Oracle files [GCN, Sept. 28, Page 71].

Perna said there are 4,300 applications on the market that work with DB2 Universal
Database, including 1,100 applications for the Microsoft Windows NT platform. Software
vendors are at various stages of porting another 2,000 apps to the IBM DBMS, she said.

“We’re seeing triple-digit growth on Windows NT,” she said, citing more
than 1,000 NT pilots under way.

IBM has adopted two new interface standards for the Web-enabled DB2: Intel Corp.’s
Virtual Interconnect Architecture and the SQL-J interface for embedding Structured Query
Language statements into client or server Java code. The 5.2 release also bundles
IBM’s Websphere application server.

The automatic and replicated summary tables and hash joins in Release 5.2 bring 10
times better performance for query workloads, Perna said.

The IBM DBMS supports theoretical table sizes up to 125 terabytes, Perna said, and some
testers have run 30-terabyte databases with tables as large as 25 terabytes to find the
practical limits.

IBM made a 10-fold improvement in load capability, Perna said, citing data loading
benchmark results of 1 terabyte per hour. A restart facility, also new in the 5.2 release,
resumes data loading at the point of failure.

Perna said IBM doubled the page sizes in DB2 Universal Database from 4K to 8K.
Microsoft Corp. officials have said that their Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 database manager
will support 8K pages, up from the 2K pages of SQL Server 6.5.

Through the Data Joiner facility in 5.2, users can integrate their Microsoft Access
databases with DB2 Universal Database.

IBM has added UnixWare 7.0 from Santa Cruz Operation Inc. of Santa Cruz, Calif., to the
list of operating systems under which the DBMS runs.

The list already included NT, Windows 98, Sun Solaris, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX, and
IBM’s AIX and OS/2. A Linux version will be ready later this year, Perna said, and
beta tests are under way on the OS/390 Release 6 operating system.

The DB2 Universal Database starts at $999 per server and $199 per user.

Contact IBM’s Federal Information Call Center at 800-333-6705.    

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