IBM prepares to ship DB2 upgrade

IBM is to release the next update to its DB2 Universal Database 8.0 on 21 November.

IBM is to release the next update to its DB2 Universal Database 8.0 on 21 November.

The upgrade will offer features aimed at easing installation and administration and improving the performance of business intelligence applications.

At present IBM offers an enterprise edition for $20,000 (£12,900) per CPU, and an extended enterprise edition, which includes clustering capabilities, for $25,000 (£16,130) per CPU.

With the release of DB2 Version 8, IBM will offer a single enterprise edition for $20,000 per CPU, with clustering available as an add-on option for $7,500 (£4,840) per CPU.

"There's a bump in price for the enterprise version, but we added 432 features to this release," said Jeff Jones, director of strategy at IBM's data management solutions unit.

A new feature of Version 8 is what the company calls "multidimensional clustering", which is intended to boost the performance of business intelligence applications.

Data from various parts of the database related to a single application or query can be stored together on a disk inside DB2, making analytical queries run faster.

"The DBA and the application crew define what columns and data are part of the multidimensional cluster," Jones said.

IBM has also made it possible to gather data stored across multiple databases that relates to a single application and to store that data locally for faster access.

The existing version of DB2 could do this for multiple DB2 databases but not for competitor products from the likes of Oracle and Microsoft. Version 8 will make it possible to federate data from its rivals' databases, Jones said.

Version 8 will also be able to consume Web services data for use by applications. For example, DB2 Version 8 will be able to run a financial query that makes use of a stock quote offered over the Web as a real-time Web services feed.

Version 8 will not, however, support the emerging XQuery specification, which is backed by most major database vendors and should allow databases to manipulate XML data as if it were relational data.

Instead, IBM extended SQL to boost its ability to handle XML data, allowing for such functions as schema validation and style transformation.

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