Meanwhile, Viper, IBMs hybrid XML/relational version of DB2, has picked up a software-based disk and memory storage capability within the Autonomic Computing aspects of DB2, according to Bob Picciano, vice president of data servers. The new compression technology will save clients some 54 percent of the storage infrastructure and costs otherwise required for Viper and competing databases, Picciano told eWEEK in an interview following IBMs announcement that it was releasing a free "test drive" version of Viper."It took you a terabyte to store information in another databaseand it will take you half a terabyte to put into DB2," Picciano said.Viper is picking up "little to no" transactional performance overhead because the new compression occurs in memory within internal structures of DB2, he said. That differs from competing databases, which have to go to disk to read information to put into memory. Keeping information in memory results in much faster access to data. Thus, the new compression technology saves storage both on disk and in real memory, Picciano said, saving as much in storage costs54 percent, with some clients reporting savings of up to 60 percentas it does in storage space. With the much-ballyhooed explosion of stored data, clients have been telling IBM that data storage and data management represent the largest chunk of their spending budgets, Picciano said. IBM last summer tested the new compression technology with a large financial institution on Wall Street that Picciano declined to name. The financial institution was willing to accept 10 to 15 percent performance degradation, given managements eagerness to whittle down burdensome spending on storage, but they found that there was in fact no degradation, Picciano said, since IBM managed to compress data throughout the system. "Thats exclusive[no other database vendors have] that," he said. "We expect it will increase peoples consideration of DB2." IBM is yet again pitching the breakthrough XML-handling capabilities of the newly released hybrid Viper, which can handle both pure XML data and traditional relational data capability in ways that have never before been seen, according to both IBM officials and early beta users. "In the past, we really had to do a lot of work on our own" to enable storage of and access to XML data, said Lou Esposito, CIO of Stradasoft, which has a BPM (business process management) product called Strada into which the company is embedding Viper. "Where before you could never search on all this XML data, now well have this stuff stored locally, right in the database," said Esposito, in Staten Island, N.Y. "Thats an unbelievable capability." Esposito hasnt yet had a chance to road-test the new compression technology. His appreciation of Vipers XML-handling capabilities is yet another example of how the database giants are playing on the exploding-data gambit, however. Vipers ability to avoid shredding XML to store in a relational structure or resorting to XML storage in large character objectsCLOBs or BLOBsmeans that it can handle XML without the overhead associated with those methods. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.