Masala to Revolutionize Search

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-05-06 Print this article Print

You mentioned that XML handling was just one method of handling unstructured data that IBMs now working on. What other methods are you looking at? Text-searching technology is one well be introducing with the Masala release of Information Integrator, which comes later this year. It will search any character data within the database and combine that with other data sources, such as e-mail, the Web, intranet, Internet and so forth.
Youd like to target a number of data sources and then pull together the indexing that will allow you to provide one search answer across all those different data sources. And, in the fashion were used to with search engines on the Web, to provide relevance rankings.
Also in Information Integrator, one thing were spending a lot of time on is the tool set, to make this obviously complex universe of systems that are accessible through Information Integrator, to make programming through that very easy. Automated discovery of servers with data on them, and automatic injection of metadata that describes data that resides there, so you can much more easily look at your world and program to it as if it were in a single place. That brings us to autonomic computing, which is big in Stinger. Right. One very major step forward that is unique to IBM is DB2 Design Advisor. You take a number of design problems, like choosing indexes, materialized query tables, choosing multidimensional clustering and choosing partitions. Each of those is a mathematically hard problem to search the capabilities. Designer takes those and combines them together. Theres a number of factors [causing database vendors to automate their products]. One is if you look at how much data were accumulating, you cant keep up. Whatever the ratio is today of gigabytes to DBAs, if you try to keep that ratio constant and look over time at factors of 1,000 times more data, youd have to have the entire population of the earth be DBAs. I have to find ways for a single DBA to manage more and more data and still get the same performance and optimization and ease of access that these automatic structures provide today. Plus, many small businesses are moving away from file systems to a database. Were building a set of tools that can save DBAs in large enterprises a huge amount of time and also provide a very good managed solution thats entirely automatic for a small- or medium-sized business. As we work with a number of software vendors to embed DB2 in their solutions, this is a natural outgrowth of that. In 1995, between zero percent and 3 percent of all the databases that we sold that year were sold by ISVs as part of their product sell. Were at the 40 to 50 percent mark now. Other people are leading and doing the sale, and DB2 is a part of that. This is a part of the evolution of our business model and the way our industry works. People want to buy solutions, not a database engine. I have to make the database easier, or I cant make money in that marketplace. Next page: Stinger pings the Linux 2.6 kernel.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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