IBMs Jones: Stinger Targets Enterprises with Automation, Price Freeze

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-09-11 Print this article Print

Jeff Jones, director of strategy for IBM's DB2 Universal Database, says IBM is wielding affordability and automation as it prepares for battle in the new world of second-generation databases.

Jeff Jones, director of strategy for IBMs DB2 Universal Database, says IBM is wielding affordability and automation as it prepares for battle in the new world of second-generation databases. As the company prepares to unleash Stinger, code name for DB2 UDB 8.2, he took time out to chat with Associate Editor Lisa Vaas about the update, where it fits into grid computing, how it differs from Oracle Corp.s offering and how great push-button databases are. Whats the thinking behind freezing the price of the update at DB2 8.1 levels? We believe value is the driving force right now, and how best to make that point than to not raise prices and to invest in significant amounts of automation?
What about the specter of Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server, which has traditionally been seen as having a hard-to-beat total cost of ownership?
[DB2 is] closing in on SQL Server. Low-end implementations of DB2 can now give it a run for its money. Plus, were all kept honest by open source. Free software and cheap software really keep us commercial guys awake and watching what were doing. It forces some rigor on us all. One of the autonomous features of Stinger were hearing about is the Learning Optimizer feature, which will help the database learn how to speed up command execution and optimize queries. What can you tell me about it? What Stinger can do … is to continuously look at what it expects to see and compare that with what it does find and analyze where hot spots are and how a database is changing over time and use that analysis to continuously adjust its choice of access plans. It represents real-time, constant analysis going on in the background by DB2. That sounds like a potential performance anchor. Lest we end up eating all performance resources, we use querying sampling to scan the database. We arent actually reading every record in the database over and over. Click here to read beta user feedback on Stinger. In LeO, query sampling allows us to work without bogging everything down. Thats a way to get a general idea of what the answer to a complicated question might be. You can get a 6-minute query to run in 20 seconds, and you can get pretty decent accuracy. Its a typical starting strategy in business intelligence or data warehousing environments. As you refine questions and want absolute accurate answers, you can take query sampling off and let [the straight] query run. But for ballpark answers to questions, its very powerful. The reason why were so excited about LeO is that theres only one human interface: to turn it on or to turn it off. Thats all thats required to get this automatic performance improvement, without any human investment at all. Next Page: Ushering in the second generation of database technology.

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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