Thats all good for the bottom line; Picciano pointed to industry estimates of some 70 percent of capital costs and depreciation that are being spent on systems as being eaten up currently by disk and storage investments. Theres a lot of innovation in Viper. Viper spans more than 68 patents. That means that this one database server technology entails more patents than Oracle had for all its technologies in one recent year. IBM is throwing around numbers: More than 750 developers worked out of eight countries to create the database.Picciano agrees. IBM was late to the game with multidimensional clustering, but only because the company had alternative technologies that gave customers what they needed. Only when customers began asking for it did IBM deliver it, and the company delivered it in a rendition thats better than whats out there, he said. IBMs also late to the table in bringing the ability to alter a table online, Howard said. "Previously, if you wanted to change a column name, you had to take the table offline, redefine it, delete the existing table and re-create the existing table. It was a real pain for developers. They were really behind on the count on that." Catching up aside, Viper is a threat to Oracle, Howard said, in many ways. Beyond its data warehousing goodies, another of the fangs Viper is baring at Oracle: SAP announced in May 2006 that Viper would be the preferred database for midmarket SAP applications. The move was made to close ranks ever tighter against Oracle, the two companies mutual enemy. SAP takes aim at the midmarket. Click here to read more. Another thing about Viper IBM is eager to get across, Picciano said, is that through these years of development, IBM hasnt lost focus or momentum when it comes to application developer communities. Picciano pointed to new features such as connectivity for Ruby on Rails applications, for example, as well as best-of-breed PHP support for DB2. New XML features also complement the PHP environment "very, very nicely," Picciano said, giving people "all the flexibility they enjoy in the PHP environment." DB2 9 will begin shipping on July 28. Prices start at $4,874 per processor or $165 per user with a minimum of 25 users for DB2 9 Express. Click here for more information. Editors Note: This story was updated to include input from Charlie Garry. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
Innovation is a fine thing, but IBM is actually playing catch-up in a few areas with Viper. Range partitioning comes to mind. IBM is "years late" with it, Howard said. "Others have had it for a decade," he said. "Its quite widely used. But what IBM has got in addition is it works with multidimensional clustering. So its much better than it was. Its now at least as good as what others are offering, and possibly better. It brings them up to speed in that area."