IBM Database Business Keeps Growing

IBM officials say the company's database business, bolstered by last year's releases of DB2 9.5 and IDS 11, enjoyed a solid first quarter of 2008.

With all the talk surrounding IBM's successful first quarter for 2008, the company's data server business could get lost in the shuffle.

But the release of IBM's DB2 9.5 database is progressing well, according to Bernie Spang, director of IBM data servers. Though he would not break out revenues by product, Spang said the company's database business is seeing continued growth.

The company released DB2 9.5, code-named Viper 2, late last year with an emphasis on pure IBM database technology. IBM also released IDS (Informix Dynamic Server) 11 last June.

"We continue to see a healthy progress in partners choosing IBM and IBM database software over alternatives," Spang said.

IBM's Software Group recorded revenues of $4.85 billion, up 14 percent from the first quarter of 2007. Overall, the company posted total revenues of $24.5 billion, a jump of 11 percent during the same period.

IBM remains one of the top three database vendors. The other two are Oracle, which released the latest version of its database in August, and Microsoft, which plans to ship SQL Server 2008 in the third quarter. Microsoft officials have said they will use a combination of low pricing and a focus on productivity enhancements to compete against IBM and Oracle.

From a technology standpoint, IBM's Viper 2 offers a choice for organizations that want support beyond Windows environments, he said.

"[Microsoft] is a Windows-only answer," he said. "I think the heterogeneous platform support that we offer will continue to be an advantage for us."

Stepping beyond Viper 2 and IDS 11, the company also benefited from the acquisition of Cognos. IBM completed the Cognos buyout in January. Early this year, IBM began a major push around Cognos' business intelligence products. IBM has already integrated Cognos' technology and products into a number of offerings such as InfoSphere Warehouse, which Spang said has contributed to the success of the Software Group.

"It's the execution on the information-on-demand strategy across the elements of the portfolio individually, and the cumulative effect on our clients ... that I think [are] a big part of what's fueling the results you see," he said.