DB2 Enhanced for the Enterprise

Version 8.1 to focus on availability, scalability and ease of management.

IBM is looking to add to the high-availability, scalability and ease-of-management features of its DB2 Universal Database with an upgraded version of the software.

The Armonk, N.Y., company last week announced that DB2 Version 8.1 will be available Nov. 21 and include such things as Self Managing And Resource Tuning, or SMART, capabilities, which simplify system management. New Web Health Monitoring tools will be added to alert database administrators to problems and enable them to fix some issues via a Web browser.

Also new with the upgrade will be expanded application integration capabilities, such as software "wrappers" that enhance performance when the database accesses non-IBM data sources, said Paul Rivot, director of the Database Servers and Business Intelligence Software Group at IBM. In DB2 8.1 will be industry-specific wrappers, as well as wrappers for IBM software partners, such as SAP AG, Siebel Systems Inc. and PeopleSoft Inc.

Key scalability enhancements in Version 8.1 include a multidimensional clustering tool and Connection Concentrator, which better manages memory for high-transaction applications.

To increase the availability of data, IBM added an Online Table Reorganization feature that lets DBAs fix fragmented data tables without taking DB2 offline. This will be as useful for keeping data warehouses up and running as it will be for online transaction processing systems, said Eric Nielsen, a DB2 8.1 beta tester.

"Demand for data warehouse availability has increased over the last five years," said Nielsen, data architect for online platforms at Thomson Legal and Regulatory, a unit of Thomson Corp., in Eagan, Minn. "Analysts want access to that data at all times of the day. There is more dependency on that kind of information now."

Some technology in Version 8.1, including the Connection Concentrator, comes from developers IBM acquired with its purchase of Informix Software Corp. last year. Informix developers are responsible for the HDR (High Availability Data Replication) feature that IBM will put in a follow-on version of DB2, due next year. A reworked Informix Data Blade, HDR lets IT keep two data warehouses running at once.

"Replication is not an easy beast to tame. You have to set it up by table; it is a very DBA-intensive thing," Nielsen said. "With HDR, you flip a switch and say you want to copy this and dont have to get any more granular than that."

To win more DB2 users, IBM by years end will expand its DB2 Now database migration offering to automate moving Forms data on Oracle Corp. databases and some Microsoft Corp. SQL Server database management data into DB2.

This story was edited to correct the spelling of Thomson Corp.

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