DB2 Universal Database Hits Open Beta

IBM on Tuesday will begin open beta for the next version of its DB2 Universal Database.

IBM on Tuesday will begin an open beta for the next version of its DB2 Universal Database, a release focused on new self-management capabilities, additional integration of data and faster analytical queries.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., has already been conducting a beta with about 40 customers and partners, but the open beta will allow any user to download the early release of DB2 Version 8 from the Web. General availability should follow in the next six to nine months, said Janet Perna, IBMs general manager of data management.

"This is the most significant version we have shipped since UDB became available in 1995," Perna said.

It also comes after IBM topped Oracle for 2001 overall database market share, calculated for both mainframe and distributed systems, in a Gartner Dataquest survey released in May. In other surveys, such as a competing one by IDC, IBM remained second but gained share compared to Oracle.

With the latest DB2 release for Unix, Linux and Windows, IBM is trying to strengthen its autonomic computing initiative with more self-management and self-tuning capabilities for the database. These include two features called the Health Center and Configuration Advisor.

The Health Center not only monitors the database and automatically reports problems--such as performance degradations, memory to database administrators by e-mail, pager or a PDA--but also offers suggested fixes.

The Configuration Advisor is supposed to simplify the set up of a database, which often involves manual tuning of performance-type parameters. DBAs traditionally must map hundreds of parameters, such as buffer pool size or size of memory, to variables such as the number of users or the amount of memory on a machine. With automated configuration, done with DBAs answering a series of questions, the setup process that often took about two weeks can be reduced to about 20 minutes, Perna said.

"IBM is committed to providing the most cost of ownership of database products and committed to accelerating time to value," Perna said. "Autonomic computing is one way we are doing that."