DB2 Upgrade Takes On Manageability

DB2 Version 8, which is almost ready for beta testing, will focus on continuing its evolution as much more than a relational database with improved ease of use and manageability.

IBM is preparing to begin limited beta testing of the next version of its DB2 Universal Database in the next couple weeks.

Janet Perna, IBMs general manager of data management, said in an interview with eWEEK that DB2 Version 8, slated for full beta testing and general availability in the second half of the year, would focus on continuing its evolution as much more than a relational database.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., has incorporated in current releases of DB2 what it calls a "federated" approach that allows it manage data in other databases, such as those from competitors like Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp., as well as e-mails, documents and multimedia files.

"[Well] evolve it to be the content manager and information server, and DB2 really is the core of the information infrastructure," Perna said. "DB2 is not only the relational store. DB2 is being evolved to manage all forms of information and to serve all forms of information."

Version 8 also will focus on improved ease of use and manageability, including new self-management features as part of IBMs SMART [Self Managing and Resource Tuning] initiative that falls in a companywide push toward autonomic computing. As with other releases, it will include enhancements around performance and availability as well, Perna said.

Beyond version 8, IBM is focusing on incorporating further XML support within DB2 as part of its Xperanto initiative. Perna said such support would come in the form of native XML support within the database engine as well as support for XQuery, a proposed standard for searching XML documents. Such Xperanto-related additions to DB2 are expected within the next nine to 12 months, she said.

Along with planning a new DB2 release, IBM remains committed to continuing a cycle of shipping new releases of Informix products every 12 months to 18 months, Perna said. Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of IBMs definitive agreement to buy its former database competitor.

Since that time, IBM has shipped enhancements to such Informix products as its flagship Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) database as well as its Red Brick Warehouse and Informix Extended Parallel Server (XPS), an IBM spokeswoman said.

"We have shipped new releases of really every Informix product since the acquisition," Perna said. "Were working on development of follow-on releases now."