IBM Fits DB2 With Automation

Express edition gets self-install feature.

An upgrade to IBMs DB2 Express database offers small and midsize businesses a no-click, quiet-as-a-mouse, self-installing version of its enterprise-level DB2 Universal Database, IBM officials said.

DB2 UDB Express Edition for Linux and Windows Version 8.1 is shipping with 65 tools for automating and simplifying database functions. Besides installing with no need for mouse clicks, DB2 Express 8.1 features wizards to walk users through tasks without the need to code.

This slimmed-down database differs from its enterprise cousin by paring features for clustering, data warehousing, data mining and online analytical processing. It still supports XML, Web services, Java and Microsoft Corp.s .Net, said IBM officials, in Somers, N.Y.

DB2 UDB Express 8.1 compared with full-featured DB2

  • Features lost Clustering, data warehousing, data mining and other business intelligence features, including Intelligent Miner and OLAP Server
  • Features gained Silent, mouse-click-free installation; 65 tools for automating and simplifying database functions; system health monitoring capabilities
There is a major need for a lightweight version of DB2 as even smaller companies cant afford the larger editions and dont have the technical expertise to use some open-source databases, said Stephen OGrady, an analyst at RedMonk LLC, in Bath, Maine.

"At the low end, there are a variety of more or less pretty capable open-source databases available," said OGrady. "But [many customers will need] a bit of handholding. They dont have the skilled people to maintain these databases and keep them up and running."

In the context of the DB2 UDB Express release, Paul Rivot, worldwide director of database servers for IBM, cited the significance of the Windows platform to DB2, from Express on up to the Enterprise edition. At Microsofts Tech Ed show in Dallas this month, IBM announced 17 Windows 2003 certifications across the Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter editions of the operating system. In addition, to simplify development of .Net applications, DB2 UDB Express arrives with new tools that integrate into Visual Studio .Net.

Also at Tech Ed, IBM previewed DB2 support for Microsofts CLR (Common Language Runtime) for stored procedures in Visual Basic, C#, Visual C++ and other CLR-compatible languages. CLR is a piece of .Net that allows programmers to code in any language, compiling the results within its environment to help speed application development for .Net computing.

IBM also demonstrated DB2 ADO (active data objects) .Net Managed Data Provider and several integrated development tools for Visual Studio .Net 2003. ADO is an interface between DB2 and .Net that has drag-and-drop programming for developers to build applications on DB2.