IBM Ships Invisible Database

DB2 Express is a slimmed-down, self-installing version of IBM's DB2 Universal Database that's aimed at small to medium-sized businesses.

IBM on Thursday released DB2 Express, a no-click, quiet-as-a-mouse, self-installing version of its DB2 UDB (Universal Database) thats aimed at small to medium-sized businesses.

IBM DB2 Universal Database Express Edition for Linux and Windows Version 8.1 ships with 65 tools for automating and simplifying database functions—a boon to small businesses that lack pricey DBA (database administrator) skills, according to officials.

IBM officials said that feedback from partners customers has been that they need an invisible database. "It has to have a silent install, so the end customer doesnt know its there," said Paul Rivot, worldwide director of database servers.

Also important, customers said, is the need for simplicity. To that end, besides installing with no need for mouse clicks, DB2 Express features wizards to walk users through tasks such as expanding the systems capabilities without the need to code.

DB2 Express slimmed down from its enterprise parent by losing clustering, data warehousing, data mining and other business intelligence features including Intelligent Miner and IBMs DB2 OLAP Server. It still supports XML, Web Services, Java and Microsoft Corp.s .Net.

In the context of the DB2 UDB Express release, Rivot cited the significance of the Windows platform to DB2, from Express on up to the Enterprise edition. At in Dallas, IBM on Thursday 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.

IBM is touting DB2 UDB Express affordability, claiming its price is 30 percent less than Microsoft SQL Server. Priced at $499 for a base server package, plus $99 per user, DB2 Express represents an aggressive grab at a market traditionally held tight to Microsofts bosom with its lower-priced SQL Server database.

"What we found in the last number of years is that half of the opportunity for selling databases is in the small-to-medium business space," said Rivot, in Somers, N.Y.