IBM aims Stinger at Oracle, Microsoft

IBM today is releasing the beta version of its most recent DB2 database, and the company is betting Stinger will draw Linux lovers and .Net developers its way.

IBM today is making available the beta version of its DB2 Universal Database, code named Stinger.

Big Blue is expected to unveil its newest database features and developer tools at the International DB2 Users Group conference, May 9-14 in Orlando, Fla. IBM is emphasizing its new clustering capabilities on the Linux platform, and new support for .NET developers.

"We're making investments in both paths," said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for IBM's Data Management Solutions.

"The momentum with Linux is huge, and we're trying to build on that momentum, while at the same time helping developers who are dealing with Yukon being delayed."

IBM is targeting Linux by building in support for version 2.6 of the open source platform. New clustering features also automatically partition and optimize large databases on many servers, in just a few minutes rather than hours, Jones said.

"They're definitely pushing further into the Linux market, and that's a more significant move because they don't have Microsoft to contend with," said Mike Schiff, vice president of data warehousing and business intelligence at Sterling, Va.-based Current Analysis. "IBM is one of the big guys waging war in a place Microsoft cannot battle."

It is also taking aim on Microsoft with a new set of developer tools to meet the needs of the .NET software development community. IBM says it has improved Windows and .NET application development in Stinger.

The DB2 Stinger tools will allow developers to use either the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET tool set or Rational XDE Developer to design databases and database applications. Programmers will also be able to exploit the native .NET Data Provider, strengthening the .NET connection between databases and applications.

The new DB2 features are a direct result of IBM's acquisition of Rational Software Inc., a company that specialized in J2EE and .NET tools, Schiff said.

IBM is also touting new DB2 Design Advisor features that automatically maintain, configure, deploy and optimize the database. A new query optimization technology, called a learning optimizer, automatically and continually updates query statistics about how the database is being used and how it is performing.

An automatic object maintenance feature performs administration and maintenance functions, such as table adjustments or data back-ups.

"The trend is that the repetitive manual things are steadily getting automated. As a result, the DBA is becoming less of an operational worker and more of a detective," Jones said.

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