IBM's latest DB2 woos Oracle customers

Apart from the ability to run Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server applications, the latest version of DB2 also has improved data compression and better power efficiency, according to a company statement.

"DB2 is now compatible with all of the other databases," Doug Combs, IBM's information-management software leader, told ZDNet UK. "The data compression makes deployment quicker and easier as well," he said.

Other enhancements include the ability to present native XML data in the right format in datawarehousing applications so analytics can be run easily on the data, IBM said.

The latest version of InfoSphere Warehouse, 9.7, was also launched in Wednesday's announcement, as IBM said it sees the two pieces of software as part of one overall strategy. The revisions to InfoSphere include tools to make data analysis and data mining easier, along with a new Departmental Edition. According to IBM, the new edition is intended for smaller organizations and departments within a larger organization.

In its statement, IBM indicated that it wanted the new version of DB2 to appeal to users of others companies' databases. The statement said DB2 "includes new technology to develop and deploy applications, including ones written specifically to operate on other database software".

According to Dale Vile, research director with analysts Freeform Dynamics: "DB2 is starting to come into its own now, and IBM is really getting the software tools together as well".

Vile believes the work IBM has done to improve the software over the past few years means "it is now on a par with Oracle". Features such as data compression have really helped IBM, he said, and the company is now getting data compression ratios of around 40 to 50 percent when DB2 and InfoSphere are used with SAP software, he said. "SAP software can take up a lot of space," Vile said, "and this will help IBM get into more of those sites".

However, Vile also pointed out: "People do not change database systems if they can help it." Any progress IBM can make in winning over Microsoft and Oracle customers will be slow, he said, but "at least they now have the right tools to do it".

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