IBM Announces the Release of DB2 Universal Database Version 7

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IBM Announces the Release of DB2 Universal Database Version 7
M. Reed and A. Turner -May 8, 2000

Event Summary

In the April announcement IBM stated that this reinforced its commitment to data management leadership and introduced DB2 Universal Database Version 7 - the most powerful solution of its kind in the industry, and, in most cases, at a third the price of Oracle.

IBM continues to invest in new hiring programs, product development, and marketing campaigns with the objective of helping customers leverage their information assets. This year alone, IBM plans to hire more than 500 data management software engineers and sales specialists.

IBM claims that DB2 Universal Database Version 7 makes it simpler for dot-coms and large corporations conducting business-to-business on the Web to gain competitive insight about their customers, slash application deployment time nearly in half and perform high-speed Internet searches more than 10 times faster than traditional relational database search engines.

IBM also introduced a first-of-its-kind pricing structure, allowing application service providers (ASPs) to buy DB2 Universal Database at a minimal investment. Under terms of the new program, IBM will receive a percentage of the revenue ASPs receive from their customers once the solution is implemented, based on a "per subscriber" or "per transaction" model. Also available are ASP Prime and Hosting Advantage programs, designed to support ASPs using IBM software and help ISVs certify and deploy their applications in the ASP business model.

DB2 Universal Database delivers enterprise power to more than 40 million users at more than 300,000 companies - from dot-coms to multi-national corporations - to help them improve customer relationships, make timely decisions and gain competitive insight. Version 7 is available on UNIX, Linux and Windows platforms. It is the first and only database to combine the speed required for Internet searching with the scalability and availability of a relational database.

Market Impact

New features in the product are designed to "fully integrate e-business, business intelligence, and content management." Version 7 includes an integrated, in-memory database that should increase response time for web searches. Microsoft removed their in-line database plans for the latest release of SQL Server due to product release date pressures, which should give IBM a competitive advantage.

The product also includes more tightly integrated XML support, integrated OLAP functionality based on Hyperion Essbase, spatial data support, and an industry standard stored procedure language. The question on XML support is how tightly integrated they have made XML with the actual database.

Another issue ASP's need to address is exactly how IBM's pricing model is implemented. Is IBM going to be monitoring the ASP's server, or is the revenue model based on trust? Most security experts would not be willing to give IBM free access to their firewall for software license monitoring.

The beta release is available for download from IBM. Pricing will not be announced until product availability. The product is expected in general availability on a variety of platforms in the first half of 2000.

User Recommendations

Customers evaluating relational database management systems, particularly as a back-end for web-commerce and business-to-business (B2B) transactions, should definitely include IBM DB2 Universal Database Version 7 on a short list of candidates.

IBM appears to be dedicated to the success of this release, and is providing new certification programs for database administrators, as well as a program to retrain database administrators familiar with competing products. The presence of an additional 500 software engineers and sales specialists (it should be noted that IBM doesn't state whether they will all be dedicated to this product), in addition to IBM's well-known abilities in the consulting arena, should also ease the customer's concerns about migration or the initial build of their application.

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