IBM is to officially launch the next version of its DB2 database at DB Expo in New York next week, but the product will not be widely available until mid-1997.
The company is pre-announcing the product this week in an attempt to overshadow the expected launch of Informix? Universal Server at the database trade show.
Following the trend among database vendors, DB2 3.0 will be renamed DB2 Universal Database. The main enhancements are the ability to directly access DB2 data via the Web and support for symmetric multiprocessing and massive parallel processing systems. This will enable the database to be used for decision support and online transaction processing services simultaneously.
David Topping, IBM software marketing manager for Europe Middle East and Africa, said IBM added the multimedia capability that both Oracle and Informix are working on 18 months ago when it launched DB2 2.0. He said: ?We are two generations ahead with our multimedia capabilities and we are the first to have an Internet capability.?
Users will be able to directly access DB2 via the Web using JDBC-compliant Java applets. Topping said: ?At the moment people take out information from databases and put them in hundreds of files because HTML only supports files. By using Java applets people can access DB2 directly.?
For people who don?t want to use Java, IBM is offering a scripting technology called Net.data embedded in HTML. This will give people the same level of access as Java offers, plus access to Oracle and Informix databases.
Universal Database also promises easier management, particularly with an extended tuning capability. The database can recommend the best ways to add extra users rather than users having to find the answer by a series of changes and tests.
IBM has also improved DB2?s multimedia capabilities by adding to the database?s SQL definitions.
The product will go into selected beta test next month with open beta due in April.
Topping said the product ?will not be much more expensive than 2.0?. IBM is aggressively aiming the product at non-IBM users but its lack of market perception outside its own base will make this very difficult. Robin Bloor, chief executive of Bloor Research, said: ?IBM is always forgotten about when people talk about databases but it is actually a much bigger database vendor than people think it is.?
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