IBM has sent a gift to the baby XP. Not a rattle, nothing related to Winnie the Pooh, but an announcement that its flagship database will run on the new operating system.
DB2 Universal Database version 7.2 is now available for Windows XP. Users of previous versions of Windows will need DB2 Fixpak #4 or later when upgrading to XP. The database is available in 32- and 64-bit versions. Users wanting the 64-bit edition need to download the IBM DB2 Universal Database Developers Kit for the Itanium family of processors.
Big Blue admits there are not a lot of technical bells and whistles associated with DB2 for XP. The operating system's purported stability and reliability will be a plus. So will the improved support for 64-bit computing, which Microsoft recently introduced in Windows 2000.
DB2 is no stranger to 64-bit computing. The capability has been in the database for a while but only recently could Windows take advantage of it. The more information that can be addressed, then more data can be stored in memory, said Jeff Jones, senior program manager for IBM's data management solutions. All this makes the system more stable and run more smoothly.
Bringing DB2 to XP is part of IBM's larger database strategy. Big Blue offers DB2 for dozens of operating systems -- even for those from competitors such as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. Everyone from a student running a Linux box to a bank running an IBM mainframe may use DB2.
IBM is thinking very few companies have just mainframes or just Unix boxes or just Windows machines, Jones said. Integration of different systems is easier when they are all running the same database program.
Big Blue tries to walk the line between portability and making the database run best on a specific platform. For example, Unix, Linux, Windows and OS/2 versions of DB2 share 90% of the same code, according to Jones. The remaining 10% tailor the software to the operating system.
IBM is taking the Windows database market seriously although it cut its teeth on mainframe databases. Windows-based Web servers and Web Services have or will fuel the need for more databases for the platform.
IBM sees DB2 as more attractive then even Microsoft's own database, SQL Server. "With SQL Server, businesses create a lot of walls and ceilings for themselves, as it runs on only Windows," Jones said.
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