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Stinger to take flight -- slowly

IBM released the full beta of Stinger this month, but some DBAs say the next version of the universal database has yet to hit their radar screens.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Stinger may be flapping its wings to take flight, but it will be a while before the next version of DB2 Universal Database will buzz across the radar screens of most DBAs, many of whom said they are too busy working on critical projects to even think of upgrading.

Joseph Martucci, a senior DBA based in Charlotte, N.C., with textile producer SI Corp., is working to upgrade some remaining systems from v7 to v8 of DB2. Martucci said his company has taken its time, first upgrading some of the most critical systems to v8, and then starting a migration project on the remaining systems this year.

Stinger is still another year and a half away before we will even take a look at it.
Joseph Martucci

"Sure, on the surface it is interesting to us, but Stinger is still another year and a half away before we will even take a look at it," Martucci said.

IBM rolled out the full beta version of Stinger, the next version of the DB2 Universal Database, earlier this month. The upgrade includes 200 new features that push DB2 further in the direction of autonomic computing by automating features deep within the database.

Although Leon Katsnelson, a senior development manager at the IBM Toronto Lab, told DBAs at the International DB2 Users Group (IDUG) conference last week that getting DB2 Stinger up and running and keep it running at a reasonable performance and scalability level is much lower [than previous releases] because of the autonomic features, users aren't in a hurry to migrate.

While generally curious about the autonomic features being hyped at the conference, Ed Vetock, a senior DBA at the Vienna, Va.-based Navy Federal Credit Union, said his company is planning an upgrade to v 8.1 of DB2. The focus is on the current upgrade, not on any future releases, Vetock said.

"We're not going to go in the direction of Stinger at least for the next couple of years," Vetock said. "We're very pleased with the support and level of service we've gotten from the sales team and our consultants, and I think they're positioning us very well prepared for the future."

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Stinger details revealed

IBM is banking on several new features found in Stinger to fuel its adoption. Its learning optimizer technology, for example, enables DB2 to automate and accelerate queries and the DB2 Design Advisor. This allows automated fine-tuning of the database as workload changes, said Pat Selinger, vice president of DB2 data management architecture and technology.

"We're sending a message of higher automation while delivering the fundamental DB2 capabilities that our customers have always known," Selinger said.

Still, some DBAs will remain focused on other projects before turning their attention to Stinger. Larry Clowen, a DBA at a manufacturing firm based in Utah, said he came to the conference looking for tips on building a data warehouse using clustering technology.

"We'll take a look at Stinger when the time is right," Clowen said. "Until then we have to focus on our immediate issues."

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