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The Best DB2 Ever

Over the past few days the spotlight has certainly been on Sun’s acquisition by Oracle, but today IBM made a remarkable announcement of its own. DB2 9.7 (code-named “Cobra”) will be GA (generally available) in June. This new version of DB2 is loaded with interesting features and is undoubtedly the best DB2 ever.

Within IBM we consider this to be the single most important release of DB2 since the days of DB2 UDB V5. DB2 9.5, already the fastest data server in the world, will receive a major upgrade that includes many benefits in terms of self-optimization and self-healing (autonomic computing features), compression and performance. This release will enable even greater space and related savings (including energy), making it the greenest database software available as well.

From reading the official press release, I found two cases particularly interesting (both quoted below). The first, is about a Medical Center that managed to save 50% on space and shave 35% off of the time spent on administrative tasks by switching to DB2 9.7:

UCLA Medical Center is using this technology to keep all patient records online while reducing storage space needed to manage these records by 50%. In addition, UCLA is currently developing three clinical applications using the new DB2 features that allow it to analyze and better understand patterns and trends among patients with similar symptoms or illnesses, to help determine how to better serve their patient community.

The software also includes workload management and autonomic computing features that improve the performance of high priority applications such as closing quarterly financial reports and helping IT staff more efficiently manage their growing data, leading to a time savings of up to 35% on administrative tasks.

And the second is from Openbravo:

To move a non-DB2 application to a previous version of DB2 would have taken an estimated two-year effort. We were thrilled to see it took only one week to move it to the new version of DB2. This represents a terrific opportunity to expand our international community of users, partners and developers. We’re very excited to partner with IBM to make new deployment options available,” said Paolo Juvara, CTO of Openbravo, a Web-based Solution ERP provider and IBM business partner.

Customer testimonials aside, there is a wealth of new features that will appeal to the developer as well, including improved concurrency support, new data types and functions, improved queries and procedures, state of the art XML support and much more. To learn more about the technical details of this fantastic new release, please join us for a DB2 9.7 Overview Webinar (part of the Chat with the Lab series) on May 6 at 11:30 AM ET.

Finally, if you are interested in trying out DB2 9.7 yourself, you can sign up for the DB2 9.7 Early Access Program. And don’t forget that the DB2 Express-C version is production ready and will be available absolutely free of charge.

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14 Responses to “The Best DB2 Ever”

  1. Kent Fenwick says:

    This sounds really cool!

    Great to see that IBM is still innovating in this space.

    What do you think it will take for DB2 to gain mainstream traction in the Ruby developer community? MySQL and PostgreSQL seem to be the winners there.

  2. dbfan says:

    Is it free?

  3. @Kent: The Ruby and Rails communities tend to prefer the “path of least resistance” that is found through MySQL. That said, we are happy to provide support to discerning developers who’d like to adopt DB2 for their startup or business, and to our existing DB2 customers who want to adopt dynamic languages. On the higher end of the scale (enterprise, banks, high scalability and reliability customers) our market share is fantastic, but it’s also growing on the lower end of the spectrum, as individual developers and small web companies start to become aware of IBM’s offering in the database realm. DB2 provides features that are unmatched by other databases, so it can really be a competitive advantage for companies who decide to rely on it.

    @dbfan: Yes, the Express-C version is free.

  4. Mario says:

    As a friendly note. “DB2 9.7 Early Access Program” link is broken.

  5. Thanks Mario. It’s fixed now.

  6. DB2 is terrible. Your table names can only be a few (10 or 12 i think) characters long and this gets to be a problem, it becomes impossible to find anything. I’ll stick with something that let’s me name my stuff what I want to.

  7. This is great news. There isn’t any Free Software version of DB2, is there?

  8. What was revolutionary feature in DB2 UDB V5?

  9. Darren Skinner says:


    The limit for tables has been 128 characters since at least version 8.

    Some objects such as indexes and sprocs were limited to 18, but this limit increased to 128 a while ago.

    On the whole, V9.7 is looking very good indeed. specifically compressed indexes and the option of not having global indexes on range partitioned tables.

  10. @Scott: That’s not really the case any longer. As of 9.5, you have 128 characters for the name of the table and 128 characters for the name of the schema. A table can therefore be identified by up to 256 characters. That’s more than most reasonable people would ever use.

    @Humberto: DB2 is a commercial database. DB2 Express-C is free “as in beer” and therefore not open source software. The drivers for Ruby, Python, PHP and Perl are all open source though.

    @Zkurven: Quoting from the book Understanding DB2:

    “In 1996, IBM announced DB2 UDB Version 5 for distributed platforms. With this version, DB2 was able to store all kinds of electronic data, including traditional relational data, as well as audio, video, and text documents. It was the first version optimized for the Web, and it supported a range of distributed platforms&8212;for example, OS/2, Windows, AIX, HP-UX, and Solaris&8212;from multiple vendors. Moreover, this universal database was able to run on a variety of hardware, from uniprocessor systems and symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) systems to massively parallel processing (MPP) systems and clusters of SMP systems. IBM included the term “Universal” in the name to represent the new capabilities of this version.”.

    It could also take advantage of fast protocols to enable the communication between nodes of a physically partitioned databases. So at the time it was a really big deal.

  11. florin says:

    What are the limitations of the free DB2 Express-C?

  12. Jeff Self says:

    9.7 looks really good. Will it be available for OS X at the same time?

    Any word on the Django plugin?

  13. @florin: The free version of DB2 Express-C will take advantage of up to 2 GB of RAM and 2 Cores, regardless of the hardware available on your machine. There are no limits on the database size, number of concurrent users, or anything like that. By purchasing commercial support for less than $3K a year, the limit is raised to 4 GB of RAM and 4 actively used cores (2 CPUs), as well as obtaining 24/7 support from IBM and additional, more advanced features like High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HADR) and SQL Replication.

    @Jeff Self: The Django adapter will most likely ship at the same time as DB2 9.7 (if not sooner). I’m not sure if the OS X version of DB2 Express-C 9.7 will be available at the same time as the Linux and Windows versions, but we’ll definitely try to have a version out as soon as we can.

  14. Paul says:

    DB2 is very disappointing!

    I have just wasted many hours just trying to get a simple Windows Ruby Application ( which speaks just fine to MySQL and MS SQL Server ) to speak to our iSeries running DB2. It’s horrendous! IBM has made it very difficult to configure the adapter/connector (which requires another $ license) and use and the IBM documentation is horrible! It took hours just to find what was needed!

    And commercial support for ‘just 3k per year’ is way over the top. IBM needs to look at the world economy and get real! PostGres and MySql are going to eat it’s lunch with this community.

  15. […] those of us who love DB2, as DB2 Express-C 9.7 has just been released. As mentioned before, this is the best DB2 ever, and an extremely important […]

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