IBM touts XML for DB2 database

As a part of its strategy for entering what it calls the next wave of data management, IBM Corp. plans to offer a database capable of managing objects, relational data and XML (Extensible Markup Language) documents.

In a briefing with InfoWorld this week, the Armonk, N.Y.-based company detailed plans to extend the core database engine currently in DB2 to include support for XML, with technologies such as new index structures that relate to XML, according to Nelson Mattos, an IBM distinguished engineer and director of IBM’s information integration group.

While IBM has supported both objects and relational data in DB2 for some time, the addition of XML will enhance that support.

“XML gives you a very flexible model to manage all the metadata around objects,” Mattos said.

Mattos said that the idea is to make the core DB2 look like a relational database engine with XML capabilities from the perspective of applications looking for relational data, while making it look like an XML database with relational capabilities or an object database with relational capabilities from the perspectives of applications looking for those data types.

To that end, support for the XQuery standard means that an XML application only needs to know XQuery to get at data residing in DB2.

Arming DB2 with these three faces will increase scalability and performance, while making DB2 better equipped as the anchor of IBM’s Web services stack, including the capability to not only deliver data to Web services but also to consume Web services.

Mattos added that although this technology won’t be in a forthcoming version of DB2 that is slated for this spring, later this year IBM will make an early version available.

Brett MacIntyre, vice president of the content and information integration software group at IBM, said that content management, including the combination of structured and unstructured data, is at the core of the next wave of data management.

“For us, it’s about how we can put more room between us and Oracle and Microsoft,” MacIntyre said.

IBM is taking a more distributed approach to data management, MacIntyre said. “Not everything can fit inside the database,” he said.

Furthering its distributed approach to data management, Big Blue is planning to launch a new version of its Content Manager software in the second quarter of this year.