IBM beefs up database management line

IBM Corp. this week announced plans to ship 20 new or upgraded database management tools in a bid to bolster its competitive position in that market, where the company is still a relative newcomer.

Following through on a promise made at a user group conference last month, IBM detailed a pair of self-managing tools for administering the Windows, Unix and Linux versions of its DB2 database. One tool analyzes DB2’s performance and recommends tuning changes, and the other handles database recovery procedures.

IBM also said it’s developing several tools that will support multiple versions of DB2 as well as Informix Dynamic Server (IDS), which the company bought last year as part of its acquisition of Informix Corp.’s database operations. In addition, IBM is rolling out 15 database utilities for the version of DB2 that runs on its zSeries mainframes.

IBM entered the database tools market just 18 months ago, but it now offers 60 management products, said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for the company’s data management solutions unit. The new tools are designed to make it easier for database administrators to work with DB2 and reduce internal costs, he noted.

Wayne Kernochan, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston, said IBM isn’t blazing any new technology paths with the products it highlighted this week. Rivals such as Islandia, N.Y.-based Computer Associates International Inc. and Houston-based BMC Software Inc. already offer similar tools, Kernochan said, noting that CA has been working on automating its database management tools for the past several years.

However, Kernochan said IBM has done a good job with its new management utilities. IBM had no choice but to offer Informix users some database tools to help reassure them of the long-term viability of the IDS software, he said.

Joseph Burns, a senior database consultant at insurer Highmark Inc. in Cranberry, Pa., said at last month’s International DB2 Users Group conference in San Diego that he thinks IBM’s database tools are now competitive with rival offerings on functionality.

IBM said the self-managing performance-tuning tool is scheduled for release late next month and the database recovery product will follow in September. The mainframe DB2 utilities and the mixed tools for DB2 and IDS are due before the end of next month.

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