IBM ramps Informix integration plans

IBM Corp. has revealed plans to move more of its Informix-bred database technologies to Big Blue’s own DB2 data management platform.

Meanwhile, DB2 technology is being fitted to the Domino messaging server IBM now owns via its Lotus acquisition, company executives report.

Technologies from IBM’s acquisition of Informix in 2001, such as the Cloudscape embedded Java database and Datablades which manage special data types, are being migrated to IBM platforms, IBM officials said.

The development teams for Cloudscape and IBM’s embedded database, DB2 Everyplace, have been combined, said Janet Perna, general manager of IBM’s data management software group in an interview. DB2 Everyplace runs on embedded Linux and the Pocket PC platforms, she said.

“Lotus, Tivoli and systems management groups within IBM are using some of the Cloudscape technology as the persistent data store for caching information,” Perna said.

“We’re continuing to use that technology internally for developing new products,” she added.

IBM also is adding Informix technologies to DB2 such as Datablades, database connectors, SQL functions, and utilities.

Datablades including time series, for running information such as stock ticker data in a database, and real-time data loading are being moved to DB2 within 18 months. Also being migrated in that timeframe is a geodetic Datablade, for three-dimensional views of data.

“It’s a limited market,” said Tony Rosamilla, vice-president and general manager of worldwide data management and development at IBM’s Silicon Valley Lab in San Jose, Calif., of the geodetic product. “But for those that it’s important to, it’s a very important market.”

Geodetic technology can be used for viewing data in applications such as homeland security, he said.

IBM already has ported the Informix spatial Datablade to DB2. Spatial data includes objects such as stores, facilities, street networks, homes, and moving vehicles.

An analyst said IBM’s moves with Datablades were not surprising. “It’s essentially re-deploying the technology,” said analyst Carl Olofson, program director for information and data management software at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

While IBM is bolstering the Informix database with functions such as XML support, the company suggests that new deployments move to DB2.

“DB2 is clearly the next-generation database,” said Perna.

But Olofson said users who are not looking to change applications can stay with Informix for the time being. “There isn’t any urgency if you’ve got applications on Informix and you’re not really planning to deploy new applications,” he said.

Additionally, IBM is working to migrate Lotus Domino technologies to DB2, according to IBM officials interviewed at company facilities this week.

“What we’re looking at is can we make Domino work on DB2, what can we do to make it work today,” Perna said.

IBM has expressed intentions to move off of Notes technology to DB2 and the WebSphere application server. The Lotus Notes database has had issues in terms of scalability, Perna said.

Commenting on the Java versus Microsoft Corp. development battles, Perna said the Java development platform is winning out over Microsoft’s C#.

“I think there’s more momentum in the industry around Java than around C#,” Perna said.

She also said Microsoft will have to overcome obstacles to migrating legacy Visual Basic users to C#. “It seems to me Microsoft has a huge challenge. The whole world is Visual Basic.”

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