Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Viper 2

Last week I was talking about AIX 6, which IBM is making available as an open beta – which means anyone can test it out so long as they report their findings to IBM. This week I want to talk about Viper 2, the latest version of DB2 9, which is also available as a download for beta testers. You can register for the Viper 2 open beta program at The commercial version is slated to ship later this year.

DB2 9 (the original Viper) was released in July 2006. What made it so special was the way it could handle both relational and XML data easily, which was made possible by the use of pureXML. Users were able to simultaneously manage structured data plus documents and other types of content. This, IBM claims, made it superior to products from other database vendors – you know who they mean! Oracle 11g, which will have probably been announced when you read this, will have full native XML support. Sybase already has this facility.

According to recent figures from Gartner, IBM’s database software sales increased 8.8 percent in 2006 to just over $3.2 billion. However, Oracle’s had 14.9 percent growth and Microsoft had a 28 percent growth in databases. As a consequence, IBM’s share of the $15.2 billion relational database market decreased to 21.1 percent in 2006 from 22.1 percent in 2005.

Viper 2 offers enhanced workload management and security. The workload management tools will give better query performance from data warehouses, and better handling of XML data within the database – they say. There is also automated hands-off failover for high availability.

In addition, there’s simplified memory management and increased customization control. DB2 9 can perform transactional and analytical tasks at the same time, Viper 2 offers improved management tools for setting priorities between those tasks

And, it apparently has greater flexibility and granularity in security, auditing, and access control. It’s now easier to manage the process of granting access to specific information in the database. Viper 2 makes it simpler to manage and administer role-based privileges, for example label-based access control, which allows customers to set access privileges for individual columns of data. It is also easier to add performance and management enhancements to the system's audit facilities.

It is well worth a look.

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