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IBM to bring automation to DB2

The "Stinger" release of DB2 Universal Database, due at the end of the year, will incorporate features from IBM's research on autonomic computing for simplifying administration

New features planned for IBM's DB2 database server software will automate common administrative tasks and take advantage of growing interest in low-cost server hardware, the company says.

The company on Monday will start broad beta-testing for the next major update to its DB2 database, which runs on the Unix, Linux and Windows operating systems. Code-named Stinger, the next update of DB2 Universal Database is slated for general availability later this year.

DB2 will incorporate capabilities that have come from IBM's ongoing autonomic computing initiative for making computers more able to self-manage. The Stinger update will also include enhancements to simplify the process of running the database over a cluster of several servers and to ease application development on Linux or Windows servers.

IBM is adding a program called Autonomic Object Maintenance for scheduling maintenance tasks. Another program, Design Advisor, speeds database setup on one server or on a cluster. Other features from IBM's autonomic research include a tool designed to optimize database queries automatically for better performance.

Big Blue will include DB2 Geodetic Extender, which lets the database store and manage geospatial information. Like other commercial database providers, such as Oracle, Microsoft and Sybase, IBM intends to bundle so-called business intelligence software with its database for analyzing corporate information.

The upcoming version of DB2 will incorporate support for the most recent Linux kernel, version 2.6, which is expected to provide better performance and scale for clustered servers and servers based on 64-bit processors. Stinger also has DB2 Partition Advisor, a tool for automatically shifting and optimizing workloads across several database servers in a Linux cluster.

IBM database rival Oracle asserts that its own database clustering software is more flexible than IBM's clustering design because packaged and home-grown business applications do not need to be significantly changed to run on Oracle database clusters. IBM has no plans to adopt the same "shared disk" clustering architecture as Oracle, but IBM is working with application providers to reduce the modifications needed to run software on DB2 clusters, said Paul Rivot, director of database servers and business intelligence software at IBM.

The capabilities in Stinger will be included in the forthcoming edition of DB2 Express, a version of IBM's database aimed at midsize businesses.