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IBM to buy data-handling technology

Big Blue strikes a deal with a Santa Clara, Calif., company for technology designed to make data stored in a company's mainframe databases available for use with newer business software.

IBM said Tuesday that it plans to bolster its database business by acquiring data-handling technology from Santa Clara, Calif.-based CrossAccess.

The "data integration" technology is designed to make information that's stored in a company's mainframe databases available for use with newer business applications. IBM plans to add the technology to its own data-integration software, DB2.

"With the addition of CrossAccess technology and its expertise in mainframe data access, IBM is bringing more value to customers faster," Janet Perna, general manager of IBM's Data Management Software Group, said in a statement. Perna's group oversees DB2.

Big Blue has been sparring with Oracle in the mainframe database market, overtaking its rival in new database license revenues last year, according to a global database market share report Gartner Dataquest published in May.

IBM's market share for all new database licenses reached 36 percent worldwide, up from 34 percent in 2001. Oracle's share fell to nearly 34 percent, from 2001's 40 percent. But Oracle remains a threat.

"IBM is the leader in mainframe databases, but Oracle has been active in providing databases on Linux that are used on mainframes," said Erick Brethenoux, an analyst at Lazard. "And it's stacking up very well."

Brethenoux said the CrossAccess deal will have little effect on the database landscape. "It may be a nice little plus for IBM, but it is not that significant," he said.

The deal is expected to close by the end of this month. Terms were not disclosed.