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OT : Know thy competition - IBM DB/2 UDB Vs Oracle 8i (long)

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Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2000 08:00:55 +0800
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Robert Frances Group

E-Business Database Showdown: IBM DB/2 UDB versus Oracle 8i =20 By Ed Broderick =20

Technology managers looking for scalable, highly available, =20 Internet-enabled databases will find the market has whittled down the =20 choices to IBM's DB/2 UDB and Oracle 8i. Even though Oracle is =20 perceived as being a better offering for Internet environments, both =20 products have the advanced functionality that is required for 24x7x365 =20 operations. Therefore, to perform an effective evaluation of these =20 packages, technology managers need to analyze the pricing models, =20 support and vendor relationships, as well as the functionality. =20

Three years ago, IBM, Informix, Oracle, and Sybase occupied the =20 mainstream high-end database market. Today, niche players such as =20 Microsoft and NCR Teradata consider themselves viable alternatives, =20 however both have shortcomings. Microsoft has scalability limitations =20 and is available only on Windows NT/2000 while uncertainty about =20 Teradata's future and limited market share eliminates them from =20 consideration by most technology managers. Sybase and Informix have =20 both altered their database strategies over the last few years, leaving =

enterprises with limited room for growth on existing installations and =20 little reason to purchase additional licenses for use on new systems. =20 The market shakeout that has occurred has left technology managers with =

only IBM and Oracle as viable long-term contenders. =20

New Versions Worth Consideration =20

Organizations running older versions of DB2 or Oracle may realize =20 significant improvements in functionality, availability, and =20 scalability by upgrading to newer versions. Recent database releases =20 provide out-of-the-box support for Internet technologies such as Java =20 and XML, and offer improved clustering and failover capabilities than =20 their predecessors. Further, the latest releases have improved =20 availability, as architectural improvements have reduced both unplanned =

and planned downtime. For instance, database administrators (DBAs) can =20 perform many common maintenance functions such as reorganizations and =20 upgrades while systems are online. =20

Oracle has added new core functionality including an Integrated File =20 System (iFS) that allows users to treat the database as a shared =20 network drive and integrated Java support with the JServer option. =20 Additional packages, called WebDB and interMedia, allow users to manage =

the Web content creation and distribution and supports a mix of data =20 types including audio, video, images, text, and location information. =20 Additionally, a new Virtual Private Database facility allows users to =20 attach security policies directly to tables and views and to encrypt =20 Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) in 8i Release 2. =20

New IBM functionality includes DataLinks, to compete with Oracle iFS, =20 that allows users to manage data and external content such as images, =20 while preserving security, performance, and accessibility. Visual tools =

to build Java stored procedures, Java-based administration tools, an =20 XML parser and search facility are examples of where IBM is driving DB2 =

to better compete with Oracle in the e-business space. IBM intends to =20 integrate Data Joiner and the Intelligent Miner analytic tools =20 integrated directly into the database in Version 7, which will be =20 available in June. Also, Visual Warehouse will be tightly integrated =20 into the database and provide a variety of extensions to allow native =20 access to other data sources such as Oracle and Sybase databases. =20

Technology managers should examine business drivers for the next six =20 months to one year to determine if they can leverage new database =20 capabilities to improve business processes. =20

Different Strokes for Different Folks =20

Both databases are available on mainframes, Unix, Windows NT, and =20 handhelds with IBM's product also being available on AIX, OS/400, =20 NUMA-Q, and SCO UnixWare. Other similarities include capabilities for =20 OLTP and decision support systems and application availability from OEM =

and third-party application vendors. However, the companies have =20 different business strategies and core competencies although both claim =

to offer the premier Internet platforms (IBM's WebSphere and Oracle's =20 Application Server). IBM software strategy concentrates mostly on the =20 database, middleware and supporting tools while Oracle offers =20 enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management =20 (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM) applications. =20

Technology managers should also be aware of the architectural =20 differences that exist between the two databases. IBM develops DB2 UDB =20 separately with optimization for each environment on which it is =20 available. Oracle, on the other hand, is similar across platforms and =20 is developed once and then ported to each platform. Consequently, =20 Oracle databases are portable across platforms, IBM's only across Unix =20 and Windows NT. This also allows Oracle to more quickly spread new =20 features across platforms. =20

Technology managers should be aware of the architectural differences =20 each product is based on and use the database most appropriate for the =20 enterprise's specific needs. =20

E-Business Calls =20

Both products feature high availability functionality. IBM DB2 UDB =20 Enterprise Extended Edition (EEE) supports large clustered massively =20 parallel processing (MPP) implementations on AIX, Solaris and Windows =20 NT. Oracle's high availability solution is through its Parallel =20 Failsafe initiative with Hewlett-Packard. The solution features =20 clustered HP systems that use jointly developed specialized software to =

attain superior availability and Oracle hopes to offer the high =20 availability solution on other platforms in the future. =20

Unlike the IBM of old which used to publish vague "statements of =20 direction" with nonspecific delivery dates; IBM is now focused on =20 announcing future releases with content itemized and delivery dates =20 committed. As an example, DB2 UDB Version 7, available in June will =20 feature its Data Joiner and the sophisticated analytics from =20 Intelligent Miner integrated directly into the database engine. Visual =20 Warehouse will be tightly integrated into the database and provide a =20 variety of extensions to allow native access to other data sources such =

as Oracle and Sybase databases. =20

Similarly, IBM ships major releases every 12-18 months with interim =20 versions 2-3 times/year to provide fixes, functional enhancements, and =20 Received on Wed Aug 09 2000 - 19:00:55 CDT

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