We caught up with Bernie Spang, IBM's Director, Strategy and Marketing, Database Software and Systems, to discuss the latest release of its enterprise data products DB2 and InfoSphere. Version 10 of both products have just been released. DB2 is used by thousands of organizations worldwide and comes in flavors ranging from a free version that maxes out at 2GB storage to systems that support large enterprises (Coca-Cola was an early adopter of DB2 version 10, and is already reporting cost-savings of over $1 Million).
The latest version of DB2 is the first in four years and represents a significant release, according to Spang, "This is a culmination of four years of effort by hundreds of engineers in IBM Research and Software Development Labs around the world; we also had more than 100 clients and over 200 business partners involved in the 'early access program' to help deliver this software. With the fundamental goal of delivering faster, easier, lower-cost data management."
The early testing is showing positive results, with customers reporting "up to 10x faster data warehouse queries; freeing up to 90% of storage space using compression; and 98% code compatibility with Oracle Database, which makes it easier to migrate from Oracle to IBM software without changing data or retraining staff."
For our readers, though, one of the more intriguing new features of DB2 is its built-in support for RDF. While semantics is not new to IBM -- IBM Watson has gained particular fame -- the appearance of RDF support in such a widely used, stable, enterprise database system is exciting.
We asked Mr. Spang about why RDF support was added and why at this time. "Well, because we're seeing examples of its use growing, and we recognize that we are in a new era of data management. The big data technologies: Hadoop, stream analysis, NoSQL, XML, RDF -- and there are others -- whose use is growing because they are the right, best, most efficient and effective way to deal with data for certain types of situations. The right answer isn't always 'let's use the relational data model,' so we want to get out there with this and address those requirements that we see growing in the market." In version 9, IBM introduced native XML support, and offering support for RDF in version 10 is an answer to similar market demands.
"The new capabilities of DB2 fall into two major buckets," Spang continued. "One is helping our clients manage the challenges of the Big Data Era. The other is a focus on simplifying and automating data management so that we can empower a new generation of Data professionals who shouldn't be spending their time doing mundane, menial tasks best done by software; they should be freed up to focus on projects that get better business value from the data."
It will be interesting to see how organizations leverage having RDBMS, XML, and RDF support in a single platform. Spang expects that new partners will come into play "who build their solutions leveraging this flexibility. Certainly we saw that when we introduced the XML store. We're certainly hoping for and expecting to see that kind of application partnership ecosystem expand."
Note: IBM is a Gold Sponsor of the upcoming SemTechBiz Conference, San Francisco, June 3-7.