IBM Looks to the Future of e-Business With Latest Releases of DB2

IBM continues to focus on the e-Business explosion with the announcement of several enhancements to its DB2 Universal Database as well as two new products. Each new version of DB2 addresses a different IBM server platform, with the AS/400 first in line.

DB2 Universal Database 4.4 for the AS.400 will be available Friday, May 21, when IBM will also release the newest version of OS/400 -- V4R4. DB2/400 4.4 will enable AS/400 users to support sophisticated business intelligence solutions and link corporate information to the Web.

Using DB2/400 4.4, for example, files can be accessed directly from the file system on the AS/400 or through SQL, says Hershel Harris, IBM's director of database technology.

Although AS/400 hardware sales were down in the first quarter of 1999, that was not the case with DB2. The demand for the AS/400 version of DB2 was up 10 percent in the first quarter of 1999, compared with the first quarter of last year, according to Janet Perna, general manager of data management for IBM Software Solutions.

IBM also has plans to make further enhancements to DB2 4.4 during the second half of this year. These enhancements will focus primarily on object support, including image, large text, and video and audio clips, according to Harris.

DB2 Universal Database 6.1 for OS/2, Linux, Unix, Windows NT, Windows 95 and Windows 98 is scheduled to be available July 30, 1999, and DB2 Universal Database 6.0 for OS/390 will be available on June 25, 1999.

IBM has also added two new products to the DB2 family -- Satellite Edition and DB2 Everywhere, which will be available by the end of the year. These two products are specifically designed for mobile workers using a variety of portable devices -- such as palmtop computers and laptops -- to access corporate data and applications.

--J. Martin