News in Brief

64-bit DB2 for z/OS; .NET two years later

64-bit DB2 for z/OS on the Way

In tandem with the announcement of its new z990 “T-Rex” mainframe systems, IBM Corp. announced that it is prepping a new 64-bit version of the DB2 Universal Database (UDB) for z/OS.

IBM officials say that the new version of DB2, dubbed DB2 UDB version 8 for z/OS, will be the first 64-bit database optimized for its zSeries mainframe systems and z/OS operating environment.

IBM currently maintains three distinct DB2 code bases: One for zSeries, another for iSeries, and a third for so-called "open systems"—Unix, Windows, and Linux.

None of the platform-specific DB2 iterations are pegged to the same version number, and all are marketed for different purposes. IBM shipped DB2 version 5.2 for iSeries in tandem with its release of OS/400 version 5, release 2 (5R2) in Spring 2002. DB2 version 7 for zSeries shipped in March 2001. Big Blue shipped DB2 8.1 for open systems in November 2002.

The new version of DB2 for z/OS will include approximately 100 new features, along with additional enhancements, focusing primarily on improving the performance, scalability, security, and availability of the database. These features and enhancements are designed to take advantage of both z/OS and the underlying zSeries hardware, IBM officials say.

By virtue of the jump from a 31-bit to a 64-bit address space, DB2 UDB 8 for z/OS boasts support for a much greater potential address space: 16 exabytes, as opposed to a mere 2 GB. Moreover, 64-bit virtual storage facilitates the creation of a single large virtual space, instead of hyperspaces, and data spaces in addition to the address space. The revamped DB2 for z/OS also gets long names support in the database catalog, which means Unix and Windows applications can be more easily ported to DB2 running in mainframe environments. The database overhaul will also introduce enhancements to SQL for OLTP applications, along with enhanced support for XML, SQL and Java.

In addition, DB2 UDB 8 for z/OS will support Online Schema Evolution, which lets a DBA alter a database’s schema—add columns or partitions, for example—on-the-fly without first shutting it down. Alternately, DBAs have to bring down the database, backup the data, restructure the database schema, and reload it. In environments with massive amounts of storage, this process can take days.

IBM officials say that the revamped DB2 for z/OS will ship late this year or early next year.

NET at Two Years: Ready for Prime Time? By Joseph McKendrick (Courtesy of )

When .NET was first unleashed on the world two years ago, there was, at first, confusion about how Microsoft was positioning the new technology.

In a marketing-driven attempt to spread its new gospel, Microsoft affixed the .NET moniker to every product it was shipping, regardless of whether or not the product directly supported .NET. Microsoft has since retrenched and removed the .NET designators from all products except its Visual Studio development toolkit.

“When the .NET brand first appeared, Microsoft applied it to a range of unrelated products,” says David Chappell, consultant and author on .NET. “They’re pulling back from this today, as evidenced by the deletion of ‘.NET’ from Windows Server 2003. I’m glad to see this, since the main things people think of as .NET, such as the .NET Framework, will retain the name. Rather than being just a blurry brand, .NET is becoming a clearly defined set of related products.”

The closest definition of .NET may be that of an application server. Yet, analysts are uncertain as to how to even fit .NET into this category, since it’s so closely intertwined with the Windows operating system. “The application server is hard to separate from the operating system,” says Gautam Desai, vice president at Doculabs Inc. “.NET sits on top of the operating system, and is by itself nothing more than a set of APIs. As soon as you install Windows, you have MSMQ, IIS, transaction services, and other services you get in an application server.”

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About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.