IBM Informix Upgrade Enhances Clustering, Database Management

Princeton Softech "Optim" tools round out IDS 11.5 management suite. Big Blue claims gains in database marketshare.
IBM this week announced the Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) 11.5, an upgrade to its database aimed at fast OLTP performance in massive-data-volume environments such as retail, telecommunications, government and banking. The upgrade enhances support for clustered server deployments and adds new database management tools via IBM's recent Princeton Softech acquisition.

The clustering enhancements to IDS 11.5 are aimed at cutting cost by letting customers manage the same amount of data on fewer hardware servers, thus requiring fewer software licenses, lowering administration costs, and offering energy and space savings. IBM bills IDS 11.5 as "the first non-mainframe database to provide clustered data centers with low-cost continuous data availability and disaster recovery regardless of geographic location or distance between backup data center sites."

The second big enhancement to IDS 11.5 is an integrated development and operations management environment created by the combination of IBM’s Data Studio product with the Optim Data Growth, Data Privacy and Test Data Management solutions gain in the Princeton Softech acquisition of last summer. Optim Data Growth supports best-practice archiving by segregating historical transactions and applying cost-effective tiered storage strategies. Optim Data Privacy De-identifies confidential information by applying a range of data masking routines and techniques to protect personally identifiable information such as credit card numbers and email addresses. Optim Test Data Management streamlines testing, applying selection criteria to ensure complete coverage, editing data in its relational context and comparing baseline data against successive test runs.

Citing new estimates from IDC, IBM claims its overall share of the database market grew faster than that of Oracle, Microsoft or any other vendor in 2007. The relational database market grew 12.1% from $16.6 billion in 2006 to $18.6 billion in 2007, according to IDC. Oracle's relational database revenue grew 13% to $8.2 billion, giving it 44.1% of the total market. IBM's revenue grew at a slightly faster rate of 13.3%, putting it in second-place with 21.3% of the 2007 market.

While IBM's DB2 accounted for the lion's share of IBM's growth, IDS is said to play a "significant role" in IBM's overall database revenue. Acquired in 2001, IDS was upgraded to version 11.0 last June.

"IBM's critics have been saying that the company has been ignoring Informix, but that's simply not true," said Gartner analyst Don Feinberg with last year's 11.0 release. "They have sent a message to IDS users that they are serious about the database and that it's part of IBM's overall DBMS strategy.