IBM to offer compression with DB2

By Ann Silverthorn

—IBM announced this week that it will include mainframe-like compression technology with its upcoming DB2 "Viper" data server. Code-named "Venom," the compression technology is designed to reduce storage hardware costs and usage by 50% to 70%. In addition, new automatic storage management capabilities will improve memory bandwidth and CPU performance for DB2 customers, according to IBM officials.

"The IBM System z mainframe has built-in compression capabilities in the hardware," says Bernie Spang, director of data servers for IBM. "We've taken the mainframe methodology and algorithms and will deliver them via software for use on other platforms."

Compression is a feature that users have to forfeit when running DB2 on Linux, Unix, or Windows rather than on mainframes. The "mainframe-like" storage compression capability of Venom allows row compression, and compresses data objects using a dictionary-based approach. Row compression capability will be in addition to Viper's value compression, index compression in multidimensional clusters, and backup compression technology.

IBM is positioning itself against database rivals such as Oracle and Microsoft, as well as EMC.

IBM has a larger strategy to take on the EMC and Oracle joint customer base by combining IBM software, business consulting, and storage hardware businesses. The company claims that Viper has already drawn the interest of more than 30,000 Oracle customers that use EMC storage and want to address their growing capacity problems with an alternative to buying more hardware.

In addition to Venom, IBM will also introduce new automatic storage management capabilities built on DB2 technology. These include intelligent memory management and the use of compression to keep more data in memory, which means that users access and write to disk-based devices less frequently.

An additional storage management improvement will be query optimization. "The smarter the data server can be in structuring the queries and structuring the data as it exists on the physical device, the more efficient users can be with the space required on the device, the actual I/O, and processing," says Spang. "The net result is that you're doing more with less—less storage, fewer cycles, and therefore, better-performing applications."

DB2 Viper is scheduled for release in mid-2006.

This article was originally published on April 25, 2006