RealTime IT News

Big Blue Drops Big Bucks on Database Tools

IBM Corp. Tuesday inked the second deal in as many days to improve the quality and cost effectiveness of its server line by investing $200 million to compete in the database tools market.

Focused specifically on managing data for its S/390 line, the four-year investment will help Big Blue acquire tools to help companies attack the cost of computing brought on by the rising costs of system administration.

IBM will deliver more than 35 tools for DB2 and Information Management System (IMS) for OS/390 environments in an effort to help customers effectively manage large volumes of data.

According to Brant Davison, program manager of IBM Data Management Solutions, customer demand for such tools has been strong enough to merit the investment.

"We based the amount of investment and the idea that costs are rising on anecdotal experience -- from what our customers tell us," Davison told InternetNews.com Tuesday. "There is twice as much demand for database tools and not enough database administrators to take care of them, so we need high performance databases."

Davison also pointed to a Meta Group study that estimated that hardware costs were dropping, software costs were holding steady while the cost of hiring skilled workers was rising -- certainly making the need for more efficient databased justified.

On Monday, IBM made the first play of the week concerning its servers when it launched the new "Blue Hammer," an amped cluster that ushers in a new era of manageability for commercial UNIX systems, using IBM's Parallel System Support Programs (PSSP). This can cluster up to 16 ultra-powerful S80's that can scale to 384 copper microprocessors.

But just how important is this field?

According to IDC, database management is snowballing at 13.4 percent annually; the market is expected to exceed $2 billion by 2003. IDC's Carl Olofson said IBM owns at least 75 percent marketshare in this sector.

"Delivering a feature rich toolset at industry leading price points reaffirms IBM's commitment to support the needs of its customers at the right price," Olofson, director of application development and deployment, IDC.

Janet Perna, general manager, IBM Data Management Solutions, said her firm's current moves in the database space point directly to the rising expense of systems deployment -- as well as a shortage of skilled workers to set them up.

DB2 for OS/390 supports key data applications for 80 percent of the Fortune 1000, and is capable of managing more than 4 million transactions per hour.

Customers interested in migrating their competitive tools to IBM's Data Management tools will receive a discount on license fees.

Specific pricing for the 35 tools is not yet available, but Davison said it falls in the range of the low thousands to hundreds of thousands.

IBM will begin to roll out its database tools on a worldwide basis this month with the complete toolset becoming available by the end of the year.