IBM Returns Oracle's Fire With DB2 Upgrade
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IBM on Friday announced a new software solution that brings mainframe-level scalability to its rack-mount DB2 database servers. The news comes on the eve of Oracle Openworld and is aimed at returning a little fire at Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) for its claims against IBM database servers.
IBM DB2 pureScale is a special version of DB2 that runs on its rack-mount 550 Express and p5 Power 595 servers and is designed to allow companies to "scale out" their DB2 clusters without sacrificing performance.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) is clearly targeting Oracle's Exadata 2 servers, built on Sun hardware. Oracle introduced the servers in September even as it struggles to get European approval of its $7.4 billion purchase of Sun. Throughout the introduction, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made repeated jabs at IBM's database servers.
However, this is not a hardware solution. Rather, it is database clustering software for AIX systems. The Smart Analytics System software is a cluster of Power 550 machines tuned to do data warehousing.
"DB2 pureScale on Power Systems helps clients grow their IT infrastructure more reliably and economically than ever before to meet todays business needs. This addition to the IBM portfolio complements DB2 on System z, the only platform that provides greater scalability and availability and which remains the undisputed leader in database systems," said Arvind Krishna, general manager of the Information Management unit at IBM.
DB2 pureScale uses PowerHA pureScale scaling technology for AIX systems. It has a centralized database with locking and caching to minimize the processing overhead of inter-node communications, direct memory access for high efficiency data transfer and all nodes know the status of the other nodes. So if one fails, they all know immediately and adjust their workloads accordingly.
The direct memory access, called Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), lets DB2 database servers directly query the cache memory of the pureScale traffic control servers as if the cache was on its own server. Normally cache checks go through the CPU, but RDMA bypasses the CPU and goes straight to memory.
In a system performance test with more than 100 Power servers, IBM said DB2 pureScale achieved a total system productivity of more than 80 percent. With 64 servers, DB2 pureScale generated a system productivity of more than 90 percent.