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 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

“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,

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

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.

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