What is Db2? History, Editions, and Video Illustrations

By: Wade Harvey

Historical Background

DB2 is a relational database management system produced by IBM that IBM refers to as a "data server." What is a relational database? A relational database is a set of files that has been analyzed for all of the relationships between fields. The related fields are pulled out of the original files in order to minimize redundancy in the data being stored. For example, instead of storing the information that TN is the state Tennessee in every record, that information is pulled out of the original file and stored only once in a state code file.

The idea of a relational database first arose in 1970 when Dr. E.F. Codd formally stated a number of algebraic rules that could be applied to data manipulation. IBM left the application of Codd's principles to a group of programmers that created a language that was eventually called SQL (Structured Query Language). DB2 was the name given to the Database Management System in 1982, and it is the first database to use SQL.

At first, DB2 was only available on IBM mainframes, but during the 1990's DB2 spread to many other platforms, LUW (Linux, Unix, Windows), mid-range computers i5/OS (formerly AS/400) and even on PDAs. During the 90s, IBM also introduced it's Universal Server. The Universal Server shifted the technology to an object-related SQL DBMS that allows developers to define their own data types from more primitive data types.

In 2001, IBM bought Informix and incorporated many of it's database features into the DB2 product suite.

In 2006, IBM announced "Viper," the codename for DB2 9 on distributed platforms and DB2 9 on z/OS. DB2 9 offers the ability to store XML "natively," and it also allows storage compression to save on disk space. pureXML(tm) is the name that IBM uses to talk about the ability to store XML natively.

IBM's biggest competitors are Teradata for Data Warehousing and Oracle. Microsoft's SQL Server and MySQL are serious competitors in the smaller environments.

Editions

IBM's Product Summary page for DB2 () allows one to download the various editions after registering. The DB2 Express-c edition is free, and the other editions allow you to have a 90-day free trial.

IBM will send you a free Discovery DVD () that has: # DB2 Express-C 9 (Linux and Windows), # DB2 Developer Workbench (Linux and Windows), # a comparison of all Editions from Express to Enterprise, # webcasts, tutorials, and much more!

Here is a list of some of the major features of several of the DB2 Editions:

1. DB2 9 Express for Linux, Sun Solaris x86, Windows is an excellentl entry level data server. Suitable for transaction processing or complex query workloads on servers with up to two processors. (2 processors & 4 Gig RAM) Starting at $4,874 per processor of $165 per user (minimum of 5 users).

1.a. DB2 Express-C is a free version of DB2 Express Edition (DB2 Express) for the community. DB2 Express-C is a free data server that can be used in development and deployment of applications including: XML, C/C++, Java, .NET, PHP, and more. DB2 Express-C can be run on up to 2 dual-core CPU servers, with up to 4 GB of memory, any storage system setup and with no restrictions on database size or any other artificial restrictions. (Linux and Windows)

2. DB2 9 Workgroup for LUW - provides all of the features of DB2 Express with scalability to larger servers. (4 processors & 16 Gig RAM)

3. DB2 9 Enterprise for LUW - Includes all of the features of DB2 Workgroup plus features required to provide the scalability to handle high user loads and provide 24

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