LXer Feature: Interview with IBM: DB2 in the Mid-Range Market

Posted by tadelste on Jan 14, 2006 8:17 PM
LXer; By TxtEdMacs

In a rush to arrange an interview just as the holidays rapidly approached at the end of 2005 a series of mis-communications has resulted in a more interesting set of questions and answers than might have been otherwise expected.

Introduction:

The standard methods with which we conduct interviews broke down unexpectedly in our haste to arrange contacts for database vendor interviews. Late in December when contact was made with IBM the confirming letter outlining the structure and content of possible questions were instead taken as the list of real questions. As a result the tone of some of the questions were harsher than they might have otherwise have been. Moreover, the wording was not as precise, hence, as a result there were mis-communications between us and the responders at IBM. Nonetheless, the forthright responses are refreshing without the more timid market speak than might otherwise have been the case. Thus, I requested permission to go with this version, and having waited more than a week into the new year, I am taking no response as an implied consent to publish as is.

Beneath is the exact text of my email request that covers at least one point I have not made in the foregoing introductory paragraph:

“First, exactly no problem with the "delay", since the question set you answered was intended only to show you the type questions I might have asked. Nonetheless, I want to go with this set, if you do not mind. I will, however, write an introductory paragraph indicating the tone of the questions were not meant to be so confrontational along with the admission that I really have no first hand experience with IBM's products in this class. I will not change the question, but I usually describe this as a mid-range product classification, however, since I think of IBM and DB2 being so main frame based I thought from your view it would be "low" end.

I really like the result and when it goes up (probably next week) I will send you a link. After the new year, I would like to submit a follow up set just let me know when are ready to do battle again.

Thank you VERY much for your prompt and complete reply.”

Interview Questions:

[LXer]: In general I am trying to probe how seriously IBM intends to compete on the lower end of the RDBMS model.

[IBM]: First, I do not like that term - "lower-end." It is derogatory to our clients with more modest feature or support requirements. However, I agree the RDBMS market serves clients whose requirements span a broad spectrum - including clients who do not require the most advanced features and operational capabilities. IBM intends to continue to compete for the opportunity to help these clients meet their goals.

[LXer]: That is, other than a three month trial use, are there any plans to entice more than developers experimenting with your system?

[IBM]: In 2005 we partnered with Zend to deliver to developers of PHP applications the ability to more easily power PHP applications with DB2, Cloudscape or Informix databases. At the recently XML conference in Atlanta we announced that we are now working with Zend to help them deliver an update to their Zend Core for IBM that will include a no-charge license to DB2 Express. And that we will be offering optional support packages to those deploying solutions powered by Zend Core for IBM - as we currently do for those using the Cloudscape database.

[LXer]: Could you inform me of any that are now currently active?

[IBM]: You will be seeing additional actions in 2006 that will continue to increase the accessibility of DB2 and grow its community of developers and users.

[LXer]: Moreover, are you free to discuss whether IBM has any plans to enhance their competitive stance?

[IBM]: Low cost and ease-of access and use are certainly critical elements of the equation in this segment of the market. Innovation that make it easier to build next generation applications is another. The upcoming "Viper" release of DB2 introduces the industry's first multi-structure database - integrating management of both relational and XML data structures. In 2006 we will move beyond the current beta phase to a general release and community development program.

[LXer]: I see the major competitors as Microsoft with their SQL Server on Windows only with MySQL AB being the most direct competition* to the former's grand plans. However, I am beginning to think that for some reason Oracle is going to take an irrational spoiler role by hindering the uptake of the latter. In general would you care to outline where you think IBM fits in that picture?

[IBM]: In your picture IBM DB2 fits in as the "rational spoiler." "No initial fee" databases have done the industry a valuable service by demonstrating a large untapped opportunity for database use. Now that new sets of developers see the power of using a database, IBM intends to not only meet their needs better than others - but to follow the example and introduce DB2 Viper an even broader developer community who are increasingly working with XML data among Web services.

Summary:

There is simply not much else to be said other than I would have preferred to setup the last question in more detail and explain why I think that Oracle is playing a destructive role in its apparent attempt to quash MySQL's advances. That behaviour can only benefit Microsoft and are destructive to Oracle's own longer term interests. Moreover, Oracle PR people are shockingly impervious to requests for access to anyone that might provide any rational explanation.

Attempts to contact Red Hat have also fallen upon deaf ears, however, this company takes pleasure in pointing out their complete lack of an independent PR/Marketing department. In contrast on the Oracle site it is difficult to determine, whom is the best suited to place one's inquiry. Nonetheless, the paranoia exhibited for a department that puts out press releases by the gross is impossible, for me, to understand. In any case, this series of interviews is not at an end. More vendors or acute observers are being asked to explain what and why certain actions are happening in the mid-range RDBMS market.


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