Enterprise IT Consultant Views on Technologies and Trends

Aug 13 2010   3:51AM GMT

DB2 in Cloud is worth exploring

Sasirekha R Profile: Sasirekha R

Explore DB2 in Cloud

IBM has been driving to improve DB2 utilization in the cloud and a series of announcements including the DB2 virtual appliance shows a trend where we can expect more. To quote IBM, its DB2 view of the Cloud Computing is “what technologies and business models can we bring to market to help our customers realize the promise of the Cloud Computing”. The promise of cloud computing is its potential to reduce costs and improve agility.

IBM’s target users for DB2 on cloud includes everyone – Developers, Startups, SMB, Enterprise, Service Providers, SaaS Vendors. Availability of no-charge DB2 options in cloud makes it worthwhile to start exploring DB2 in cloud.

IBM’s DB2 Strategy around cloud computing falls into four key points:

  • Deliver key technologies to support its customers private cloud initiatives
  • Partner with key public providers to fully integrate DB2 into the ecosystem
  • Provide robust DBMS for SaaS vendors
  • Offer terms and conditions and pricing to make DB2 the best DBMS for the Cloud.

Technically its threaded-engine Architecture that minimizes memory requirements and enables efficient use of multi-core processors used in virtualized systems, Autonomic features like Self Tuning Memory Manager that reduce administrative costs, Support for various development platforms like Java, .Net, PHP, Ruby on Rails etc. makes DB2 an excellent choice for cloud environments.

In cloud context being technically good is only one part of the solution. Cloud computing is expected to reduce costs, improve flexibility and enhance agility and unless these benefits are provided for success would remain elusive. IBM seems to be accepting this reality and showing its willingness to adapt and coming up with various licensing and pricing strategies.

DB2 support for Private cloud is centered on availability of optimized DB2 in Virtualized environments including DB2 virtual appliances, standardizing and enhancing DB2 server provisioning and automation features. The sub-capacity pricing (now available on all DB2 Editions) where the charges are based on the system usage and not the full-capacity of the hardware coupled with the option of licensing on a per-day basis provides the basis for cost-effective virtualization.

DB2 public cloud presence involves mainly partnership with leaders in the cloud space and includes:

  • Amazon – public cloud infrastructure
  • RightScale – Platform for cloud management
  • Morph labs – Web application Hosting Infrastructure
  • Corent – Rapid SaaS development
  • Canonical – DB2 Virtual appliance running on Ubuntu cloud computing platform

Additionally, DB2 Enterprise Developer Edition is available in IBM Smart Business Development and Test Cloud.

DB2 in Cloud is available under a variety of pricing option. The free edition, DB2 Express-C is available at no cost but no IBM support. IBM points out that there is no limit on the database size or number of users making it an ideal choice for SME as well as developers. DB2 Express-C is easy-to-setup, easy-to-manage, and includes self-managing capability and also comes with the pureXML technology suited for Web 2.0 applications. For more scalable DB2 required to run large business database loads, customers would have to pay DB2 licenses.

Customers who already have a DB2 license can use it in the cloud with no additional cost and IBM would continue to support it. In between this free and perpetual license, various pricing options like pay-as-you-go, hourly usage fee, purchase optional DB2 support etc. are available.

IBM wants to position DB2 as the DBMS of choice for the SaaS vendors who aim at exploiting Cloud computing trend. The advanced autonomic features, technologies like Deep compression and pureXML coupled with attractive pricing is what IBM is betting on to achieve this.

DB2 in cloud – or for that matter any other Database – is not yet ready to handle mission-critical or I/O intensive applications. But there is a whole suite of areas that could right away start exploiting cloud – Prototyping, development and testing, periodically run applications (end-of-month processing or day end batch jobs), handling variable workloads without dedicating resources, database backups, databases for disaster recovery, Web 2.0 Applications.

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