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Created: May 27, 2003.
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IBM Announces General Availability of DB2 Information Integrator V8.1.

IBM has announced the general availability of DB2 Information Integrator V8.1 which "provides the foundation for a strategic information integration framework that helps customers to access, manipulate, and integrate diverse and distributed information in real time. The new product enables businesses to abstract a common data model across data and content sources and to access and manipulate them as though they were a single source. IBM's DB2 software helps businesses increase efficiencies by enabling them to centrally manage data, text, images, photos, video and audio files stored in a variety of databases. The new IBM product is most appropriate for projects whose primary data sources are relational data augmented by other XML, Web, or content sources." Core components in the DB2 Information Integrator include a Federated Data Server, a Replication Server for Mixed Relational Databases, and a Local Database Server. The federated data server allows administrators to use integrated graphical tools to configure data source access and define integrated views across diverse and distributed data; XML schema can be automatically mapped into relational schema. "DB2 Information Integrator V8.1 supports the predominantly read-access scenarios common to enterprise-wide reporting, knowledge management, business intelligence, portal infrastructures, and customer relationship management."

IBM DB2 Information Integrator Federated Data Server Features

[Excerpted/adapted from the IBM Software Announcement Letter]

  • Applications can query integrated views across diverse and distributed data sources as if they were a single database:

    1. The query is expressed using standard SQL statements.
    2. Text search semantics can be used within the query. A fast, versatile, and intelligent full text search capability is provided across relational data sources, including data sources that either don't support native text search or don't provide a broad range of text search capability. Numerous search operations are supported (such as Boolean, wildcard, free-text, fuzzy search, proximity search for words within the same sentence or paragraph, or search within XML documents). The query can produce standard SQL answer sets or XML documents. XML documents can be: generated from the federated source data to facilitate interchange and automatically validated against DTDs or XML schemas.
    3. SQL expressions can be used to transform the data for business analysis or data exchange. XML documents can be transformed using XSL for flexible presentation. Any Web service can be converted into a function call and used as a transformation. For example, a Web service that provides currency conversion can be used inline within the SQL expression.
    4. Results can be made available to the rest of the organization by publishing them to a WebSphere MQ message queue using built-in functions.
    5. The federated server uses cost-based distributed query optimization to select the best access paths for higher query performance. It leverages intelligence about optimizing access to the data sources provided by the data source wrapper, by database statistics, and optionally by the administrator.

  • The administrator can define data caches over the federated relational data, called Materialized Query Tables, to improve query responsiveness and availability for read-only access. If cache use is enabled, the optimizer can automatically redirect the query to exploit the cache. Cache refresh is managed by the administrator.

  • Applications can also insert, update, or delete rows from federated relational databases. Initially, this is limited to single-phase commit. However, applications typically update data sources through the application API to preserve business rules.

  • Applications can access the federated server via traditional database clients or Web service clients.

  • Application developers can use familiar tools, including WebSphere Studio and Microsoft Visual Studio.NET, with DB2 Information Integrator. The federated server is designed to be transparent to the tooling layer, so a business investment in analytical tools, portal infrastructures, or application development environments that generate SQL can be preserved.

  • DB2 Information Integrator can be used with WebSphere integration offerings to provide a complete business solution integrating DB2 Information Integrator into a service-oriented architecture.

From the Announcement

Businesses today are faced with the challenge to drive more value from their existing information assets. Many businesses manage information -- everything from e-mail, spreadsheets, text files, flat files, XML content and voicemail to information received from business partners, suppliers and customers -- across a myriad of data repositories. They need an infrastructure that connects this breadth of data sources and applications.

IBM DB2 Information Integrator addresses this pain point and simplifies information management by providing businesses with a single view of their information assets, regardless of where the information resides. The new software provides real-time access and integration of both proprietary and emerging data sources, including structured and unstructured data, as if it was stored in one place.

For IT managers, in-house testing shows DB2 Information Integrator can slash by 65 percent the requirements for hand-coding programs that would otherwise be necessary to bridge information repositories. As a result, business can increase efficiencies, focusing less on technology and more on growing their business.

While competitors focus their efforts on one platform and emphasize placing all business information into its database, IBM's DB2 Information Integrator enables customers to integrate their heterogeneous infrastructure and keep existing application development, portal infrastructure, analytical and reporting environments.

DB2 Information Integrator software is based on open industry standards and provides replication, transformation, caching, XML, Web Services and Java capabilities, and incorporates IBM's unique federated data management capabilities. For example, using a single query, a business can access and integrate relational data in DB2 Universal Database and Oracle, images in Documentum, e-mail in Lotus Notes, spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel and Web Services generated by WebSphere Application Server. This data is then presented in a consolidated view.

For example, if a customer wants to review the net worth of their investment portfolio, IBM's DB2 Information Integrator software can combine stock holding information from account data stored in a relational database with a real-time stock quote from a Web service, accessing the data as if it were in a single database and calculating in real-time their net worth and portfolio value.

Grid Computing: DB2 Information Integrator software is critical to infrastructure supporting a Grid environment, accelerating applications that analyze massive amounts of data to generate valuable information for an enterprise. Key issues for managing information in a Grid are access, integration and placement of data. DB2 Information Integrator addresses these issues by providing transparent access to any data source, making information accessible in real-time as if it were stored in a single source, and boosting application efficiency using caching and replication.

IBM DB2 Information Integrator is available immediately from IBM and authorized resellers, and is priced at $20,000 per processor and $15,000 per data source connector.

The combined integrated strength of IBM's information management products, based on DB2 Universal Database, powers the industry's most demanding solutions. IBM is the only information management software vendor to provide customers with integrated solutions for database management, tools, content management, enterprise information integration and business intelligence.

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