Archive for March 2011
At this month’s IBM Investor Briefing, John Kelly (Senior VP of IBM Research) gave a very interesting presentation where he outlined four technology trends that will change the world:
- Nano systems. IBM is working on systems that are based on light instead of wiring. This will result in incredible performance improvements at lower power. The change from nano devices to nano systems will provide a 1,000 times improvement in computational density.
- Exascale systems. The fastest systems in the world today operate at a petaflop. IBM is currently building a 10 petaflop system called Blue Waters, and has roadmaps to build an exaflop system before the end of the decade. Going from a petaflop to an exaflop means another 1,000 times improvement in performance.
- Very big and fast data. By 2020, the world will have 50 billion interconnected devices. In this new world, data will be generated at machine speeds. To handle this, we will need systems that can process hundreds of gigabytes per second, and support microsecond decision making. IBM is working on unique technologies to do this.
- Cognitive computing. Since much of the world’s data is now digitized, systems can be created to do things that have never been done before. Watson is the first in this new class of machines, more are to come…
This is really cool stuff, and one of the reasons I love working for IBM.
IDEAS International have just published an interesting blog post titled HP-UX at Crossroads as Oracle Ceases Development for Itanium. In light of Oracle pulling the plug on Itanium, IDEAS International polled HP-UX administrators on HP’s IT Resource Center Forums about alternatives to Oracle Database on HP-UX. Here are the results of that poll:
Source: IDEAS poll of 66 HP-UX administrators from HP’s IT Resource Center Forums
The IDEAS International blog post has a lot more detail. Read the full blog post at: HP-UX at Crossroads as Oracle Ceases Development for Itanium.
I normally focus on DB2 news in this blog, but the Informix team have some exciting news that I want to share.
Fourth-generation programming languages (4GLs) are easy to learn and use. They make it easy to create user interfaces and to write the associated business logic. Informix has supported 4GL development since the 1980s. According to wikipedia:
…Informix-4GL is still widely used to develop business applications, and a sizable market exists around it due to its popularity. With accounting being an inherently text based activity, it is often chosen for its purely text-based interface to optimize data entry efficiency. New accounting applications are still being developed with Informix-4GL for this reason…
Today, IBM is announcing a significant improvement in the Informix 4GL support, with the availability of Informix Genero—a 4GL application development environment for the new generation of mobile and cloud-based applications. Informix Genero allows you to develop applications between 5 and 10 time faster than before. It includes reusable frameworks for developing applications that work across multiple desktop, mobile, or cloud-based user platforms. You can write single source code for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, Java, browsers, mobile devices, and ASCII devices. Using a single graphical environment to develop once for all platforms makes development and testing much easier and faster.
Do you have a “green screen” 4GL application? If so, Informix Genero offers an easy way to modernize that application. Using Informix Genero is a much less risky and less expensive way to modernize those applications than rewriting them in a language like Java or .NET. Almost all of the language keywords in Informix Genero are the same as Informix-4GL, so in many cases, a simple recompilation of your 4GL source code with Informix Genero will work. However, if you are modernizing these applications then you will likely want to take advantage of the Web 2.0 user interface controls, web services, business graphics and other features in Informix Genero.
This release of Informix also features the IBM Informix Ultimate Warehouse Edition. This is the really cool columnar technology that IBM has recently made available on the mainframe (DB2 for z/OS). This columnar approach to warehousing has been shown to speed up the response to analytical queries by up to 100 times. So, if you are implementing data warehousing for your data in Informix, you will definitely want to check this out.
For more information, see the Informix product page.
Oracle dropped a bombshell a few days ago by announcing that it will no longer
supportdevelop for Itanium-based systems. It didn’t take long for commentators to realize that this jesture was not aimed at Intel who manufacture Itanium, but at HP whose Unix-based servers use Itanium. I think Paul McDougall at InformationWeek sums it up best in his Itanium Dump Could Cost Oracle Billions when he said that:
Larry Ellison thinks he has found a way to shore up the struggling server business he bought for $7.4 billion last year in the form of Sun Microsystems—force customers to buy Sun hardware if they want to continue to run the latest Oracle software.
This is big news when you consider how many Oracle customers run on HP systems. It is strange to think that one of the basic tenets of business—that the customer is always right—does not seem to apply here. These customers are facing the prospect of being forced off their platform of choice. I imagine Oracle is dealing with quite a few unhappy customers right now. I wonder how much trust those customers have that Oracle will not continue such practices in the future, forcing customers into deeper and deeper levels of dependence on Oracle.
The good news is you have a viable alternative. IBM DB2 is currently replacing Oracle Database in more and more environments. Forrester and Gartner have both covered this phenomenon. You now have the option of protecting the investment in your HP environment, and simply switching the database software. Just a couple of years ago, this would not have been a viable option. But thanks to recent advancements in database migrations, it is now relatively straighforward.
Why are customers moving off Oracle Database and onto IBM DB2? Well, first of all, it costs less to move to DB2 than it does to stay on Oracle Database. Organizations are saving considerable amounts of money by making this move. Consider Reliance Life who determined that, in their case, the total cost of ownership for moving to DB2 is half the cost of staying with Oracle Database. But customers are also moving because database migrations are now more straightforward, taking considerably less time and having considerably lower risk (just look at those Forrester and Gartner links for confirmation). In other words, for many organizations, moving from Oracle Database to DB2 has become a viable strategy for freeing up future IT budget. Not only that, but IT staff can continue to use their Oracle skills after the migration. For instance, I know customers who have migrated from Oracle Database to IBM DB2, and continue to program in PL/SQL after the migration (DB2 supports PL/SQL).
As many of you know, IBM has been making big investments in Big Data. This includes InfoSphere BigInsights (which is based on Apache Hadoop), InfoSphere Streams, IBM Netezza, and more than $14B in analytics-based acquisitions. IBM is now announcing a set of hands-on workshops that will be held around the world to help you get to grips with Big Data. There will be 1,200 of these free workshops held in more than 150 cities in 60 countries in 2011. For more information, see IBM Launches Global Bootcamps to Help Companies Tackle Big Data Challenges.
Today, IBM is launching a new IBM DB2 vs. Oracle Database advertising campaign. This camapign will run in both print and online media. Much of the content in the current and upcoming ads will be familiar to readers of this blog. I hope you enjoy them…