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  1. Technology
May 27, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

DB2 makes it onto HP 9000, Sun Sparcsystems; NT maybe?

In the scads of announcements IBM Corp made on Tuesday, the UK subsidiary highlighted a handful, notably versions of the DB2/6000 relational database for Hewlett-Packard Co’s HP 9000 family and the Sun Microsystems Inc’s Solaris Open Environment, the first DB2 offerings for non-IBM systems. These new members of the DB2 family are functionally equivalent to the DB2/6000 relational database offering on the IBM AIX system. DB2, for the HP 9000 series 700 and 800 workstations and servers running HP-UX Verson 9.0, will be available in June. Sun workstations and servers running Sun’s Solaris V2.3 operating system will have to wait until September at the earliest. Versions 2 of DB2/2 and DB2/6000 were also announced, available October, offering support for text, speech and image data objects, reducing access time to data with the SQL optimiser, and increasing operational capacity by enabling the division of the database into ‘tablespaces’. The new version includes the Distributed Relational Database Architecture Application Server capability, enabling DB2/MVS, DB2/400 and DB2/VM host applications to access data located in DB/2 and DB2/6000 databases while the Data Replication products can replicate from multiple sources including DB2, DB2/400, IMS, and VSAM into DB2/2 and DB2/6000 databases. The DB2 version 2 will support Distributed Computing Environment, Open Data Base Connectivity and Apple’s Data Access Language. As for DB2 for Windows NT, software business manager Dave Pullin says DB2 development is well under way and when NT sells we will be on that platform.

VisualGen joins the Application Productivity Family

IBM has added VisualGen to its Application Productivity Family, the generation of application development tools to rise from the ashes of AD/Cycle. It is further evidence of IBM’s sortie into the applications generator workstation environment, providing software for use in the definiton, testing and generation of client-server or stand-alone single systems applications. According to Beth Wolf, an applications development consultant at IBM Software division, it represents a further addition to the visual programming paradigm and offers tremendous flexibility for customers about to target environments. Developers are able to construct enterprise-wide, client-server applications from event-driven graphical user interface client components on a client running OS/2 or Windows, IBM says. Developers remain insulated from underlying system and sub-system complexities, and can prototype these applications before letting them run throughout the enterprise. VisualGen is tightly integrated to the DB2 relational database family and will use IBM’s Distributed Relational Database Architecture at definition, test, and execution levels. Later VisualGen will support all relational databases conforming to the X/Open SQL CLI standard including Open Data Base Connectivity implementation. Initially, VisualGen will support CICS but soon standards such as Novell Inc IPX and OSF/Distributed Computing Environment will be added. Dave Pullin, IBM software business manager, who feels that IBM Software has been hiding its light under a bushel, believes VisualGen will facilitate its customers’ move into the client-server environment so necesssary to the success of many businesses today. However, for the moment at least, developers cannot bring in applications constructed through IBM’s VisualAge in Smalltalk.

Visualizer family provides visual access to data

The third item highlighted was the launch of the Visualizer family of products, enabling users to access, query, analyse and present data visually. The first release will access only DB2 databases, but by the end of the year, IBM will have added Oracle and Sybase support. With Visualizer Query, the query and reporting tool, at its core, users can add tools that provide charting, analysis, planning and development capabilities, and query tool for multimedia data sources.

Parallel Edition of DB2 for the RS/6000 under

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Other highlights included the announcement and demonstration of IBM’s new parallel relational database, Database2 Parallel Edition for AIX, to act in harness with Powerparallel SP2. It promises to optimise the parallelism of IBM’s hardware, reducing response time for complex queries and supporting more transactions. The parallel DB2 will make the RS/6000 a much more attractive product for high-end users needing to process tens to hundreds of Gigabytes of data, and were wary of capacity limitations of the RS/6000, IBM claims. DB2 Parallel Edition claims linear scalability to 64 nodes: a 32-node Powerparallel system with the parallel DB2 performed queries against a 15Mb database in under 13 minutes, and doubling the number of nodes and Gb added only a 2% increase in response time, IBM says.

Screen magnifier for the near-blind using OS/2

In earlier announcements, IBM launched a screen magnifier designed for people with poor eyesight. Screen Magnifier/2 magnifies data displayed on the OS/2 2.1 Desktop from two to 32 times normal size. Users can enable or disable focus tracking, automatically pan text in reading mode, and reverse screen colours for greater contrast. They can also enable or disable dithered colour patterns for easier viewing at higher magnifications, check the position of the current window in relation to the whole desktop and – when using Screen Reader/2 reinforce the magnification with audio. The company says Screen Magnifier/2 requires no special hardware or software, and can be used with most desktop applications. It’s available now, but at a pricey $500.

VisualAge for OS/2 provides an integrated application development environment for client-server working

A week or three back, IBM launched VisualAge for OS/2, an integrated application development environment designed for client-server applications through visual programming and construction from components technologies. VisualAge provides a series of high-productivity, OS/2-based power tools for developing applications targeting OS/2 execution systems. There are two base products: VisualAge, for the individual user, and VisualAge Team, for team development. VisualAge Team provides all the functionality of VisualAge plus support for team programming. VisualAge enables customers to develop client-server database applications using various relational databases. In a server-based development environment, says the company, it can produce complete transaction processing client-server applications for OS/2. This enables customers to build workstation applications that access remote transaction programs through a variety of network protocols and access data in remote and local relational databases. Available now, VisualAge costs $2,500 and VisualAge Team $5,000.

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