Database Catch-Up - InformationWeek

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11/21/2005
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Database Catch-Up

Support for XML data is an arcane capability for database vendors to brag about. But with the growing volume of XML documents and other unstructured data, such as Word documents, images, PDFs and E-mails, it has become a gotta-have among the major database vendors.

IBM last week released a beta version of the next release of DB2, known as Viper, that can handle unstructured data, including XML documents, as well as structured relational data. XML is used to generate common business documents such as customer purchase orders.

IBM, however, "is playing catch-up to Oracle," Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna says. In Oracle 10g Release 2, which debuted in July, Oracle added XQuery capabilities to the existing XML-parsing capability that lets users store native XML documents. And when DB2 Viper is available sometime in mid-2006, it will be just one step ahead of Microsoft's SQL Server 2005, which debuted earlier this month with the ability to store XML documents as relational data in tables.

All this means that relational database users will have less need for separate repositories for growing volumes of XML data. A few XML-specific database systems are available, such as Software AG's Tamino server. But now relational systems can more easily handle that role.

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