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IBM Overhauls Data Warehouse Strategy

The comprehensive Dynamic Warehousing strategy was unveiled at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit in Chicago.

IBM on Tuesday unleashed a tsunami of data warehousing software, appliances, and services, countering the competitive pressure it has felt in the enterprise market, while also covering small and midsize businesses.

IBM introduced its comprehensive Dynamic Warehousing strategy at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit in Chicago. The initiative is built around the company's DB2 Warehouse 9.1.2, which is based on the DB2 9 database management system, and incorporates the company's Information Server for data integration. In addition, the software integrates the Rational Data Architect for data modeling and mapping, and includes DB2 Alphablox for embedded analytics.

Prevviously only available for the enterprise, IBM has introduced three scaled-down versions of DB2 Warehouse for small and midsize businesses and departments in large organizations, and also launched two new warehouse appliances that offer a combined software and hardware package for the same market segments. In addition, IBM enhanced its enterprise offerings.

"IBM with these announcements becomes the premiere data warehousing appliance vendor, in terms of the range of targeted solutions they provide," said James Kobielus, data management analyst for Current Analysis. "IBM has significantly improved the packaging, pricing, scalability, professional services, and channel partner programs for its data warehousing and master data management solutions."

In terms of new technology, IBM introduced the OmniFind Analytics Edition, which attacks the problem of extracting business intelligence from unstructured data. The new software, an optional add-on module for the DB2 Warehouse, consolidates and analyzes data from unstructured and structured sources, regardless of the format.

The new versions of DB2 Warehouse are scheduled to be available by the end of the month, along with all the other warehousing products from IBM. The three new editions are Advanced, Intermediate, and Starter, and have storage capacities limited to 2 terabytes, 1 terabyte, and 400 Gbytes, respectively. Pricing starts at $48,000 for the Advanced Edition, $24,000 for the Intermediate, and $10,000 for the Starter, according to figures supplied by Current Analysis. The two existing Enterprise and Enterprise Base editions have been enhanced, and pricing starts at $105,000 and $60,000, respectively.

On the appliance side, IBM renamed its data warehouse appliance, formerly called Balanced Configuration Units, to Balanced Warehouse. To complement the existing enterprise version, now called E Class, IBM introduced two new offerings. The D Class has a capacity from 1 terabyte to 5 terabytes, and can be configured with the DB2 Warehouse Enterprise, Enterprise Base or Advanced Editions. Pricing starts at $275,000. The C Class scales to 1 terabyte, supports 200 users, and can be preconfigured with DB2 Warehouse Intermediate and Starter editions, and with the Crystal Reports Server from Business Objects. Pricing starts at $15,000.

In releasing new pricing and enhancements for the E Class appliance, IBM had its sights on rivals, Kobielus said. "The E Class is built to be comparable in pricing and performance to Netezza and DatAllegro." The E Class has a capacity of 4 terabytes and up, with pricing starting at $500,000.

To help customers deal with the complexity of designing and implementing a data warehouse, IBM launched new services from its Global Business Services division. The services include implementation of an IBM data warehouse, and helping to integrate the technology with business intelligence and other systems to gain access to all enterprise data.

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