IBM targets real-time data analytics with new database software

At the IBM World of Watson conference in Las Vegas, IBM announced the latest version of its DB2 database software, in an effort to empower better analytics.

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A new version of IBM's DB2 database software could boost user efforts in hybrid transactional/analytical processing (HTAP), the company announced on Tuesday. The latest version of the software was unveiled at the IBM World of Watson conference in Las Vegas.

At a basic level, HTAP is the type of processing where analytics and transactions are in the same database, as opposed to being architected separately, an IBM press release said. In that same release, IBM quoted Gartner, which said: "HTAP has a potentially strategic and transformational impact by redefining the way some business processes are designed and executed, as advanced real-time analytics (e.g., planning, forecasting and what-if analysis) becomes an integral part of the transactional business process itself, rather than a separate activity performed after the fact."

The official title of the new version is IBM DB2 12 for z/OS, and the press release said that it adds in-memory capabilities and boosts real-time analytic processing 100 times over the previous version.

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To go along with the latest version of DB2, IBM also announced a new feature called DB2 Analytics Accelerator for Cloud, which the press release said could further speed the time to actionable insights from the analytics. The DB2 Analytics Accelerator for Cloud also lays the "foundation for integration with IBM Watson Data Platform for even greater cognitive insights," the release stated.

"IBM is delivering a high level of agility for our clients to respond to the changing business requirements with their data and analytics," Rob Thomas, vice president of product development for IBM Analytics, said in the press release. "We believe that this will put them in the best position to capitalize on the benefits of real-time analytics leveraging HTAP."

IBM DB2 12 for z/OS builds on a previous version of DB2, released earlier this year, that targeted distributed environments and hybrid cloud deployments. The focus on HTAP and in-memory functionality could improve IBM's standing in the analytics space, but puts them in stronger competition with products such as SAP HANA, MemSQL, and OrientDB.

The announcement makes sense, as IBM has been embracing cloud and analytics technologies in an effort to maintain its standing among enterprise customers. In January, CEO Ginni Rometty said that IBM was transforming itself into a "cognitive solutions and cloud platform company."

Just like its move to the cloud, the strengthened focus on analytics will require a sacrifice of revenue to pull off. In the increasingly crowded analytics market, the question then becomes whether the return on investment will be worth it for IBM.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. IBM's new DB2 software improves efforts around hybrid transactional/analytical processing (HTAP), the company announced on Tuesday.
  2. IBM also announced the DB2 Analytics Accelerator for Cloud, which will speed time to insights and set the stage for Watson integration as well.
  3. The increase of analytics offerings is a smart move for IBM, but they're competing in a crowded market with many established players.

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