|IBM DB2 Express-C Available Free in the Cloud|
|Database - DB2|
|Written by Chris Smith|
|Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00|
An alternative to MySQL, the no-cost IBM database solution can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud with no size constraints.
There are many applications today built on top of MySQL, but widespread concerns about Oracle's intentions to support the free Community Server editions persist. So far, companies that rely on the free editions of MySQL have not had cause for concern, and presumably the worst that could happen is they eventually might have to pay for something they now enjoy for free. If you are an IBM shop, however, and you are developing a new application, you might want to consider an IBM alternative to MySQL such as IBM DB2 Express-C, a free database available for on-premise and even embedded use that is now available on the cloud.
DB2 Express-C is a robust relational database management system (RDBMS) with its own set of management tools and no limits on the size of the database. DB2 Express-C runs on Linux, Windows, Solaris, and Mac OS X. RPG developers who have been honing their skills learning PHP can effectively deploy PHP applications on a DB 2 Express-C database. Applications built with C/C++, Java, .NET, Python, and Ruby on Rails also will run on top of DB 2 Express-C.
While the paid and somewhat more scalable versions of DB2 have additional features, DB2 Express-C will be sufficient for many SMBs or branch offices that have local database requirements. It even includes the cutting-edge pureXML technology for powering Web 2.0 and SOA solutions. The C in DB2 Express-C stands for "community" edition, and as is customary with many free versions of today's software, paid support is available from IBM for users who require technical support or additional functions, such as HA clustering or data replication.
What is appealing to ISVs about the product is that it's perfectly fine with IBM if you want to embed and distribute a copy of the database with your application, though you must register to do so. Needless to say, IBM offers a number of no-cost marketing and sales perks to ISVs who want to drive revenue with DB2-powered solutions.
DB2 Express-C is now available on several cloud platforms, including IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, Amazon EC2, and RightScale. So while you may have to pay usage or licensing fees for your middleware and applications, you won't have to pay for your database software unless you need support.
Dubbed an infrastructure as a service (IaaS), SmartCloud Enterprise is designed as a secure, enterprise-class virtual server environment that IBM is suggesting could be considered for development and testing. It certainly is available for other dynamic workloads, such as risk analysis and data mining, but until users become comfortable with the security features, they can move numerous development requirements to the cloud and not be concerned about compromised data.
We all have heard of software as a service, or SaaS, but what exactly is infrastructure as a service, or IaaS? IBM defines it as a Web service that provisions hardware, storage, and server "equipment" through a cloud computing environment. What are the benefits? Well, for one, it can save you time provisioning hardware and software resources if you have an influx of developers, such as when contractors are brought on board to accelerate a development project. It also can eliminate the need to purchase additional hardware and expensive licenses if your current resources are fully utilized. In a cloud environment, you usually can pay as you go or pay only for the time you use. A number of new software licensing models are being developed for the cloud infrastructure, including use of an existing license.
And finally, using the cloud for development can reduce risk if altering your on-premise server configuration means introducing changes that could affect operations. In the cloud, you can clone servers based on standard templates you have created and take advantage of existing software tools you pick from a menu. Thus, if you need a server for a week to build and test a change in a running application, you can use it and then shut the server down when you're done.
Of course, having DB2 Express-C available in the cloud allows you to build and test an application that works with the IBM RDBMS versus a different brand. You can either keep the solution in the cloud or deploy it later on-premise if you prefer. ISVs can take advantage of the cloud to offer instant provisioning to customers who may not have the server resources or budget to adopt their solution otherwise.
While many users may still have reservations about the cloud, IBM SmartCloud Enterprise and its companion Enterprise+, which supports workloads to committed service-level agreements, are painting a picture of enhanced possibilities and business transformation generally not readily possible with today's on-premise resources. Experimenting with some of the free tools and trials likely will help prepare users for utilizing cloud resources where appropriate in the future. To download a free copy of DB2 Express-C, click here.
|Last Updated on Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00|