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News Round-Up

News Round-Up

IBM's Viper Beta Testing Program Announced at XML 2005 Conference
In a keynote address at the XML 2005 Conference, Bob Picciano, vice president of database servers for IBM, outlined the company's plans for DB2 Viper--the industry's first database designed with both native XML data management and relational data capability. Picciano also announced that Viper is entering open testing and evaluation by qualified customers, developers and partners.

Scheduled for release in 2006, DB2 Viper is expected to lead the way to a new era in data management by creating unparalleled opportunities for users to extract value from their business information.

"DB2 Viper will fundamentally change the rules of the database game," said Picciano. "With Viper at the heart of their information infrastructure, customers will rapidly transition from conventional data management practices to unprecedented information management techniques that enable them to leverage information as a service." Viper is expected to be the only database product able to seamlessly manage both conventional relational data and XML data without requiring the XML data to be reformatted or placed into a large object within the database.

This breakthrough will enable customers to increase the availability, speed and versatility of their information, while dramatically reducing administrative costs associated with existing data management techniques. It also will significantly reduce the complexity and time a typical developer spends creating applications able to access both relational data and XML repositories. Viper's native XML capability also will greatly benefit service oriented architecture (SOA) implementations, which rely upon the ability to access a myriad of data stored across multiple formats. By freeing data from the static form it has been forced into by relational-only database products, Viper can deliver information as a service that is readily accessed in SOA environments.

"Our development time using Viper's native XML store is a radical improvement over existing XML ‘shred' technology," said Thore Thomassen, senior enterprise architect for Storebrand, a major supplier of insurance and financial services. "We are now able to make schema changes in minutes rather than days and will dramatically improve our customer response time." In addition breaking new ground with its native XML capability, DB2 Viper also will be the first database to support all three common methods of database partitioning at the same time - a major innovation in improving data management and information availability. By simultaneously handling range partitioning, multi-dimensional clustering and hashing, Viper will enable organizations to arrange and order their information in the way that best suits their individual business requirements and demands.

Intermec Embeds IBM WebSphere RFID Software into IF5 RFID Reader
Intermec has embedded IBM's WebSphere RFID Device Infrastructure (WRDI) into the Intermec IF5 RFID reader, creating an "intelligent" RFID reader that automates the process of routing and man aging incoming data from RFID tags, even from remote locations.

The new WRDI capabilities, available immediately, give IF5 readers edge-server capabilities including the ability to perform on-board decision-making, reducing network traffic by filtering incoming data from external RFID tags and sending only the most pertinent information upstream to a company's application server. WRDI also provides the readers with a platform that can easily integrate and reconcile RFID information with data used in other parts of the business.

"As the proliferation of RFID deployments continue, the amount of data that flows between RFID tags and readers expands exponentially," said Intermec Vice President Mike Wills. "Yet the benefits of RFID are only as good as the data that streams into the system. The combination of the IF5 and IBM's powerful middleware provides companies with an intuitive solution that turns the flow of data into business-critical information."

IBM's WRDI was developed for RFID device manufacturers who need an embedded openstandards based software platform to provide automatic RFID data collection and reporting from remote locations where on-site IT services are not available. Embedded into the IF5 reader, the platform allows the reader to route data to an IBM RFID WebSphere Premises Server, as well as control RFID printers, such as the Intermec PM4i.

Also integrated into the WRDI framework is IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Device Manager, which provides connectivity to the IBM Tivoli Systems Management suite to enable centralized device management and the ability to download new RFID applications or device software updates to readers installed in remote locations. IBM's software makes radio tagging a strategic business function, helping RFID go beyond simply exchanging or managing the flow of data. WRDI extracts value from the captured information and can potentially convert that information into an electronic service that can help perform strategic functions.

For example, the software can move product or operational information into systems that analyze trends in the supply chain that shed light on a company's efficiency or sales trends. As a result, RFID network administrators possess the ability to gain instant and enhanced visibility into RFID-tagged pallets and products.

IBM, Oracle, BEA, JBoss, Microsoft, and Sun Come Out Gunning in SYS-CON's Application Sever Shoot-Out
SYS-CON Media's Group Publisher Jeremy Geelan and Java Developer Journal's Enterprise Editor Yakov Fain led the discussion at SYS-CON's second annual Application Server Shoot-Out - webcast live around the world from the famous 4th floor Reuters television studio in New York City's Times Square on Friday. Executives from IBM, BEA, JBoss, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun debated diverse aspects of their application server offerings. A discussion of price points, from the JBoss opensource model which emphasizes service revenues, to the more traditional business models from most of the other vendors was followed by a discussion of the technical merits of each platform and how each company is uniquely striving to serve what it perceives as its customers' needs. The six industry experts involved in the Shoot-Out this year were Mark Heid (IBM), Gary McBride (BEA), Shaun Connolly (JBoss), Dino Chiesa (Microsoft), Mike Lehmann (Oracle), and Rich Sharples (Sun). The panel predictably discussed open source, but in ways that might have been unexpected. One of the more interesting discussion points, posed by Yakov Fain, for example, involved platform modifications (with J2SE, for example) and risk mitigation.

Chiesa said Microsoft's customers always have concerns that companies might disappear, in the manner of "Wang or SGI," so derive confidence in Redmond's approach to provide the features they demand while mitigating their risk by assuring customers that the company is here to stay. "I agree, risk mitigation is what this is really all about," echoed Mike Lehmann. "Oracle layers in the features that our customers find to be the most useful and help them drive and maintain competitive advantage."

"(And there is) risk around vendor lockin," noted IBM's Heid. "But IBM has been a leader...for a very long time." He also noted that the company and its customers "can't be hogtied by the standards-setting process in cases where our customers want to move faster."

BEA's McBride picked up on Heid's point, saying, "Where there no standards available, BEA will innovate, and where there are (valuable) standards, BEA will adopt. We contribute greatly to the open standards community."

"At JBoss our mantra is open source, open standards," Connolly added. "Simplicity (is) as a key piece of our vision (and) we must remain portable. The benefit is that being an open source company really keeps each group building the application sever innovating at the highest levels."

Sun's Sharples noted that the key is to have software that is "integrated in that the stuff all works...and integratable (in that ) when you are trying to replace enterprise middleware, you can't just rip tthings apart, you need standards. Java EE is one of them, for example." He added that this discussion is ongoing at Sun, among Sun's customers, and in the broader community, noting, "one important thing to think about is that the software ecosystem is bigger than Java (Enterprise). How would people like to see (it) grow? Should it grow up the stack, for example?"

Geelan commented that there seems to be "an embarrassment of riches" among customer offerings by these companies today, and asked them to focus on a single key aspect of what they offer to customers. The answers ranged from "simplicity" to "independence" to "completeness" to "flexibility" to "productivity," reflecting the diverse views held by the panel members and the companies they represent.

The hour allotted for this event passed quickly, with each panel member given a fair chance to answer several penetrating questions posed by Fain and Geelan. The entire webcast is available at www.sys-con.com.

More Stories By WebSphere News Desk

WebSphere Journal News Desk trawls the world of e-commerce technologies for news and innovations and presents IT professionals with updates on technology trends, products, and services in the WebSphere family.

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