IBM InfoSphere Now Supports Informix and z

IBM’s InfoSphere Data Warehouse has been a steady growth asset. As IBM has created and acquired pieces of the infrastructure and progressively created a more complete, end-to-end offering, it has continued to add new customers to (and from) one of the largest installed bases in the world. In reviewing 2008, IBM CFO  Mark Loughridge asserted compound growth of 18% since 2006. For 2008 the claim is 100 more transactions, and 50 InfoSphere customers new to DB2 while in Q4 “distributed (non-mainframe) DB2″grew at 30% growth in constant currency terms.

Now IBM is stepping it up a notch with version 9.7, released along with DB2 9.7 (discussed here), having made the investments necessary to pursue mainframe opportunities in place, and adding Informix DBMS to the prospect list. This represents two substantial additional user bases and prime opportunities for additional revenue; in fact, IBM claims that it is demand from the users that drove them to finally bring the multiple tools (and, priced options) into those environments. This makes perfect sense – why add migration to the list of requirements if you plan to build a data warehouse in an environment you have every intention of retaining?

The mainframe customer gets an array of products that makes for a complete set of requisites. IBM has moved Cognos 8 into the z environment, joining options like InfoSphere Data Architect, MDM Server, the Information Server and IBM’s Industry Models – an IP asset that is progressively assuming more visibility (and value) in IBM’s portfolio. Leveraging DB2’s Cubing Service, the new 9.7 version’s improved compression and security features, and DB2 on z’s ironclad reliability makes for a powerful value proposition. Informix customers have continued to see IBM make investments in their platform, and with the addition of Informix Warehouse, they now have their own support from Design Studio, an updated administration console, and data transformation and loading from something referred to as SQL Warehousing – I’m not sure at this point whether this is a different ETL tool than is found elsewhere in IBM’s portfolio.

There’s much more. There always is in a portfolio as overwhelmingly complex as IBM’s – although their messaging needs some serious work to make the components and options easier to understand in these rich packages. Still, InfoSphere is clearly poised for a step up, even in the difficult economic times IT finds itself in, and more innovations are expected soon – more exploitation of solid state disk, predictive analytics, cloud computing and more will reshape the landscape dramatically. Many of these are likely to show up in 2009 as IBM continues to raise its competitive credibility. Watch this space.

About Merv Adrian
Gartner Research VP, technology analyst and consultant, 30 years of industry experience, covering software mostly, hardware sometimes.

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