For those of you who don't know me, I am the VP and CTO of the newly formed Data Studio group in IBM Information Management. This blog will be staffed by a team of experts from my team who will be able to give you useful information and insights from their interactions with people who actually use our products, but I do want to check in occasionally to give you my perspective.
I spent the past week at International DB2 Users Group (IDUG) in Dallas. It was extremely gratifying to see the customer reaction to our product plans and strategies. I'll just cite a few examples to give you all a feel for what transpired. I had 40 minutes in the keynote address to talk about what we're doing in Data Studio, Princeton SoftTech, and DB2 for z/OS V9. It was a great opportunity to showcase all the things we're doing in our development tooling, runtime and APIs, performance tools, admin tools, etc. To summarize for those of you who were not there, I outlined the three main motives IBM has for creating the Data Studio family of software offerings:
After the keynote, I had a steady stream of people approaching me between sessions during the week to ask for further details, and for many of them it was the first they'd heard about our work. The solutions for Java database access, monitoring and management were especially interesting to the customers, since the problems I described were troubling most of the customer accounts.
- IT has reached a point where hardware and software costs are now a relatively small portion of the overall IT budget, and the majority of IT spending (estimates range from 70%-85%) is devoted to the human labor costs of managing the myriad of hardware boxes and software products that make up the existing IT infrastructure. If the industry doesn't find ways to help customers reduce the labor cost of maintaining the existing systems, many customer shops won't have the budget or capacity to develop new software applications and solutions.
- Most customers have multiple database products in their IT infrastructure (DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, etc.). They typically have a entire suite of data life cycle management products that are unique for each of these database products. This creates a lot of expense of the customer, and it usually limits the customer's ability to move technical experts from one platform to another due to lack of familiarity with the tools used to support a new database platform. Data Studio's goal is to provide a suite of data life cycle management products that provide consistent user experience for all the major database platforms used in the enterprise. This will make it much easier for database technical people to work on multiple database platforms, since the tools and procedures will be similar for all the database products.
- Customers that use application servers running Java or .NET are having an especially tough time performing basic tasks like capacity planning, application performance tuning, and problem determination. The root cause behind all these difficulties is the 3-tier software stacks that are used in these systems, which lack the ability to report which specific application issued each of the SQL statements in the workload. This leaves the DBA in a position where they have no idea how to correlate SQL activity to the applications that issue the SQL statements, which in turn makes it extremely difficult to find the right application developer to assist in SQL modifications or tuning. Data Studio provides a comprehensive set of APIs (our pureQuery technology), development tools, and adminstration tools that help customers overcome these issues.
I made a side trip on Friday to meet with a customer that really likes DB2 on Linux, UNIX, Windows, but they were questioning whether it really matters which database you use with WebSphere apps. I had an hour to take them through some of the technologies that we're delivering in Data Studio that are relevant for WebSphere customers including:
Every use case I described resonated 100% with this customer! They were feeling literally every pain point I described. To me, it validated that we are on the right track in understanding and grappling with the problems facing Java applications in a high-volume environment.
- Driven by SOA and compliance, more companies need integrated modeling tools - and Rational Data Architect integrates with Rational modeling tools for end to end modelling. In addition, we are working on plans for further integration of OPTIM technology to ensure PCI compliance and data archiving throughout the lifecycle.
- Data Studio pureQuery runtime and tools for accelerating Java application development and performance and for improved security using static SQL in DB2.
- A roadmap for enhanced database application monitoring from top to bottom in the software stack that easily allows you to isolate elapsed time problems to the offending component in your 3-tier architecture.
- Additional management capabilities for DBAs who need to better manage and control the resources used when connecting WebSphere applications, such as the WebSphere connection pool.
I spent a lot of time talking about the caliber of the the technical team we've assembled here in Data Studio, where we have people that have deep skills in Rational technology, WebSphere technology, Eclipse Technology, DB2 LUW, DB2 for z/OS, performance monitoring, etc. When you look at the diverse set of skills that are needed to really solve the problems that customers are facing, will you really find any other vendor that brings together all these skills to provide a comprehensive solution?
It's time for me to close. We're on the first step of a journey here. We are working as hard as we can to bring products to market that will help you do your jobs better and more effectively across geographies and roles, whether you are an architect, DBA, Java developer or a governance officer.
Until next time..
-- Curt Cotner