IBM DB2 9.7 Shakes Up the DBMS Market With Oracle Compatibility



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A feature in the IBM DB2 9.7 that will enable users to more easily replace the Oracle database management system with the DB2 DBMS has important implications for the commercial, off-the-shelf software applications community.

News Analysis


On 22 April 2009, IBM announced DB2 9.7, the newest version of its DB2 database management system (DBMS), which it expects will be available in June 2009. DB2 9.7 contains many new features for increasing performance, reliability and ease of use; lowering management costs; enhancing workload management; and adding compatibility with Oracle PL/SQL stored procedures and other Oracle-specific functionality.


DB2 9.7 includes many enhancements that increase performance and add greater manageability. The most important addition to DB2 is the Oracle compatibility feature, marking the first time a major commercial vendor has supported another DBMS provider's specific functionality. Since the Oracle compatibility feature is licensed by IBM from EnterpriseDB (also available from EnterpriseDB in its Postgres Plus Advanced Server), we expect this alliance will help add credibility to the EnterpriseDB offering (see "The Growing Maturity of Open-Source Database Management Systems ").

The Oracle compatibility feature will enable Oracle applications to run natively on DB2. In discussions with Gartner, reference customers tell us that DB2 runs 95% or more of Oracle-specific functionality found in SQL statements and natively runs PL/SQL, Oracle's stored procedure language. This is native functionality; it is not an emulator, nor does it require changes to the application code (other than the 5%, which is mostly minor functionality, not found in many applications). In addtion, the organization must also address the migration for data from Oracle to DB2.

Gartner expects DB2 9.7 to appeal to Oracle customers that seek to move in-house-developed applications to DB2 from Oracle, but its implications are far more important for the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) application software community. Today, most COTS providers support Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. Any provider offering applications that run with the Oracle DBMS can easily port its application to IBM's DB2, giving its customers greater choice in DBMS platforms and requiring little effort on the provider's part.


  • Vendors of COTS applications that do not currently support IBM's DB2 should consider increasing its flexibility by offering DB2 as an additional DBMS choice.

  • Oracle customers desiring to move away from Oracle should consider this release as an option for rapid, low-cost migration of in-house-developed applications.

  • Organizations with COTS applications should not replace Oracle with DB2 9.7 if the COTS vendor does not officially support DB2, as this may violate the contract and invalidate support from the vendor.

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