Big Blue's Viper to get more bite

Viper to get venom under new plan

IBM is building new storage-compression technology into its forthcoming "Viper" DB2 database server that it says can cut storage needs by more than half.

The technology, code-named "Venom", allows database administrators to compress rows in database tables by scanning tables for repetitive, duplicate data in rows and building dictionaries that assign short, numeric keys to those repetitive entries. According to IBM, this compression can provide disk and I/O and memory savings. Beta testers of the technology have been able to reduce storage needs by more than 50%, IBM says.

With Viper, set to ship later this year, administrators will have the option to use the compression technology on a table-by-table basis, as not all applications benefit equally from it, IBM says. The company will provide tools to allow administrators to estimate potential savings before building dictionaries.

"Transactional applications don't see as much benefit, but query applications — where you spend more time looking at information and asking questions — tend to find more benefit," says Jeff Jones, director of strategy for information management software at IBM.

IBM developed Venom from hardware-assisted compression technologies the company had built for DB2 running on the mainframe, he says.

"From that we gained a lot of experience with compression algorithms and the science of compression."

IBM also is building other storage-management capabilities into Viper that will allow database tables to draw automatically from a pool of storage, so that administrators don't have to manage storage at the table level.

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