IBM Prepares to Launch DB2 Web Query for System i
August 7, 2007 Alex Woodie
IBM last week announced pricing and availability details for its DB2 Web Query for System i business intelligence product. Users will be able to get started with the new product, which is based on technology developed by Information Builders, in September for as little as $1,600. IBM also detailed the OLAP, Active Reports, and Developer Workbench add-ons that expand the product’s functionality, and made its best case for keeping business intelligence workloads on the venerable platform.
For a supposedly advanced, integrated server with a built-in relational database, IBM’s System i server lacked a reporting tool that could be considered modern. This opened the door for third-party vendors to create successful alternatives. That’s not to say that with the right training, Query/400 couldn’t gather data and generate reports that business managers need to make decisions. In fact, Query/400 has proved itself a capable report writer for many years. But in a world that is becoming more graphical by the day, the green-screen Query/400 tool’s time had clearly come.
In fact, Query/400’s time had come years ago–IBM hasn’t added meaningful enhancements to the product for years. However, the lack of an easy-to-use, graphical reporting tool that was well-integrated with the system undoubtedly drove many iSeries and System i shops to look for business intelligence alternatives off the platform. Not coincidentally, sales of Microsoft low-cost SQL Server database platform, with its integrated suite of graphical reporting tools, have sky-rocketed this decade. Other software vendors with Windows-based reporting tools have also done well among midrange customers.
IBM signaled its intention to end this period of neglect in March, when it announced plans to offer a version of its partner Information Builder’s WebFOCUS software to iSeries and System i customers. In the months since, the new DB2 Web Query for System i product has garnered attention from users all over the world looking for a Web-based reporting tool that’s well-integrated with the System i and its DB2/400 database. Last week, IBM announced that customers can start buying the new product on September 14.
What will customers get with DB2 Web Query for System i? Quite a bit. Let’s take a look at some of the products most important features and how they can help you.
Although it’s new to IBM’s arsenal, Information Builders has been selling its own version of DB2 Web Query for nearly a decade, so users can rest assured that the product is broken in, according to IBM. And here’s another benefit that shouldn’t be overlooked: While DB2 Web Query is a Java product, it comes with its own “lightweight” application server, based on Apache Tomcat. That’s right: no WebSphere!
DB2 Web Query requires i5/OS V5R4. Licenses for DB2 Web Query for System i (5733-QU2) are sold using tier-based and user-based pricing. A license for the base product ranges from $1,600 on a P05 machine with a two-user license, to $48,000 on a P60 machine with a 20-user license. Additional users can be added for $400 per user. The combination of OLAP Module and Active Reports add-ons range from $400 per user on a P05 box to $12,000 per user on a P60 box, while the Development Workbench costs a flat $995 per user. These are named users, not concurrent users.
And here’s the good news for existing Query/400 customers: the upgrade to DB2 Web Query is free. Of course, users must be on V5R4, have a current license for Query/400 (officially called “Query for iSeries”) on at least V5R1, and be current with their i5/OS maintenance payments. They must also pay for ongoing maintenance.
Interestingly, IBM has sold many versions of DB2 Web Query Tool over the years, including one for the eServer iSeries that was removed from maintenance nearly two years ago. But DB2 Web Query Tool version 1.3 still exists and supports z/OS, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Windows, and X64-based Linux environments. So much for getting an original name. Apparently, IBM has decided to give very different products with different heritages the same name, something it has done before (see: the Content Manager line of products).
There are many questions about the new DB2 Web Query for System i product, and IBM has tried its best to answer them, with this FAQ (in PDF format).
IBM is putting together a Redbook, titled “Getting started with DB2 Web Query for System i,” to introduce users to DB2 Web Query. IBM says the Redbook will become available on September 14 (the product’s GA date), and will be viewable at www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/sg247214.html.
An archived IBM Webcast on the product is also available for viewing here.