A Database By Any Other Name Is Still DB2/400–For Now
August 27, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Like many of you out there in i5/OS and OS/400 Land, the writers and gurus at IT Jungle refer to the integrated relational database that comes with these operating systems as “DB2/400.” IBM doesn’t like this, and contacted us recently, asking us to please call it by its correct name. If it were only that easy.
Which one? Every time the marketeers are done with it, we get yet another name that does not exactly roll off the tongue. IBM itself is not consistent in its documentation and its speech when using the AS/400-iSeries-System i names, much less product names for licensed products on the platform, so I find it a bit annoying that we are being asked to toe the line.
My attitude is that when IBM has a naming convention that makes sense, that the installed base agrees with, and that customers, partners, and IBM itself actually uses when they speak, then that is the day I will be happy to call this database whatever we all agree to call it. I am not going to call it DB2 for i5/OS or DB2 for System i because no search engine on this planet will be able to distinguish between this DB2 and the real DB2 on the mainframe or DB2 Universal Data Base–also equally stupidly named–for Windows, Unix, and Linux.
Years ago, I suggested a naming convention for the platform that actually makes sense, and I will remind you of it again. The operating system is i/OS; the database is i/DB. The Web application server with the integrated Apache Web server is i/WEB. The 5250 protocol is i/5250 or, maybe i/GREEN, which is funny considering how expensive the 5250 Enterprise Entitlement features are and, even more funny, how efficient the 5250 protocol is for transaction processing (and therefore green in the power efficiency sense) compared to resource-intensive, Java-based transaction processing schemes. The Java virtual machine and related features could be called i/JAVA. The integrated PHP engine on the box could be called i/PHP, and IBM could just go the extra mile and license PHP from Zend Technology and really embed Zend Core for i5/OS into the operating system and down into the kernel level below the machine interface to improve performance and security for PHP applications. The complete set of compilers for the platform would be called i/CODE.
And so on. You get the idea. Not only does this make sense, but it is kind of fun, too.
And such naming schemes are not difficult. I could come up with a different one with a different structure that was equally sensible if you put a squirt gun to my head. What is difficult is for IBM’s Software Group and its Systems and Technology Group to agree that maybe the System i platform should have names that make sense in relation to each other, to the unique customer base, and to the unique platform–not a hodge-podge of incoherent names that only make sense to people who spend too much time breathing the rarified air in Somers, New York.
Feel free to send me feedback if you think I am wrong, or if you have a better idea. I would love to hear it.