Db2 Web Query Gets ML-Powered Insights, Cloud DW Connection
November 2, 2022 Alex Woodie
Organizations adopting the latest release of Db2 Web Query will find new capabilities in the graphical designer, an automated insights generation function that uses machine learning as well as new capabilities in the data migration tool that will help customers move data to cloud data warehouses, among other capabilities.
Db2 Web Query is IBM’s flagship business intelligence offering for the IBM i platform. The software is based on WebFOCUS, the BI offering developed by Information Builders, with whom IBM has had an OEM relationship since 2007. In 2021, Information Builders was acquired by TIBCO Software, which has continued the partnership with IBM.
On October 11, as part of the Technology Refresh for IBM i 7.4 and 7.5, IBM announced Db2 Web Query version 2.4. The new release, which will ship on December 16, will support IBM i 7.4 and 7.5 and bring a multitude of new functions.
The graphical Designer that IBM debuted in version 2.3, which allows users to develop data visualizations and dashboards, has received a lot of attention with this release. IBM says the new functions “close the gap” between Designer and InfoAssist, the legacy ad hoc query tool that’s been part of Db2 Web Query for years.
The standard edition of version 2.4 brings other new capabilities, including a new Automated Insights feature that can automatically spot statistically relevant correlations, trends, and anomalies buried in the data.
Automated Insights uses pre-built machine learning models, thereby eliminating the need to hire an expensive data scientist to build them for you. The software helps to answer the question: “What can you tell me about my data that I would never even think to ask,” IBM says. In addition to identifying the patterns and anomalies, it can build visualizations that highlight them.
Another standard edition feature that’s been enhanced in version 2.4 is the customized portal function. According to IBM, this feature lets users create custom portals or home pages for different departments or user communities within their organization. This helps to simplify navigation to the reports and dashboards that groups use the most, IBM says.
This release also brings an enhancement to the product’s DataMigrator ETL component, which is used to build data pipelines that move data from source systems into data warehouses. With this release, IBM is now enabling users to stream Db2 for i data into a cloud database or a cloud service, such as AWS Redshift or Snowflake cloud data warehouse.
The new DataMigrator function gives users a great deal of control over the data that the user wants to move, including the ability to extract files and tables, transform it in some way, and then load it into the target destination. Users can even use DataMigrator to merge Db2 for i data with non-IBM sources, such as SQL Server tables or data from spreadsheets.
While DataMigrator for i was originally developed to load data onto Db2 for i, the rapid growth and maturity of cloud data warehouses has made them compelling options for a range of organizations, including IBM i shops, IBM System Lab Services consultant Doug Mack (the Db2 Web query product owner) explained to IT Jungle earlier this year.
In this case, DataMigrator can function as the bridge between with fast-changing transactional data and the analytics database used to extract actionable insights. According to Mack, DataMigrator leverages change data capture (CDC) for data extraction as well as Apache Kafka as the Internet-based message bus feeding tables in the data warehouse.
IBM added geospatial capabilities to Db2 for i with this release. These geospatial functions aren’t surfaced yet in the Db2 for i client, but they are candidates for a future release, according to IBM product managers.