IBM Suddenly Pulls The Plug On Db2 Web Query for i
October 11, 2023 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Well, that was a bit of a surprise, but to be fair we had a few days of forewarning about it before it happened so it really wasn’t. Yesterday, on October 10, IBM abruptly announced the end of marketing for all variations of the Db2 Web Query for i data analytics tool. You can read about it in announcement letter AD23-0691. But don’t get too excited. That announcement letter doesn’t tell you much.
On Friday, October 6, we got a message from a director of information technology at a logistics and business services provider that his IBM business partner had told him that IBM was going to withdraw Db2 Web Query for i. To be specific, this is what the business partner said that IBM said: “Effective immediately, IBM withdraws from marketing all IBM Db2 Web Query for i products. IBM also withdraws the ability for customers to order or renew Software Maintenance for all IBM Db2 Web Query for i products. This applies to SWMA contracts in both the Power and Technology Lifecycle Services (TLS) channels. Details on the IBM Db2 Web Query for i support strategy will be forthcoming.”
That statement was attributed to Linda Hirsch, one of the IBM i product managers, and it very nearly matches the wording in the announcement letter except that it actually says more than that announcement letter, which simply says: “Effective October 10, 2023, IBM® withdraws from marketing all IBM Db2® Web Query products, including the capability to order or renew Software Maintenance.” And then goes on to list all of the product numbers and names for the variations of the Db2 Web Query for i products.
The announcement letter does go on to point out that Big Blue does not have a direct replacement for Db2 Web Query for i. “There is no direct replacement for IBM Db2 Web Query for i. Customers who need to continue to do data analytics could explore other industry solutions, for example, IBM Cognos® Analytics, or open source products like Open Data Hub (ODH), Apache SparkTM, Apache SupersetTM, or RocketCE for Power®. This is not a comprehensive list of data analytics products. Other companies may offer products that have similar function found in IBM Db2 Web Query for i.” Yeah, like NGS-IQ from New Generation Software, SQL iQuery from Bob Cozzi, and DBU and SQL/Pro from ProData, just to name three.
The Db2 Web Query for i product was announced back in 2007 as a follow-on to the venerable Query/400 SQL query tool that debuted with the AS/400 three and a half decades ago, and it was made through a partnership with Information Builders and makes use of portions of its WebFOCUS business intelligence tools. The big deal at the time back in 2007 was that Db2 Web Query allowed for Query/400 queries to be ported to the Web, which itself had been commercialized for a dozen years at that point.
We tipped off some business partner friends of our own about the rumor of the withdrawal of Db2 Web Query tool, which seemed pretty precise – too precise to be just a rumor – and on Sunday night they got word back from Hirsh that simply said there would be an announcement on October 10 of end of marketing and support and that “the supplier and IBM are ending our arrangement, so we’re withdrawing.”
Sounds like the private equity partners behind Tibco Software maybe wanted a larger piece of the action. . . .
Hats off to Bill Langston, director of marketing and channel development at New Generation Software, whose spider-sense went off in a blog post a month after the acquisition of Information Builders was announced by TIBCO Software. “Tibco Software is a big data and analytics software company based in Palo Alto, California,” Langston wrote at the time. “They are privately owned by Vista Equity Partners. To date, we have not found any statements from IBM, IBI, or Tibco regarding how this change in ownership will affect IBM DB2 Web Query. Since its founding in 1997, Tibco Software primarily pursued an aggressive growth through acquisition strategy.2 The pace of acquisitions has accelerated under Vista Equity Partners. We believe IBI is at least the tenth company acquired by Tibco Software in the past six years. Nonetheless, as far as we can tell, Tibco Software has never developed or supported products that run on IBM i.”
Langston ended by noting that in an interview about the Information Builders acquisition, Tibco chief executive officer Dan Streetman talked about Information Builder’s partner network, but never once mentioned IBM.
That’s all we know at the moment. We will do a bit more digging and see what options Db2 Web Query for i customers have now for running their database queries.