IBM, Novell, AMD Team Up On Informix Package

The new package includes IBM's Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) database and Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. The software is packaged within the IBM xSeries 3105 computer server, which is powered by AMD Opteron 1000 Series processors. Pricing was not immediately available, but IBM is saying the product is a "low cost solution" for small to medium sized businesses -- or SMBs.

In addition, IBM said the next version of IDS, codenamed Cheetah, has entered open beta testing for customers and partners. The major upgrade of the current IDS version 10 is scheduled to be generally available this year.

Many IDS customers are either retailers or telecommunication equipment manufacturers, Bruce Weed, director of IDS, said. The former often use the database management system for in-store inventory tracking and for storing point-of-sale data, while the latter embeds the database in equipment, such as routers. IBM claims eight of the top 10 retailers, and 20 of the 25 largest supermarkets are IDS customers.

"Informix historically has also had traction in the SMB marketplace," Weed said. IBM's beefier DB2 database, on the other hand, is often used in warehouses and manufacturing, as a data store for SAP business applications, and in the financial industry.

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Among the features in the next version of IDS are open application programming interfaces for easier customization, and more autonomic capabilities that enable it to perform some of its own management. The latter follows IBM's marketing mantra with databases. "Set it up, and forget about it," Weed said.