Like its rivals in the database market, IBM offers a kick-the-tires freebie version of its DB2 database that came in a limited footprint without support. Now IBM is adding an option for users to pay for support for the free database, whose footprint is limited to 4GB on two CPUs or double-cores.
You can now buy 24 x 7 worldwide tech support that comes with maintenance and upgrades, high-availability clustering and disaster recovery, and the option to replicate data on remote servers.
DB2 Express-C currently supports Windows and Linux on various 32-bit and 64-bit processor architectures. IBM claims significant partner support, saying that over 300 third-party software firms, resellers, and integrators are now bundling DC2-Express C. For instance, Novell bundles it as part of its Integrated Stack for SUSE Linux Enterprise.
IBM is saying that while other vendors just give you a freebie database and leave you to your own devices, IBM has decided to professionalize the space so DB2-Express C is not just a loss leader.
In so doing, it brings DB2-Express C into an open source-like business model where you don’t pay for the product, but subscribe for support. Of course, the obvious difference is that DB2 is not open source, but IBM is betting that customers care about cost, not about whether they can monkey with source code.
And, given the fact that IBM says that you can really migrate from Express-C to the full-blown DB2 means that IBM wants to do just about anything to grow its foothold in a market where it’s long been a challenger.
In case you were wondering where DB2 stands in the market, the latest IDC figures continue to peg Oracle maintaining 44% market share, and growing slightly faster than DB2 over the past year. Among the leaders, third place Microsoft SQL Server clocked 25% growth over the past year, about 10 percentage points ahead of Oracle and 13 percentage points above IBM.