IBM has opened the public beta program for the next version of its Informix database server and announced plans for a bundled Linux package for smaller businesses.
The upgrade to IBM's Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) is code-named Cheetah. The final version is due out sometime later this year and will offer new features for application developers, better support for hierarchical data structures and improved query capabilities across multiple instances of the database, IBM announced Thursday.
For now, customers and IBM partners can try out a beta version of the software by downloading it here].
The company is working with Novell to offer the database in an integrated, low-cost package of hardware and software for small and medium-sized businesses. Due out this year, it would include Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server and an IBM xSeries 3105 server powered by AMD's Opteron 1000 Series processors, IBM said. Pricing and other details would be announced nearer to its release.
IBM acquired Informix's database business in 2001 for about $US1 billion. Customers have praised the company for continuing to develop IDS and for not forcing them onto IBM's flagship DB2 databases. But some users have also been critical that IBM does little to market the software, pushing its DB2 brand instead.
IBM said the development of Cheetah shows that IDS continues to be one of its key strategic products.
The vendor is promising significant enhancements for application developers, to help get applications up and running quickly and port existing applications to IDS. Cheetah also supported the services-oriented architecture model for application integration, and came with a new deployment wizard for minimising the disk space required for a custom install, IBM said.
The last major upgrade to IDS, version 10, came out two years ago, in March 2005.