June 30, 2009

IBM Data Server Driver Package a New Direction in Connectivity

Even after more than 20 years of working with DB2 for z/OS, I still wonder which IBM product I need to connect an application running on a workstation to DB2 for z/OS. What's confusing is the myriad of options and product name-changes. IBM's DB2 Connect product Web site has the current list:

  • Personal Edition: Access data stored in multiple systems directly without a gateway.
  • Enterprise Edition: Consolidate your host access through a gateway and deploy Web and multi-tier applications with this robust connectivity solution.
  • Application Server Edition: Extends DB2 Connect Enterprise Edition technology with licensing that addresses data access for large multi-tier client-server and Web applications.
  • Unlimited Edition for iSeries
  • Unlimited Edition for zSeries

The DB2 Connect product has two flavors. You have the DB2 Connect Client, which is better suited for a small number of users that require connectivity to DB2 for z/OS. It's usually a two-tier design for fat clients and when an intermediate server isn't desired. The Personal Edition falls into this category. However, the Personal Edition also comes with the IBM Developer Kit and Java technology needed for application development. 

The second type is DB2 Connect Server, which is better suited for a large number of connections. The application is typically design to run on multiple tiers (e.g., a Web-based application). The Connect Server also makes it easier to manage the number of connections. Enterprise and Application Server editions fall into this category.

While DB2 Connect Server is used by most companies these days, IBM is trying to deliver a simplified application development and deployment solution to independent software vendors (ISVs).

The primary issue with DB2 Connect is that it requires a large footprint. In contrast, IBM Data Server Driver Package is a lightweight driver that can be packaged and redistributed with applications. It supports ODBC, CLI, .NET, OLE DB, open source or Java APIs without the need to install a separate data server client or data server runtime client. With the data server driver, the application connects directly to DB2 for z/OS instead of going through a DB2 Connect gateway.

This is becoming IBM's direction to simplify the application development and deployment--not just for ISVs but for corporate customers.

I mentioned the frequent name changes. To hopefully alleviate the confusion, this table (Download Db2utor 063009 table) contains a list of client names given in DB2 8.2, 9, 9.5 and 9.7 for LUW:

To learn more about the new IBM Data Server Client and Drivers Types, see the Information Center topic DB2 Version 9.5 for Linux, Unix, and Windows Product Overview. Download the Data Server clients from the IBM Data Server Clients Web site.

If you're using these drivers, I'd really like to hear about your experience with them.  Please make a post in Comments.