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Easing the journey to AI through full-function, untimed trials and streamlined database upgrades

Db2 Product Marketing Manager, IBM

Choosing the right data management solutions as the foundation for AI is crucial. Enabling AI optimization and usability is paramount, as is easy scalability to accommodate the increasing amount of data used by AI applications. This is true no matter where you store your data: on-premises, in the cloud, or across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Yet, as businesses proceed on their journey to AI, they are not only confronted with evaluating these attributes, but also encounter additional challenges due to a lack of streamlined testing and upgrade capabilities. Challenges include complex pricing and licensing structures as well as time and limitation on functionality for solution trials as well as migration issues when scaling from trial to production editions. Businesses have insufficient time to test and explore prospective data solutions and cannot assess its full functionality. Simply upgrading as a project or the business grows can also be inefficient. 

Instead of a disjointed and fragmented journey to AI, data management providers should create a frictionless path from the trial versions to production editions to fuel the adoption of AI. Here’s how to find an improved AI data management journey.

Full-functionality trials 

Companies exploring the functionality of a potential AI database often encounter trial versions that do not contain all the features available on paid version of the same offering. Consequently, as developers and end-users test out the solutions, they are prevented from fully experiencing and understanding capabilities and drawbacks.

For example, the Microsoft SQL Server Developer edition does not have production use rights. You can’t use the solution in production before making a commitment, which could lead to unexpected problems once the strain of a non-test environment is put into play—and once it’s much harder to back out of your decision. Similarly, the Oracle Database Express Edition does not include high availability for all features in their trial. This means that you may be seeing the solution’s high availability performance for the first time after you’ve purchased and put it in use as a part of critical business systems. The trial-by-fire approach caused by the restrictions might not be a reliable enough method for forward-looking companies that wish to be precise in their decisions. 

A better approach is to find a trial version that contains all the functions of the database with a set level of storage and compute. You can review the efficacy of a new database in full without needing to guess whether certain capabilities are up to your standard—or over-hyped. Not only does this help mitigate the risk of surprise roadblocks or gaps after implementation, but it helps to provide a smooth entry to production environments when more storage or compute power is needed. 

Time limits on trials

Another potential roadblock to smoothly progressing on the AI journey is the time limit often placed on trial versions of offerings. Just as users begin to gain an understanding of the database they are testing, the trial period expires, leaving the user with unanswered questions and potentially limiting their perspective on the value of the solution.

Essentially, this method of trial tries to force the implementation of a data management solution by cutting off access to the offering entirely. Again, it is much more beneficial to users to have unlimited access to a solution up to a certain amount of compute and storage. With the latter model, a company can choose to upgrade only when it’s is so beneficial that people want to use it more heavily as part of their environment. 

As a bonus, users get as much time as they want to fully understand the workings of the solution they are testing, and evaluate the alignment of the offerings to their specific use case, increasing the likelihood of them continuing their AI journey on the right foot. Developers and students looking to educate themselves on the latest AI technologies will also be able to learn using the trial for as long as they need, expanding the pool of users that will be ready to participate in the AI journey.

Embracing a simplified AI data management family

IBM has fully embraced the idea of a database trial that isn’t hamstrung by time or functionality limits. The launch of Db2 version 11.5 (Db2 11.5) has not only ushered in the era of the AI database with capabilities built for and powered by AI, it has also introduced a streamlined menu of options, reduced pricing, and an easier upgrading process.

The licensing complexity typically associated with commercial software used by enterprise businesses is not present with Db2 11.5. Users interested in exploring the product can start with the full-featured community edition that lets you test production-level functionality for as long as is necessary. You can use four cores, 16GB of RAM and 100GB of storage without incurring costs.

When you’re ready to scale, there are two upgrade options: the standard edition, capped at 16 cores and 128GB of RAM with unlimited storage; or the advanced edition that is unrestricted. With Db2 11.5, the upgrade process is seamless. There is no additional effort to scale the trial implementation to the license editions. Users who want to scale do not need to migrate their workload to an upgraded environment. You can apply a license key against the existing implementation to access additional capacity.

User community

IBM provides advice and help through the Db2 user community. The world’s largest companies have been using Db2 for over 25 years. Over this period, a rich heritage on distributed systems has resulted in a vibrant community with tens of thousands of active professional developers willing to share their broad range of experience. Within the community, you will find education, code samples and information on upcoming events. 

Your streamlined AI journey begins with Db2

Start your simplified data management experience today by downloading the Db2 11.5 Community Edition at no cost. You can download Db2 as a Docker image on your Linux, Unix, or Windows or MacOS workstation for testing and development. And if you’d like to learn more about the role SaaS offerings play in AI attainment, tune into our upcoming webinar, “Transform Your Data with Multicloud and AI.”