1. IBM Customer Success
Software Development Industry
BCS speeds access to gridded data
100-fold with IBM Informix Dynamic Server.
BCS Grid DataBlade, an extension
to IBM Informix ® Dynamic Server
that supports efficient storage
and manipulation of gridded multi-
n Business Benefits
First-to-market solution responds
to customers’ needs for realtime,
customized analysis of gridded
data; analysis of data subsets 50 to
100 times faster than with previous
technology; reduced bandwidth With a BCS Grid Datablade solution, U.S. Navy pilots can train on real-life scenarios— including forecasted
weather patterns, visibility, wind speed and direction—using PC-based flight simulation software.
and disk capacity allows for
improved network performance
IBM Informix Dynamic Server,
How can a fighter pilot experience his “We considered both
next mission in realtime, two days in
Version 9.3 Oracle and Microsoft SQL
n Hardware advance, including the thunderstorm
he is likely to encounter at a specific
Server as the information
IBM ^ pSeries ™
moment along his route? How can a management platform for
researcher perform multiple oblique our product. But IDS was
sections of a real human organ the only database that
without leaving her desk? How can a
was both cost-effective
forestry company project a harvest-
ing schedule for trees that have not
and explicitly designed to
even begun to grow? Victoria, British handle the complex data
Columbia based software developer types and analyses on
Barrodale Computing Services Ltd. which our clients rely.”
(BCS) deals with such questions
–Ian Barrodale, President and Owner,
daily. With only ten employees, BCS is
Barrodale Computing Services Ltd.
a small company—but the software
solutions it delivers address big
technical challenges such as these.
2. Software Development Industry
Since 1995, BCS has powered its
solutions with the robust database
technologies that form the core of
IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS).
That was the year the company
focused its development skills and
experience on object-relational According to BCS President and
database management systems Owner Ian Barrodale, he and his col-
(ORDBMS) to create effective leagues selected IDS for this initiative
solutions for a wealth of applications. over several other leading databases.
These solutions—which include “We considered both Oracle and
mathematical modeling and statistical Microsoft SQL Server as the informa-
analysis, signal and image process- tion management platform for our
Using the powerful IDS database, BCS Grid ing, simulation and other advanced gridded data product,” he notes.
Datablade easily stores meteorological information
scientific techniques—involve data “But IDS was the only database that
for the earth’s full surface at all flyable altitudes.
that is “gridded” in two-, three- and was both cost-effective and explicitly
four-dimensional grids. designed to handle the complex data
types and analyses on which our
Recently, BCS developed an IDS clients rely. In addition, IBM Informix
DataBlade module—a collection of DataBlade engineers provided BCS
data objects and code that extend with excellent technical support.”
the functionality of the IDS, Version 9.3
database—to support the storage Known as the BCS Grid DataBlade,
and manipulation of gridded data. the module promises to bring power-
Among the key uses of such data ful benefits to a host of industries that
are geospatial applications, which rely on multidimensional data, and
process information about the has sparked the interest of a broad
locations and shapes of objects base of organizations in the scientific
found on the earth’s surface. and government sectors. By reducing
network bandwith usage and disk
capacity consumption, the BCS
“Since it acquired the Informix database business, solution allows organizations to
perform customized analyses in
IBM has proven its dedication to its Informix
a much shorter time frame.
customers by delivering a series of IDS releases
that are technically and functionally superior to Unprecedented processing speed
any that preceded them.” The Grid DataBlade initiative began
a few years ago, when the U.S. Navy
needed a technology partner to cre-
ate a groundbreaking meteorological
application. The challenge was to
3. access very specific “slices” of timely
meteorological data for particular
locations, rather than sift through
data for an entire area. BCS — an IBM
Business Partner with IDS expertise —
was at the top of the Navy’s list.
The BCS Grid DataBlade solution
allows the Navy to have a global
weather database that users can pro-
gram to extract such specific data as
weather for particular flight plans over
a five-day period. “Using IBM Informix
database technology and the concept
of data ‘slices’ to extend database
functionality, our clients can analyze The BCS information management system allows scientists to extract small subsets of human
cross-sections, thereby increasing efficiency of their medical research efforts.
precise subsets of data directly on
their server — and obtain results 50
to 100 times faster than with previous The Navy’s Fleet Numerical IDS in the service of science
technology,” says Barrodale. Meteorology and Oceanography The National Oceanographic and
Center (FNMOC) is integrating the Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Training pilots with realtime data
BCS Grid DataBlade with flight simula- is also exploring ways to manage and
Traditionally, using gridded data has
tion software to create real weather distribute satellite data products using
entailed downloading the entire grid-
patterns in training environments. The the BCS Grid DataBlade running IDS
ded dataset, then searching through it
DataBlade extracts time-significant, on an IBM ^ pSeries machine.
for the pertinent data. For the Navy’s
location-specific weather data from These applications include modeling
needs, the time required for such
a four-dimensional gridded dataset ocean circulation, ocean-atmosphere
downloading and searching was
housed in IDS, Version 9.3 and interaction and atmospheric pro-
prohibitive. “Weather forecasts for the
passes it to trainees running the flight cesses as well as integrating gridded
Navy are typically five days into the
simulation on a PC. The result is a environmental information derived
future, the altitudes go up to flyable
vertical depiction of weather along from satellites with land- and
heights, and the longitudes and lati-
a precise flight path. ocean-based measurements.
tudes cover the entire Earth. That’s a
lot of data,” explains Barrodale. Says Tony Williams, a civilian contrac- The U.S. National Library of Medicine
tor at FNMOC, “With the help of IBM granted BCS access to their Visible
Informix database technology, this test Human Project consisting of 1,871
application can potentially grow into a parallel high-resolution colored
groundbreaking product. Navy pilots images of a male cadaver, which
can train for Thursday’s mission days BCS then subsampled to form a
in advance—including a simulated 1.6-gigabyte 3D gridded dataset.
flight through every detail of
4. Researchers can use the Grid The real-world applications seem For more information
DataBlade on the BCS Web site to almost limitless, Barrodale adds. Please contact your IBM marketing
extract 2D slices of human cross- “A major diamond company has representative, IBM Business Partner
sections — at arbitrary inclinations — expressed interest in using IDS and or IBM Direct at: 1 800 IBM-CALL.
without having to download the entire the BCS Grid DataBlade to conduct
dataset, thus producing results in seismic surveys in the ocean,” he Visit our Web site at
seconds instead of minutes. observes. “DataBlade technology ibm.com/software/data
could help underwater marine
Currently designed to run under major For more information about Barrodale
laboratories explore the movement
UNIX operating systems — including Computing Services Ltd., visit:
of tectonic plates and other oceano-
IBM AIX® —as well as the open-source www.barrodale.com.
graphic phenomena—or power an
Linux ® operating environment, the international project to catalog the
BCS Grid DataBlade allows users millions of stars and their features.”
to easily manipulate an IDS data
subset — for instance, selecting a Extending IBM’s leadership to the
portion of a map image and depicting Informix community
it in several different projections. “The Barrodale says BCS and its custom-
Grid DataBlade absolutely shines ers are pleased with IBM’s demon- ®
when the subset of the data is a small strated commitment to the Informix
portion of the total amount stored in user community. “Since it acquired the
the IDS dataset,” explains Barrodale. Informix database business, IBM has © Copyright IBM Corporation 2003
“Something that previously took a proven its dedication to its Informix IBM Corporation
Silicon Valley Laboratory
minute to calculate now takes a customers by delivering a series of 555 Bailey Avenue
second. Something that once took an IDS releases that are technically and San Jose, CA 95141
hour now takes a minute. In some functionally superior to any that pre-
Produced in the United States of America
cases the speed increases are even ceded them,” he notes. 04-03
more dramatic.” All Rights Reserved
Barrodale is also excited about the AIX, DB2, DB2 Extender, DB2 Universal Database, the
e-business logo, ^, IBM, the IBM logo, Informix
possibility of adapting the DataBlade
and pSeries are trademarks or registered trademarks
to other IBM information management of International Business Machines Corporation in the
United States, other countries or both.
products, which would broaden BCS’s
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
potential customer base even further.
UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group
“We are confident that many institu-
in the United States and other countries.
tions worldwide that currently use IBM
Other company, product or service names may be
DB2 ® Universal Database™ will be trademarks or service marks of others.
eager to utilize our grid functionality This case study is an example of how one IBM
Business Partner and its customers use IBM products.
in the form of a DB2 Extender™,” he
There is no guarantee of comparable results.
says. “We look forward to leveraging
References in this publication to IBM products
all the opportunities that IBM’s global or services do not imply that IBM intends to make
them available in all countries in which IBM operates.
marketing power and information
management leadership have opened