IBM DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows, V5.6 adds new function to IBM business intelligence portfolio

IBM United States Software Announcement 204-172
July 16, 2004


 ENUS204-172.PDF (43KB)

Table of contents   Document options  
At a glance Publications
Overview Technical information
Key prerequisites Ordering information
Planned availability dates Terms and conditions
Description Prices
Offering Information Order now
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At a glance

DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows, V5.6 adds new capabilities to the IBM business intelligence portfolio, a key foundation for our on demand capabilities.

  • Adds a set of components, based on open standards, that allow you to deliver on the vision of integrated analytics
  • Enables you to broaden and deepen business performance management capabilities across organizations
  • Provides dynamic insight into your respective business environment
  • Allows you to quickly take advantage of new opportunities and overcome challenges while you still have the opportunity to make significant adjustments

For ordering, contact:

Your IBM representative or IBM Americas Call Centers at 800-IBM-CALL (Reference: YE001).
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DB2® Alphablox for UNIX and Windows™, V5.6 has an open architecture that is built to integrate with your existing IT infrastructure, ensuring that you gain the highest return on your information investments. In addition, DB2 Alphablox further lowers your total cost of ownership by leveraging existing resources and skill sets to deliver sophisticated analytic capability customized to each individual user and role.

DB2 Alphablox is optimized for rapid application delivery and deployment, providing a component-based, comprehensive framework for integrating analytics into existing business processes and systems. By implementing solutions that include DB2 Alphablox capabilities, leading enterprises maximize the value of their information assets by delivering business insight to the right people at the point-of-decision.

Leading enterprises in financial services, manufacturing, technology, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, retail, and energy are successfully leveraging DB2 Alphablox technology inside a wide variety of integrated analytic solutions. DB2 Alphablox enables organizations to integrate analytics across all functions and lines of business, and enable powerful analytic solutions to business users at the front lines for improved decision making. It enables customers and partners to optimize various aspects of their business solutions, including:

  • Self-service reporting and analysis applications
  • Operational analysis applications
  • Financial reporting and analysis applications
  • Planning applications
  • Business Performance and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Dashboards

DB2 Alphablox's open architecture and component approach to application development provide for a high degree of customization when delivering analytic solutions and offer numerous options for application front-end interfaces to meet the requirements of the casual to the power user.
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Key prerequisites

Sun Solaris, AIX®, and Windows Server 2003
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Planned availability dates
  • August 17, 2004, Electronic Software Delivery
  • September 17, 2004, Media Pack on CD-ROM

Not available for sale in the People's Republic of China at this time.
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DB2 Alphablox is an industry-leading platform for the rapid assembly and broad deployment of integrated analytics embedded within applications. It has an open, extensible architecture based on J2EE (Java™ 2 platform, Enterprise Edition) standards, an industry standard for developing Web-based enterprise applications. It simplifies enterprise application development by automatically handling many details of application behavior without the need for complex programming.

DB2 Alphablox provides various Blox components, which are modular, reusable components, as well as an application framework, a powerful programming model, and a variety of development tools for assembling analytic applications. For its run-time environment, DB2 Alphablox leverages standard J2EE application servers. DB2 Alphablox can be installed on leading commercial J2EE application servers such as WebSphere® and others.

When developing applications with embedded DB2 Alphablox capability, you can take advantage of many features offered by the underlying J2EE application servers, including enhanced performance, security, and personalization. Integration with the application server environment enables application builders to leverage DB2 Alphablox for its base capabilities related to building, deploying, and executing analytic applications, while relying on the application server to provide robust management and deployment services.


DB2 Alphablox provides an extensive library of Blox to meet integrated analytic application design requirements for maximum usability. These components include:

  • Data access Blox, which manage data access through one or more of the following components:
    • DataBlox manages the connection between the user interface Blox and the appropriate data source. It is also responsible for submitting queries and retrieving result sets from a database.
    • StoredProceduresBlox enables programming support to use stored procedures in relational data sources.
    • MDBQueryBlox is useful for specifying data queries based on axes, dimensions, and members without having to use data-specific query language.

      Because DB2 Alphablox directly accesses the data from your databases, applications leveraging its capabilities will abide by any security features or constraints built into your database. DB2 Alphablox exposes all of the analytic function supplied by the multidimensional database engines (that is, ranking, derived calculations, ordering, sophisticated filtering, percentiles, deciles, variances, standard deviations, correlations, trending, statistical functions, and other sophisticated calculations). In addition, DB2 Alphablox allows end users and application developers to create custom calculated members.

      DataBlox also offers APIs to return data in an XML format. This opens the door to extensibility, applications leveraging DB2 Alphablox to be integrated with other applications. It also enables delivery of data to XML-enabled clients, including cell phones, pagers, and PDAs. Application developers also can expose the data in a Web service and build custom user interfaces.

  • User interface Blox provided by DB2 Alphablox are highly functional, interactive, and completely customizable to improve your application usability. These user interface elements employ DHTML technology to provide a rich user experience, including menu bars, right-click menus, and custom layouts in a thin client (no need for Java, ActiveX, or other browser plug-ins). Here are the various user interface Blox included in an DB2 Alphablox application:
    • GridBlox provides a table of data and all the user interface functions to manipulate the data in a multidimensional way. Users can drill up, drill down, sort, pivot, swap axes, or choose to view the top N or bottom N members on the values of a given data column.
    • ChartBlox is used for advanced visualization of data and supports a large number of chart types, including bar, line, pie, scatter, and bubble charts, as well as bipolar and dual axis charts.
    • DataLayoutBlox makes it easy for users to move and reorder dimensions across axes.
    • PageBlox provides drop-down lists to manage the setting of slicer dimensions.
    • ToolbarBlox offers easy access to common data analysis function through a click of a button.
    • PresentBlox combines GridBlox, ChartBlox, DataLayoutBlox, ToolbarBlox, and PageBlox into a single, well-orchestrated, interconnected user interface along with user toolbars and menus. PresentBlox also implements additional logic to interconnect the various underlying Blox. For example, in a PresentBlox, drilling down in the grid automatically updates both grid and chart with the new data.
    • Relational Reporting Blox is the core collection of Blox for building relational reports with other componentized Blox that handle specific report formatting and data sorting, grouping, filtering, and calculating function for relational data sources.
  • Form elements Blox provides several form elements Blox that are extremely useful in developing custom analytic applications. All the form elements Blox not only maintain the form elements' current state, freeing up developers from writing the extra code, but also link with other components such as Java beans including data access Blox and user interface Blox to provide most commonly required function with minimal coding. Multidimensional database-specific HTML form elements Blox are specialized variations of HTML form elements Blox that know how to work with multidimensional database metadata. For example, DataSourceSelectFormBlox shows a list of all the available data sources in a drop-down list and DimensionSelectFormBlox shows a list of available dimensions for a given data source. Here are the various form elements Blox provided by DB2 Alphablox:
    • Basic HTML Form elements
      • CheckBoxFormBlox
      • EditFormBlox
      • RadioButtonFormBlox
      • SelectFormBlox
    • Multidimensional database-specific HTML form elements
      • DataSourceSelectFormBlox
      • CubeSelectFormBlox
      • DimensionSelectFormBlox
      • MemberSelectFormBlox
      • TimePeriodSelectFormBlox
      • TimeUnitSelectFormBlox
    • Tree Navigation element
      • TreeFormBlox
  • Business logic Blox provides the following business logic to facilitate incorporating dynamic, complex business logic into integrated analytic applications:
    • MemberSecurityBlox limits visibility to members the users have no access to. Even though the underlying databases provide security on the data, some of the databases do not provide security on the outlines (that is, the member names themselves). MemberSecurityBlox could be used to provide outline security in those cases.
    • TimeSchemaBlox creates a timetable to support dynamic time series based on the defined time schema. For example, once the time schema for your data source is defined, you can easily access data for any supported time periods such as "the last six months," "last two quarters," "month to date," or "current week."
  • Analytic infrastructure Blox packs a tremendous amount of customization, personalization, and collaboration capability. Application developers can customize their line-of-business applications and personalize the interfaces to each individual user through Blox properties, Blox JavaScript/Java API, and application and user custom properties. Application developers can accomplish this customization using the following components:
    • RepositoryBlox: For accessing/manipulating user and application properties stored in the repository; key to personalization
    • BookmarksBlox: For accessing/manipulating bookmark-related properties and information stored in the repository, with extensive APIs for programmatic manipulation of bookmarks
    • CommentsBlox: For managing and storing comments at cell, page, or application level

DB2 Alphablox Programming Model

DB2 Alphablox supports a standard J2EE application development model, offering a complete development paradigm for application delivery. Within this paradigm, you typically find HTML pages used for static content, JavaServer Pages (JSPs) for dynamic content, Cascading Style Sheets for formatting, and Java beans for application/business logic.

By conforming to this paradigm, a typical application leveraging DB2 Alphablox capabilities consists of a collection of JSPs, with each page containing a combination of Blox, HTML, graphics, and Cascading Style Sheets. JavaScript and Java can be optionally used to enhance the application's capabilities. The DB2 Alphablox component programming model consists of the following facilities:

  • An extensive set of JSP custom tag libraries
  • Server-side APIs to the Java beans underlying the Blox
  • Server-side access to the Blox User Interface Model 
  • Ability to remotely invoke server-side APIs from browsers through JavaScript

DB2 Alphablox provides application developers the ultimate flexibility in customizing the user interface and adding their own business and application logic by exposing every Blox as a Java bean and allowing programmatic access to those beans through a rich set of Java APIs.

With the DB2 Alphablox tag libraries, JSP author don't have to know the low-level technical details behind the Blox components; they simply need to know the syntax and function for each Blox. This enables page authors with no Java experience to incorporate analytics seamlessly on an intranet or extranet using best-of-breed authoring tools. Each Blox has a comprehensive set of properties that could be easily set using the tags to customize values in the JSPs. For example, setting the width property in the Blox present tag to "50%" will make this PresentBlox occupy only half of the available horizontal space in the browser.

Development tools

In addition to the various Blox components and the DB2 Alphablox programming model, DB2 Alphablox also provides a library of development tools and examples to accelerate the application development process. DB2 Alphablox examples are reusable and modifiable, and include prebuilt sample queries for many of the data sources that DB2 Alphablox supports.

Blox Sampler is a rich set of real-world examples that illustrate essential Blox configuration and common Blox manipulation techniques. These examples will guide developers through building DB2 Alphablox applications. The primary goals of the Blox Sampler are to:

  • Help application developers understand the various user interface Blox and their behavior
  • Provide tips and techniques for solving real-world issues application developers are likely to encounter
  • Provide sample code for use in building applications

Sampler sections and other examples include:

  • Presenting Data — Using techniques such as numeric properties and cell formatting for better presentation of data.
  • Converting to PDF — Generating a PDF from different user interface Blox.
  • Interacting with Data — Providing user selections to interact with the data using various HTML elements, asymmetric reports, and event filters.
  • Filtering Data — Using different techniques to dynamically filter data.
  • Highlighting Data — Calling users' attention to certain data using techniques such as cell alerts, traffic lighting, and cell links.
  • Commenting on Data — Support for cell- and page-level commenting using CommentsBlox.
  • Persisting Data and Bookmarking — Custom user properties, personalization dialog, and saving and restoring application states.
  • Inputting and Modifying Data — Writeback examples.
  • Relational Reporting — Examples that illustrate essential steps and tips for creating relational reports. Included is an overview of the set of Blox supporting the Relational Reporting feature.

The DB2 Alphablox Workbench includes the DB2 Alphablox Query Builder, which can be used to manipulate the grid options, layout, queries, and chart type. When application developers get to the view they like, they can generate the JSP tags for the PresentBlox by clicking the Generate Blox Tag button. Those tags can then be easily copied and pasted into their application. A full set of documentation, including the Javadoc, reference guides, and developer's guides, will be available online in HTML and PDF formats.

Because DB2 Alphablox applications are created using open standards-based technologies (that is, JavaServer Pages), DB2 Alphablox customers can use any of the extensive selection of Web design tools and source code control systems available in the market today to develop and manage Alphablox application code. Thus a wide variety of developer tools such as WebSphere Studio Application Developer, Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX, Adobe's GoLive, Borland's JBuilder, IntelliJ IDEA, BEA WebLogic Workshop, and Eclipse can be used in the DB2 Alphablox development process.

Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act

The following feature supports use by people with disabilities:

  • Operation by keyboard alone


DB2, AIX, and WebSphere are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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Offering Information

Product information is available via the Offering Information Web site

Also, visit the Passport Advantage® Web site

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Publications are shipped with this program and available on the media pack.
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Technical information

Hardware requirements

Supported platforms:

  • Intel™
  • Sun SPARC
  • PowerPC®

Software requirements

Server OS

  • Windows™ 2000 Server with SP2®, or later
  • Windows 2003 Server with SP1®, or later
  • Windows NT™ Server 4.0 with SP6++
  • Sun Solaris 9.8.7
  • AIX® V4.3.3 or AIX 5L

Application server

  • WebSphere® 4.0.4 Standard Edition
  • WebSphere 5.0 Enterprise Edition
  • SunOne (iPlanet), or later
  • Microsoft™ IIS+ 4.0, 5.0.1, or 6.0
  • Apache HTTP Server 1.3.27, or later
  • Apache Tomcat 3.2.4
  • BEA WebLogic 7, 8.1.1, SP2, or later

Multidimensional data sources

  • DB2® OLAP 7.1 Fix Pack 5 or 8.1
  • DB2 OLAP Server™ 8.1
  • DB2 OLAP Integration Server 8.1
  • Hyperion Essbase 6.1.5, 6.2.4 or 6.5.4
  • Hyperion Essbase XTD Deployment Services (EDS) 6.5.3
  • Hyperion Essbase XTD Integration Services (EIS) 6.5.4
  • Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2000 SP3

Relational data source/Repository

  • DB2 7.2 or 8.1
  • Oracle 8i or 9i (8.1, 7.1 minimum)
  • Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2000 SP3
  • Sybase Adaptive Server 12.0 or 12.5


  • Microsoft IE 5.0, 5.5, or 6.0
  • Netscape Navigator 7.1
  • Mozilla 1.4 (with the Sun Java™ Plugin 1.4.2)

Browser operating systems

  • Windows XP Professional SP1
  • Windows 2000 Professional SP2
  • Windows NT 4 SP6

Third-party software

  • Excel XP
  • Excel 2000
  • Adobe Reader 6.0, Adobe

Planning information

Packaging: The media pack consists of one CD. This program when downloaded from a Web site, contains the applicable IBM license agreement and License Information (LI), if appropriate, and will be presented for acceptance at the time of installation of the program. The license and LI will be stored in a directory such as LICENSE.TXT for future reference.

Security, auditability, and control

DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows, V5.6 uses the security and auditability features of the host hardware or software. The customer is responsible for evaluation, selection, and implementation of security features, administrative procedures, and appropriate controls in application systems and communication facilities.
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Ordering information

This product is only available via Passport Advantage. It is not available as shrinkwrap.

Product Group: DB2

Product Identifier Description (PID): DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows (5724-J16)

Product Category: Business Intelligence

DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows, V5.6 is a server base product.

Usage restriction

The program is comprised of various components which are licensed for use solely in combination with the program. None of the included components may be used, transferred, sublicensed, or redistributed individually or in any combination other than as a complete package.

Use-based charges — Resources

Charges for the program are based on a server install using a processor metric for the base product. The program is defined as a single image across a single SMP (regardless of the number of virtual partitions) or multiple server configuration. The total number of processors may not exceed the number authorized by the applicable PoEs or authorized by each program authorization acquired under Passport Advantage. If the total number exceeds the quantity in your PoEs or exceeds your program authorizations acquired under Passport Advantage, you must notify IBM or its reseller as stated in the IPLA.

In a machine configuration where multiple copies of the program are installed, each installed copy must be licensed separately.

In addition, there is a per-server charge for each relational connector used to connect to non-IBM relational databases. These relational connectors are charged against the program server and not charged against the relational databases with which they are connected to access data. The relational connector for DB2 UDB is included at no extra charge, as are the connectors for access to select multidimensional data sources such as DB2 OLAP Server. The total number of relational connectors may not exceed the number authorized by the applicable PoEs or authorized by each program authorization acquired under Passport Advantage. If the total number of relational connectors exceeds the quantity to which you are authorized by the applicable PoE(s) or program authorizations acquired under Passport Advantage, you must notify IBM or its reseller as stated in the IPLA.

Single server only

All components provided with the program can only be installed and used with the DB2 Alphablox server for which the program is licensed, unless otherwise authorized in the license for the individual components.

Limited platform support

If the program is acquired under the terms of an IBM offering for limited platform support (for instance, the program is acquired for use on a single platform or less than all available platforms), then that program is licensed only for installation and use on the specific platforms or operating systems as designated by the offering terms and conditions.

High availability/failover licensing

In Idle Standby or Active Standby, you must acquire the correct number of program authorizations:

An active standby server has an independent, operational DB2 Alphablox server that services user transactions and queries. Because the active standby machine is used for user transactions and queries before or after a failure, it must be fully licensed. In Active Standby, you must license the program for the server.

An idle standby server has DB2 Alphablox server installed on it, but that DB2 Alphablox server is not processing any end-user transactions or query workloads. The DB2 Alphablox server is considered "idle" if it is used exclusively for administrative actions that assist in failover scenarios. In Idle Standby, you must license the program for one processor plus the number of relational connectors licensed for the active DB2 Alphablox system.

Program name/description                          number
DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows, V5.6,         BB0M2IE
 Intl English, Media Pack
DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows                D53YHLL
 Processor LIC+SW MAINT 12 MO
DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows                E01BTLL
DB2 Alphablox for UNIX and Windows                D53YILL
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                D53YJLL
 Oracle Serv LIC+SW MAINT 12 MO
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                E01BULL
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                D53YKLL
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                D53YLLL
 Sybase Server LIC+SW MAINT 12 MO
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                E01BVLL
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                D53YMLL
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                D53YNLL
 Microsoft Svr LIC+SW MAINT 12 MO
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                E01BWLL
DB2 Alphablox Relational Connector                D53YPLL

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Terms and conditions

This product is only available via Passport Advantage. It is not available as shrinkwrap.

Agreement: IBM International Program License Agreement. Proofs of Entitlement are required for all authorized use. Part number products only, offered outside of Passport Advantage, where applicable, are license only and do not include Software Maintenance.

This software license includes Software Maintenance, previously referred to as Software Subscription and Technical Support.

Limited warranty: Yes

Warranty: This program has warranty for a minimum of one year from acquisition from IBM or authorized IBM Business Partner. The warranty provided to the customer, for at least one year from acquisition, is access to databases (read Web sites) for program information and FAQs, including any known fixes to defects, which the customer can download or obtain otherwise and install at leisure.

Money-back guarantee: If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the program, return it within 30 days from the invoice date, to the party (either IBM or its reseller) from whom you acquired it, for a refund. This applies only to your first acquisition of the program.

Copy and use on home/portable computer: No

Volume orders (IVO): Yes, contact your IBM representative.

Passport Advantage applies: Yes, and through the Passport Advantage Web site at

Software Maintenance applies: Yes

Software Maintenance, previously referred to as Software Subscription and Technical Support, is now included in the Passport Advantage Agreement. Installation and technical support for the products announced in this letter is provided by the Software Maintenance offering of the IBM International Passport Advantage Agreement. This fee service enhances customer productivity by providing voice and electronic access into the IBM support organizations.

IBM includes one year of Software Maintenance with the initial license acquisition of each program acquired. The initial period of Software Maintenance can be extended by the purchase of a renewal option.

While your Software Maintenance is in effect, IBM provides you assistance for your routine, short duration installation and usage (how-to) questions, and code-related questions. IBM provides assistance via telephone and, if available, electronic access, only to your information systems (IS) technical support personnel during the normal business hours (published prime shift hours) of your IBM support center. (This assistance is not available to your end users.) IBM provides Severity 1 assistance 24 hours a day, every day of the year. For additional details, consult your IBM Software Support Guide at

Software Maintenance does not include assistance for the design and development of applications, your use of programs in other than their specified operating environment, or failures caused by products for which IBM is not responsible under this agreement.

For more information about the Passport Advantage Agreement, refer to the IBM International Passport Advantage Agreement Software Announcement 201-202 , dated July 10, 2001, or visit the Passport Advantage Web site at

AIX/UNIX® upgrade protection applies: No

Entitled upgrade for current AIX/UNIX upgrade protection licensees: No

iSeries™ Software Subscription applies: No

Variable charges apply: No

Educational allowance available: Not applicable
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Passport Advantage

For Passport Advantage information and charges, contact your IBM representative or authorized IBM Business Partner. Additional information is also available on the following Passport Advantage Web site at

Program name/description                number
DB2 Alphablox for UNIX                  5724-J16
 and Windows, V5.6

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Order now

To order, contact the Americas Call Centers or your local IBM representative.

To identify your local IBM representative, call 800-IBM-4YOU (426-4968).

 Phone:     800-IBM-CALL (426-2255)
 Fax:       800-2IBM-FAX (242-6329)
 Mail:      IBM Americas Call Centers
            Dept:  IBM CALL, 11th Floor
            105 Moatfield Drive
            North York, Ontario
            Canada M3B 3R1
 Reference: YE001

The Americas Call Centers, our national direct marketing organization, can add your name to the mailing list for catalogs of IBM products.

Note: Shipments will begin after the planned availability date.


DB2 OLAP Server and iSeries are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
Passport Advantage, PowerPC, SP2, SP1, AIX, WebSphere, and DB2 are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
Intel is a trademark of Intel Corporation.
Windows, Windows NT, and Microsoft are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.
Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
UNIX is a registered trademark of the Open Company in the United States and other countries.
Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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