A slimmer / lighter, option of the free database, DB2 Express-C was recently made available. This is good news for many who just want to use the core database features and not have to wait to download extra features they are not going to use. Those with not so good bandwidth are going to appreciate this lighter option even more. However those who still want the full DB2 Express-C feature set, can still download the full version of the product. In fact you could start with the lighter version, and if you later determine you want some of the missing options, you can always update your installation.

So whats the difference between the lighter and regular versions of DB2 Express-C? For starters a significant difference in the size of the installation image ... for instance, in DB2 9.7.2, the lighter 32-bit windows image is about 225MB, compared to almost 400MB for the regular version.

Next difference is the language interface support ... while the regular version of DB2 Express-C allows you to interface with DB2 using a variety of supported languages (including English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.), the lighter version only includes support for English interface. (PS: don't confuse the support for language interface with support for languages the data can be stored in the database ... the lighter version will still allow you to store data in many languages other than English e.g. using unicode, but the messages/errors/warnings will be in English only).

Another feature missing from the lighter version of DB2 Express-C is Full Text Search. While this can be a very powerful capability, not all applications utilize it and hence not necessary for everyone to download the full image. Finally, the lighter version does not include many of the graphical tools like the Control Center, Client Configuration Assistant and First Steps. You won't miss the GUI tools if you're a command line veteran like me, or if you're running DB2 Express-C on a remote server accessing it using the graphical tools from your desktop. Alternatively, if you want to use graphical tools to manage and monitor your database, you could also use Data Studio, which offers rich set of capabilities, and continues to be greatly enhanced (whereas the Control Center has been deprecated).

I indicated that you can "update" your installation of the lighter version of DB2 Express-C to the full version. To do so, first download the full version (at the same level of code as your currently installed lighter version), run the installer (db2setup), choose "Work with Existing" copy of DB2 and then "Modify" the installation. Now if you go into the Custom install option, you will see tree representation of features where you can select to add features/languages that were missing in the lighter version. If you want to also "upgrade" your level of DB2 code, you will need to run the installation twice - once to upgrade the DB2 level, and second time to add missing components. (I will hopefully get some time to write a post with step by step instructions and screenshots in future).

PS: In the initial release i.e. DB2 9.7.2., the lighter version of DB2 Express-C are only available for Windows 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. If you package and distribute DB2 Express-C with your solution, and want to trim the DB2 installation image even further, you can use the db2iprune utility.

- Light / full versions of DB2 Express-C for Windows 32-bit | 64-bit | Other Platforms / Data Studio | Checksums
- Free Books: Getting Started with DB2 Express-C / Data Studio

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Comment by Danial Monin on September 1, 2010 at 4:27pm
It's awesome! Great news!

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