IBM has released a public beta of a major update to its DB2 9 database available for download.

DB2 Viper 2, the next release of DB2 9 for Linux, Unix and Windows servers, adds new workload management tools for improved query governance and monitoring, auditing capabilities for regulatory compliance purposes, and security and high availability features, according to a blog posting by Chris Eaton, an IBM product manager.

The planned upgrade also includes simplified memory management and enhancements to the data compression features already available in DB2 9, Eaton wrote.

IBM released DB2 9, codenamed Viper, last July. At the time, IBM touted the database's ability to natively store both relational data and unstructured XML content, such as audio, video and web pages.

Bolstered by its purchase of Informix's database technology in 2001, IBM stole the database market-share crown from Oracle that year. Since then, however, Oracle has regained and steadily increased its lead.

Despite the release of Viper, figures released publicly this week by Gartner showed Oracle controlling 47.1 percent of the worldwide relational database market last year, with IBM holding 21.1 percent - down from 22.1 percent in 2005.