Db2 Community Edition is the free edition of the Db2 for Linux / Unix  / Windows database. Unlike Microsoft and Oracle express offerings, Db2 Community Edition does allow for a unlimited size database (was 100GB in the past)  and can use up to 16GB of memory and with 4 cores you can do lot of processing. There are NO other restrictions. The install image for Db2 is the same for all licenses available by IBM. You are allowed to do anything you like with Db2 Community Edition (also run production workload or use in failover cluster).

Here are the three major community relational databases from IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Here are the links and their limitations so you can compare. Keep in mind, non of the free databases come with any support or guarantees, but there are plenty community support forums (see below).

  • IBM Db2 Community Edition 11.5, RAM: 16GB, CPU: 4 cores, No further restrictions or disabled features! No limit on database size!! IBM always offers the latest release and allows users to upgrade to the next release and apply fixes.
  • Oracle Database Express Edition (Oracle 18 XE), RAM: 2GB, CPU: 2 cores, 3 Pluggable Databases, Database size: max 12 GB (also see here for long list of restrictions / disabled features). Note that Oracle’s express offer is always the latest long term support release (currently Oracle 19) – one = Oracle 18
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2022 Express, RAM: 1.4 GB, CPU: 4 cores, Database size: max 10 GB (See here for a list of restrictions / disabled features). Note Microsoft also offers a free Developer edition but can only be used by/for developers.

Db2 can be easily managed from the command line (db2clp) or with the IBM tools, IBM Data Studio (more developer oriented) or Data Management Console (more DBA oriented). Both are free tools! They are a separate download. Want more cool Db2 things from IBM? There is also an official Docker image and you can try Db2 also for free in the cloud (just follow the link in the comparison).

You cannot contact IBM for support when you run into trouble with Db2 Community Edition. But there are many places where you can get free support and/or find more information:

Looking for training? Just contact us ;-)

Please note that above was true on January 2024  – Always verify the vendor’s website for their latest offerings or change in limitations!

p.s. were you looking for Db2 Express-C Edition? That product does no longer exist… Db2 Community Edition is the new name! Isn’t that typical IBM… changing the name all the time.

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Comparing free databases
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