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In the late 1970s, IBM software labs were aligned with the IBM hardware families. The decisions to commercialize the relational database prototype called System R, which had been developed during the 1970s at the IBM Research facility in San Jose, California, were made based on a hardware family business case. The Endicott Lab, supporting the small- to mid-sized mainframe environments running VM and VSE, had the skills and the competitive pressure to launch the relational database management system (RDBMS) commercialization project in 1979, and delivered SQL/DS two years later. This article traces how SQL/DS, running on VSE and then on VM, became IBM's first commercial relational database in 1982, over a year before the availability of DB2 running on MVS.