Oracle throws weight behind embeddable DBMSs

Mark Brunelli, News Director
Oracle is putting more resources and energy into the embeddable

that it has formed a new business unit dedicated to advancing its embeddable database portfolio in order to meet the needs of hardware and software vendors who embed database technology within their products.

Additionally, Oracle says it has recently established several laboratories to support the development and testing of embeddable products.

"Oracle has a new focus and initiative in place to go after the embedded market," Rex Wang, Oracle's vice president embedded systems marketing, said in an interview. "Oracle feels like the embedded database market is an interesting and growing opportunity for us."

More on Oracle's embeddable databases:

Oracle overhauls Sleepycat's original Berkeley DB

Oracle unveils new version of open source BerkeleyDB

Several current trends have led Oracle to believe that now is a good time to put more resources into embeddable databases, Wang said. Mobile phones and handhelds, large-scale networking gear and the increasing number of services being offered over the Internet are just a few examples of technologies that are getting smarter and faster. And they all have a need for embeddable database technology, he said.

"A lot of these [vendors] are currently using a homegrown solution and obviously we think that a commercial off-the-shelf alternative from Oracle will be a better choice," Wang said.

The embedded DBMS market reached $1.3 billion in 2005 after sustaining a low double-digit growth trend over the last several years, according to a report issued earlier this year by Framingham, Mass.-based research firm IDC.

"The embedded DBMS model offers the most reliable growth path for DBMS technology going forward," Carl Olofson, IDC's research vice president of information management and data integration, wrote in the report.

Oracle's embeddable database portfolio consists of four products -- Oracle Database 10g, Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database, Oracle Berkeley DB, and Oracle Database Lite.

"A lot of people don't think of Oracle Database 10g as embeddable, but it actually is," Wang said of his company's flagship product. "It can be configured for silent installation along with the application so people don't know it's there and then during rest time it can be set up so that there's no need for ongoing human administration."

TimesTen, which purchased Sleepycat Software Inc. back in February, is an open source, non-relational family of three products geared toward niche applications that have no need for a SQL query layer. New versions of Berkeley DB and Berkeley DB Java Edition were released in September. Berkeley DB XML 2.3 was released earlier this month.

Oracle says Database Lite is a complete integrated environment for building, deploying and managing mobile applications for a broad range of devices. It includes a small relational database for mobile devices, and a mobile server for synchronization with Oracle Database. The company says future releases will feature enhanced synchronization and support for a more platforms.

Wang had no comment on whether Oracle plans to purchase or develop new embeddable database products.

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