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Oracle renews push into embedded open source software market

Oracle rolled out two Berkeley DB embeddable open source databases with .Net support, hoping to attract Windows developers

Oracle redoubled its efforts in the $2 billion embeddable database market on Monday updating two members of its open -source Berkeley DB family to include support for Windows programming environments. It's a move Oracle believes could benefit both developers and IT shops.

Both Berkeley DB 4.8 and Berkeley DB XML 2.5 feature support for C# and  Net programming environments, which Oracle hopes will entice developers and device makers to embed the two products into their Windows-based applications and devices. Both products already support several open source scripting languages including Ruby oOn Rails, Python, Pearl, as well as Java and C++.

For more on Berkeley DB
Learn about Oracle's embeddable database management system, Berkeley DB

 The company has also streamlined both products to require less hardware muscle than their predecessors thereby cutting down the costs for developers and organizations running products with the embedded databases. Two other aspects of the product should also appeal to cost conscious IT shops, according to Rex Wang, vice president of marketing for Oracle. Since neither product requires a database administrator, users sidestep the need to purchase a separate license from Oracle.

This may be a particularly well-timed move, as some analysts like the prospects for embedded databases over the next year.

"With budgets expected to be severely squeezed for the next 18 months, it seems likely that applications and tools with embedded databases that require no DBA support will find increasing favor," IDC analyst Carl Olofson wrote in a recent report about the embedded database market.

The updates are being received well by some developers. Lucas Vogel, a managing partner with Alpharetta, GA-based Windows application developer Endpoint Systems, was heartened by the newly added support Windows because "with the C# library, .Net developers have access to a more proven data storage engine" that Unix and Java developers have had for more than 10 years. He added that he hopes the Oracle products can offer some solutions that go beyond those of traditional relational storage.

Along with Windows support, Oracle has improved the speed and performance of each product, particularly in symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP) environments, said Wang from Oracle.

"Specifically we enhanced performance on SMP systems by improving the system's ability to handle multiple processes and multiple threads. We improved their ease of use with a new utility that autogenerates Berkeley DB application code based on SQL. This will speed up development significantly for developers familiar with SQL," said Wang.

Other new features in Berkeley DB 4.8 include refurbished APIs designed to simplify application development that reduce time and cost, and better flexibility for addressing applications scalability and on-disk storage requirements. Ease of use improvements include support for foreign keys to help guarantee referential integrity and improved failure handling for multi-threaded applications.

Other improvements in Berkeley DB XML 2.5 include support for external functions, allowing users to extend XQuery statements in C++ Java and Python APIs, and a smaller on-disk footprint for XML containers, which Oracle says can cut down storage requirements by 30% and enable faster document retrieval.

The Berkeley DB series was originally developed by SleepyCat Software, which Oracle purchased in 2006.

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