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Oracle ‘Litens’ up with latest Oracle database

With Oracle Database Lite, the company extends a friendly hand to the open source community but also positions itself for competition with in-memory database makers.

Eager to extend an open hand to the open source community, Oracle has rolled out a spruced-up version of its Oracle Database Lite that for the first time can bi-directionally synchronize data between the company’s flagship database and the open source SQLite database.

The updated release, which made its debut at the Mobile World Congress conference this week, is meant for developing, deploying and managing applications in mobile and embedded environments. It can serve as a centralized source for provisioning and managing SQLite applications.

A significant advantage Database Lite offers, Oracle officials believe, is its ability to give mobile users continuous access to data that isn’t affected by mobile network bandwidth and coverage. This capability makes it possible for users to access enterprise data even without a network connection.

While some features in the new release indicate that Oracle is living up to promises made to the European Commission about working and playing well with the open source world, some analysts think the company has another purpose in mind. They believe Oracle is also hoping to position itself better with the growing number of application developers who prefer working with in-memory databases.

“Oracle is living up to its promises to the EC with this, but also every enterprise apps startup we talk to -- whether they are SaaS or on premise -- [is] moving toward in-memory [databases],” said Ray Wang, a partner with The Altimeter Group. “They want to get to information pretty rapidly, and they want to break free of the grip of some of the database providers.”

The new version of Database Lite gives new-age enterprise application developers a lower-end entry point to begin working with Oracle’s database line of products. If they like what they see, developers, along with their customers, could be encouraged to move up to Oracle’s flagship database, Oracle 11g.

“Oracle will be competing for market share and mindshare in the in-memory market, so whatever they can do to make it easier for companies to get into Oracle products and work their way up to the full flagship product is a good thing,” Wang said.

Some corporate users are encouraged by some of the capabilities of the new product, particularly its improved interaction with open source databases.

“We have a lot of Oracle [databases] here, but we have a number of departmental-class, open source applications and databases tied to Oracle,” said Eugene Lee, a systems administrator with a large bank in Charlotte, N.C. “Given their ownership of MySQL now, I have high hope for Oracle being serious about making their stuff work with a bunch of different open source products.”

Infoart d.o.o., a Croatia-based software developer that has more than 1,500 client devices, said it plans to use the new release of Oracle Database Lite for synchronizing data with its centralized Oracle database, as well as synchronizing all of its client devices.

“The automatic synchronization [of Database Lite] with its device management is what we really find will be essential for keeping large deployments healthy. It also plays a role in keeping us up and running,” said Zdravko Mandic, Infoart’s manager of research and development.

What is largely responsible for the latest version’s bi-directional capabilities is a new underlying open architecture, according to company officials.

Two other new features include user authentication on client device through the use of a common access card, and the ability to more easily share devices among multiple users through device re-registration.

The latter capability will be useful, for instance, when a device is used by different employees during different shifts. As long as employees are registered with Oracle Database Lite, they can access a device and re-register it for their own use.

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