Emerging Database Players

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IT departments in organizations across nearly all industries are spending more resources to help manage critical information, and the information load is growing apace. Accordingly, the database market has been heating up along with the IT industry’s increasing emphasis on information management and mobility, and several players/vendors have emerged as top prospects for database solutions. They include: Sybase, Teradata, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Firebird SQL, among others.

Sybase has been a leader in developing database technology for more than 20 years. Its product offerings include solutions for synchronization, movement and access, modeling, information delivery, middleware integration options and database servers. Database servers include: Sybase IQ, a scalable relational database for query performance in business intelligence and large data warehouses; Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise, a data management platform that offers real-time services for mission-critical transaction-intensive applications; SQL Anywhere Studio, a data management and enterprise data synchronization solution that enables rapid development and deployment of mobile, remote and small- to medium-sized business database-powered applications; and Sybase Dynamic Archive, an online archiving solution that aids management of data growth and helps users reduce maintenance windows, improve application performance, lower storage costs and comply with regulatory requirements. Sybase offers support, education and consulting services to assist with implementation and help users determine the best ways to begin or continue new technology integration projects.

Teradata has become a worldwide leader in enterprise data warehousing over the past 25 years. The company also offers solutions for CRM, financial management and profitability analytics. Teradata enterprise data warehousing enables users to integrate data from multiple sources using one data model and to establish a single, centralized data warehouse that thousands of users can directly access. Teradata Warehouse 8.1 features a suite of management and data access tools, data mining capabilities and high-performance parallel database technology. The solutions also allows users to handle large and growing data volumes, complex data, eliminate or automate difficult database management tasks and allow tactical and strategic queries on the same system at the same time. Recently, organizations such as The METRO Group, Europe’s third largest retail organization, and the State of Texas have implemented Teradata solutions. METRO will use Teradata to expand its use of RFID communications in its value chain management, and the State of Texas will use Teradata to provide a platform for its Advanced Database System, which is used to collect millions of dollars in revenue and taxes for the state.

MySQL is almost, but not quite, a heavy-hitter in the database game and has developed a reputation for reliability, performance and ease of use. The company Web site proclaims that MySQL has become the world’s most popular open-source database and powers some of the most popular Web sites in the world including Yahoo, The Weather Channel and Wikipedia. Some of its products include: MySQL 5.0 Community Edition, which is for open-source developers and other techies who would like to start using MySQL; MySQL 5.0 Pro Certified Server, which is designed for enterprise organizations that deliver business critical database applications; MaxDB, formerly known as SAP/DB, the open source database certified for SAP/R3; and MySQL Cluster, which delivers a fault-tolerant database clustering architecture for deploying mission critical database applications.

PostgreSQL is an open-source relational database system that runs on all major operating systems including Linux, UNIX and Windows. The company has more than 15 years of development experience under its belt and a reputation for reliability, data integrity and correctness. PostgreSQL has native programming interfaces for Java, Perl, Python and others, and it supports foreign keys, views, triggers and stored procedures in multiple languages. PostgreSQL also supports storage of binary large objects such as pictures, sounds or video. Nearly 200 developers contributed to the company’s most current offering, PostgreSQL 8.1, which has more than 120 new features and enhancements. Some of these include: database roles to simplify management of large numbers of users with complex overlapping database rights; table partitioning using a technique called Constraint Exclusion, which improves performance and data management for multi-gigabyte tables; and IN/OUT parameters, which can improve support of complex business logic for J2EE and .NET applications. Additional features include GiST: PostgreSQL’s Generalised Search Tree, COPY Refactoring and 64-bit shared memory. The company recently announced availability of Database Designer for PostgreSQL v1.0.5, a visual entity, relation editor for the Windows OS family, which is not freeware.

Firebird SQL
Firebird SQL is also a relational database offering that runs on Windows, Linux and many Unix platforms. It offers language support for stored procedures and triggers, concurrency and high performance, and is free of any registration, licensing or deployment fees. It can be deployed with any commercial or non-commercial third-party software. Firebird 1.5.3 was released in late January of this year following a year of small enhancements and bug fixing. The company is currently testing Firebird 2.0 Beta 2 and wants to merge two codebases, Firebird 2.0 and Firebird Vulcan, before releasing Firebird 3.0 at the end of this year following Beta testing. The merged codebases will be based on the Vulcan tree, which includes: globally refactored code, fine-grained multithreading and a unified provider based architecture.

–Kellye Whitney, kellyew@certmag.com

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