Open-Source Engine Gets Java Jolt

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-08-18 Print this article Print

Sleepycat Software Inc. in October will release a version of its open-source embedded database engine that's a good fit for Java developers.

Sleepycat Software Inc. in October will release a version of its open-source embedded database engine thats a good fit for Java developers, does a better job at replication and enables small-footprint applications.

Berkeley DB 4.2 features a new Java API based on Java Collections—a capability that enables developers to manage groupings of data to facilitate the fetching, storing and iteration of that data. By putting the Java API on top of the database, all those activities can be done in a mode where the data is recoverable and multiple users can tap into the data concurrently, according to Sleepycat officials, in Berkeley, Calif.

The company also streamlined replication in Version 4.2. Common failure causes have been identified, and the softwares reaction to those failures has been fine-tuned, officials said. One such failure mode is networking partitioning. Berkeley DB 4.2s response to such a failure is to send out fewer update messages to delinquent servers when they come back online. Fewer messages and the bundling of more information into those messages result in faster recovery and less network traffic.

One beta tester said he tested replication over TCP/IP on an UltraSPARC II 500MHz processor and achieved 2,400 transactions per second in replicated mode, which was much better than on other databases he evaluated. But the real draw is the ability to enable small- footprint applications, said Stephen Williams, director of Serving General Packet Radio Service Support Node product development at Telos Corp., in Vancouver, British Columbia. Telos builds boxes that are designed for network operators and that sit under cell antennas for wireless networks.

"Even though our systems are designed to handle many millions of calls per day, it is a key requirement that they scale down to run on a single processor ... board," Williams said.

"The Sleepycat product has a definite advantage over traditional storage technologies, such as Oracle [Corp.] and iPlanet LDAP, being able to scale down to a very small size both in footprint—i.e., computer resource usage—and cost," he said.

Sleepycats software will be available free or for a fee to ship a product without making the application source code freely available.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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