Enhancing Performance

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-06-21 Print this article Print

What do you think of Berkeley DB Java Editions performance capabilities? It uses NIO [new input/output], which should have a considerable effect on performance due to the way memory is accessed. The NIO packages are new APIs that allow Java to have the power of C where IO is concerned. These APIs are new in the 1.4 JDK and make Java-based servers much more effective. Furthermore, a binding API makes mapping objects to records very intuitive while avoiding the overheads in serialization. Other implementations often leave this up to users, who often use serialization and wind up paying for it with a massive performance hit.
For more on binding APIs, check out Microsofts Microsoft Developer Network site.
What were you using to manipulate B-tree databases before this pure-Java play? Ive hand-rolled a couple of databases I had in an RDBMS [relational DBMS]. Some were to just play with; others I knew the schema would not change and so decided that they could be optimized using nonrelational B-tree-based storage. Some databases, like those used for LDAP servers, are unique. LDAPd, which I wrote years ago, used Berkeley DB C edition and its JNI [Java Native Interface]. It was way slower than using the C version directly due to copy overheads in JNI. So, I kind of gave up on it. Then, when JE appeared, I started planning an overhaul using JE instead. Im still at the planning phase and intend to retrofit the Eve Directory Server [LDAPd 2] with JE. In this case, the speed advantage, ironically, comes from not going through JNI. Next page: Why Berkeley DB wont compete with the big databases.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com 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 eWEEK.com, 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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