.orgs New Database Capabilities"> The new database capability is important, OGrady said, as there are many customers who have made substantial investments in the form of Access databases. "I was talking to an open-source database provider who was working with a customer who had 2,100 Access databases to run their business, which was in financial services, mortgages, that area," he said."Put it this way: Its the kind of thing where thats one case, but there are lots of cases out there where there are small businesses Ive dealt with or worked at where they have a simple thing, like their customer contact list, in Access, with front-end forms and so on."Both large and small businesses have investments in Access as a database. From that standpoint, the capabilities in previous versions of OpenOffice.org just didnt cut it, OGrady said. "They couldnt help businesses make the transition," he said. In the new stand-alone database, users can create and edit forms, reports, queries, tables, views and relations. The forms, reports and queries are stored in a single file format, allowing users to handle their databases in the same way they would handle other popular databases. Users can employ either their own database or Bases own, built-in HSQL database engine. Base offers a choice of using Wizards, Design Views or SQL Views for beginners, intermediate and advanced users. The full version of the HSQL database engine included in Base stores data in XML files. It can also access dBASE files natively for simple database work. For more advanced requirements, Base supports Adabas D, ADO, Microsoft Access and MySQL databases database natively. It supports any database through industry-standard ODBC and JDBC drivers. It also supports any LDAP-compliant address book, as well as common formats such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Windows and Mozilla. How robust is Base? It depends on what youre used to using, OGrady said. HSQL databases are not high-end databases, and are more appropriate for storing moderate amounts of information. The capability of connecting to other databases through ODBC/JDBC opens up new possibilities that will be interesting to watch unfold, OGrady said. "MySQL may not be Oracle or DB2 in terms of ability to scale, but its used in some high-volume production settings," he said. "The cool thing is it makes people entirely able to migrate to a free system without losing any data," Suarez-Potts said. "Theyll be able to sustain the endeavor a little more. And if they dont like the database, OpenOffice.org hooks in very easily with a whole bunch of other databases." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.