Sleepycat Boosts Database

XML support added to open-source Berkeley DB.

Sleepycat Software Inc. last week tossed its open-source database into the XML ring with the release of code for Berkeley DB XML, a native XML database thats built on top of its open-source embedded database, Berkeley DB.

Berkeley DB XML offers a single data repository for storage and retrieval of native XML and non-XML data, avoiding the XML conversion overhead that occurs with relational databases that have been retrofit with XML adapters, officials said.

The database supports XPath 1.0, a World Wide Web Consortium standard language for addressing parts of an XML document. It offers flexible indexing, giving application developers the ability to control query performance and tune data retrieval.

Sleepycat snuggles up to XML

Features of the Berkeley DB XML native XML database

Feature

Benefit

Support for XPath 1.0

Supports W3C language for addressing parts of XML documents

Flexible indexing

Application developers gain control over query performance and gain ability to tune retrieval

Berkeley DB engine

Concurrent access; transactional capability; scalability up to 256 terabytes for the database, up to 4GB for keys and values

C++ and Java APIs

Supports major programming languages

Inclusion of source code

Developers can view and customize code

Having Berkeley DB as the base engine for the XML offering means that the new product will inherit advanced database features such as concurrent access, transactions, recovery and replication, officials said. It will scale up to 256 terabytes for the database and up to 4GB for individual keys and values.

Wayne Kernochan, an analyst at Aberdeen Group, in Boston, said XML is picking up strength in the enterprise because it fuels Web services and EAI (enterprise application integration).

"Where I see XML and in particular XML databases as beginning to get attention is with the whole idea of EAI," Kernochan said. "For that, XML makes sense, given [how it handles] disparate data sources."

The release of the open source code heralds the end of a 12-month beta program that comprised some 5,000 companies, many of them huge names such as 3M Co., Amazon.com Inc., BEA Systems Inc., Lucent Technologies Inc.s Bell Labs, The Boeing Co., Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM and NEC America Inc. Those big names are testimony to the traction XML is gaining in the enterprise, said Sleepycat officials, in Lincoln, Mass.

Sleepycats software is sold using a typical open-source scheme: free to download and use or fee-based to ship a product whose source code is withheld. The company has 200 paying customers, according to officials.

Unlimited replication rights for Berkeley DB sell for $250,000. Sleepycat writes proprietarylike licenses for companies that prefer to keep their codes to themselves, with average selling prices of $150,000 for the transactional engine, officials said. Berkeley DB XML will be priced at $15,000 per server, with the same free-or-fee terms.