Database maker ANTs Software on Dec. 19 introduced a new version of its flagship data server with a speedy new data loader that the company claims is 400 times faster than previous versions.
The ANTs Data Server 3.60 is a full-featured, standards-compliant relational database management system based on a high-performance SQL query execution engine that typically can be deployed on fewer, lower-cost servers.
The company positions the data server as the “alternative” to proprietary systems made by Oracle, SAP and others, since it can reduce hardware, software and system administration overhead by “as much as 60 to 90 percent,” CEO Joe Kozak told eWEEK.
Through its compatibility with Oracle, Sybase and SQL Server databases—and its embedded deployment mode that supports Oracle-TimesTen applications—the ANTs Data Server allows applications to be moved without the major rewrites and cost usually associated with application migration, Kozak said.
The new high-speed data loader in ADS 3.60 reduces the time required to load large databases or input large amounts of data from applications, Kozak said.
Due to its ability to load hundreds of thousands of records per second, ADS 3.60 improves support for high-volume, real-time transactional applications found in industries such as financial services and telecommunications, he said.
The new version of the data server augments its database compatibility with new features, including support for the OCI (Oracle Call Interface), a set of low-level APIs used to interact with Oracle databases, as well as extensions for Sybase and Informix, a company spokesperson said.
In addition to its support for the OCI, ADS 3.60 now implements Oracle Packages, enabling developers to group procedures and functions into common groups typically based upon their functionality.
Along with its support for real-time Linux and Windows x64 operating systems, ADS 3.60 now provides support for Windows SFU (Services for Unix).
New QOS (quality of service) capabilities enable users and queries to the database to be prioritized, allowing higher priorities to be assigned to those with more critical needs.
Support for real-time Linux provides an application platform capable of delivering consistent response times.
Systems management is enhanced with the new Information Schema, which records comprehensive statistics about internal operations and performance characteristics, offering options for performance tuning and optimizing configurations.
The data contained in the Information Schema is made more accessible through new support for Oracle system management tables, or V$ views, making it easy for Oracle database administrators to get the information they need from the ANTs Data Server using the same kind of tables and table names as they would with Oracle.
ADS 3.60 now delivers a wealth of query optimization and admin tables, providing DBAs with detailed demographics for the data to aid in performance tuning. Enhanced event log tracking information aids in tracking down problems, the spokesperson said.
A challenging marketplace
Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna told eWEEK that ANTS, while it has a solid, respected product, faces a challenging market, since it is one of about two dozen other alternative DB companies fighting against the three biggest competitors—Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM. Those three own 87 percent of the market.
“There are a lot of potential customers looking for database alternatives, but still desiring reliability, scalability and performance that the big companies offer,” Yuhanna said.
“Because companies like ANTS havent been around that long—theyve only been making databases for about two years—customers are going to want to know if itll still be around in five years.”
Even though the TCO benefits of an open-source database are well known, Yuhanna said, companies also are hesitant to have to retrain their administrators on a new system.
“ANTS does have some challenges to overcome,” Yuhanna said. “But theres a lot of pressure being put on the big companies by ANTS, MySQL, Ingres, and others at this time. Both Oracle and Microsoft are now giving away express versions of their DBs; theyre also downloadable.”
International confectioner on the migration path
ANTS, a 50-employee, publicly traded company based in Burlingame, Calif., is beginning to get some traction around the world. U.K.-based Cadbury Schweppes began the process of migrating its applications to the ANTs Data Server earlier this year.
Cadbury Schweppes, the worlds largest confectionery company, has a strong regional presence in beverages in the Americas and Australia.
With origins stretching back more than 200 years, today its products—brands such as Cadbury, Schweppes, Halls, Trident, Dr Pepper, Snapple, A&W Root Beer, Dentyne, Canada Dry and 7 Up—are marketed in nearly every country around the world.
With 2005 revenues of $12 billion, Cadbury Schweppes is the equivalent of a U.S. Fortune 200 company.
“Our data centers are scattered around the world, and some aspects were getting a bit out of control, so we knew we had to do some consolidation,” Robert Peterson, senior vice president for Global IT Solutions at Cadbury Schweppes, told eWEEK.
Cadbury started with a small ANTS implementation at a single U.S. data center, and the results were so impressive that the company is planning to increase the migration to others, Peterson said.
“We significantly cut our database license and maintenance TCO compared to traditional databases [in that pilot project],” Peterson said.
Not only does ANTs manage the migration process, but applications can be migrated with minimal disruption to operations, while providing the features and performance required by todays enterprises, Peterson said.
“This initial data conversion and application migration project went extremely well, and we are particularly impressed with the compatibility and performance. Now, we are exploring the best route for deploying this across our North American operations,” Peterson said.
Migration enables organizations to consolidate the number and types of databases they currently operate and maintain while simplifying their IT environment, Kozak said. This also means that organizations will require less hardware and less-expensive software than they currently deploy.
Because of the ANTs Data Servers compatibility with leading databases, minimal training is required to get DBAs up and running, Kozak added.
Availability and pricing
Editors note: This story was updated to clarify the fact that the ANTs Data Server is not an open-source product.