ANTs Takes On TimesTen in Battle of the Super-Fast Databases

ANTs is staying nimble, releasing a version of its super-fast database that's now able to support applications written for TimesTen, a fast database bought up recently by Oracle and also ANTs' biggest competitor.

ANTs is staying nimble, releasing a version of its super-fast database thats now able to support applications written for TimesTen, a fast database bought up recently by Oracle and also ANTs biggest competitor.

ANTs Software Inc. on Monday released ANTs Data Server 3.2 at LinuxWorld in San Francisco. The TimesTen application support is the latest on a list of native application support that includes Oracle, SQL Server and Sybase.

The goal is not modest: ANTs is seeking to replace what it calls these "old-school" databases with its own lower-cost replacement.

ANTs executives claim that organizations can save between 60 to 90 percent on application ownership compared with other databases through reduced license, maintenance, support and administrative costs.

ANTs claims a five- to 15-times performance improvement across a wide variety of applications. It claims better performance than TimesTen thanks to the fact that it overflows to disk as needed, not being limited to database main memory, as is TimesTen, according to Ken Rutolo, chief financial officer and executive vice president.

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ANTs claims the TCO is 35 to 50 percent less than even that of open-source databases because its database can blast through five times the transactions and thus operate with one-fifth the resources. "So even though the license may cost $0, other factors come into play," Rutolo said. "Hardware, network administration, database administrators, developer time to work around bottlenecks in databases, application maintenance and so on."

Setting its hat on the open-source crowd, ANTs is also announcing support for 64-bit Linux platforms. ANTs claims to have the only lock-free relational database management system architected for implementations running on AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon platforms.

The embedded deployment mode that supports TimesTen applications is designed to help organizations to move applications without major rewrites and cost thats typically associated with migration.

According to Rutolo, native support for stored procedures and triggers, for example, means that between 80 to 85 percent of the code doesnt have to be rewritten when migrating.

The difference between TimesTen and ANTs is that TimesTen resides in main memory and gets its speed through latency savings. It sits in process with the application, very tightly coupled, so the roundtrip from application to database is very quick. It typically front-ends other databases such as Oracle.

The ANTs database is all about nonlocking technology. It was developed through supercomputing techniques where locking is avoided, allowing tremendous concurrency and the ability to process transactions in parallel in situations that have lots of users trying to get at the database, creating lots of contention.

ANTs can now be deployed in either traditional client/server mode over a network, on a separate database server and separate applications server; collocated on the same server box as the application; or embedded, which is how its typically deployed, sharing the same memory as the applications with which it resides.

Rutolo said that its an easy switch to slip between any of these modes. "If you employ in the embedded mode initially and database size outgrows main memory and you want to switch to client/server, you can do it with an easy code change on the ANTs Data Server," he said.

ANTs plans to support applications written for other databases in the coming months. Rutolo wouldnt say whether IBM DB2 is on the list, saying only that IBM customers looking to switch to another database are few and far between. Most of the customers interested in switching are coming off of Sybase, SQL Server or Oracle, he said.

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