Lazy Database Gets Energized

Lazy Software is launching Version 2.0 of its flagship Sentences database, which uses an 'associative data' approach.

In the growing area of niche database vendors, Lazy Software Ltd., of Britains High Wycombe region, stands out for its enterprise roots--and enterprise future, if its founders have their way.

The 42-employee company will officially launch Version 2.0 of its flagship Sentences product in the United States Tuesday. Because of their "associative data" approach, Sentences databases can be leaner, faster and simpler to manage than a comparable database rooted in a relational or object-relational system, CEO and founder Simon Williams said.

The model uses only two or three data tables, where a typical relational database uses hundreds, Williams said. And it makes database application development more accessible to smaller companies, he added.

With 45 customers so far, "certainly we dont think were about to replace the traditional model of data," Williams told eWEEK. "The product is not just a database engine, its also a complete user interface and deployment environment. … Intellectually, I know Im not going to take down Oracle. Emotionally, [that is] what I get out of bed for."

Sentences can connect to a companys existing databases through comma-separated files, the Open Database Connectivity specifications and XML, he said. Version 3.0 of the product, due in October 2002, will focus on scalability; Version 4 will focus on business rules. Lazy Software also plans to partner with application service providers to offer Sentences in the hosted model, officials said.

"Hes clearly got a new approach, and new approaches to databases are getting relatively rare," said industry analyst Wayne Kernochan, of Aberdeen Group Inc., in Boston. "Youd have to be a theoretician to fully understand" Williams associative model, but "it should never do worse" than relational products, he said.

Meanwhile, "its always nice to have an alternative," he said. Like other companies products that are specifically built for embedded, mobile, Web server or high-speed needs, "there appear to be niches left in which you can succeed quite well," Kernochan said.

Sentences 2.0 costs $49,500 and is available now. The price includes training, consulting and unlimited user licenses.