Versant to Buy Object-Relational Mapping Tool

Its purchase of JDO Genie, a mapping product that also includes a set of design-time tools, will allow it to help enterprises cope with the flurry of standards being introduced into the data-access space, officials said.

Software maker Versant will acquire the JDO (Java Data Object) Genie product line and its customers from JDO Genie for a combination of less than $1 million in cash and restricted common stock, the company announced Monday at the JavaOne Conference in San Francisco.

The buy will give the Fremont, Calif., company a JDO tool that will be used as a basis for multiple data-access products that connect applications to both object and relational databases. JDO Genie is an object-relational mapping product that also includes a set of design-time tools.

Keiron McCammon, chief technology officer at Versant Corp., said the acquisition of technology from JDO Genie Ltd. is in large part motivated by a desire to help enterprises cope with the flurry of standards being introduced into the data-access space.

There are currently at least three standards: JDO, which has been approved; SDO (Service Data Objects), which is a proposed standard jointly developed by IBM and BEA Systems Inc.; and EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans), an as-yet-unfinished specification for creating Java-based enterprise applications.

"When you have multiple ways to tackle a problem, you always have confusion," McCammon said. "We want to give developers a way to comply with standards without being forced to choose a single standard.

"[JDO Genie] will be the basis of a consistent group of open-space data-access products. The key thing is the ability to support lots of underlying databases."

JDO Genie is compatible with relational databases including Oracle Corp. databases, Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server, IBM DB2 and MySQL ABs MySQL. JDO Genies data-access architecture also allows the data persistence engine to support thin clients, full Java clients and leading J2EE application servers.

The JDO Genie architecture also will allow the company to offer additional products with standards-based persistence for Java and .Net platforms that use a common infrastructure and a common developer tool base, McCammon said.

JDO Genie is a Java-based product that runs within applications through the use of APIs, McCammon said. It enables applications to connect to a database application such as, for example, an Oracle database, by changing configuration parameters rather than necessitating that a change be written to the application itself.

Versant has been on a bit of a buying spree. The company merged with Poet Holdings Inc. in a deal worth $26 million in October. The purpose of that marriage was for Versant to provide a line of object-oriented databases to power a broader range of applications than either company could accomplish on its own.

That merger in turn had come fast on the heels of Versant having picked up SolarMetric Inc.s JDO technology in September, which it has since plugged into its object database.

The new customers that Versant will pick up with the JDO Genie product acquisition include Baan Co., Symbian Ltd., Guidant Corp., Swisscom AG and LaSalle St. Securities LLC.


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