Open-Source Engine Gets Java Jolt

Sleepycat Software Inc. in October will release a version of its open-source embedded database engine that's a good fit for Java developers.

Sleepycat Software Inc. in October will release a version of its open-source embedded database engine thats a good fit for Java developers, does a better job at replication and enables small-footprint applications.

Berkeley DB 4.2 features a new Java API based on Java Collections—a capability that enables developers to manage groupings of data to facilitate the fetching, storing and iteration of that data. By putting the Java API on top of the database, all those activities can be done in a mode where the data is recoverable and multiple users can tap into the data concurrently, according to Sleepycat officials, in Berkeley, Calif.

The company also streamlined replication in Version 4.2. Common failure causes have been identified, and the softwares reaction to those failures has been fine-tuned, officials said. One such failure mode is networking partitioning. Berkeley DB 4.2s response to such a failure is to send out fewer update messages to delinquent servers when they come back online. Fewer messages and the bundling of more information into those messages result in faster recovery and less network traffic.

One beta tester said he tested replication over TCP/IP on an UltraSPARC II 500MHz processor and achieved 2,400 transactions per second in replicated mode, which was much better than on other databases he evaluated. But the real draw is the ability to enable small- footprint applications, said Stephen Williams, director of Serving General Packet Radio Service Support Node product development at Telos Corp., in Vancouver, British Columbia. Telos builds boxes that are designed for network operators and that sit under cell antennas for wireless networks.

"Even though our systems are designed to handle many millions of calls per day, it is a key requirement that they scale down to run on a single processor ... board," Williams said.

"The Sleepycat product has a definite advantage over traditional storage technologies, such as Oracle [Corp.] and iPlanet LDAP, being able to scale down to a very small size both in footprint—i.e., computer resource usage—and cost," he said.

Sleepycats software will be available free or for a fee to ship a product without making the application source code freely available.