Sleepycat Software is rolling out an update of its Berkeley DB open-source embedded database thats geared to serve as a sturdy base for Berkeley DB XML, the companys first native XML data store.
Both Berkeley DB 4.2 and the general-availability release of Berkeley DB XML will be out in June, said officials of the Lincoln, Mass., company. The XML product was released to alpha late last year and has been in beta with about 400 people for the past two months.
Berkeley DB 4.2 rolls up recent bug and scalability fixes and also provides better performance on multiprocessor boxes, officials said. The software features a new collections-based Java API. It also includes documentation and support for a smaller compiled version of the products library, for use in constricted deployments such as cell phones.
Indeed, cell phones and set-top boxes are two typical settings for Sleepycats database, since they dont need to support SQL querying—a back-and-forth process thats a significant processing drain. Berkeley DB, being SQL-free, conducts transactions without that burden of relational processing.
Customers using the SQL-less database are those that need speed, reliability and scalability, not the ability to query data. Such customers include Cisco Systems Inc., which uses the database in devices and software that keep track of network state, and EMC Corp., which uses the database to keep track of user files in its storage technology.
For one user, licensing costs were the deciding factor in opting for Berkeley DB XML. Telos is a company that builds boxes for network operators—such as AT&T Corp. and Cingular Wireless—that sit under cell antennas for wireless networks. The company is beta testing Berkeley DB XML to gauge its ability to manage data in boxes that support up to 10,000 cell phone users.
Previously, Telos had used Sun Microsystem Inc.s LDAP server product. But because Sun prices per user account rather than per server, as does Sleepycat, the cost of deployment was too steep, according to Stephen Williams, director of SGSN (Serving GPRS [General Packet Radio Service] Support Node) product development, in Vancouver.
“[Berkeley DB XML] is going to save us a lot of money,” Williams said. “Many products are big iron and carry a big-iron price tag with them. The Oracle [Corp.] or any other [relational database management system] can cost many thousands of dollars, depending on the number of seats or users. The iPlanet product [from Sun], the best pricing we can get is 50 cents per [supported cell phone user]. We just know Berkeley DB XML product will be lower.”
Williams estimated that Sleepycats software would save Telos thousands of dollars per deployment of its SGSN product, which is a product that handles packet data to mobile phones.
Sleepycats software is a typical open-source scheme: either free to download and use or for a fee to ship a product without making the application source code freely available. The company has about 200 million licensed users, of which about 200 are paying customers, officials said.
Unlimited replication rights for Berkeley DB sell for $300,000. Sleepycat writes proprietary-like licenses for those companies that prefer to keep their codes to themselves, with average selling prices of $150,000 for the transactional engine, officials said. Berkeley DB XML will be priced at $15,000 per server, with the same free-or-fee terms.