Versant moves into embedded with DB4O acquisition
December 12, 2008 —
Looking to pick up a product with a healthy community, Versant Corp. officially acquired DB4O, an open-source developer of Java and .NET object databases. The technologies created by DB4O are quite similar to those employed by Versant, and DB4O's smaller memory footprint will place it in the previously vacant embedded slot in Versant's line up.
The acquisition was completed on Dec. 1.
Robert Charles Greene, vice president of product strategy at Versant, said that DB4O is complimentary to the product lines he already manages. He said that DB4O has succeeded in gathering a following, but not so much in creating a revenue model.
“As an object database, it's very similar to the technology we have with our own company offerings,” said Greene. “We saw the value in supporting that community. They've struggled a bit with finding a revenue model that fits well, and yet they brought incredible visibility.”
Greene said that object databases offer time savings to developers because they can unify the models used for in-memory storage and long-term disk-based storage of information. “A great deal of the code developers normally have to write is to overcome the differences in the way things are managed in the memory space versus the storage space. [Using our object databases], 40% of your code goes away because your memory model becomes your database model,” said Greene.
Perhaps the biggest change for Versant from its acquisition of DB4O will be the expansion of the Versant product line to include an embedded database. Greene said that DB4O's biggest advantage is its small memory footprint, making the database viable for much smaller applications than Versant's existing products could fit.
“On the Versant side,” said Greene, “we tend to deal with very large amounts of data, which is distributed. With DB4O, you can create a virtual database instance that can run on multiple standalone machines, but from an application perspective it looks like one machine. The latest release has a whole new set of scalable selection classes. We'll be moving in a direction where you can add and get increased scale. We don't see it being able to handle terabytes of data in the future, but certainly we'd like to see it be a more competent solution into the 10GB range.”
But there are other changes that will come to Versant as a result of the DB4O acquisition. “One of the things that's a bit different is the query facilities. There's a different syntactical approach to query. The DB4O technology has a link type of interface for query, which is a common query interface for the Microsoft world. We have that on our .NET solutions, but we don't have that on the Java side,” said Greene
He added that this acquisition should allow Versant to expand link type queries to its Java products as well.
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