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11/11/2009
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Oracle Updates Berkeley Database

Oracle has brought out a fourth version of the Berkeley DB Java Edition database system with enhanced performance and replication.

Oracle has brought out a fourth version of the Berkeley DB Java Edition database system with enhanced performance and replication. It is aimed at Java applications which need an embedded database for automated data collection and handling without human administration.

It features enhanced performance and data replication capabilities, said Rex Wang, Oracle VP of product marketing and former marketing manager for Sleepycat. The Java edition now supports automatic system fail over, load balancing of read operations, and scalability across multiple systems, he said.

The system is different from a centralized, stand-alone relational database system, such as Oracle's 11g, Wang said in an interview. Relational systems are set up and administered by database administrators.

Developers, independent software vendors and original equipment manufacturers build in Berkeley DB "where you wouldn't want to embed a DBA," said Wang in an interview. In other words, it's used in software applications and hardware products where the database must operate without human intervention. The 4.0 edition provides replication in the form of a single master copy of data and the ability to replicate it to multiple locations. It can supply both synchronous and asynchronous replication, the latter occurring when a system might not be immediately available for update on the first try, said David Segleau, director of product management and former director of engineering at Sleepycat.

The Java edition has improved performance in concurrent transaction execution. It also contains improved monitoring capabilities of database operations, through support for the jconsole standard Java utility. It can be used to view and graph database statistics and integrate Berkeley DB statistics with third party monitoring tools, Segleau said.

The Java edition is available free under a Berkeley DB license, similar to the GPL, or under a commercially license for $1,800 per processor, with first year technical support an additional $396.

"Oracle is continuing to make investments in additions to the Berkeley DB product family" and continues to preserve availabilty of Berkeley DB in an open source version, said Wang, with perhaps one eye on the European Commission, which has objected to Oracle's acquisition of the MySQL open source database system as part of Sun.

Berkeley DB is an open source system originally produced by Sleepycat Software, which was acquired by Oracle in February 2006. Three separate editions of Berkeley DB now exist. The original Berkeley DB written in C and C++ is still available as Berkeley DB 4.8. The C and C++ edition with a library that parses XML, the Berkeley DB XML 2.5 is another edition. And Berkeley DB rewritten entirely in Java is the third.

Berkeley DB is not a relational system but a key value data base system in its standard and Java editions or an XML data and document system in its XML version, Wang said.

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