Startup City: DB4Objects Takes A Run At The Object Database Market
The success of its open source, embedded database will depend on high volume deployments.
Nearly a dozen commercial software companies--including CA, Objectivity, Ontos, Poet, Progress Software, and Versant--offered object-oriented databases in the 1990s, with little success. DB4Objects is making another run at this market. What's changed? Object-oriented languages and open source development have taken root.
-- John Foley
- Comparison of Avaya and ShoreTel Unified Communication Solutions
- Don't Get Stuck on Your Virtualization Journey: Where to Focus Next
- Strategy: Building and Enforcing an Endpoint Security Strategy
- 10 Emerging Threats Your Company May Not Know About
PRODUCT: DB4O, an open source object-oriented database
PRINCIPALS: Christof Wittig, president and CEO; Carl Rosenberger, chief software architect; Anne Dorman, CFO; Anat Gafni, VP engineering; Nik Wekwerth, VP of marketing and sales
INVESTORS: Mark Leslie, Vinod Khosla, Jerry Fiddler, Asset Management
CUSTOMERS: BMW, Boeing, Bosch, Intel, Ricoh, Seagate
President and CEO Christof Wittig stresses simplicity
DB4O is aimed at Java and .Net developers who need a database that can be built into devices and applications. It's used in Clarity Medical Systems' retinal imaging system, for example. Wittig puts the object database market at $50 million; it could reach $1 billion over the next three or four years, he says, driven by adoption of embedded databases in mobile devices and cars.
For developers, the benefit of an object database is simplicity. "One line of code" is all it takes to store an object, according to DB4Objects. That translates into shorter development times and lower costs. For customers, DB4O requires "zero administration" as an embedded database. Flexibility and a small footprint are added benefits: DB4O supports Java and .Net natively and takes up only 600 Kbytes of memory.
Licensing costs can be as low as $1 per database, depending on the application. Revenue comes from volume. Ricoh, for example, plans to use DB4O in its photocopiers.
Rosenberger is DB40's original developer. CEO Wittig was founder and CEO of Apsis Software, a German company specializing in project cost management software, which merged with Conject in 2002. The heavy lifting on DB40 is done by 88 developers around the world, about a quarter of whom are paid by the company. Investors Leslie (founding CEO of Veritas), Khosla (founding CEO of Sun), and Fiddler (founding CEO of Wind River) bring software industry cred to DB4O.