Embedded Databases Reveal Gems - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Feature
News
10/3/2002
01:26 PM
50%
50%

Embedded Databases Reveal Gems

Built-in databases are easy to use, cost-effective, and require little or no administration

Boating supplies retailer West Marine Inc. deployed a new point-of-sale system throughout its 250 stores in July. Buried in the software running on each store's server, and invisible to employees, is an embedded database handling a variety of pricing and inventory-management chores. Why an embedded database? "Total cost of ownership. And we don't have a database administrator in every store," says Wayne Freeman, retail systems applications manager.

The term "embedded database" covers a broad range of implementations. Some are built into devices ranging from industrial controllers and cable-television set-top boxes to medical-imaging systems and the flight controls of the Boeing 777. Others are used in the rapidly growing number of mobile phones, PDAs, and other portable consumer devices that rely on built-in databases as small as 50 Kbytes. Still others are used by corporate developers and independent software vendors, who build them into applications, making the databases invisible to users.

Embedded databases are particularly prevalent in accounting software, retail applications such as West Marine's, and applications for the health-care industry.

PixelPoint Technologies Inc., for example, develops point-of-sale applications for restaurants that have Sybase Inc.'s SQL Anywhere database built into them.


Wayne Freeman

West Marine chose an embedded system to meet performance, Freeman says.
The database has to be reliable and easy to use, because PixelPoint's resellers sell cash registers, not complex applications, CEO Lino D'Angicco says. "If we had to tell our resellers that they have to have a database administrator on-site, well, that's cost-prohibitive," he says. PixelPoint's software is designed to be self-configuring.

The automated, self-configuring capabilities in Pervasive Software Inc.'s database software is a key reason West Marine used it to replace the database that came with the Win/DSS point-of-sale system from JDA Software Group Inc. that runs the retailer's 1,400 cash registers and workstations. Also key was scalability: The system tracks the stores' 160,000 inventory items and 500,000 price records. "We desperately needed performance," Freeman says.

Despite their obvious benefit and almost ubiquitous nature, sales of database software for embedded applications have slumped badly during the recession--people aren't buying as many refrigerators, vending machines, industrial controllers, networking devices, airplanes, and medical-imaging systems, and so they're not buying as many embedded databases.

Sales of the software dropped from $416.9 million in 2000 to $349.7 million last year and are expected to sink further to $314.1 million this year, according to market researcher Gartner Dataquest. Sales are expected to stay flat next year before starting to grow again in 2004.

What's more, large packaged applications with embedded databases seem to be losing some of their popularity, while vertical-market and workgroup applications with embedded databases are becoming more prevalent, Aberdeen Group analyst Wayne Kernochan says.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 3
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
News
IBM Puts Red Hat OpenShift to Work on Sports Data at US Open
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  8/30/2019
Slideshows
IT Careers: 10 Places to Look for Great Developers
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/4/2019
Commentary
Cloud 2.0: A New Era for Public Cloud
Crystal Bedell, Technology Writer,  9/1/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Data Science and AI in the Fast Lane
This IT Trend Report will help you gain insight into how quickly and dramatically data science is influencing how enterprises are managed and where they will derive business success. Read the report today!
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll