3 Tiers of Database ?

I am currently working on a review of Java Studio Creator (its very nice but not a VB Killer by any means, rather .NET has forced VB to commit hari kari already). But the interesting thing I am discovering is that even with 512MB of memory both DB2 8.1 and Oracle 10g really saddle JSC-Java Studio Creator with performance problems of no small proportions.

The big guys are …. too big. In contrast, using Pointbase or MySQL – their JSC development and runtimes operate very crisply. And Sun has really made both database and Web Services trivially easy to do for querying and reporting (jury is still out on edits and updates).

But change that equation by swapping in the very same database tables and number of rows but use either DB2 or Oracle and response definitely takes a hit (even with 512MB of memory on a fast Pentium 4 at 2.8GHz). In development, the response is pretty good as users get a live update of how data grids will look and forms will be filled in. But switch over to runtime and the response time becomes both longer and much more widely varying by factors of 40% to 600%. Even trying DB2 Express the footprint is in excess of 400MB. Roughly ditto for Oracle 10g.

Okay – I admit I have not made any attempts to optimize the runtime size of the databases . But when I look in the Services dialog there appears to be not much available for me to switch off and on. And so I have to conclude that just like Java, databases – for better or for worse – are splitting into three tiers: a micro/lite edition corresponding to J2ME, a standard desktop/replicating engine edition like J2SE and a top of the line Enterprise edition with all the backup, clustering, parallel operation, caching/hotswapping, and backup/recovery sophistication required of large scale databases .

And it appears the “lite” database guys like Sybase, Sleepycat and perhaps the new Apache “Cloudscape” are best positioned to take advantage of the medium scale market – because they know best how to layoff unwanted/redudant routines and code. But the other problem in reaching the midscale market is human – there are not enough DBAs to go around to meet the deploy and manage need. In short there are huge number of mid tier databases waiting to be done – the replications, Web Services and ESB-Enterprise Service Buses with their replicating, ETL, and messaging engines are getting geared up – now who is going to supply the enabling software. ?

LAMPs MySQL is in the early lead with great price performance and cross platform reach. But the tools for MySQL, even with third party help, are very mixed. Its an open season on the mid-level, mid-size database. And interestingly, perhaps the BMCs, Borlands, CAs, Embarcaderos and other database toolkit vendors with vision for extending DBA tools into the query, report, ETL-launch as well as admin worlds could harvest a market advantage. Premium Softwares Navicat for MySQL, at $100 per seat, is one template. We certainly hope to see more as databases 3 tiers fill out.