In-Depth

ADT's Programmers Report: DataPower sets eyes on era of XML acceleration

Start-up DataPower Technology, Cambridge, Mass., is among a handful of hardware start-ups that foresee bottlenecks in XML processing as use of the tag language technology grows in middle-tier computing. A solution to the bottleneck, suggest representatives at DataPower and other firms, is to use intelligent router technology to identify, classify, disassemble and assemble XML messages as they bop around the enterprise and over the Internet.

'Our goal is to speed up and help manage XML transactions. We have the ability to look into XML data streams to offload XSLT [processing] and implement intelligent load balancing,' said Eugene Kuznetsov, CTO and founder of DataPower, who, in an April interview, indicated the company was still a bit in 'semi-stealth' mode.

If verbose XML is a potential CPU hog, should businesses avoid it? No, said Kuznetsov. 'The business benefits of this interchange format outweigh its performance drawbacks,' he explained, but it is slow vs. a compact binary format.

'Instead, we say use it, but you may have to accelerate it,' added Kuznetsov, whose router technology conceptually echoes intelligent router types that have come to inhabit the router rooms of corporations in recent years. XML acceleration is the next level of intelligence in the network infrastructure, he claims.

He further notes that processing acceleration may become an issue even for people who stay in the XML domain, without recourse to relational mapping.

'If people are staying in XML, that doesn't mean they don't have to transform between different XML vocabularies,' commented Kuznetsov.

What is Kuznetsov's take on the influx of native XML data storage solutions?

'I think the ultimate question to answer there, personally, is 'Will it be like the object-oriented database [influx]?' Will the RDB vendors subsume that? Or will a new kind of database arise?' he replied by way of questions.

'I don't think it is clear, but the history does not bode well for native XML storage,' Kuznetsov said, although he added that 'it makes a lot of sense to query XML natively.'

XML-aware networking will emerge as a subset of content networking, according to the DataPower CTO.

Said Kuznetsov: 'What you will see is projects that consist of Java application servers, Web servers, some infrastructure, including XML accelerators, and over the long run, XML load balancing, routing and security.'

For more information, read the related article 'What's in store for XML storage?'

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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