DataDirect bows XML transformer

With XML emerging as a dominant technology for sharing information in Web-based applications, IT organizations often need to transform data from their relational databases to XML and back again. Unfortunately, when it comes to updating XML across multiple enterprise data sources, IT groups face integration issues because major database providers may have proprietary XML extensions.

Data access software provider DataDirect Technologies has come up with what it claims is an especially efficient way of transforming data between relational and XML formats. A software component called jXTransformer allows developers to create XML data from any relational database (or update any RDBMS with XML input). They can write XML code once, and have that work across multiple relational databases.

Companies other than DataDirect are also trying to solve this problem. Native XML database players like eXcelon Corp., Software AG and Hit Software are working on the problem by expressing XML content directly in the database itself. 'The products have similar capabilities,' said Paul Hessinger, chief marketing officer at DataDirect. 'But while the others are providing a permanent, persistent storage place for XML documents, we are transforming and using the relational data store as a permanent storage place for XML data.'

DataDirect is betting that enterprises want a single database to hold both XML documents and structured data. Hessinger likens the situation to the advent of object-oriented DBMSs, which fared poorly compared to established relational stores. 'Organizations didn't want a situation where [they] had some of [their] data over here and some over there,' he noted.

The company is making one other supposition. If RDBMS makers IBM, Microsoft and Oracle agree on a consistent approach to XML implementation, that would throw a big monkey wrench in DataDirect's plans. But the likelihood of that happening 'is not all that great,' claims Hessinger. 'With the broad market penetration these companies have, it's not very much in their interest to come up with a standards approach.'

Hessinger said the simplest pricing model for jXTransformer would cost about $5,000, and would include a single CPU license for $2,500 as well as an additional $2,500 per database for a DataDirect Connect for JDBC driver. The technology will also be OEMed to other software vendors, he said.


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