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Real-time DB system runs on Linux

Application development managers reviewing their options for real-time event processing are often taken aback by the cost of very fast processing, as well as the complexity of development.

Even as memory prices decline, they regularly have to ask end users: "How 'real-time' does this real-time application really have to be?"

TimesTen may have these issues in mind today as it rolls out Version 5.0 of its real-time event processing system. The product supports servers based on Intel's Itanium2 processor running the RedHat Linux operating system, a move that clearly could cut the cost of real-time implementations. To ease complexity, the system's Oracle Connect facility now supports transparent pass-through of SQL requests to Oracle databases.

TimesTen's system grew up from an HP Lab project that resulted in an ultra-fast in-memory database. Spun-off and incorporated in 1996, TimesTen began shipping product in 1998, and has found a niche in the telecomm and financial markets. It hopes to broaden its base as real-time processing gains interest beyond these two markets. To this end, the company adds elements that position its offering as more of an infrastructure play.

"We did not want to be known as a database company or as an in-memory database company," said Tim Shetler, VP, marketing at TimesTen.

Associating high cost with in-memory data is simplistic, he suggests. "Our message is about price/performance. We do better leveraging the fact that data is all in memory and, as a result, we use different indexes and [data] structures that shrink overhead. Instead of using 16 CPUs as with conventional data managers, we can do it on TimesTen with four CPUs," Shetler said.

Oracle DB support is further improved in Version 5.0 with system-managed cache groups. Moreover, a non-blocking data-lock model replaces a versioning model for the system. This leads to more even response time in real-time environments where tolerances are tight, Shetler said.

TimesTen's Shetler echoes industry sentiment that support for Intel and Linux is growing. "We are seeing a surge in Intel in the financial [server] space. And it is running Linux, not Windows," he added.

About the Author

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

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