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ObjectStore, now in Progress camp, moving on RFID and other fronts

Object-oriented database maker ObjectStore is back on the scene after a bit of a hiatus. Now, as a division of Progress Software, ObjectStore is rolling out ObjectStore 6.1 with JDO handling, ObjectCache 2.0 with data source synchronization (DSS), and a variety of initiatives clustered around the idea of the real-time enterprise that is exemplified by new RFID integration efforts.

In the 1990s, ObjectStore was foremost among a handful of OODB vendors, but predictions that OODBs would displace the relational variety proved to be faulty. With the advent of XML, ObjectStore was eclipsed by a sister company, Echelon. When the two were purchased by Progress Software in 2002, more attention was heaped on eXcelon, which was used to enrich the technology coffer of Progress company Sonic Software.

A first impression was that new parent Progress would reap ObjectStore maintenance revenues and hand over the OODB technology to Sonic. But Progress assessed work at some ongoing ObjectStore customer engagements, and decided the company could move forward on at least a couple of fronts, said Mark Palmer, ObjectStore's director of marketing.

The fundamental story now is to enhance, not replace, relational DB technology, said Palmer. In complex distributed applications that require speed, the new ObjectCache and other ObjectStore offerings have a chance to play, he indicated.

"ObjectCache is used in a complementary architecture to relational systems," said Palmer. "It is used to cache relational data. Often people with Web transaction systems find they need a fast cache in the middle. Their focus is on speed," he explained.

This approach must compete against app server caching methods, various utility setups and fast in-memory databases.

Enhancements in synchronization, suggested Palmer, give ObjectCache a better play here. "You do a declarative map of relational data to objects and the DSS runtime populates the object cache," he noted. In effect, you obtain an object model. Meanwhile, the queries are processed on the client rather than on the server.

This and other ObjectStore technology is beginning to be applied to RFID integration problems said Palmer. The whole RFID movement, he said, could lead to new system architectures based around what others have described as complex event processing.

About the Author

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

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