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eXtremeDB 4.1 supports custom collation

Posted: 25 May 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded database system  storage  firmware 

McObject rolls out the upgraded version of its real-time embedded database system, the eXtremeDB 4.1 that includes support for custom collations, faster on-disk storage and retrieval, CRC and RC4 encryption, CRC-checking on backup, and improved transaction logging.

eXtremeDB 4.1 supports custom collation by adding "hooks" that enable developers to provide a desired character sorting sequence (collation) for data stored as text, including text in a particular language or combination of languages. This feature serves developers creating products with search and other text-processing functions for a global marketplace.

Binary schema evolution enables eXtremeDB to save a database as a binary image and then restore it with a changed schema, or layout of tables, fields, indexes and other elements. For example, a financial trading application could be more easily enhanced to accommodate a new type of futures contract or other investment; an older portable media player design that does not display "album art" could be updated with firmware that supports that capability. With this new feature, database design changes are accomplished more quickly, using less memory and storage, than with the previous (and still available) eXtremeDB approach to schema evolution using XML import/export.

Faster on-disc storage and retrieval improves the Disk Manager process that manages interaction with persistent media (hard disk, flash, etc.) in eXtremeDB Fusion, McObject's hybrid in-memory/on-disc embedded database. Improvements include enhanced locality of reference (related objects are stored closer to one another); improved ability to keep entire objects on the same page; reduced file fragmentation; and better statistical information, which is important for SQL optimisation.

The updated Disc Manager especially benefits the software development markets served by eXtremeDB. For applications that use persistent storage, performance is improved transparently, without code changes or explicit developer action, with further improvement possible through minor application code changes. Examples range from flash-based embedded multimedia devices that must respond to the user's command by instantly finding and loading content, to large-scale analytics applications that must sift through millions of objects kept in RAID storage.

CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) encryption detects tampering and RC4 (Rivest Cipher 4) encryption secures the database from intruders. CRC on the database page level detects whether unauthorised modification to stored data has occurred, while RC4 encryption employs a user-provided cipher to prevent access or tampering. Page-level CRC can also be used in devices such as portable audio players to ensure digital rights management code has not been circumvented.

CRC-checking on backup adds reliability in the backup/restore feature of eXtremeDB in-memory databases. CRC executes automatically when a file is loaded to ensure the databases has not been corrupted, and when it is saved, to verify that the file has been written in its entirety.

Improved transaction logging adds the ability to restore a database from transactions logged up to a specific date/time or according to an application-defined bookmark. In the case of an accidental mass deletion or change, this gives eXtremeDB the ability to restore to the last backup, and then replay transactions up to, but not including, the error.

eXtremeDB 4.1 eliminates the need for users to develop custom data management code, or to shoehorn a DBMS designed for slower business applications into a real-time system. This results in reduced development and support costs and faster applications. For manufacturers, eXtremeDB's frugal appetite for memory and CPU cycles lowers hardware costs, resulting in savings that drop to the bottom line, or can be used to reduce end-user price and gain market share. eXtremeDB 4.1 offers multiple features—from a type-safe programming interface to optional High Availability and 64bit editions—to build in reliability, durability and data integrity.

The newly-added encryption and additional new security features target applications ranging from large-scale defence and intelligence systems to digital rights management (DRM) in multimedia devices. Improvements in how eXtremeDB organises data on disc and flash media will accelerate processing of very large databases, which is critical in many enterprise applications.

- Toni McConnel

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