August 31, 2004

IBM backs up Cloudscape/Derby database with new support

Author: Chris Preimesberger

IBM is busy trying to build yet another new developer community -- one to coalesce around its low-end, Java-based Cloudscape relational database and its open source clone, Derby.

To do this, Big Blue is offering new free resources on its developerWorks Web site, including sample code, how-to articles, technical advice, and a free downloadable version of the Cloudscape/Derby code.

Cloudscape and Derby are Java-based, production-quality, fully-transactional relational databases with 2MB footprints. They are fully embeddable and require zero database administration support, IBM spokeswoman Kathy Mandelstein said. "There are not a lot of Java-based apps in this space, so that's why we're focusing so much on this," Mandelstein said.

IBM acquired Cloudscape in its purchase of Informix five years ago. All 500,000-plus lines of the Derby code are currently being vetted by the Apache Software Foundation during the next several months.

At LinuxWorld last month, IBM announced that it was contributing Derby to the ASF. The reason for this, of course, is not solely philanthropic; it is a strategic factor in a major corporate effort to channel more attention from the Java development community on the low- to mid-range database genre, which IBM and other companies have been targeting for a couple of years. IBM, certainly, is counting on this move to lead to increased interest/sales in the lower end of its WebSphere server line.

Cloudscape was never a big seller in the enterprise market when it belonged to Informix. IBM was faced with either releasing it to the open source community or possibly dropping it entirely from its catalog.

Cloudscape/Derby is targeted for a 30 percent slice of the market which does not require an enterprise-class DB. "We're expecting this to go strictly to small and medium-size organizations," an IBM spokesman said.

The source code for Derby is now available on the Apache Incubator project Web site.

The decision to release the Cloudscape code has already generated a fair amount of interest. "In just three weeks (since LinuxWorld), there have been more than 5,000 downloads of Cloudscape binary code," Mandelstein said.

"One of the big things we're getting started is a discussion forum," Mandelstein said. "We're also offering online demos, a live Webcast in which participants can ask questions, and individual tutorials."

Developers interested in Derby can visit the Apache site. Those who want to use the code for development purposes can continue to visit developerWorks and download Cloudscape. In addition, developer resources about Cloudscape and additional code will be offered on this site.

The latest roster of resources includes:

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