A new type of database middleware that links disparate databases across an enterprise will debut in May.
The tool, developed by Cohera, provides a unified view of data in realtime, without needing to know its location or structure.
The technology is a second generation federated database server designed to overcome the limitations of existing federated and distributed database products. Cohera provides an uncomplicated way of creating realtime integrated views of incompatible, distributed global data.
Cohera integrates relational and non relational data sources and is based on industry standards, such as SQL and ODBC. To any ODBC/SQL based client application, it appears as a single, local relational database.
The man behind Cohera is no stranger to this field. Michael Stonebraker founded database developer Ingres and was chief technology officer at Informix, after the software giant acquired another company he set up, relational object firm, Illustra Information Technologies.
Stonebraker is now chief technology officer at Cohera whose Data Federation System is a commercial adaptation of technology developed at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a computer science professor at the University.
Beta testers of Cohera's software include Cisco Systems, Deloitte Consulting and Federal Express. Cisco said it sees the software as a potential replacement for a "global extraction system" it uses to consolidate data from operational systems, including Oracle financial applications and Cisco's service call tracking system.
"We would like to present to the user an easy way that they can request data without having to know where it's coming from," said Dale Seavey, senior manager of technology in Cisco's IT department.
Not alone in the next generation middleware arena, Cohera can expect competition from companies such as IBM who recently unveiled its next generation MQSeries of message oriented middleware, and BEA Systems which plans to marry its Java based Web Logic server software with its M3 middleware.
According to IBM, the middleware, often used in moving data between legacy transaction systems and Web site applications, has been given a graphical user interface and graphical tools to make it easier to install and use. A publish and subscribe capability has also been added to enable users to receive a customized message concerning a transaction or other interaction carried out by MQSeries. The revised product also includes MQSeries Workflow for IBM's mainframe operating systems, OS/390.
The unified application server, called BEA Web Logic Enterprise, will compete with IBM, said Scott Dietzen, chief technology officer for BEA. M3 is transaction processing software that manages data traffic and ensures that business, such as credit card orders, doesn't get lost. BEA Web Logic Enterprise application server, which will be released in the first half of 1999, allows Enterprise Java Beans and Corba applications to interoperate.
The term middleware originated in the era of client-server computing when the need to tightly integrate systems was recognized. Today, the primary layers of middleware include data and legacy application access, message and document routing and business intelligence.
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