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Saturday, January 22, 2005

Real Time Database Streaming - Newer Horizons

Michael stonebraker, the legend in the database world, - The former computer science professor at University of California, Berkeley having created two well-known relational database systems, Ingres and Postgres. Ingres, the company Stonebraker founded, is now part of Computer Associates now says,” "Relational databases are one to two orders of magnitude too slow,big customers have already tried to use relational databases for streaming data and dismissed them. Those products are non-starters in this market.In a recent pilot program, StreamBase, is reading TCP/IP streams and using asynchronous messaging. Streaming data without storing it on disk as are doing other relational database software gives them a tremendous speed advantage. The company claims it can process 140,000 messages per second on a $1,500 PC, when its competitors can only deal with 900 messages per second. Streambase has 12 customers now testing its software, all of them financial services companies that need to analyze rapid-fire ticker feeds and other streaming data.

Stonebraker calls his product a stream processing engine. with realtime analytics built in. On top of that engine, customers write applications to handle specific tasks, using a version of Structured Query Language that traditional database programs use. Streambase's version is called StreamSQL and is designed to handle data on the fly. Unlike traditional database programs, Streambase analyzes data without storing it to disk, performing queries on data as it flows. Traditional systems bog down because they first store data on hard drives or in main memory and then query it, Stonebraker says. The company's approach to making sales is pretty simple: "We ask big customers to point us to their hardest problems. Then we say go home and write the application on our own nickel and come back in a week with it running," Stonebraker says.

Streambase charges customers annual subscriptions for its software, setting prices based on how many CPUs a customer uses to power the software. Typical deals so far have ranged from $100,000 to $300,000 a year, -Infoworld indicated a lower price though.currently, Streambase is focusing attention on financial services companies, which hope to do things like track how well traders are performing on a real-time basis, rather than aggregating trades at the end of the day and analyzing them overnight. A bigger opportunity involves processing real-time data feeds generated by sensor networks and RFID tags creating potentially huge opportunities This shall count to be an important development in the IT world and results need to be tracked regularly.

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