Database is optimized to handle XML applications

XML is seeping into every nook and cranny of the computing industry, and now there are databases based on the data markup language that IT executives may find a speedy alternative to traditional databases.

Ipedo Inc. last month released its XML database, which stores data in native XML format so it can be quickly searched and retrieved. The only other database that natively stores XML is the Tamino database from Software AG.

With a traditional database, incoming XML data must be translated into a format the database can understand and store in rows and columns. Outgoing data has to be parsed back into its XML format and translated.

Ipedo says cutting that overhead by storing the data in its native XML format can speed data access by up to 10 times. IT executives who run large Web-based applications that rely heavily on the standard markup language may find performance benefits in cutting out that overhead.

“Ipedo creates an in-memory index of an XML document so you can quickly find any portion of a document,” says Glenn Copen, director of application development for ProLogic Management Systems Inc., which creates Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETM) for the U.S. Department of Defense. The IETMs are used on-site to service heavy equipment such as airplanes.

Pinpoint access to particular sections of the manual helps mechanics quickly do their job.

The database has many of the same trappings of a traditional relational database, but with an XML twist. The XML Database supports the XQuery language, which is used to extract data from XML sources. It also supports the Simple Object Access Protocol, an XML-based application-to-application messaging system, so queries can run across databases.

But the key may be the efficiencies obtained when using XML Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT), a language used to convert an XML document into other formats. It is widely used to convert XML to HTML for screen display.

“We can show a 35 per cent to 65 per cent time savings in XML transformation alone,” says Tim Matthews, CEO of Ipedo. “We are not trying to tell the world to chuck their databases, but if you have a lot of XML-based data, you should keep an open mind to new technologies,” he adds.

The XML Database can link with conventional databases using Java Database Connectivity, meaning XML data can be concentrated in the Ipedo database.

The database is compatible with IBM’s WebSphere and BEA’s WebLogic application servers. It runs on Linux, Solaris and Windows. Pricing for Linux and Windows servers is US$50,000. Pricing for Solaris is US$90,000. For more information, see the company on the Web at