Database contender offers SQL Server alternative

Real Software, an Austin, Texas-based developer software vendor, announced Tuesday the release of Real SQL Server 2008 Release 1, and the upcoming new iteration of RealBasic 2008 Release 1, but, according to an industry analyst, these products will probably fail to break into the already-bustling market here in Canada, as represented by giants Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM.

Real SQL Server 2008 Release 1 is being released at MacWorld, according to Real Software CEO Geoff Perlman, to capitalize on the most recent iteration’s new Leopard capability. The software allows developers working with a RealBasic programming front-end to benefit from a Web-based SQL server back-end.

RealBasic itself is a cross-platform rapid application development tool that allows developers to code for several different operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux, and features its own object-oriented language. “Introspection is the new feature here that was the most highly requested feature from our customers. It allows programmers to write more generic code,” he said. The new iteration hits next month.

The SQL server product is positioned as a low-cost alternative to offerings from the more established vendors that would be unnecessarily large or too expensive for smaller businesses and vertical market developers.

Kevin Restivo, an analyst with the Toronto-based research firm IDC Canada, said that the competition against Real Software is “rather large.”

Said Restivo: “These players have many, many years of experience, brand equity, and long relationships. Even if it did have some kind of technological advantage over them, these factors outweigh it. It will be a challenge to make any kind of dent.”

This struggle is worsened, he said, by the fact that any business left over from the behemoths is usually filled by the open-source offering MySQL. The market, however, has consolidated even further: Sun announced Wednesday that it had purchased MySQL for $1-billion.

And speaking of the SQL name, Restivo said that Microsoft could come knocking about trademark infringement over the similarities in name to its product Microsoft SQL Server.

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