SAP touts its open source database

German e-business software giant SAP AG hopes its standalone open source database, SAP DB, will continue to gain new devotees. The company has released a new version of SAP DB.

When asked to list the most common open source databases, most IT professionals would probably mention PostgreSQL, mySQL, and perhaps Berkeley DB. Few would immediately think of SAP DB, the open source database from German software giant SAP AG.

SAP hopes to change that, starting its awareness campaign with the recent release of SAP DB 7.3. The new version comes just over a year since 7.2's entry into the open source world as an independent relational database. Prior to 7.2, SAP DB was only used as the back-end database of SAP's e-business software products. By putting 7.2 under the GNU Public License, SAP enabled developers to download the database and take part in its continuing development.

"SAP DB is a professional state-of-the-art relational database management system(DBMS) that is compatible to standards like SQL (ANSI 92)," said SAP DB product manager Joerg Hoffmeister, of SAP Labs Berlin. "It can compare with leading relational DBMS like SQL Server."

Since its release as open source over a year ago, Hoffmeister said response by developers has been overwhelmingly positive. There's a "good live discussion, and community members help each other." Subscription lists are growing steadily, he added.

According to Hoffmeister, SAP DB provides a number of advantages when compared to other relational databases. While the database is designed to prevent performance hits by unnecessary features, he pointed out that it is far from minimalistic--it offers complete SQL database functionality. In addition, SAP DB's automatic memory management features eliminate the need for reorganization and save administrators from having to continually monitor table size.

Implementation of "SAP DB standalone takes 1 hour" and an experienced database administrator could call him/herself advanced within one week, he said. This easy learning curve contributes to an overall low cost of ownership.

SAP DB runs on multiple platforms, including Windows 2000 and Linux, which SAP hopes will help motivate adoption of the database. "Our goal is to achieve the same results on comparable hardware," Hoffmeister said.

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