seeMore makes order out of data chaos
Virtual Database Server gathers multiple databases under one relational roof, accessible via standard interfaces
The seeMore Virtual Server instantly accepts popular databases. It will happily talk to Oracle, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Sybase, SleepyCat's Berkeley DB, and many others (check the company Web site for the complete list of supported databases). In fact, anything that provides an ODBC or a JDBC driver can be imported into seeMore; I connected it easily to MySQL and PostgreSQL through those databases' ODBC drivers.
Designing the database
You control the mechanics of the seeMore Virtual Server through the Virtual Database Designer. The Designer is a graphical administration console within which you import data sources (making them available to clients), define users and access lists, and build the structure of the data sources that the Virtual Server presents to its clients.
Designer is home to several wizards that I felt offered a proper amount of hand holding. The Import Data Source wizard guides you through the process of importing a new data source into the seeMore server. I especially appreciated this wizard because importing a data source is not a simple, single-step process. You may decide, for example, to import only a subset of tables from a given data source; the wizard provides a list of all the data objects available (tables, stored procedures, views, and so on), and you check off which to import. In addition, you may wish to impose read-only access to a given data source; this, again, is a choice from the Import Data Wizard.
With the help of the SQLJ Wizard, you can write SQLJ stored procedures, even if you have no Java experience — a basic comprehension of SQL is all that's required. Simply name the procedure and its class, enter the SQL expression, and the wizard builds the Java "wrapper" code for you.
The resulting SQLJ procedure executes within the seeMore Server itself, as opposed to stored procedures imported from, say, a Microsoft SQL Server database that execute on the SQL Server. In fact, imported stored procedures aren't really imported at all: The seeMore Server wraps the stored procedure call. So when a client calls an imported stored procedure, seeMore calls that procedure on the client's behalf.
The benefit is, again, that all access to the data – whether through direct SQL requests or stored procedures – goes through seeMore. Among other things, that means that the DBA can manage data access through a single "switchboard."
Because seeMore employs both SQLJ procedures created on the server itself or stored procedures imported from external databases, you can build new procedures and continue to employ the capabilities of existing ones.
Beyond database transformation
One might ask if there is any real value to the seeMore Virtual Database Server, beyond its capability of making nonrelational data sources look like relational databases. A longer look reveals that the answer is yes.
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