SAN FRANCISCO -- Hoping to accelerate the delivery of more innovative Java-based applications to market, IBM on Tuesday at LinuxWorld Conference announced along with the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), plans to donate its Cloudscape relational database to the open source community.
Cloudscape, which IBM acquired when it bought Informix Software, has only a 2MB footprint and can be fully deployed in a range of embedded applications. Company officials hope this will result in new applications areas for itself and the open source community at large, particularly among smaller and medium-size businesses.
"The whole idea behind this decision is to help spur innovation around Java which will result in better applications for users, help out our business partners in piecing together open source-based solutions, and help IBM with its software initiatives," said Janet Perna, general manager of IBM's Data Management Software group in a press conference Tuesday morning.
IBM has plans to deliver products targeted at both small and medium size companies as well as corporate accounts but declined to say when such applications would be finished. The company will not charge for the products but will charge for service and support. She said the Cloudscape technology is currently embedded in more than 70 IBM software products.
Once the ASF is formally approved by the ASF and has gained community acceptance, IBM plans to base its IBM Cloudscape offering on the same technology as the Apache code.
IBM has made the code available to ASF under the ASF corporate contributor license grant. The project will begin life under the Apache Incubator for several months or more, which ensures the half million lines of code conforms to its standards for licensing and code integrity. It will also over see the development of a development community.
"At ASF community is very important. We will be responsible for building a large and committed community around Cloudscape. It will be in the Incubator Program for six or eight months and if all goes well will then become an official Apache project," said Greg Stein, chairman of the ASF. "We think this is a big step forward in providing a turnkey data base solution to Java developers," he said.
Present at Tuesday's announcement to show their support were officials from Red Hat and Novell/SuSE. Also showing support were two other ranking Linux distributors, Turbolinux and Red Flag.
Analyst Stephen O'Grady, of RedMonk LLC, said Cloudscape addresses an area of the database market that lacks a clear technology leader. He doesn't see it displacing robust software such as MySQL; rather, he sees Cloudscape as an alternative to lightweight products like HSQL (Hypersonic SQL) and Sleepycat Software Inc.'s Berkeley database.
"I would not anticipate anytime soon that we'll see the traction behind this that we see behind something like MySQL, but on the other hand, I don't think you have to," O'Grady said. "The opportunity is there to pick up some substantial users."
Cloudscape is already in use by several of IBM's business partners, including Akamai Technologies Inc., which incorporates the database in its caching technology.