Jade's object-oriented database answers hard problems

Database finds widespread use in niche areas where performance is at a premium

While the global database market is dominated by the likes of Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, Christchurch company Jade is finding acceptance for its object oriented database (OOD) in all kinds of tough niche applications.

Gavin Mitchell, Jade Software’s head of marketing, sales and channels, says the main difference between what his company offers and the rest is that Jade’s OOD is object oriented, meaning data is represented by objects linked logically, rather than in tables as in the more common relational databases.

“Data is stored in a logically connected fashion that reflects real-life relationships,” he says.

Mitchell describes adoption of object oriented databases as “widespread in niche problem areas”.

These can include situations where there are complex relationships in the data or complex business rules, he says.

“It suits online transactions rather than an analytical environment.”

Other object-oriented databases include Progress, Versant, Objectivity and db4o, he says.

OOD can deliver incredibly high performance, particularly where there are a large number of connected objects.

Jade OOD has found a welcome home in the complex area of logistics, in ports such as Gdansk in Poland and on the UK railways.

“There’s an incredible advantage in using OOD in those environments,” he says.

Mitchell claims relational databases experience a drop in performance when there are too many relationships to traverse.

Jade is also being used by the Australian Federal Police for a project called Jade Investigator, an investigation management tool. Mitchell says it includes multiple types of information and users can quickly see interconnections in the data.

In addition to those applications, both the New Zealand gas industry and electricity industry registries run on OOD. In the electricity registry, generators, retailers and residential and business users are logged in real time online.

The Warehouse is migrating its inventory management system, Tui, from legacy Linc to Jade.

Mitchell says while OOD is mature, there is always development going on. Mainly, he says, this is around remaining open and connected to industry standards as they emerge.

He says Jade is an integrated runtime environment but the database is “very open”.

Applications can be in .Net or Java or other languages, or combinations of languages.

Jade also offers a “relational population server”, where a relational database can be updated in real time using OOD.

“It allows data to be visible for OLAP [online analytical processing] purposes,” he says.

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