DBMS vendors serve up lite fare for handhelds, PIMs

DBMS vendors serve up lite fare for handhelds, PIMs

The proliferation of mobile computing devices such as handheld computers and personal data assistants has gotten the attention of database management system vendors.

The result: Companies such as Oracle Corp. and Sybase Inc. have developed 'lite' versions of their enterprise database management systems for use by mobile PC users.

The new, portable databases are designed to increase employee productivity by providing mobile or remote users access to both network applications and centralized database management systems.

Touted in some quarters as synchronization technology, this also lets them update data to the network.

The latest iteration of Oracle's flagship Oracle8i server database application now provides mobile users access to enterprise information from any browser and location, as well as via any device.

'If you consider the segregation of databases that government workers must contend with'some of it on Unix servers, PCs or smaller devices, all filtering through various gateways'it was only a matter of time before we started hearing about the need for some kind of standard that would allow data to be shared with all kinds of devices,' said Larry Weiss, manager for mobile and embedded solutions at Oracle Service Industries in Reston, Va.

By 2003, roughly 80 percent of the Internet will be accessed not via PCs but through phones, set-top boxes and handheld devices, Weiss said.

Oracle8i Lite represents a fourth-generation extension of the Oracle 8i line and is designed to integrate the company's database into the popular 3Com Corp. Palm and Microsoft Windows CE devices. This small-footprint, Java version is designed for small mobile applications such as notebooks, handheld computers, and personal digital assistants.

'Oracle8i Lite gives the power of what we've already offered down to the level of the devices with a very small footprint,' Weiss said. 'It will work with today's intelligent phones and pagers and basically anything that can connect to the Internet, giving you the same data kernel as you'd have with the larger Oracle.'

The three major components of Oracle8i are Oracle Lite, a single-user, Java-enabled, object relational database; Web-to-Go, which gives users access to the same data and Web applications both offline and online, and IConnect, which provides scalable bidirectional synchronization of data and applications with Oracle 7.3 and higher.

Wizards help

It also supports broad application programming interfaces for Open Database Connectivity, Joint Database Connectivity, Oracle Call Interface, Open Knowledge for Access to Protected Interoperable Services and others. It offers centralized and wizard-based application deployment and management.

Sybase has taken a step toward addressing the divergence between the growing size of today's mission-critical databases and the smaller devices that must handle them. The UltraLite deployment of Sybase's SQL Anywhere Studio supports the same data types, run-time functions and SQL data manipulation features of the mobile database version.

'Gina M. Roos

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