It’s official, IBM is pulling the plug on Cloudscape, its embedded Java database product. But it’s hardly the end of the product, as the technology was open sourced through the Apache Foundation a couple of years ago.
IBM withdrew Cloudscape 10.0 and 10.1 from the commercial market this week and will formally pull support by September 2008. The idea of the long notice is to give Cloudscape users the opportunity to migrate to the open source Apache Derby offering.
Embedded Java databases have been used primarily as development and testbed platforms for Java applications. However, IBM and Sun are among those that have incorporated the technology into products meant for deployment.
In a way, testbed databases represent a latter-day equivalent of first generation software programs of the 1960s and 70s, where data management was part of the core application. Today, they are of course separate technologies that use modern SQL data structures, but they still offer the advantage of a one-touch install, either with a development environment or a full application.
Cloudscape has had an interesting history. Originally founded in 1996 by several ex-Informix executives, Cloudscape was actually the name of the company, and JBMS was the name of the product. A few years later, Informix acquired the company, complete with the former executives, and then in 2001, IBM swooped up Informix. The database was rebranded IBM Cloudscape.
In August 2004, IBM open sourced the technology through the Apache Foundation where the project was renamed Derby. It became the embedded database of IBM products like Lotus Workplace and WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (the open source product formerly known as Gluecode).
And in 2005, IBM rival Sun endorsed Derby as well, using the Apache product as Java DB as part of its Java Enterprise System products and as part of the NetBeans development framework (it’s one of the few IBM technologies making it into NetBeans). And late last year, Sun bundled Java JDB as part of the Java 6 JDK (Java Development Kit).
So the Cloudscape technology is hardly dead. But neither does it have the embedded Java open source database market to itself either. Others include Daffodil Software Ltd’s One$DB, which has been bundled into the Daffodil CRM product; and PointBase, which is available in server and embedded configurations.