Zimory Adds Database Oomph Using Virtualization

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German enterprise cloud vendor Zimory has set its sights on databases. Using so-called "satellites," more capacity can be added to existing databases, the company said on Tuesday.

Relational databases have so far been kept out of both virtualized and cloud environments, and are still very much tied to a single computer and location, according to Zimory CTO Gustavo Alonso. But Zimory hopes to change that with the introduction of a new database architecture code-named Spree, he said.

"We want to bring to the database management layer, in general, and to relational databases, in particular, the flexibility and the extensibility you get out of virtualization and the cloud," said Alonso.

Spree will start shipping during the first quarter of 2010, and will become integrated into its existing products. Pricing hasn't been decided, according to Alonso. The architecture is based on the concept of using satellite databases that complement a master database that is already in operation. The satellite databases can contain either a complete or partial copy of the master database. For users, the system will behave as if they are working on a single database.

Spree can, for example, be used to quickly add extra capacity, without having to touch the existing installation, according to Alonso, and when the capacity is no longer needed the satellite can be taken down.

"It can be done maybe once per day if you have a particularly high load in the morning or once a week, when the weekly reports are done," Alonso said.

The satellites can run in a virtualized environment or in the cloud, but they can also run in a conventional computer environment. The reason for the latter is simple, according to Alonso. Not everybody is ready for cloud computing and not everybody is ready for virtualization or willing to run a database in one of those environments, he said.

The system works by capturing the traffic between the application and the database, which is why it doesn't have to touch the existing database, according to Alonso.

Spree is still a work in progress, but Zimory is aiming to support Oracle as a master database and, for the satellites, it's choosing among Oracle, MySQL and PostgreSQL.

The master and the satellite don't have to be the same database, which means that customers can combine commercial and open source databases to lower costs, according to Alonso.

Zimory's management tool allows customers to check whether performance in a virtualized environment or in a cloud is what they demand before they make the move.

The fact that there might be a small performance loss by running a virtual machine on a satellite is more than compensated by the ability to run a number of satellites that can share the load, Alonso said. What you lose in latency is made up for by better response time per transaction, and in the end you come out ahead, Alonso said.

On the virtualization side, the new architecture supports VMware, Xen and KVM.

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