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February 14, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Angara Database Systems Inc, the main memory database company formed from a Stanford University research effort, is set to come to market with its first commercial product at the end of next month. The Angara Data Server, previewed at the Demo 99 conference last week, has changed somewhat since we first wrote about it in 1997 (CI No 3,283). It is now a full-featured relational database management system, with the proprietary protocols that featured in the original version stripped out in favor of standard protocols and interfaces, so that it is fully SQL compliant, with ODBC and JDBC interfaces. Angara claims that using main memory systems eliminates the disk-related constraints of other RDBMSs, and offers throughput up to 20 times faster than the memory-resident cache of disk-based database systems. But while the company was originally aiming to replace homegrown main memory database efforts used by the telecommunications industry, it now sees a wider market in e-commerce, financial analysis and clickstream analysis – the click-by-click tracking of the behavior of web site visitors, which can then be used for targeted marketing and personalization on e-commerce web sites. According to VP of marketing Gary Ebersole, very large memory machines are now real, and the availability of 64-bit operating systems has opened up the previous addressing restrictions of 2Gb set by 32-bit systems. One Gb of DRAM now costs around $500, 50Gb will be common by the end of this year and 100Gb next year, and advances in DRAM technology are also working in favor of the company. There’s nothing simpler than a box of main memory, says Ebersole, who says only six tuning parameters are needed to optimize the Angara database. But although there are some aspects of the business intelligence and datawarehousing markets the company is interested in, Ebersole says the intention is not to go after SAP – ours is a new technology for new markets. Angara does face some direct competition, though, from San Diego, California-based TimesTen Performance Software Inc, a spin-off from Hewlett-Packard Co’s HP Labs, which could be seen demonstrating very similar technology at the Showcase 99 conference in January. Angara says that although its product might be chosen in place of Oracle, it doesn’t mean that its customers will throw Oracle away. Angara has established partnerships with all the major relational vendors. The company has expanded its management team, under CEO Eric Ver Ploeg, and bought in executives with experience from Informix Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc, IBM Corp and Peregrine Systems Inc. It is currently in the process of arranging a second round of funding, following the $2.5m in raised in April 1997. It says it will reveal the identity of its beta customers at the launch, currently scheduled for general availability on March 29. The product runs on Solaris, HP/UX, AIX and Linux operating systems, with an NT version under development.

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