Unidata Inc’s acquisition of French object database company O2 Technology (CI No 3,241), provides it with the breakout strategy it sorely needed to evolve beyond its core Pick and Prime Information nested database business. It will offer customers of its aging Unidata database new tools to migrate applications over to version 5.0 of O2’s object database, which has been mapped to relational technologies enabling any SQL92- or ODBC-compliant, C++, Java, Corba and SmallTalk development, reporting or middleware tool to be used in conjunction with it. Unidata APIs have been implemented on O2 5.0. The company is also developing two-way interoperability between the Unidata and O2, which is due next quarter. O2 5.0 also includes support for adaptive locking of objects rather than pages, similar to the way modern relational databases enable information to be retrieved or updated row by row rather than at the page level of granularity. The technologies that the two companies have added to O2 were developed under the codename Falcon while they were separate entities. Unidata brought its experience of having mapped relational techniques to its nested database. Unidata said the synergies between the two companies soon became obvious and though it repeatedly sought to buy the French concern – as we reported several times over the last couple of years – O2 continued to believe it could make it on its own until recently. The database, which Unidata says is its Universal Object Server strategy, is essentially a reverse of the Oracle, IBM, Informix and Sybase product strategies. They’re adding support for complex data types to their relational models. Both the Unidata and O2 databases already support extended data types; relational support has been overlaid on O2. More relational work will be added in version 6.0. Unidata expects the new O2 database to be used by customers requiring a high degree of both application complexity and scaling such as the aerospace and telecom industries. It’s not going after the Oracle, IBM, Informix and Sybase markets and says it’s left pure object database plays such as Versant, Objectivity, Object Design and Poet well behind. $50m Unidata says it expects to do $70m next year; O2 claims to have done $10m in its last financial year and claims 500 customers. Unidata hopes to get its 600-odd VARs selling O2. It’ll continue to develop the existing Unidata product and says support for Microsoft Corp’s OLEDB is a way of enabling its Unidata customers to take advantage of Windows NT data marts.
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