Sand Technology Systems International Inc could be in trouble after pinning its hopes on a revolutionary relational database management system and query engine, Nucleus Server, to shore up its dying Hitachi mainframe business. The Montreal company is at least three months behind schedule with the ‘implementation’ of Nucleus Server, originally promised for the end of last year (CI No 2,907). Accordingly, Sand saw mid-term profits plummet to $18,000 from $171,000 last time and revenue plunged 64% to $1.6m also. Nucleus Server is a relational database management system and query engine that uses columns for data storage rather than tables with columns and rows, and it separates data values from their use in tables using bit map arrays, or vectors. Sand has patented a bit map encoding technology to compress data, that enables queries to run without decompression. This apparently considerably speeds up access to data via very large, unstructured queries such as may be thrown at large data warehouses for example. The company admitted last year that the Canadian mainframe business had all but died, helped along the way by an unfavorable currency exchange rate, and it was pinning its future hopes on the Nucleus Server (CI No 2,097). Sand said in spite of the slippage, its joint venture partner Hitachi Data Systems Corp, which has a licensing deal to distribute Nucleus Server in the US, Canada and Australia (CI No 2,907) is on course to make the product generally available in April. After this, president and chief executive Arthur Ritchie expects revenues to start to accrue.