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  1. Technology
August 26, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

With a raft of new products on the runway, long-time ODBC company Simba Technologies Inc is hoping the market for Microsoft Corp’s new OLE DB database connectivity technology will emerge quickly enough for its venture backers to secure an exit strategy in a year or two. The Vancouver, Canada-based ISV will shortly unveil a set of SimbaProvider tools that can be used in conjunction with Microsoft’s Visual Studio 6.0 programming environment, enabling Windows developers to provide access to SQL and non-relational data using OLE DB, plus databases supporting ODBC or Java JDBC connectivity. To support Microsoft’s OLE DB, which provides access to SQL and non-SQL databases, ISVs can also use SimbaProvider to write OLE DB Provider drivers for their data stores. Unlike ODBC market leader Micro Focus Plc’s Intersolv Inc which is implementing OLE DB-to-ODBC bridges, and sells retail, Simba’s OLE DB connections are implemented natively and bought mostly on an OEM basis. OLE DB supports standard SQL query access to databases as well as low-level ‘row-set’ APIs similar to proprietary techniques provided by the database suppliers, which offer high-speed direct connections to data. Simba expects companies that allow users to run entire databases in memory will be among the first users of this functionality. Simba is also offering a version of the software tailored for use with Microsoft’s so-called Tensor APIs, the extensions to OLE DB which support OLAP. It enables multidimensional database ISVs to expose their data to OLE DB applications. Simba says it will follow wherever Microsoft takes OLE DB. Redmond already offers geospatial API extensions for accessing GIS systems (see separate story). It also has technologies in the pipe to support the Microsoft Repository. Simba claims NCR, Seagate, WhiteLight and SAP as SimbaProvider OLAP OEMs. Professional and Enterprise editions of SimbaProvider become available through this quarter and next, also on Solaris and HP-UX as well as Windows NT. Simba claims users of its SimbaEngine ODBC development environment can convert ODBC drivers to OLE DB. A new 5.0 version of the ODBC- only SimbaEngine is due in October and is included in the SimbaProvider products. Simba will move all of its OLE DB products under the SimbaProvider umbrella. Simba expects Visual Studio 6.0 – due next week – Excel 98 and the plumbing of BackOffice 2000 with OLE DB will ensure that OLE DB replaces the slower (and SQL-only) ODBC data access technology in three to four years’ time. It expects OLE DB development to stake-off by year-end by which time plenty of the new Microsoft products will be in use. The fifty-person privately-held company – which claims to be in profit – hopes to have been bought or to have a Nasdaq listing by that time. The company has three rounds of venture funding behind it, including its years as Pageahead Corp which it was known as before it became Simba in 1995.

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