Object-relational database suppliers will face two years of uncertainty as the competition in the distributed computing environment heats up as object request brokers (Orbs) appear to gain popularity.
According to David Wells, analyst at consultancy Ovum, the issue centres about whether programmers buy into environments of an Orb or Microsoft?s Dcom when developing applications, or whether they continue to see the database as key when building packages,
He said: ?There?s quite a big overlap in functionality between the two and although neither is mainstream yet, they are starting to creep in. The issue is that, if distributed object computing becomes trendy and wins mindshare, then attention will switch to Orbs and the Orb vendors will need to re-implement the work already done by the database suppliers.?
He added that it would mean the role of the database would ?reduce dramatically to become little more than an object store. That leaves the problem for the database suppliers about where they make their money.?
But the situation will become clearer when Oracle releases its Oracle 8 database this summer, as it will be evident if the market leader is backing the middleware or the object-relational hybrid database approach.
Wells said if the market went down the Orb route, then Sybase could re-emerge as a major player because of its traditional strength in the middleware market.
?If the interest in distributed computing grows and captures users? imaginations, Informix will need to have a very credible story of what its database engine can do. It would have to partner with an Orb vendor or do the work itself,? he said.
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