The SDForum Business Intelligence SIG was honored to have a new company launch at the meeting last week. Julian Hyde, well known for leading Mondrian, the Open Source OLAP project, gave a talk titled "A new solution to an old problem: How Relational Messaging solves Data and Application Integration". He told us that he had been working with a small group for the last 3 years to develop their streaming database product in a new company called SQLstream (no web site yet).
Streaming databases are nothing new to the Business Intelligence SIG. In 2004 we hosted Celequest, which was recently bought by Cognos. In 2005 we hosted iSpheres, which has subsequently disbanded. In January 2007 we hosted Coral8. The difference between SQLstream and these other companies is less one of technology and more one of vision.
Although there was interesting technology buried inside, Celequest presented their system as a way of creating real time dashboards. Unlike Celequest, iSpheres was concerned with performance, although they were weighed down by a propriety language. Coral8 is concerned with handling complexity and being able to scale when handling real time events that happen in the millisecond to second range.
SQLstream, on the other hand sees their streaming database as a system that can do be used to do any and all Enterprise data and application integration functions. The bulk of the presentation was about how SQLstream could supplant ETL, EAI, EII, SOA and some uses of database systems amongst others. Anyone who has any experience in this area will know that this is a huge claim. I am not going to say whether they are right or wrong, only time will tell us that, however I am going to admire the vision.
There is one other admirable thing in SQLstream and that is a commitment to the SQL standard. Streaming databases requires some some extensions to SQL. SQLstream has some extensions to the SQL standard however they are few and necessary. Apart from these extensions their language is pure SQL.
(The presentation is currently available as a file on our Yahoo web site.)
UPDATE: 12/11/07 SQLStream now have their web site up.