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Introducing the Objectivity Eclipse CDO

Objectivity introduces EMF/CDO store for Objectivity/DB

Objectivity is providing an Objectivity CDO data store for the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) community. The goal of providing this plug-in is to give the Java community of developers who use Eclipse EMF a fast and simple way to integrate their applications to Objectivity/DB .

The Objectivity CDO store will allow development teams to integrate Objectivity/DB without having to learn the Objectivity API, cutting learning down by 90%. Many of Objectivity's customers have cited time-to-market as one of the reasons for choosing Objectivity. Recognizing the importance to development teams to quickly integrate and deploy systems, Objectivity has set out to find additional ways to make time-to-market a strength of our value proposition. As the market for customers who are building high-performance Java applications continues to grow, Objectivity is looking to leverage the powerful tools offered by the Eclipse open source community to provide more choices for the Eclipse user community.

Overview:
Eclipse is an open source community that provides a broad range of development tools for the Java community. It is supporting by virtually every major software organization, used in thousands of customer sites and hundreds of applications. The Eclipse site provides about 1 million downloads every month and is used across the world.

Among the tools provided by the Eclipse organization is the Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF). It is this framework that the Connected Data Objects (CDO) plugs into. Objectivity has created a CDO that supports Objectivity, allowing organizations that use the EMF with their application to now have a simple plug-in to Objectivity for their application.

EMF (Core)
EMF is a modeling framework and code generation facility for building tools and other applications based on a structured data model. From a model specification described in XMI, EMF provides tools and runtime support to produce a set of Java classes for the model, a set of adapter classes that enable viewing and command-based editing of the model, and a basic editor. Models can be specified using annotated Java, XML documents, or modeling tools like Rational Rose, then imported into EMF. Most important of all, EMF provides the foundation for interoperability with other EMF-based tools and applications.

CDO
The CDO (Connected Data Objects) Model Repository is a distributed shared model framework for EMF models and meta models. CDO is also a model runtime environment with a focus on orthogonal aspects like model scalability, transactionality, persistence, distribution, queries and more.

CDO has a 3-tier architecture supporting EMF-based client applications, featuring a central model repository server and leveraging different types of pluggable data storage back-ends like relational databases, object databases and file systems. The default client/server communication protocol is implemented with the Net4j Signaling Platform.

The Connected Data Objects (CDO) allows you to develop your application against standard EMF APIs and decide later if you want to persist your models in any database, either through Hibernate, in an object oriented database, in memory, or whatever you can chose. Without any changes to your application, your models can become very scalable on both client side and server side. You can store and use models larger than four gigabytes. Embed your repository into your client if you don't need distribution, or embed it into a J2E container of your choice if you need other kinds of distribution. CDO lets you experience the collaboration on a real distributed shared model.

Time-to-market value
Business's need to move quickly to stay competitive, and that need for speed works it's way to the technology that supports business, whether the company needs it for their website, or the software product they produce. This time-to-market need applies to new products and existing products as enhancements and upgrades are just as important as a new release. The EMF environment provides many advantages for developers who understand the benefits of modeling. Objectivity has often been used in applications where the development teams saw the value of upfront planning and design. Modeling provides many on-going benefits, especially where the applications have complex data models.

Because the CDO allows development teams to transparently store objects of an arbitrary business model into a database through the EMF environment, developers will see several major benefits. Two that apply to time-to-market is that they can quickly integrate their application to a data base system, and secondly make changes to their application data model without time consuming database integration work. 

Flexibility
Another strong benefit of not just the CDO, but especially with the Objectivity CDO store is the flexibility afforded to developers. By leveraging the CDO plug-in developers can develop their data models in EMF and then quickly plug the model into a CDO data store. Previously the primary option for developers was to use the Hibernate CDO, which did provide flexibility. However this flexibility primarily led to options between various relational database options (as noted by the fact that 55% of surveyed eclipse projects were using either the MySQL or Oracle database).

But different applications have different persistence needs, some for example needing more performance than others. With the CDO it is a simple effort to switch between databases, and now with the Objectivity CDO store developers can make a more significant changes that could have a significant impact on the application.

CDO: Hibernate or Objectivity?
Until now most of the database choices were between various types of relational technologies. Fundamentally these data bases provide a similar level of functionality and performance. Moving from one RDBMS to anther may or may not have any impact on system performance. However the Objectivity database provides a very different set of capabilities and can provide developers a significantly different result without changing the development effort - even if they're not familiar with Objectivity/DB. Because the Objectivity CDO store ingests the objects without the mapping layer, performance could be far faster with than with the Hibernate CDO.

The keys to the decision will typically be performance and scalability. Performance will be easy to test in the CDO environment. Scalability may require a review of the database technologies. Objectivity provides a number of differentiators such a distributed architecture for applications that will have big data in the petabyte range. Each development team should look at the needs of the application and see if a relational DBMS will meet the needs or an upgrade to Objectivity/DB will be best.

O/R mapping versus direct object store:
For applications that persist their data in a relational database, EMF users have had the ability to use the Hibernate CDO. This still provided the developers a nice way to distribute shared EMF models through the CDO server using an object/relational (O/R) mapping solution. For many applications this is perfectly fine, many applications do not require much performance, and many have fairly simple data needs where they don't have to build too main joins. In cases like this a MySQL or Oracle database work very well.

Other applications may be more data intensive, where the performance of the data base has a big impact on the performance of the overall system. Often this may be the result of complex data that would require many joins if a relational database was used.

One example would be graph data (say for a social network application), where there is the need to find informal relationships between objects. This is known as traversing between nodes and edges. In a relational database this is a self-join and can be extremely complex and slow. In Objectivity this type of query can be executed magnitudes of order more quickly.

Removing barriers to Objectivity
Objectivity has recognized that the vast majority of database developers have become very comfortable using relational technologies. Even though the development world has fully embraced the paradigm of object oriented development, database expertise has been left to DBA's whose expertise revolves around the tuning and administration of an RDBMS. The reasons include familiarity, but also the speed with which data can be mapped into tables in the initial stages. With the availability of the Objectivity CDO store the effort to integrate Objectivity is now similar to that of an RDBMS.

Decoupling the persistence layer
Among the many benefits of CDO is the decoupling of the application layer from the persistence layer. As all development teams know requirements change, and not all applications are properly designed for the unforeseen changes. This can result in costly efforts to rebuilt, re-architect and upgrade systems in production.

By fully leveraging the EMF/CDO platform development teams have much greater flexibility in the DBMS they choose, either at initial design our after the application requirements change.

About Objectivity
Objectivity, Inc. is the leader in distributed, scalable data management technology. Our patented distributed data engine and persistent object store is the enabling technology within many of the areas detailed below, powering some of the most complex applications and mission critical systems used in government, business and science organizations today.

Objectivity, Inc. has offices and representatives worldwide, and works directly with organizations, integrators and technical teams to recommend solutions and support options specifically tailored to your project and technical requirements. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

More Stories By Patricia Stamos

Thomas Krafft, Director of Marketing and Demand Generation Thomas oversees the Marketing efforts for Objectivity, Inc. and has a diverse background and experience spanning nearly 20 years working with Fortune companies including Intuit and Veritas, successful dot-com and other startup ventures.

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