Hitachi may not be the first name that comes to mind in databases—at least not in North America or Europe. But the company intends to take advantage of its near-score years of experience in the Japanese market with the HiRDB relational database, to make a splash in the small pool of databases designed for embedded devices with the Entire RDBMS.
After a year of production use with a Japanese customer and two months of beta testing over the summer, Hitachi announced Entier’s immediate vailability
for the North American market at September’s Embedded Systems Conference in Boston. At the same time, Hitachi released an SDK for Entier that runs on Microsoft’s Windows systems.
Malcolm Colton, vice president of sales and marketing in the embedded systems group for Hitachi America, explained that Hitachi’s engineers were
wondering what to do next with HiRDB. “About three years ago, they
realized that the devices were getting powerful enough that it was going to
make sense, very soon, to put a database on them,” he observed, “for the
same reasons that you run a database in the enterprise.”
Hitachi is positioning Entier as uniquely suited for mobile and set-top applications due to two unique search technologies as well as superior performance.
According to the company, the Entier RDBMS performs along a flat curve regardless of database size or rows returned. Entier offers incremental text
search, which progressively refines search results with each keystroke; it then guides the end user through possible next letters in the search term. This feature can be particularly useful when searching for entries by name or other keyword, such as when configuring a DVR to record programs as they become available.
The other advantage Hitachi plays up in its pitch for Entier is the ability to search spatial data using a SQL query, enabling the delivery of location-based services to a variety of mobile devices, from smart phones to navigation systems with efficient R-Tree indexing. Searches can run by proximity to a circle, polygon or route, as defined by the developer.
The spatial search features also allow the use of conceptual media searches,
by relationships along multidimensional axes. Entier runs in less than a megabyte of memory, Hitachi claims; the POSIX and FAT32-compatible file system takes up a mere 90KB and supports both flash memory and disks.
The file system incorporates faulttolerance features including data duplication and a rollback journal, preserving data even in the event of complete power failure, as the database resides in persistent storage.