XML databases move to the middle

It's true that you can use native XML databases to manage the growing number of business documents created by the new generation of XML-savvy end-user applications. It's handy, for example, to search an insurance database for incident reports that match some structured pattern of in-line metadata. But hybrid SQL/XML databases can do that too, and they can also join the structured XML content with relational columns -- a powerful combination. So XML databases are migrating into a niche that SQL/XML can't and won't occupy. They're becoming the high-performance pumps that push XML traffic around on the emerging services web. [InfoWorld.com]
This short piece is a companion to Sean McCown's excellent cover story which surveys the XML features of leading relational databases: Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase.

I've followed the odyssey of Sonic XML Server, née eXcelon, née ObjectStore, for quite a long time. I wouldn't have predicted that XML databases would become the context engines of the services web, but I guess it's not too surprising. More surprising, I have to admit, is the extent to which the SQL discipline is merging with the XML discipline in the conventional database engines. "It's possible that developers will want to stay within an XML abstraction for all their data sources," said Oracle's Sandeepan Banerjee when I interviewed him for last summer's story on SQL/XML hybridization. Wow. I still can't believe that an Oracle guy said that!

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/04/30.html#a987