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RE: XML versus Relational Database



-----Original Message-----
From: Jay Zhang [mailto:jz@intermicstech.com]
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2001 8:11 AM
To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: Re: XML versus Relational Database


> I have serious doubt that a native XML database, however well
> designed it is, can succeed in commercial space, and ultimately
> as a viable technical solution. Look at OODB, no matter what
> reason you attribute its failure to.


What does ¡°succeed in commercial space¡± mean to you?  XML databases often get their foot in the door by making it easy to store/retrieve the XML that the RDBMS-based applications generate in order to talk to each other. The question is whether the hybrid Object-Relational databases will drive the native databases out of the XML world, not vice-versa.  Nobody replaces working systems with new technology and lives to tell the tale ;~)


As for the ¡°failure¡± of OODB ¡­ mightn¡¯t this be attributed to the fact that the RDBMS vendors subsumed their unique capabilities into the current ¡°Object-Relational¡± databases, leaving ¡°native¡± OODBs out in the cold?  (I¡¯d bet that there are a lot of OODB vendor who would quarrel with the word ¡°failure¡± to describe them, but that¡¯s another matter).


The whole question of how to best store, retrieve, query, and update XML in an efficient, secure, transactional, recoverable, scalable, etc. way is wide-open, and a lot of creativity is being thrown at the problem.  From what I can determine from the publicly available material, all the ¡°native¡± XML databases use a rather different underlying approach, and some (like XFinity) even claim to layer ¡°native XML¡± storage on an RDBMS infrastructure.  Technological evolution and marketplace competition will sort out the winners and losers ¡­ a safe bet is that if Oracle/IBM/Microsoft dominate the XML database market the way they do the RDBMS market today, it will be with hybridized ¡°Object-Relational-XML¡± technology rather than ¡°pure¡± RDBMS technology.  For example, it would appear from press reports that Oracle will support some sort of ¡°XML SQL datatype¡± in 9i.   That sounds to me like someone in Redwood Shores doesn¡¯t completely buy your vision of ¡°implementing XML data structure on a relational database and map all desired features to RDBMS features.¡±