O/R Impedance Mismatch? Users Speak Up!

ODBMS.ORG, a vendor-independent non-profit group of high-profile software experts lead by Prof. Roberto Zicari, today announced the exclusive publication of a new series of user reports on using technologies for storing and handling persistent objects.

“I am often asked by users who are new to ODBMS to provide untainted, objective reports from other users who have used ODBMS before,” says Roberto Zicari, editor of ODBMS.ORG. “To meet this demand, I have started a new series of interviews with users of technologies for storing and handling persistent objects. I define ‘users’ in a very broad sense, including business line managers, CTOs, software architects, consultants, developers, and researchers.”

Today, 11 user reports have been published, from the following users:

  • Gerd Klevesaat, Siemens
  • Pieter van Zyl, CSIR
  • Philippe Roose, Liuppa
  • William Westlake, SAIC
  • Stefan Edlich, TFH Berlin
  • Udayan Banerjee, NIIT
  • Nishio Shuichi, ATR Labs
  • John Davies, Iona
  • Scott Ambler, IBM
  • Mike Card, Syracuse
  • Rich Ahrens, Merrill Lynch

Prof. Zicari asked each users a number of equal questions, among them if they had an “impedance mismatch” problem. Each time data models, e.g. relational models like in Oracle 11g, are used to persistently store data and the program language used, e.g. in object-oriented Java, are different, this is referred to as the “impedance mismatch” problem. Users confirmed in different ways the existence of such a problem.

“Definitely, we have [an impedance mismatch problem] as long as there is an explicit mapping of objects to the way they are stored. Bridging that gap is tedious and is both a cost and risk factor in the project lifecycle.” says Gerd Klevesaat of Siemens.

“I have done software development at a variety of companies that suffered from this issue. One of them was a medical data warehouse.” confirms William W. Westlake at SAIC.

Scott Ambers of IBM Rational sees the problem differently: “The real issue that organizations struggle with is what I call the cultural impedance mismatch which refers to the difference in cultures that we see between the data community and the development community.”

Elimination of O/R impedance mismatch has brought significant business benefits.

“For us,” says Rich Ahrens, Director at Equity Linked Trading at Merryll Lynch, “the choice to use an object database has directly increased our ability to deliver business solutions in the shortest time possible.”

Scott Ambers: “Unfortunately too many IT professionals seem to be one-trick ponies — they have their data hammer and everything looks like a data nail to them.”

The most frequently requested wish for new research/development in the area of object persistence in the next 12-24 months was standardization of APIs.

ODBMS.ORG plans to continue the series of users reports on a regular base.

The complete initial series of user reports is available for free download.

ODBMS.ORG (www.odbms.org) is a vendor-independent, not-for-profit educational program on object database technology and the integration between object-oriented programming and databases. Designed by Prof. Roberto Zicari of Frankfurt University, the program’s goal is to promote and further the use of object databases – by offering free resources for students, faculty and researchers at universities and research centers, as well as for JAVA and .NET developers in the commercial and the open source world. Content is provided by a panel of internationally recognized experts, who share research articles and teaching materials with the community via the organization’s Web portal.

Contact ODBMS.ORG at editor@odbms.org.

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