Introduction to ODBMS
By Rick Grehan and
Early 1980s - Orion Research Project at MCC
Won Kim at MCC (Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation) in Austin,
Texas, begins a research project on ORION.
Two products will later trace their history to ORION: ITASCA (no longer around)
Late 1980s - First wave of commercial products
A Lisp-based system, Graphael, appears from the French nuclear regulatory efforts.
Eventually, Graphael goes through a re-write and becomes Matisse.
Servo-Logic begins work on GemStone. Servo-Logic is now GemStone Systems.
Start of O2 development at INRIA (France). The founder of O2 is Francois Bencilhon,
also from MCC.
Tom Atwood at Ontologic produced Vbase, which supports the proprietary language
COP (for C Object Processor). COP is eventually eclipsed by C++, Ontologic becomes
ONTOS, and the database is rewritten to support C++. Tom left Ontologic in the late
1980s and founded Object Design (now part of Progress Software) with ObjectStore
(based on C++).
Another product from that time is Objectivity/DB. Drew Wade has been one of the
founders of its vendor, Objectivity.
1991 - ODMG
Rick Cattell (SunSoft) initiates the ODMG with 5 major OODBMS vendors. The first
standard, ODMG 1.0, was released in 1993. Throughout the 1990s, the ODMG works with
the X3H2 (SQL) committee on a common query language. Though no specific goal is
achieved, the efforts heavily influence the ODMG OQL (object query language) and,
to a lesser extent, SQL:1999.
1995 - The OODBMS Manifesto
Malcolm Atkinson et. al. release "The
Object-Oriented Database System Manifesto"
1990s - First Growth Period
Market for commercial ODBMS products grows to some $100M, peaks in 2000 and shrinks
2001 - Final ODMG 3.0 standards released.
A final ODMG 3.0 standards is released. Shortly thereafter, the ODMG submits the
ODMG Java Binding to the Java Community Process as a basis for the Java Data Objects
Afterwards, the ODMG disbands.
2004 - Advent of Open Source
2005-now. New Data Stores
db4o released as free, open source ODBMS. In November 2005, db4o is first to implement
Native Queries as an object
oriented data access API that relies entirely on the programming language (Java/C#)
The world of data management is changing. Service platforms, scalable cloud platforms,
analytical data platforms, object databases, object-relational bindings, NoSQL databases and new
approaches to concurrency control
are all becoming hot topics both in academia and industry.
For up to date information and interviews, please check the "ODBMS Industry Watch Blog.
If you are interested to read more about the history and how the industry learned
to think about object databases we highly recommend to read Marianne Winslett' 2002 interview with Prof. David Maier on
past and future of ODBMSs.