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Cloudscape is no more

Posted by davidvc on March 14, 2007 at 11:38 AM PDT

Over 10 years ago, a bunch of very smart database engineers, many of them friends and colleagues of mine from Sybase, disappeared. We heard they had started a new secret company in Oakland. They were doing something "cool and weird", but for over a year it was all hush-hush. Then it came out: they were building a relational database completely in Java. WTF? What were they thinking? How would it perform? Who would want it?

Years went by, Cloudscape was bought up by Informix, who was then bought by IBM, and IBM ended up with this little Java database in their portfolio and weren't sure what to do with it. I personally was convinced that that cool Java database had seen its last days and its team would be assimilated by the Borg of DB2

But now the Cloudscape database, under the moniker Apache Derby, is in widespread use and is being shipped in Sun's JDK (using Sun's distribution of Apache Derby, Java DB). It has shown competitive performance with those old fuddy-duddy databases written in C, and with one build runs on numerous platforms from Windows to Solaris to an IBM mainframe to a J2ME CDC device. It can be installed and run from a browser invisibly and embedded in a Java application so the user never knows it is there.

I have said this before, but I'll say it again: I want to thank IBM and the Cloudscape team for having the inspiration, the guts and the commitment to get Cloudscape into open source so this could happen.

But now IBM has decided they no longer want to provide official, paid-for support for Derby. They were shipping their supported version under the original name of the product Cloudscape.

IBM has made it very clear that this was just a decision about providing support, not about ending their involvement in Derby. I believe them: I can't imagine them disinvesting as there are numerous projects within IBM that ship with and depend upon Derby.

But with this decision, the Cloudscape name, and brand, is now only a (TM) in IBM's bundle of trademarks and nothing more. So, a moment of sadness at the disappearance of this name, and a moment of honoring the history of Apache Derby

I guess there is one good thing: now there are only two names for the same thing :)