AURA Equipments Beats IBM to the Punch with DB2/400 Engine for MySQL
January 22, 2008 Alex Woodie
AURA Equipments is rolling out a new product that will provide a storage engine that integrates DB2/400 into the open source MySQL database, a feature that IBM said it would deliver, but which it has so far failed to do. The new product, called iStorage for MySQL, should make it easier for i5/OS shops to manage their System i-focused environment while still maintaining compatibility with the new generation of PHP applications, the French IT company says.
MySQL, which was just acquired by Sun Microsystems last week, is unique among relational databases in that it supports multiple database engines that allow the user to customize the database for specific tasks, such as running transactional applications, data warehouse programs, or in-memory business intelligence systems. While these engines do the heavy run-time lifting, the setup remains simple for programmers, who keep writing to the same MySQL API.
Last May, IBM and MySQL announced they would work together to allow DB2/400 to function as one of the engines powering MySQL running on the System i. With DB2/400 and MySQL more closely integrated, IBM said, it would be easier to run the latest PHP applications on the System i, and simplify the programming and management efforts needed to maintain the PHP-MySQL-Linux-System i environment.
However, while IBM announced it would be introducing this capability, it hasn’t been developed yet, and there has been no further direction from IBM. Asked for an update on the product, an IBM spokeswoman said she could not offer any information about it at this time. And now that MySQL is owned by IBM rival Sun, the chances seem pretty poor that IBM will ever deliver such a product.
Enter AURA Equpiments, a developer of i5/OS database utilities based in Les Ulis Cedex, France, which is near Paris. Two weeks ago, AURA Equipments announced the availability of iStorage for MySQL, which delivers the same capabilities to turn DB2/400 into a MySQL storage engine that IBM promised, but failed, to deliver.
The company describes iStorage for MySQL as a data utility that allows MySQL-based PHP applications to access the same data used by i5/OS applications, without requiring any changes to source code. The product does this, the company says, by redirecting tables from MySQL to DB2/400, and vice versa. In this way, PHP programs can still use their standard MySQL APIs to access data from the MySQL database, but database management functions are handled from within DB2/400, making it easier for those with System i experience to manage them.
iStorage for MySQL works with Microsoft .NET applications designed for MySQL as well as with PHP applications written for MySQL, AURA Equipments says. It also works with MySQL running on Linux, which gives it an advantage over the IBM supported DB2/400 storage engine, the company says.
Julien Noiret, communication manager for AURA Equipments, says the delivery of iStorage for MySQL fills the blank left in the market by IBM for a DB2/400 engine for MySQL.
“We started iStorage development before IBM’s announcement,” Noiret says in an e-mail. “When IBM announced their wish to implement a storage engine for MySQL, we decided to hold the project. However, we noticed that nothing was coming, so we decided to finish it.”
You may not be familiar with AURA Equipments, but that may soon be changing. The company is an established developer of System i data access utilities, document and report distribution tools, and Web and Windows development tools. It claims more than 20,000 installations of its products and has been in business for 21 years.
Now, with iStorage for MySQL, AURA Equipments is positioning itself in the evolving ecosystem for PHP- and MySQL-based applications running on the System i. It has partnerships with Zend, the Silicon Valley company behind the open source PHP programming language, which could help it in this market.
Last year, AURA Equipments became an IBM business partner, and achieved ServerProven certification for some of its products. The company doesn’t have an office in the United States, and instead supports customers from its headquarters in France. One of the company’s main goals for 2008 is to grow its business in the United States, Noiret says.
iStorage for MySQL is available now. The software requires OS/400 V5R1 or higher. The product is sold on a subscription basis, starting at $495 per year. For more information visit the company’s Web site at www.easycom-aura.com.