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Actian Zen IoT v13 Product Information

First Customer Ship:January 18, 2018
End of General Availability:Not Scheduled
End of Support:Not Scheduled

Click here for the Zen IoT Server v13 Product Data Sheet

What is Actian Zen IoT?

In 2017, Actian refocused their database efforts around a new concept called Hybrid Data. The theory behind Hybrid Data is to provide a continuum of database products that can satisfy the data needs of most organizations. This continuum would provide for the most efficient access and storage of data at each level to meet the goals of that level. Here's what it looks like graphically:

On the left you can see the Actian Zen IoT Core Embedded Library database -- special components designed to be built into applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) world, to enable you to capture data on IoT endpoints, including sensors, smart phones, and other small, custom-built devices. The extremely small footprint of the Zen database product makes it ideal for these environments where processing power, memory, and storage are extremely limited.

Once that data has been collected and processed within the IoT endpoint, the data can be pushed or aggregated into a central database for additional processing (such as deduplication) and reporting. This can be either a small Zen IoT Server engine, running on a Rasapberry Pi or Windows IoT Core computer, or it can be a full-blown Actian Zen Server database engine running on a PC running Windows, Linux, or Mac OSX. You can then merge your IoT data with data stored within other SMB database application environments, such as those used for accounting, SPC data tracking, healthcare data, airlines, and more. By leveraging the power of full-blown Windows and Linux servers here, the Actian Zen Database Engine can handle substantially larger data sets and heavier processing workloads, up to hundreds of users or more. There are currently four editions of the Zen Database, namely the Workgroup Engine (for up to 5 concurrent users and a limited feature set), the Server Engine (for 6+ concurrent users), the Vx Server Engine, supporting unlimited users and licensed only by data size -- suitable for internet and SaaS solutions, and the new Zen IoT Server engine, designed for Raspberry Pi (ARM) and Windows IOT Core (ARM and Intel) deployments.

One of the challenges faced by any database engine is high-speed reporting and analytics. A row-based environment like Actian Zen is ideal for maintaining large quantities of data accurately and controlling multiple users that need to update the data simultaneously. However, such an environment is not well suited for analytics. Enter the Actian Vector database engine. The Vector database provides a column-based data store which can provide results, but at a speed that can be as much as 100x faster than a row-based database! This superior performance can be used to quickly generate dashboards, show trends within data, isolate sensor data that is out of a normal range, and coalesce your data into usable management reports.

At the far right, we see the Actian X Hybrid database. This combination of Ingres and Vector provides a high-end, enterprise-class, database environment for your applications, where you can leverage the SQL interface for Ingres to store your data, and yet still attain the reporting benefits of Vector.

Connecting these various layers in the picture above is a component called Actian DataConnect. This integration tool supports classic ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) operations for both simple and complex data conversions, as well as filtering and aggregation functions. While this tool exists today, the level of functionality it offers at the lower end (to the Zen Embedded Library and Zen Embedded Database) data is still a bit limited. We expect that they will start to address this in the upcoming releases.

While you are waiting for Actian to complete their picture, however, you should know that Goldstar Software has solutions for you today! Our DDF2XML tool can extract the database definitions from your Zen/PSQL database and generate CREATE statements for the Vector database. Another tool, GSSync, can pull data records out of the Zen databases and send them over to the Vector environment, much like the DataConnect product. Where GSSync shines, however, is in the handling of legacy and variant data types, as well as being able to identify changed records in your Zen/PSQL data, and update only the changed records in the Vector side, saving processing time and limiting changes.

Zen IoT Core Endpoint Database

The Zen IoT Core Endpoint Database is not available yet, but we expect it to be available for some platforms in 2018. Exact details on platforms and pricing are yet to be announced, but we expect solutions for Android to be available first, with iOS and others to follow. This solution will provide an extremely lightweight (less than 2MB) database solution using a modified Btrieve API, suitable for rapidly accessing data on your endpoint or mobile device.

Actian Zen IoT Server Gateway Database

The Zen IoT Server Gateway Database is a step above the Core and was first released in January 2018. This reduced-footprint Zen Server database engine supports 1-10 concurrent users in less than 40MB of memory and provides access to the Btrieve interface, as well as SQL through ODBC. It is available for the Raspberry Pi under Raspbian (ARM) and for Windows IoT Core computers on ARM and Intel CPU's, and it will be an ideal engine for use on an embedded POS environment needing additional processing power and database access, such as gasoline pumps and other retail checkout devices.

Actian Zen Server Database

The Actian Zen Server Database is formerly known as Actian PSQL, Pervasive PSQL, Pervasive.SQL, and even Btrieve and NetWare SQL. This database engine continues the long-standing history of providing a direct record-level access method with extremely high performance and a high degree of flexibility for the developer with respect to data structures. It is the original NoSQL database, but it ALSO includes a full ANSI-compliant SQL engine that can be accessed through ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET, and other interfaces. It supports database record sizes to 4GB, and individual data file sizes up to 256GB, and it has become the database engine of choice for applications within just about every vertical markets, including airlines, banks, dentists, doctor's offices, funeral homes, insurance companies, long term care facilities, steel mills, timber harvesting, and utilities.

As with previous versions (Actian PSQL v12 and older), Zen v13 is available for Windows in both 32-bit and 64-bit levels. The Linux engine of Zen Server is a 64-bit version only, but you can scale down to the IoT Server if you need a smaller environment with an older OS. We do expect compatible versions of DataExchange and AuditMaster to be available some time in 2018 at the earliest.

Right now, the embedded product name is still Actian PSQL v13, but this name will be retired in favor of the new name which conveys the primary features of Zen -- Zero-DBA, Embeddable, and Nano-footprint (i.e. small size).

What Makes Zen IoT Server v13 Different?

Here is a list of a few key features that would direct you towards the Zen IoT Server database engine:

  • Small Footprint: If you need a very small footprint for your database, but still need both transactional and relational access, then Zen IoT Server is for you. You can get the entire environment running in under 40MB of memory.
  • Raspberry Pi Support: Zen IoT Server is ready to run on a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian on an ARM CPU -- a $35 piece of hardware! You can use the Raspberry Pi to make a simple database server integrated with external sensors and other projects. This offers a simple way to store your sensor data, and then run basic analytics and aggregation, or even make decisions to create smart objects. (The Pi is a great platform if you like to tinker with hardware, kind of like the Apple ][+ that I grew up on.)
  • Windows IoT Core Support: Microsoft has released Windows IoT Core for both ARM and Intel CPUs, which allows you to leverage tiny computers using this OS just as easily. Windows IoT Core is a perfect database for POS systems and other POS devices, such as gas pumps. While you can run Windows IoT Core on a Raspberry Pi as well, you can also leverage an Intel Compute Stick, DragonBoard, or many other devices.

Actian Zen IoT Server v13 License Model

Actian Zen IoT Server v13 will be licensed by concurrent user, like the regular Zen Server product. As it is running on limited hardware, it will support a maximum of 10 concurrent users accessing the database at any one time. However, instead of being sold separately, Zen IoT Server will be sold only in special Deployment Packs of either 100, 250, or 1000 users. (Larger licenses may be available -- contact us if you need special details.) Pricing for each of these sizes can be found on our Actian Zen IoT v13 price list page, or you can BUY IT NOW from our on-line store. If you want to try out Zen IoT Server before you buy (a really good idea!), you can get trial downloads from here.

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[+] Actian Zen v13.10 (SP1)...

[+] Actian Zen v13.00 (FCS)...

[+] Frequently Asked Questions About Actian Zen v13...

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