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Actian Zen v14 Product Information

Zen Logo

First Customer Ship:August 27, 2019
End of General Availability:December 31, 2022 (Delayed)
End of Support:Not Scheduled

Product Data Sheets for: Zen Enterprise Server, Zen Cloud Server, Zen Edge, and Zen Core.

Product Technical Overview Paper: Zen Data Management

Actian Zen v14 was first released in 2019, and is the currently-supported version. Previously known under other names such as Actian PSQL, Pervasive PSQL, and Btrieve, this release is more evolutionary than revolutionary in nature, because several of the new features were actually released early, in v13.30. Instead, Actian has concentrated on completing the rebranding project they started with PSQL v13, completing the name change to Actian Zen in almost all areas of the environment.

What really stands out in this release is the complete cross-platform capability. Actian has succeeded in taking their best-of-breed database database solution to every popular platform in use today, allowing scalability from smartphones and tablets (Zen Core, on Android and iOS) to edge computing devices (Zen Edge, on Raspberry Pi and Windows IoT Server, with more to follow) to desktop computers (Zen Workgroup on Windows) to networked and cloud servers (Zen Enterprise Server and Zen Cloud Server) and complete hosted SaaS environments (Zen Cloud Server). Because the data file formats are identical across all of these platforms, there is no need to build ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) processes to migrate data from one tier to another. Even more importantly, since each engine supports file encryption, the data remains secure at all times, with no need to decrypt data as it is being moved between tiers. This helps you meet all of your goals for securing your customer's data, no matter where it may reside.

What's New In Zen v14?

Here is a list of the most important new features in this release:

  • Complete Rebranding: Actian has completed the rebranding effort with this release, changing the various internal product names from PSQL to Zen, as well as finally changing the company name from Pervasive Software to Actian. This will likely cause headaches for old-timers as the locations of registry entries, program folders, and other such names are changing (like the new ZenCC, which replaces the PCC), but these changes will be consistent going forward with the current product names, at least until the next name change.
  • AutoTimestamp Key Type: A new Btrieve Key Type has been added called AutoTimestamp. This key works like the AUTOINC key type, where you can provide a 0 value (on either an Insert or an Update operation) and the engine will automatically fill in the current UTC time for you as the number of nanoseconds from January 1, 1970. SQL support for this data type is expected in an upcoming Service Pack, but you can use a UBIGINT as a placeholder for now and convert the value to a human-readable time format using a simple user-defined function in SQL.
  • AES-256 Encryption: Older Btrieve interfaces supported a short (8-byte) owner name, using a proprietary encryption format. As users have demanded increased security using standards-based encryption, Actian added the long (24-byte) owner name in PSQL v10.10 and above, which used 128-bit encryption. In v13.30, they added AES-192 encryption for long owner names, as well as the ability to provide hexadecimal strings for the owner name. Zen v14 now offers full AES-256 encryption on files with owner names of up to 32 bytes.
  • Java Runtime Environment Upgrade: Actian now bundles in the OpenJDK Java Runtime Engine Version 8. You can upgrade the JRE component independently of Zen.
  • JSON Filter: Similar to the LIKE capability added in v13.30, the v14 Microkernel now supports filtering of JSON string data and values directly inside the Microkernel's GetNextExtended calls. This new feature will enable developers to store JSON data (such as EXIF information) directly into a LONGVARCHAR field and then extract records with specific values or ranges.
  • ADO.NET Support: Actian has terminated support for the ADO.NET Data Provider 4.2, but added support for the 4.4 Provider, including support for Visual Studio 2019 and the BIGIDENTITY data type.
  • 8-Byte Record Counts: The DTI/DTO interfaces were previously unable to handle more than 4 billion records in a table. A new call is available that will cover this inevitability.
  • New Time Data Types: A new TIMESTAMP2 data type was added, providing support for nanosecond precision, as well as display capabilities and SQL support for the AUTOTIMESTAMP data type. New scalar functions SYSDATETIME() and SYSUTCDATETIME have been added, as well as nanosecond scale on the SYSDATETIMEOFFSET() function.
  • DEU Tool: A new data export utility was released to provide simply data exports from the command line.
  • Delete Extended Operations: Btrieve developers can now delete many records at a time through the DeleteExtended operations.
  • SQL on Android/iOS: SQL capability has now been added to the Android and iOS releases of Zen Core.
  • Read-Only DSN's: It is once-again possible for a DSN to be flagged as read-only, supporting additional data security.
  • BUTIL Improvements: The maintenance utility now displays the encryption type of a file (when enabled), and can handle multiple files in the CACHE/PURGE functions.

In addition to these changes, several improvements added in the PSQL v13.30 release are also notable:

  • Support for Larger Data Sets: The new v13 file format supports files as large as 64TB and with up to 18 quintillion records! A new BTRVEX function is needed to access systems over 4 billion records or 256GB of size, but this can be phased into your code, modifying applications only where needed.
  • New Btrieve C and C++ APIs: Simpler development is here! A new Btrieve 2 API is included with v13 which offers a simplified way of calling the database from C, but also from object-oriented languages like C++. Even better, a new SWIG API is available for the Btrieve 2 API which offers access from Perl, PHP, Python, and other scripting environments. Get more details from the Getting Started guide.

You can get the official What's New document now.

Supported Operating Systems and Hardware Requirements

Officially supported operating systems include Windows 7 through Windows 10, and Windows Server 2008 R2 through Windows Server 2019 only, along with various OS X and Linux distributions and versions. Windows Vista, Windows XP, Server 2003, Server 2008 (not R2) and older operating systems are not formally supported by Actian with this release! This does not mean that they will not work, but only that they have not been officially tested or supported by Actian.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you intend to upgrade to a new Windows 11 computer, please be aware that some recently-released solid state disk (SSD) modules are now shipping with sector sizes larger than 4K, which can cause problems with older versions of database systems from Microsoft, Oracle, and Pervasive/Actian. Actian will NOT be releasing updates for Zen v14 or older to address this issue. If you intend to stay on an older database engine on new hardware, you should first run the command "fsutil fsinfo sectorInfo C:", which will report a value for PhysicalBytesPerSectorForAtomicity. If this value is reported at anything over 4096, your new hardware is incompatible with Zen v14 and older, and you should plan to upgrade your database software to Zen v15 to retain functionality. Note that the sector size is an inherent property of the hardware and cannot be altered (without replacing the hardware).

There are no stated minimum hardware requirements. Essentially, if you can run the OS, you can run the database engine. However, performance will be commensurate with the resources provided, as well as the workload.

Actian Zen v14 License Models

Actian Zen v14 has five different license models to choose from:

  • Workgroup Engine: Per-user licensing, up to a maximum of 5 concurrent users
  • Enterprise Server Engine: Per-user licensing, starting at 6 concurrent users
  • Cloud Server Engine: Data size licensing (with unlimited users), ideal for web/SaaS installations
  • Edge Engine: Small edge devices with support for ARM (Raspbian) or x86 (Windows IoT Servers)
  • Core Library: An ultra-small (and free) database library for your Android or iOS applications

Please see our Zen v14 License Primer for more information on the various license types and other factors that might help you determine the best license type for your environment.

If you have decided on per-user licensing, but you are still not sure if you want the Workgroup Engine or one of the server engines, check out our Workgroup Versus Server Comparison Chart.

Pricing for each of these license models can be found on our Actian Zen v14 price list, or you can BUY IT NOW from our on-line store. If you want to try out different license models before you buy (a really good idea!), you can get trial downloads from here.

Still not sure which license model or size to get?

Actian Zen v14 Application Support

Many companies use the Actian Zen database engine. Check out their Logo Sheet for some ideas of the breadth and scope of solutions being offered today.

We expect application vendors to be testing Actian Zen v14 already, some have already announced support for this version. If we have heard from your vendor, then our Application Support pages may have useful information already for you. Otherwise, please contact your application vendor directly to find out when they expect to support Zen v14 (and have them let us know, too).

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[+] Actian PSQL v14.20 (SP2)...

[+] Actian PSQL v14.10 (SP1)...

[+] Actian Zen v14.00 (FCS)...

[+] Frequently Asked Questions About Actian Zen v14...

If you have additional questions about the product, please contact us!

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