Actian Zen v15 Product Information
|Press Release:||Click Here|
|First Customer Ship:||August 15, 2021|
|End of General Availability:||Not Scheduled|
|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 announced their latest flagship product, Actian Zen v15, on July 14, 2021, and Service Pack 1 was posted as of June 8, 2022! Previously known under other names such as Actian PSQL, Pervasive PSQL, Pervasive.SQL, and Btrieve, this release is adds quite a few new features that dig deep into the core of the engine to provide new functionality and features for both developers and end users.
What's New In Zen v15?
Here is a list of the most important new features in this release:
- Performance Improvements: Actian's SQL development team has made the engine faster overall through a series of changes:
Even better, many of these optimizations require no changes on the part of the user or programmer!
- File Close Delay: By delaying (slightly) a File Close operation, a subsequent FileOpen request for the same file can be completed with less work, thus reducing latency when re-opening a file. This value defaults to 50ms and can be changed to 0 to disable this feature, if you see problems.
- Transaction Log Changes: The transaction log file size and buffer size have been increased to reduce disk write loads.
- SQL DELETE Operations: A DELETE statement from SQL can now leverage the DeleteExtended function, improving the performance of multi-row delete operations.
- SQL LIKE Optimizations: As with the DELETE operation, the LIKE clause in SQL now supports push-down filters to the MKDE, offering additional performance gains.
- Scalar Subqueries: A new optimization on non-correlated, scalar subqueries (i.e. those that return a single value not based on the primary table) may improve SQL queries considerably.
- Improved Statistics: With SP1, key statistics are now being maintained on a sub-key level, and this additional information can be used to better optimize indexed lookups from SQL. This feature requires the v13 file format, and will also require a rebuild or reindexing of existing v13 files.
- System Data v2: The v13 file format has been extended to support a second System Data option. The System Data v2 block contains a true septasecond TIMESTAMP from when the record was inserted, along with a second septasecond TIMESTAMP field (TIMESTAMP(7) in SP1) indicated the most recent UPDATE time. This new feature enables tracking of database updates within the MKDE, which may be helpful for writing synchronization and replication solutions. Even better, both internal fields are accessible from SQL as the special column names sys$create and sys$update. This is something which we have been asking for for some time!
- File Size Limit for Backward Compatibility: If you need to use the newer file format to access the new system data values, this can have an ancillary effect when you are dealing with very large data sets. If you accidentally exceeding the old 256GB file size limit (or 4B records in a file), some functions will fail or return bad data unless you are using the newer BTRVEX function call. This new switch enables you to use the new features of the new file formats (such as the enhanced system data) while still using the older BTRV/BTRCALL interface.
- SQL Windowing Functions: Another developer change, new SQL features designed to deal with time series data are added, such as the OVER(PARTITION...) syntax, which implement a subset of the ANSI SQL windowing functions, such as rolling averages. SP1 implements further improvments with the addition of DATEFLOOR, EVERYN, and LAG keywords.
- Administrative Changes: The BUTIL -STAT, BMON, ande BCFG tools now accept a -JSON option to return data that can be more easily handled by scripting applications (like PowerShell). Additionally, Windows engines will now submit log messages to the Windows Event Log, in addition to the ZEN.LOG.
- API Updates: Several applicaton programming interfaces have been updated for developers:
- Btrieve 2 Improvements: Developers using the Btrieve 2 interface can now leverage the BulkDelete operation, as well as access the System Data v2 information block.
- PDAC/BPL Changes: The PDAC libraries (BPL files) are no longer installed by default, but are still part of PDAC SDK download.
- ADO.NET Changes: The ADO.NET Data Provider 4.3 has been removed, v4.4 is unchanged, and a new 4.5 release has been added for .NET Core 2.1. SP1 adds integration with Visual Studio 2022, .NET 6, and Entity Framework 6.1.
- Two APIs Removed: The ActiveX and OLEDB SDK's have been discontinued as of this release. Programs developed with previous versions of these SDKs will continue to work properly on Zen v15. If you are a developer using these interfaces, you should start transitioning to ADO.NET or ODBC instead.
- Platform Changes: As Microsoft has already ended support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, these products will not be tested nor formally supported by Actian in this release. This does not mean that they won't work, but just that these combinations will not be tested. New to v15 is Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, and SP1 includes formal support for Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022.
- Config-on-Install: With SP1, it is now possible to configure key components at the time of the installation itself through a bcfg_install.txt file, which is executed after the install completes. This allows developers to easily produce a customized install image that ensures the engine is configured as needed for a given application without resorting to additional scripts.
Check out the official What's New document for additional information.
Supported Operating Systems and Hardware Requirements
Officially supported operating systems include Windows 10/11 and Windows Server 2012 (and newer, through Server 2022), along with various OS X and Linux distributions and versions. Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Server 2003, Server 2008 R2 (and older) operating systems are not formally supported by Actian with this release.
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 v15 License Models
Actian Zen v15 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 v15 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 v15 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.
Actian Zen v15 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 v15 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 v15 (and have them let us know, too).
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[+] Actian Zen v15.10 (SP1)...
Released in June 2022, the SP1 (Service Pack 1) product build offers some bug fixes and new features over the FCS release.
This release includes the following features:
- New Platforms: Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022 are now formally tested and supported, as is hardware with sector sizes over 4K.
- Change to System Data v2: The pseudo-column names sys$create and sys$update have been changed to a TIMESTAMP(7) field, providing septasecond precision.
- New SQL Functionality: Several new SQL capabilities have been added, including:
- DATEFLOOR function rounds a timestamp field down to a specific interval.
- EVERYN function can help group timestamps, such as "every 6 seconds".
- ILIKE operator provides case-insensitive LIKE capabilities.
- LAG windowing function retrieves a value from an earlier row.
- OVER no longer requires PARTITION BY
- PARTITION BY columns are no longer required to be base columns.
- SQL Performance Improvement: Execution time for SQL queries using indexed columns is improved. This gain requires additional statistics only maintained in v13 files with the new statistics enabled, so file (or index) rebuilding will be required.
- Client-Side Tracing Improved: Performance for client-side tracing is improved.
- Array Fetch Buffer Change: The buffer size now defaults to 64K instead of 8K.
- ADO.NET Changes: A new provider for Visual Studio 2022 is now available, including .NET 6 support and support for Entity Framework 6.1.
- Improved Defragmenter: Files with System Data v2 can now be defragmented.
- PSA Renamed: The Pervasive System Analyzer is now known as the Zen System Analyzer (ZenSA).
- Customizing Configuration During Install: It is now possible to force specific configuration settings as part of the installation through a bcfg_install.txt file. This is recommended for application developers with specific configuration requirements.
This is a paid upgrade to previous versions (Zen v14 and earlier), but a free patch to users of v15.00 through v15.01.
[+] Actian Zen v15.00 (FCS)...
Announced on July 14, 2021 and released August 15, 2021, the FCS (First Customer Ship) product build offers several new features to users of older PSQL/Zen versions, as well as building on the recent improvements made in v14. This includes the following features:
- Performance: Queries with LIKE and DELETE queries will now use new push-down filters, improving performance (in some cases, considerably). Additional gains will be seen by applications that often rapidly close and re-open files.
- System Data Changes: Additions to the System Data and a new UpdateSysKey value enables timestamp tracking of database record inserts and updates.
- System Data Access from SQL: You can access the new System Data values directly from SQL now, using internal field names Sys$Create and Sys$Update.
- Ability to Limit File Size: Storing data in very large files (over 256GB or 4B records) require code changes to use the BTRVEX function call. This new flag allows you to prevent the engine from expanding a file beyond the limit of the BTRV call, preventing errors in older applications.
- Time Series Support: The new OVER(PARTITION...) syntax is now available from SQL, making time series data queries easier.
- OLEDB and ActiveX Support: These interfaces have now been deprecated from the Zen environment.
- Discontinued OS Support: The product will not be tested nor formally supported with Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008R2 or older.
This is a paid upgrade to previous versions (Zen v14, PSQL v13 and earlier).
[+] Frequently Asked Questions About Actian Zen v15...
Q: Does Actian have an official Zen v15 FAQ or README File?
A: You can find download Actian's Zen v15 README now. There is no FAQ yet.
Q: My vendor doesn't support the new version yet. What can I do?
A: You can still purchase Actian Zen v14, which will be supported for a minimum of 18 months after the release of v15. Then, you can choose to upgrade the engine later on, if needed, at a discounted price.
Q: Is Actian Zen v15 backward compatible with my older applications?
A: Most 32-bit and 64-bit applications should run on Zen v15 with no issues. You may wish to contact the developer to be sure. Officially, 16-bit applications are no longer supported. You may be able to get around this by using our special Requester Patch Pack (scroll all the way down).
Q: If my application worked on Zen v14 or PSQL v13, will it work on v15?
A: It is always a good idea to check with the application developer or to test your own applications. Most new features can easily be ignored by older applications. One noted issue may result due to discontinuing of older ADO.NET drivers. If your application is hard-coded to use an older version specifically, it may break. If the application uses the latest ADO drivers and uses a version-agnostic naming scheme, then it should work just fine!
Q: Are all of the Ecosystem products (AuditMaster, DataExchange, Backup Agent) supported on Actian Zen v15?
A: Old versions of these products must be removed before installing Zen v15. See our Ecosystem pages for information about versions of Backup Agent, AuditMaster, and DataExchange that are compatible with Zen v15.
Q: Is Actian Zen v15 supported on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019?
A: Yes! Zen v15 will run on these newer operating systems.
Q: What about Windows 11?
A: Windows 11 is not supported immediately out of the gate, as the OS had not yet been finalized as of the release date. Instead, look for formal support for Windows 11 in the first full Service Pack.
If you have additional questions about the product, please contact us!