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Actian Zen Edge and Core v13 Product Information

 Zen Edge v13Zen Core v13
First Customer Ship:January 18, 2018Beta Available Now
End of General Availability:Not ScheduledNot Scheduled
End of Support:Not ScheduledNot Scheduled
Product Data Sheet:Zen EdgeZen Core

Comparing Zen Core with SQLite?

10 Reasons to Upgrade from SQLite to Zen Core

What is Actian Zen Edge and Zen Core?

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 Core Embedded Library database (which was previously called IoT Core) -- 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 running Android or iOS operating systems. The extremely small footprint of the Zen Core database (about 2MB) 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 Core 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 Edge 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. (Click here for a recent ChannelPro article on IoT Edge Processing.) 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 five 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 new Zen Edge engine, designed for Raspberry Pi (ARM) and Windows IOT Core (ARM and Intel) deployments, and finally the Zen Core enpoint database for Android/iOS.

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 Core Endpoint Database

The Zen Core Endpoint Database is available in a BETA release for both Android and iOS. You can download a Community Edition of Zen Core and start playing with this technology immediately. Exact details on pricing have yet to be announced, but we're told to expect under $1/seat for high volume, commercial deployments, with the community edition remaining free for development use. This solution provides an extremely lightweight (currently around 2MB) database solution using a modified Btrieve API, suitable for rapidly accessing secure data on your endpoint or mobile device. Even better, because it uses the same storage system as the rest of the Zen platform, there is no need to write data migration tools -- just copy the data files and you can access them in the other environments natively when needed.

So why does Actian need to compete in this market, when other solutions like SQLite or even flat files are already quite common? Put simply, because they can! The Zen Core library has a number of advantages over other solutions, including:

  • The built-in encryption provides solid security for data stored locally on your device, meeting hard requirements scheduled to take effect in CA in 2020 and Europe, and covering laws expected to be enacted soon in many other parts of the world.
  • By using the Zen data file format, data files can be directly transferred to or from other Zen environments for additional processing, data aggregation, seeding, or other important tasks. There's no need to write any data transfer and conversion routines.
  • While hardware has come a long way since the 640K PC was released in 1981, Btrieve and its low-overhead interface has been there for developers throughout the last 35+ years. It worked great back then, and it works great now on this low-cost hardware with minimal resources.
  • Zen Core crushes the competition: Actian Zen Core outperformed SQLite by more than 100x on inserts, 1500x on deletes, and over 600x on updates. Check out the benchmark report from McKnight Consulting Group comparing Zen Core with SQLite.

Actian Zen Edge Gateway Database

The Zen Edge Gateway Database (formerly known as Zen IoT Server) 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 Enterprise Server Database

The Actian Zen Enterprise 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 Server 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 Edge if you need a smaller environment with an older OS. Compatible versions of DataExchange and AuditMaster are also available.

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 Edge v13 Different?

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

  • Small Footprint: If you need a very small footprint for your database, but still need both transactional and relational access, then Zen Edge is for you. You can get the entire environment running in under 40MB of memory.
  • Raspberry Pi Support: Zen Edge 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 Edge v13 License Model

Actian Zen Edge v13 is licensed by concurrent user, like the regular Zen Server product. As it is running on limited hardware, it supports a maximum of 10 concurrent users accessing the database at any one time. However, instead of being sold separately, Zen Edge is 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 Edge v13 price list page, or you can BUY IT NOW from our on-line store. If you want to try out Zen Edge before you buy (a really good idea!), you can get trial downloads from here.

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[+] Actian Zen v13.20 (SP2)...

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

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

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

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