Actian Zen Edge and Core v13 Product Information
| ||Zen Edge v13||Zen Core v13|
|First Customer Ship:||January 18, 2018||Beta Available Now|
|End of General Availability:||Not Scheduled||Not Scheduled|
|End of Support:||Not Scheduled||Not Scheduled|
|Product Data Sheet:||Zen Edge||Zen 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)...
Released in August 2018, the SP2 (Service Pack 2) product build offers additional bug fixes and new features over the SP1 release.
This release includes the following new features:
- New Platform Support: New PSQL Client components for Rasbian (ARM32) and Windows IoT Core (x86 and ARM32) are now available. Additionally, the new Zen Core for Android embedded database is now available, with iOS to follow!
- Limited Reporting Engine: While the Reporting Engine in v13.00 allowed remote users to off-load SQL queries to a second server, the Reporting Engine is now limited to LOCAL access only. This is a step backwards, but was needed to address a hole in the licensing mechanism. This may be changed back at some time in the future.
- New 8-byte AutoInc field: The Btrieve interface now supports a new 8-byte AUTOINC field. Files MUST be in the v9.5 file format, and enabling this feature will make your files inaccessible from engines older than v13.20, so be careful with this feature! Also, you can use the Btrieve API or BUTIL/Maintenance utility to create files with the
new 8-byte AutoInc field type, but there is no support yet from SQL for BIGIDENTITY, and Function Executor cannot (yet) be used to create files with this feature.
- Updated Btrieve 2 API: The Btrieve 2 API has been updated in several areas, such that recompilation of your application may be required. The ability to use the LIKE operator (added in SP1) is now added to this API as well.
- New SQL Functions: The SQL functions TRY_CAST() and TRY_CONVERT() have been added. Unlike the normal CAST/CONVERT functions, your query will not fail if the data in unconvertable -- the function will instead return NULL. This makes a LOT of sense!
This is a paid upgrade to previous versions (PSQLv12 and earlier), but a free patch to users of v13.10 and v13.00.
Download the PSQL v13.20 Install Media. (Login Required)
[+] Actian Zen v13.10 (SP1)...
Released on December 13, 2017, the SP1 (Service Pack 1) product build offers some bug fixes and new features over the FCS release.
This release includes the following features:
- Linux and MAC OS/X Engines Released: The Linux and Mac OS/X engines have been released with this update.
- Raspbian and NanoServer Engines Released: The Raspbian Linux Engine (for Raspberry Pi) and the Windows Nano Server engines have been released with this update.
- LIKE with Extended Operations: Developers now have the ability to use LIKE syntax to search for substrings with the Extended Operations, such as GetNextExtended and StepNextExtended. This feature will provide performance gains to the SRDE right away, and can allow for LIKE searching in your Btrieve applications to provide a substantial speed improvement.
- Integration with AD Security: Windows Server Engine users can now leverage Active Directory groups to implement SQL access rights.
This is a paid upgrade to previous versions (PSQLv12 and earlier), but a free patch to users of v13.00.
Download the PSQL v13.10 Install Media. (Login Required)
[+] Actian Zen v13.00 (FCS)...
Released on June 27, 2017, the FCS (First Customer Ship) product build offers a lot of new features to users of older PSQL versions.
This release includes the following features:
- Reporting Engine: Many users have asked for this feature over the years, and it has finally come to fruition! Included FREE with Zen v13 is a new Client Reporting Engine (CRE), which allows you to set up a secondary Zen server for reporting purposes. Now, you can off-load your SQL queries and reports, preserving the performance of your production server.
- 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.
- New Schema Export and Import in PCC: A completely revamped solution to exporting and importing your SQL metadata is available in v13, making it possible to recreate your databases, migrate from v1 to v2 metadata, and more.
- Updated Cache Management: Would you like to purge useless data from your database engine cache? A new option for BUTIL is available to do just that! This command can be used to flush pages from a large, rarely-accessed file from your database cache. Even better -- use the -CACHE option to pre-load data from your critical files into the cache, improving performance for the users!
- New SDKs: ADO.NET 4.3 modules are now available (ADO.NET 4.0 has been deprecated in Zen v13).
This is a paid upgrade to previous versions (PSQLv12 and earlier).
Download the Zen v13.00 Install Media. (Login Required)
[+] Frequently Asked Questions About Actian Zen v13...
Q: Does Actian have an official Zen v13 FAQ or README File?
A: You can find download Actian's Zen v13 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 PSQL v12, which will be supported for a minimum of 18 months from the release of v13. Then, you can choose to upgrade the engine later on, if needed, at a discounted price.
Q: Is Actian Zen v13 backward compatible with my older applications?
A: Most 32-bit and 64-bit applications should run on Zen v13 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 PSQLv12, will it work on v13?
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 v13?
A: Old versions of these products must be removed before installing Zen v13. See our Ecosystem pages for information about versions of Backup Agent, AuditMaster, and DataExchange that are compatible with Zen v13.
Q: Is Actian Zen v13 supported on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016?
A: Yes! Zen v13 will run on these newer operating systems.
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If you have additional questions about the product, please contact us!