What’s an Embedded Database

Wayne Warren gives a whiteboard presentation on what is an embedded database. Wayne will discuss how embedded computers have evolved over the years to be able to handle more serious data management functionality.



Hi, I’m Wayne Warren, the Chief Technology Officer here at Raima, and I’d like to talk about embedded databases.

We have always had to define embedded databases in two different ways. The first one being an embedded database in the application. There is an application. You link in something like RDM, the runtime library, library functions that let you access a local database or a remote database from your application without having to do all that code by yourself. That’s what we’ve always called an Embedded Database.

The second definition would be a database that is running on an embedded computer. Same configuration here. We have an application accessing the database through our runtime. This we’d call deeply embedded, where this is simply embedded. Embedded computers are expanding in their capabilities very rapidly. It’s been exciting to watch. The last 10-15 years, they’ve gone from computers that could monitor sensors to full-blown computers that can do all sorts of modern technology. And, the mature technologies of 10, 15, 20 years ago are now available to run on embedded computers, especially database management. So, that’s not typically a thing done on embedded computers, but now it’s fully possible that serious database management systems can be run on embedded computers. So since we were established in 1984, we have always had this form of embedded database.

Now, with serious embedded computers running databases, we have that same architecture in the deeply embedded form. The interesting thing about the simple embedded architecture here is that the code always accompanies your own application’s code. There’s no separate installation of a database server. There is no database administrator needed for that. Any administration is done through the application.

Now with the embedded computers, desktop computers and bigger all running the same database manager software, we have the ability to have these cooperate. So the embedded computers on a Windows machine, a Linux machine, can be talking and interacting; sharing data with databases on embedded computers. We find this very exciting and are very interested in the developments that are going to happen on embedded computers over the next several years.