Version 8 of Versant’s object data management system supports C# and .NET for the first time, and it has been optimized for a significant performance increase, the company announced on Feb. 16.

Dirk Bartels, strategic product manager at Versant, said that the performance improvement was the biggest change for version 8. He claimed that Versant 8 can, for workloads appropriate to its design, offer 20 to 80 times faster performance than MySQL.

Bartels said that MySQL is often used as a default database, and that it is not always the best choice for all applications. When applications require quick access to a database full of objects rather than straight data, he said Versant can offer significant speed increases, and reduce the number of servers needed.

In previous versions, Versant relied on C++ and Java as the primary languages for developer interaction. With the new release, C# and the rest of the Microsoft language environments are now supported for building applications on top of Versant.

Versant 8 also includes a new black box recorder, designed to help developers who are mired in debugging. “Black box recording is something we developed based on the more complex server architectures of today,” said Bartels. “There are lots of multi-threaded processes running on this server.

“Before, if a process corrupted, it was tough to create a debug environment. The black box records every action in the system from a logical point of view. Like a flight recorder in an airline, it allows you to better see what has happened. It’s about creating a better, more reliable production system. It gives you an assurance that if the system has an issue, you can figure it out very quickly.”

Bartels said the future of Versant lies in the clouds. He said the focus for how the system will evolve is on the rapid provisioning and removal of databases as they are or are not needed.

“Cloud is really, in my mind, about providing a system that is based on utilization. We don’t want to over-provision. You want to be able to extend provisioning quickly. The real challenge is can you do it quickly?” said Bartels.

To that end, he suggests using a single master node in the cloud, to which all new data is written. For a Web application with a lot of reading and not a lot of writing, spinning up additional read-only databases can help to alleviate load on the overall architecture. Once load is removed, those additional read-only nodes can be removed without compromising the integrity of the data. This model is, of course, dependent on the style of application being built.

As for the future of the Versant platform as it relates to database giant Oracle and its newly acquired MySQL, Bartels said that the biggest issue he sees for customers is the lack of action from Oracle, as yet. He said that Versant is not built for the same workloads as MySQL and PostgreSQL, and so it will likely not be a part of discussions taking place within enterprises looking to move off of MySQL.

“I think a lot of people, if they are using MySQL, may go to PostgreSQL,” Bartels said. “There’s a lot of question marks because nothing has transpired because of the acquisition. I see more and more people with a question mark saying they should look at alternatives.”