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To Err is Human – The Case for Buy Over Build in Hard Real-time Database Management Systems

 

Conventional wisdom on the internet averages there are anywhere from 7-50 errors in every 1000 lines of code. Given that hard real-time systems are safety- and mission-critical, the room for error goes down to zero.

A paper by Watts S. Humphrey, founder of the Software Engineering Institute and the Capability Maturity Model, examined the results of studies at IBM and TRW on the relative cost of correcting defects at various stages in the development cycle. Humphrey asserted that the time to find and correct each coding defect during the test stage ranges from 2 to 20 developer hours.

This cost of remediating defects illustrates the tremendous savings likely to accrue from using off-the-shelf database management software for any modestly complex and demanding function. Exactly where this tipping point lies depends on the variables in the cost and complexity equation (i.e., labor cost and volume of code that will need to be written to meet the functionality required). Generally speaking, it is probably best to stick to solving line-of-business problems, versus solving general computing problems that have already been solved, like operating systems, database systems, web servers, and the like.

Already-debugged off-the-shelf software should inject no new defects into the project. Some might argue that using the API of an off-the-shelf software package also means writing a bunch of lines of code to use that API, and that this will also introduce bugs. But this misses the point that, regardless of whether the data management code is roll-your-own or off-the-shelf, application code still has to be written to use that data management code. So, the argument is a non-starter: you’re going to write the application code, either way.

Several programmer-years went into the initial release of eXtremeDB in 2001, and tens of programmer-years since. Therefore, it’s impractical to think that equivalent functionality, or even a meaningful subset, can be created from scratch in the few programmer-months that would constitute a ‘lower cost’ even at the lowest possible developer compensation levels.

It’s also worth mentioning that it is not possible for de novo code to be as stable/reliable as code that has been in production and field-tested for 20+ years.

The prior point is a convenient segue to the observation that a database management system takes time to develop, and more time to test, whereas off-the-shelf software is usable immediately. In today’s fast-moving world, lost time equals lost opportunity.

We encourage you to try eXtremeDB/rt. Desktop evaluation packages of eXtremeDB/rt for Linux, MacOS, QNX and Microsoft Windows platforms are available for free no-hassle download. Learn more about the programming interface and various real-time and non-real-time features of eXtremeDB/rt. After you have tried the desktop version, we hope you’ll contact us for a free trial of eXtremeDB/rt tailored to the needs of your RTOS.

Related Resources

Documentation & Collateral

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Review the eXtremeDB/rt data sheet

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Learn more about eXtremeDB/rt in our on-line documentation

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eXtremeDB/rt Q & A: what distinguishes a true real-time database?

In the News

eXtremeDB/rt deterministic DBMS

Tailored to your needs


The nature of eXtremeDB/rt’s tight integration with the RTOS and target hardware requires that each evaluation package be assembled uniquely for your needs.  Please contact us so that we can gather information on your RTOS vendor, version, target hardware, tool chain, and so on.

View the ever-expanding list of supported real-time operating systems.

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Desktop distributions

Free desktop evaluation packages of eXtremeDB/rt for Linux, MacOS, QNX and Windows platforms are available for immediate no-hassle download. Learn more about the programming interface and various real-time and non-real-time features of eXtremeDB/rt. After you have tried the desktop version, we hope you’ll contact us for a free trial of eXtremeDB/rt tailored to the needs of your RTOS.

You are also welcome to contact us, and we will send you a download of eXtremeDB/rt running in the FreeRTOS simulator.

News and articles about real-time database management.

COTS Cover photo July 2022

"Soft v Hard Real-time Systems" Embedded Computing, November 4, 2022

Real-time transaction timeline

"Embedded Databases in Real-Time Systems" CircuitCellar.com, March 14, 2022

Steve Graves, President and CEO, McObject

"Embedded Executive: Steve Graves, President and CEO, McObject" EmbeddedComputing.com, January, 2022 An interview reviewing key concepts in real-time computing.

COTS article about eXtremeDB/rt

"Databases in Hard Real Time" McObject Launches True Real-Time Deterministic Database for embOS Real-time Operating System Applications, Wilmott.com, October 15, 2021

COTS article about eXtremeDB/rt

"Keeping A Mission-Critical Deterministic DBMS On Time" by McObject CTO Andrei Gorine EmbeddedComputing.com, September 20, 2021

COTS article about eXtremeDB/rt

"Real time tasks need real time data" Read the Wind River blog, September 7, 2021

We’re grateful for the partnerships we have with industry leaders, and invite you to read what they say about eXtremeDB/rt in our joint press releases.

Azure RTOS ThreadX

“Managing data with a hard real-time requirement is a challenge for developers,” comments Tony Shakib, Partner General Manager, Microsoft Azure IoT. “Developers have had to use current solutions that may not meet time constraints or write their own database system. eXtremeDB/rt brings a solution to Microsoft Azure developers that eliminates this trade off.”

Read the joint press release.

DDC-I’s Deos

eXtremeDB/rt provides an excellent option for developers of resource-constrained, mission-critical embedded systems who require a compact, real-time embedded database,” said Greg Rose, vice president of marketing and product management at DDC-I. “We look forward to working with McObject to offer eXtremeDB/rt to embedded developers utilizing our Deos real-time operating system.”

Read the joint press release.

embOS from SEGGER

SEGGER’s CEO, Ivo Geilenbruegge, had this to say: “We are excited that McObject has created a first-of-its-kind real-time database system to complement our embOS RTOS and extend support for hard real-time systems to include database operations. Real-time systems are following the trend of embedded systems in that they are being called upon to manage more (and more complex) data.”

Read the joint press release.

FreeRTOS

Richard Barry, FreeRTOS founder, said “It is good to have another high-quality option for FreeRTOS users, this time providing a real-time deterministic database which can, as just one example, fulfill a crucial role in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): data collection, aggregation, and distribution in oil rig blow-out prevention (BOP) systems. A BOP is a specialized device equipped with sensors to detect a “kick” and actuate valves to prevent a catastrophic blowout.” Richard continued, “The need to detect and respond within deadlines is emblematic of real-time industrial systems.”

Read the press release.

INTEGRITY from Green Hills Software

Joe Fabbre, Global Technology Director for Green Hills had this to say: “McObject has created a unique real-time database that complements our INTEGRITY RTOS and extends hard real-time support to database operations. Advanced applications in real-time systems are being called upon to manage more (and more complex) data. eXtremeDB/rt gives developers of these systems an off the shelf solution for real-time data management.”

Read the joint press release.

LynxOS

“We were delighted to work with McObject to bring eXtremeDB/rt to the LynxOS partner ecosystem. Our companies share the vision that real-time systems are becoming more sophisticated and consequently have to manage more complex data. eXtremeDB/rt fills a critical gap in the technology stack,” said Pavan Singh, VP of product management, Lynx Software Technologies.

Read the joint press release.

QNX Neutrino RTOS

“Real-time performance can benefit embedded software developers in many market segments including autonomous systems, industrial control, robotics and medical devices,” said Romain Saha, Strategic Alliances Director at BlackBerry QNX: “McObject builds upon many years of QNX support by bringing eXtremeDB/rt to the latest version of the QNX Software Development Platform.”

Read the joint press release.

SIEMENS Nucleus RTOS

“McObject’s eXtremeDB/rt allows Nucleus customers to have a truly embedded database solution that allows them to meet the determinism they require in a commercial-off-the-shelf solution.” said Jeff Hancock, Siemens Embedded Senior Product Manager. “eXtremeDB/rt helps Nucleus customers manage ever-growing data requirements.”

Read the joint press release.

WindRiver VxWorks

“Through our work with McObject, we’re helping customers modernize and accelerate the delivery of reliable intelligent systems that demand real-time requirements,” said Michel Chabroux, Senior Director, Product Management, Wind River. “We look forward to building on our proven track record of success with McObject to help advance the next generation of cloud-connected intelligent systems with increasingly challenging edge compute needs.”

Read the joint press release.