‘Embeddable’ is becoming a characteristic of competitive advantage. Embeddable usually implies a software component that is small, self-contained and can be easily ‘dropped into’ an application. In mid-2006, Oracle raised the level of promotion of ContentDB, Oracle’s content management middleware, and signed up Open Text as a partner. EMC/Documentum responded by announcing ‘the first’ embeddable ECM system — followed by claims that EMC wasn’t really the first. With Oracle’s acquisitions of DB technology from TimesTen and BerkeleyDB, Oracle is now spinning a story around their database technology and embeddable databases. The following graphic shows how Oracle plans to merge/position the database pieces.The long-time Oracle Database, now at version 10g, is positioned as targeting large application development that requires very advanced relational database features. While it isn’t well known, the Oracle Database can be packaged and deployed as an embedded component. In this way, it would be installed and configured silently as part of a larger application, and it is capable of self-managing.Oracle’s TimesTen meets the requirements of applications that require very high performance. TimesTen is a full read/write transactional RDBMS for shared multi-user access that keeps all data in memory. It provides load balancing, fault tolerance and high availability. Oracle says that some customers have deployed TimesTen on systems with more than a terabyte of RAM for stunningly fast performance.While TimesTen can be used as a stand-alone option, it can also be configured as a front-end cache for users of the standard Oracle Database, providing an order of magnitude speedup of existing applications. It can be deployed with no changes to the existing application.The BerkeleyDB technology is interesting, but a piece that seems to not fit together as smoothly with Oracle’s other pieces. Berkeley DB products are actually libraries and APIs with a very small footprint that run in the same address space as the application. Typically it takes up about half a megabyte of space. While it supports transactions, concurrency and recovery, it doesn’t use SQL, instead it uses XQuery and relies on a record-based put/get API for storage and retrieval.Finally, Oracle has the Oracle Lite product. Lite has tools for supporting both offline and online usage with the ability to allow periodic synchronization with the Oracle Database. All database elements are syncrhonized, including tables, indexes, sequences, DDL and constraints.Also, while on the topic of Oracle’s Database strategy, there’s an interesting rumor that Oracle will take another step towards undercutting successful Open Source products by offering support for the MySQL Open Source database. The plan would be similar to their Unbreakable Linux announcement made last year that targeted RedHat.