A Scalable Middleware for Web Databases

A Scalable Middleware for Web Databases

Athman Bouguettaya (Virginia Tech, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-098-1.ch012

Abstract

The emergence of Web databases has introduced new challenges related to their organization, access, integration, and interoperability. New approaches and techniques are needed to provide across-the-board transparency for accessing and manipulating Web databases irrespective of their data models, platforms, locations, or systems. In meeting these needs, it is necessary to build a middleware infrastructure to support flexible tools for information space organization, communication facilities, information discovery, content description, and assembly of data from heterogeneous sources. In this paper, we describe a scalable middleware for efficient data and application access that we have built using the available technologies. The resulting system is called WebFINDIT. It is a scalable and uniform infrastructure for locating and accessing heterogeneous and autonomous databases and applications.
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Background

The open source vs. closed source (alternatively called proprietary development) debate has been a topic of continuous quarrel between experts affiliated to either of the two camps.

The notion of making money through traditional methods, such as the selling of individual copies is incompatible with the open source philosophy. Some proprietary source advocates perceive open source software as damaging to the market of commercial software. However, this complaint is countered by a large number of alternative funding streams such as (Wikipedia.org, 2006a):

  • Giving away the software for free and, in return, charging for installation and support as in many Linux distributions

  • Making the software available as open source so that people will be more likely to purchase a related product or service you do sell (e.g., OpenOffice.org vs StarOffice)

  • Cost avoidance/cost sharing: Many developers need a product, so it makes sense to share development costs (this is the genesis of the X-Window System and the Apache Web server).

Moreover, advocates of closed source argue that since no one is responsible for open source software, there is no incentive and no guarantee that a software product will be developed or that a bug in such a product will be fixed. At the same time, and in all circumstances, there is no specific entity either of individual or organizational status to take responsibility for such negligence.

However, studies about security in open source software vs. closed source software (Winslow, 2004) claim that not only each significant commercial product has its counterpart in the open source arsenal but also that open source software usually provides less time for flaw discovery and, consequently, for a relative patch or fix.

Besides, open source advocates argue that since the source code of closed source software is not available, there is no way to know what security vulnerabilities or bugs may exist.

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