Online application vendor LongJump (who we covered back in November) has announced a major new initiative that they’re calling “Database as a Service.” The new offering decouples LongJump’s browser-based frontend applications from their relational database backend, making it possible for developers to work with either (or both) as the situation demands.
Like other similar vendors, LongJump allows you to build complete business applications in the browser, choosing from a list of pre-built options or starting from scratch. As part of that process, you’re actually creating a database in their data center and setting up access control for your users. What the new DaaS APIs do is open up that database to direct access.
More precisely, they’re layering a REST-based XML API on top of their database, which returns data in the form of standard SOAP messages. This opens up several new possibilities: building your own web front end for your LongJump applications, delivering LongJump data via a web service, or simply using LongJump as a data store without any intention of using their user interface. Billing is integrated with the rest of LongJump, based on the number of authenticated users with a rate governor to prevent you from signing on as a single user from thousands of computers simultaneously.
Using LongJump’s database presents several potential advantages for the web startup, notably access from anywhere with the data being in a secure data center with daily backups and real-time mirroring. You also get the benefit of LongJump’s access control, data validation, and policies (think triggers on your database). This positions them somewhat differently from the other recently-announced web database, Amazon SimpleDB. Amazon concentrates on simply storing your data with metered pricing, with no add-on services (not even relations), while LongJump is striving to provide a higher level of application support. Ultimately there should be room for both models in the market.