Home > Articles

On Your Marks ... Get Set ... Go!!!: An Introduction to the Apache Derby and IBM Cloudscape Community

On August 3, 2004, IBM released a technical preview of IBM Cloudscape Version 10. While this in itself is exciting news, more importantly, IBM also made one of the most significant contributions in the history of the open source database community by contributing the source code for IBM Cloudscape to the Apache Software Foundation as the Apache Derby database. This chapter gives you a heads up on these tools and what they mean for you.
This chapter is from the book


Welcome to the Apache Derby and IBM Cloudscape family! We are glad to have you join our community of thousands, all dedicated to open standards and open source computing.

On August 3, 2004, IBM released a technical preview of IBM Cloudscape Version 10. While this in itself is exciting news, more importantly, IBM also made one of the most significant contributions in the history of the open source database community by contributing the source code for IBM Cloudscape to the Apache Software Foundation as the Apache Derby database. The Apache Software Foundation subsequently accepted Apache Derby as an incubator project. At the time this book was published, Apache Derby and IBM Cloudscape Version 10.1 was released and the Apache Derby project graduated from an incubator project (more on that in a bit) to an Apache sub-project.

The history of the Cloudscape technology is an interesting one indeed. In 1997, Cloudscape Inc. released what was perhaps the world’s first real Java-based database, well before Java became the darling of the information technology (IT) community. The Cloudscape database began to carve its reputation as a pure Java-based relational database with just a 2 MB "fingerprint" that simplified application development. It made applications easier to deploy on any platform and represented the first truly relational database for which a DBA was not a requirement! Its significance went well beyond a "lights out" no management database. Cloudscape opened the doors for application developers (who are not generally database savvy) to leverage the benefits of a persistent data store for their applications.

In 1999, Informix bought Cloudscape Inc. and continued to enhance this database server, seeding it with even richer self-managing, ease of deployment, and open standards features—many of which were ahead of their time. IBM acquired the Cloudscape technology in July 2001 by purchasing the assets of Informix Software. As you can see, the IBM Cloudscape (formerly just Cloudscape) database has been around for a long time, which accounts for its maturity, robustness, and functionally rich feature set.

After the Informix acquisition, the IBM Cloudscape development teams have reported into IBM’s Database Technology Institute, under the direction of Don Haderle and Dr. Patricia Selinger, two of the founders of relational database technology. In fact, since IBM acquired this technology, it has funded a continually expanding development team through several new versions and added compatibility with the IBM DB2 Universal Database (DB2 UDB) family through a fully compliant SQL application programming interface (API). This means that applications written for IBM Cloudscape (and subsequently Apache Derby—more on that in a bit) can easily be migrated to the DB2 UDB platform if necessary.

You might be surprised to know just how many partners, customers, and software packages use IBM Cloudscape in their technology—the very technology you’re about to learn how to program to. In fact, over 80 different IBM products use IBM Cloudscape for many different reasons, including ease of deployment, portability, "hands-free" operation, an open standards-based Java engine, the small footprint, and more. For example, IBM Cloudscape powers products such as WebSphere Application Server, DB2 Content Manager, WebSphere Portal Server, IBM Director, Lotus Workplace, and many others. The IBM Cloudscape engine is a transparent component of all these products, and that is the whole point! Despite its application-transparency, you should be able to sense the power of this database engine because it is trusted to support these enterprise products.

As you probably have figured out by now, IBM has open sourced the IBM Cloudscape technology as Apache Derby and remains solidly committed to its future success. Throughout this book, we will use the term Apache Derby to represent both the IBM Cloudscape and Apache Derby databases because they are identical. There are some add-ons for IBM Cloudscape that you can freely download; where appropriate, we will identify them as such.

Specifically, IBM supports the Apache Derby open source database by:

  • Contributing the IBM Cloudscape code to serve as the code base for the Apache database

  • Donating resources to host a central Web-based location for add-on code, educational materials, support, the IBM DB2 Universal JDBC Driver, interfaces for ODBC, PHP, Perl, .NET, and more. The IBM Cloudscape Web site is available on IBM’s developerWorks at: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/cloudscape.

  • Funding a dedicated open source project team that includes a complete development group with database development experience. Some members of this team are Apache Derby committers

  • Providing hardware resources for nightly builds and testing of the open source code lines

  • Running a full set of software and function verification test cases, and creating a fully functional open source test suite for Apache Derby

  • Monitoring multiple Apache- and IBM-based forums and mail lists to offer free advice and best practice information to support the Apache Derby community

Why should you be interested in developing on the Apache Derby platform? The Apache Derby platform:

  • Is easy to deploy. This database requires no installation: just copy a 2 MB .JAR file and set the CLASSPATH environment variable. Because it is Java-based, the database runs anywhere a standard JVM (J2SE 1.3 or higher) can be installed: from Macintosh to mainframe, and all points in between. In addition to this Apache Derby databases (and their data) are platform-independent and can be moved to any machine by simply zipping up your files and emailing them.

  • Requires no DBA skills or administration effort. When using Apache Derby as an embedded solution, the application automatically starts the relational engine. Upgrades to future versions are done in-place, at connection time. Apache Derby automatically reclaims space, updates statistics, and much more. Quite simply, you do not need to staff your project with a DBA.

To be a player in the open source movement, you must be a proponent of open standards. Arguably, no other large IT company in the world has done more for the open source movement and open standards than IBM. In fact, today IBM backs over 150 different open source projects.

Specifically, Apache Derby uses open standards technology such as the American National Standards Institute’s Structured Query Language (ANSI SQL), JDBC, SQLJ, and more. In fact, because Apache Derby is open source, future plans could include distributing Apache Derby with various mainstream Linux distributions as an accompanying database.

The IBM user community provides valuable feedback to this open source project, including bug reports and feature requests. Although IBM Cloudscape is the same database as the Apache Derby database available to the open source community, the IBM Cloudscape product has a separately purchasable service and support contract, and comes with a graphical-based installation and setup wizard to make full platform deployments (which include binary add-on features from IBM, such as an ODBC interface) easier and more consolidated.

Apache Derby addresses a unique market need and is a great fit for many workloads. Although Apache Derby enriches an environment steeped with a heavy Java investment and an open source middleware stack, it isn’t just for Java developers. APIs are provided (either directly or through a download) for PHP, Perl, CLI, ODBC, and .NET.

In this chapter, we’ll discuss the Apache Derby and IBM Cloudscape platforms, differences between them (again, there is nothing from a code perspective), why IBM is involved, why now, more than ever, you should consider a relational storage engine for your applications if you’re not already using one, and more.

If You’re Not the Kind of Person Who Reads Introduction Chapters ...

We recommend that you read this chapter anyway to get a good level of detail about Apache Derby, the motivation behind what IBM is doing in the open source space (it’s a continuation of previous works actually), why open source in the first place, and more.

If you're not going to read this chapter, but you want a one-minute overview of Apache Derby and IBM Cloudscape, the following paragraphs, courtesy of Kathy Saunders (Release and QA Manager for IBM Cloudscape) and Jean Anderson (Architect for IBM Cloudscape) summarize this product quite well:

"Apache Derby is a lightweight, embeddable relational engine in the form of a Java class library. Its native interface is Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), with Java-relational extensions. It implements the SQL92E standard as well as many SQL 99 extensions. The engine provides transactions and crash recovery, and allows multiple connections and multiple threads to use a connection. Apache Derby can be easily embedded into any Java application program or server framework without compromising the Java-ness of the application because it is a Java class library. Derby's support for complex SQL transactions and JDBC allows your applications to migrate to other SQL databases, such as IBM DB2Universal Database (UDB), when they need to grow.

Apache Derby Network Server provides multi-user connectivity to Apache Derby databases within a single system or over a network. The Apache Derby Network Server receives and replies to queries from clients using the standard Distributed Database Architecture (DRDA) protocol. Databases are accessed through the Apache Derby Network Server using the IBM JDBC driver and the DB2 UDB JDBC universal driver.

There are several technical aspects that differentiate Apache Derby from other database systems:

  • It's easy to administer. When embedded in a client application, a Derby system requires no administrative intervention.

  • It's embeddable. Applications can embed the Database Management System (DBMS) engine in the application process, eliminating the need to manage a separate database process or service.

  • It can run as a separate process, using the Network Server framework or a server framework of your choice.

  • It is a pure Java class library: This is important to Java developers who are trying to maintain the advantages of Java technology, such as platform independence, ease of configuration, and ease of installation.

  • It needs no proprietary Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Written entirely in the Java language, it runs with any certified JVM.

  • The engine is lightweight. It is about 2 MB of class files, and it uses as little as 4 MB of Java heap.

  • It provides the ability to write stored procedures and functions in Java that can run in any tier of an application. Derby does not have a proprietary stored procedure language; it uses JDBC.

Apache Derby is also like other relational database systems. It has transactions (commit and rollback), supports multiple connections with transactional isolation, and provides crash recovery.

The unique combination of technical capabilities allows application developers to build data-driven applications that are pervasive (run anywhere), deployable (downloadable), manageable, extensible, and connectable."

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020