Unlocking the Limitations: Taking the Next Step
There is a movement afoot to address these limitations of Type 4 JDBC drivers by proposing the next step down the evolutionary path of JDBC drivers. Such a new step has been dubbed "Type 5", where the problems caused by today’s Type 4 JDBC drivers are solved but the benefits of Type 4 architecture are maintained. One proposed definition states that Type 5 JDBC drivers should provide the following:
- Unrestricted Performance. Should be able to easily handle the performance demands of modern data-driven enterprise Java applications.
- Codeless Enhancement. Should offer the ability to add, configure, and tune features without requiring access to or changes made to JDBC code.
- Resource Efficiency. Should use resources such as CPU and memory as efficiently as possible in multiple environments.
- All-in-One Deployment. Should be able to support multiple environments without requiring the deployment of multiple JAR files, or any native code libraries like DLLs.
- Streamlined Standardization. Should not require the use of extensions to the JDBC specification no matter what functionality is required by the application.
Type 5 JDBC Drivers: Evolution or Revolution?
In an "evolutionary" step, Type 5 JDBC drivers will build on all the positive features found with Type 4 products. Given the lack of advancement in the JDBC driver specification over the last decade, it’s time that connectivity standards evolved with the myriad other advancements in the Java programming language. By delivering on the promise of unrestricted performance, codeless enhancement capabilities, optimized resource efficiency, an integrated deployment architecture, and streamlined standardization, developers and architects that use Type 5 JDBC drivers can mitigate the technical limitations imposed by outgunned Type 4 drivers that can no longer keep pace within the greater Java ecosystem.
JDBC drivers have not traditionally been viewed as a strategic investment for many businesses. Type 5 JDBC has the potential to turn that trend on its head by offering businesses an easy way take advantage of years of innovation in database features, data access models, and virtualization technologies without requiring changes to the application. Whether the benefits sought are a simplified data connectivity infrastructure, accelerated front-line productivity, or dramatically reduced IT operational costs, businesses of all shapes and sizes should make it a priority to evaluate Type 5 JDBC drivers and continue to push for innovation over stagnation.