IAnywhere has released details about a forthcoming upgrade to its mobile database software, SQL Anywhere.

Developers can register now to try out the beta of the software, codenamed Jasper, which is due for release by the end of the year. The finished product is planned for next year.

"From an engineering perspective, the goal is the first half of 2006," said Chris Kleisath, iAnywhere senior director of engineering. Improvements focus on three areas: performance, data protection and developer productivity.

With Jasper, developers will be able to define particular queries or data sets that are used frequently, often spanning many database tables, and keep a copy of that data already summarised, so that when users run complex reports against it they'll get faster performance. "Previously, this was only available in some of the larger-scale enterprise databases," he said, "we're now bringing it down into the front-line kinds of applications."

IAnywhere customers are storing more data at branch offices, making those systems more important and creating wider data protection needs, he added. The company plans to provide hot-failover capabilities for those systems using both mirroring and clustering techniques.

Jasper will make it "pretty easy" to set up a three-machine system in which the database server is mirrored on a second machine that stays up to date with transactions, and a third server acts as an arbiter.

"It understands when the primary server goes down and will fail over to the second server, so users see no interruption of service," Kleisath said. "We've enabled this with no special hardware, no special software and no particular operating system requirements."

The company won't say yet if customers will need to buy a separate licence for each of the three machines. Pricing details for Jasper will be announced closer to its release.