longjump.jpgLongJump, a Sunnyvale, Calif. company is the latest company offering a simple “database as a service” product, following on the heels of similar services announced by Amazon (see its S3/SimpleDB service ).

These services help Web companies to simplify the process of managing and operating applications, and represent a big trend in technology these days.

LongJump goes a step beyond what Amazon and others offer by letting developers not only access a database from multiple interfaces (Excel, MS Access, etc), but also to manage workflow on top of it — something you can’t do with other services.

It’s just the latest product in a wave of new start-ups offering “Web services,” things that were previously performed by IT professionals, but which now can be farmed out to companies like LongJump. Major parts of the technology world are being automated like this. We just wrote about Engine Yard this morning (before, you’d have to hire engineers to manage your Rails application, now you outsource it to Engine Yard.)

In comparison to Amazon’s service, LongJump’s relational database further encapsulates objects within its database, so that they can be worked with more easily. For example, LongJump lets you do things like search for relationships, i.e, letting you show all products in your database that are say, related to a sports (or category = sports). In Amazon’s case, you have call up data about your products, and do the search analysis yourself or with some other product. A range of other database or related services, from DabbleDB, Coghead and Zoho also don’t let you manage workflow. [Update: We were wrong about Coghead. Coghead does allow this, though its offering requires a little more knowledge on the part of its users to do so.]

LongJump’s product is web-based. LongJump is also joining the trend toward open platforms. It uses a simple XML server. It offers a REST-based API, so that developers can build their own applications using LongJump. It also offers storage.

We got a demo Monday from Pankaj Malviya’s, 37, chief executive of LongJump parent company, Relationals. The interface is pretty smooth.

Malviya, a former employee at Veritas, has bootstrapped the Relationals since 2003, and now has $5 million in annual revenue, and is profitable. Only now, he tells us, is he ready to consider taking venture capital to expand.

He started several years ago selling a customer relations management (CRM) product to media companies (MediaNews, owner of the the San Jose Mercury News, Gannett, McClatchy are all customers). Now he says its time to build out the product, and LongJump is his effort to sell to penetrate small and medium sized businesses. Whereas Salesforce costs $120 per month per user, his product so far has costs $20 per month per user (more for LongJump; see below).

According to the company:
–LongJump’s API also supports both Simple Object Access Protocol message responses over HTTP/HTTPS and custom Java-bean scripting within its built-in data policy engine.
–LongJump’s DaaS is a fully managed infrastructure and administered relational database architecture that includes: SAS 70 Type II data protection compliance, enterprise-level security, flexible access and control, real-time mirrored database replication, and 99.999% application uptime.
–With LongJump’s DaaS service, a user simply maps out their data structure and then plugs it into their LongJump account.
–LongJump provides a suite of interconnected applications for business functions, which provide better integration and similar functionality to larger application providers but at a more affordable price while still having the ability to scale as a business grows.
–LongJump, with access to its REST-based API included, costs $24.95 per user per month, or $19.95 per user per month with a 12-month commitment.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.