Britton Lee, Inc.

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Britton Lee Inc. (renamed ShareBase Corp.)
Company typePublic
IndustryDatabase management systems
HeadquartersLos Gatos, California, United States
Number of employees

Britton Lee Inc. was a pioneering relational database company. Renamed ShareBase, it was acquired by Teradata in June, 1990.[1]


Britton Lee was founded in 1979 by David L. Britton, Geoffrey M. Lee and a group of hardware engineers along with Robert Epstein, Michael Ubell and Paula Hawthorn from the research team that created Ingres.[2]

Epstein later left Britton Lee to help found Sybase. Britton and Lee left the company in 1987.[3]

On May 15, 1989, the company formally changed its name to ShareBase Corporation.[4]

After layoffs and financial losses in 1989, ShareBase was acquired by Teradata in June, 1990.[1]


As of Fall, 1989:[5]

  • ShareBase II (tm): An RDBMS designed for a client/server environment.
  • ShareBase(tm) I: Predecessor to ShareBase II
  • ShareBase SQL Database Server, various models:[6]
    • Server/8000(tm): "Upper-mid-range database server" that supported ShareBase II. Optimized database operations on a RISC/ECL database processor. Used a "distributed function multiprocessor architecture" and included up to 256 megabytes of "shared high-speed data memory." Supported a variety of clients, including IBM PC DOS, Apple Macintosh, Sun, AT&T 3B series computers systems, Pyramid, DEC VAX, HP 3000 and HP 9000, and IBM VM/CMS and MVS.
    • Server/300 (tm), supported ShareBase I and worked with a variety of clients, including PC/DOS, UNIX workstations, AT&T System V, Sun, and DEC VAX with BSD/UNIX, VAX/VMS, or ULTRIX. It also supported up to 50 databases, 32,000 tables per database, 2 billion rows per table, 4 megabytes of memory, and 200 concurrent users.[6]
    • Server/700 (tm), supported ShareBase I,[6] same basic features as the Server/300 but with 6 megabytes of memory and "greater performance for more demanding environments".[6]
  • ShareCom: Communications facilities between database clients and the ShareBase servers.

The Server/300 came in three models:[6]

  • model 25, 600 megabytes of disk storage and one tape drive
  • model 35, 1200 megabytes of disk storage and two tape drives
  • model 60, 3320 megabytes of disk storage and two tape drives

Affiliation with Omnibase/SmartStar[edit]

An announcement was made in 1984, that Britton-Lee's Intelligent Database Machine (IDM) was being sold together with Signal Technology Inc.'s Omnibase and SmartStar relational database software.[7]

This hardware/software combination of Omnibase/Smartstar/Britton Lee Data Base Machine(s),[8][9][10] was used by NASA,[11] USMC[12] and by financial services for analysis.[citation needed]

SmartStar is Signal Technology Inc (STI)'s application development environment for the VAX, and it supports[13] several databases using native connections:

RMS,[14] Rdb/VMS, Oracle, Sybase, Ingres, Teradata/ShareBase.

Although before SQL became standard STI's focus was on IQL (Interactive Query Language), now the query language it supports is SQL.

Components include[15]

  • SmartBuilder
  • SmartDesign
  • SmartStation
  • SmartGL
  • SmartCall and RSQL (for use from 3GL languages)
  • SmartQuery
  • SmartMove (mass load/unload)
  • SmartReport
  • SmartPainter
  • ISQL (Interactive SQL)

Signal Technology Inc[edit]

As the above combination moved along, STI and Britton-Lee saw a validation in the form of a review, which confirmed: "there exists no database management system that matches the performance of the IDM with OMNIBASE."[16][17]


  1. ^ a b Todd White (November 5, 1990). "Teradata Corp. suffers first quarterly loss in four years". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  2. ^ Joseph M. Hellerstein, Michael Stonebraker (2005). Readings in Database Systems: Fourth Edition. MIT Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-262-69314-3. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  3. ^ Robert Knight (April 1988). "Some choose a hardware DBMS". Software Magazine. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  4. ^ BRITTON LEE, INC. (March 31, 1989), Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-Q
  5. ^ ShareBase (December 1988), Server/8000 Product Overview
  6. ^ a b c d e ShareBase (February 1989), ShareBase I Technical Overview
  7. ^ "Signal / Britton-Lee". Computerworld. March 5, 1984. p. 55. Signal Technology, Inc. has announced that its Omnibase data base ... software is now being sold with the Britton-Lee, Inc. Intelligent Database Machine as a ... Signal Technology's Smartstar, a family of programs for applications generation.
  8. ^ "Full text of "Computerworld" - Internet Archive". Computerworld. May 21, 1984. COMPUTERWORLD MAY 21, 1984 NEWS DDP from page 1 the Decnet local-area network permits ... Signal Technology's OMNIBASE software driving Britton-Lee's IDM database machine is breaking records ... Signal Technology Inc. ...
  9. ^ "DBA/Developer Resume Profile Carlsbad, CA". ... Structured Query Language SQL, PL SQL triggers and procedures on Unix ... SQL DBA, OMNIBASE SMARTSTAR RDBMS, Britton Lee Database Machine
  10. ^ "Resume for R... B..." ... , OMNIBASE (SMARTSTAR) Database, Britton Lee ...
  11. ^ Issues and Recommendations Associated with Distributed Computation. U.S. National Research Council, Space Science Board. 1986. ... machine Britton-Lee Space Astronomy catalog telescope IDM 500- Omnibase Relational data base machine Britton-Lee JPL-SFOC Space flight operations.
  12. ^ "K... B... - Senior Application Developer". ... coded and maintained Marine Corps database systems using C and SMARTSTAR, ... a DEC Micro VAX II and a BRITTON LEE Intelligent Database Machine.
  13. ^ "STI SmartStar 4GL". September 9, 1985. Signal Technology, Inc. has announced that its Smartstar fourth generation ...
  14. ^ "SmartStar interfaces VAX RMS". Computerworld. July 29, 1985. p. 25. Smartstar Version 4 includes a Relational Query Processor interface to VAX RMS
  15. ^ "SmartStar".
  16. ^ "Intelligent Database Machine performance". Computerworld. October 20, 1986. p. 28. ... there exists no database management system that matches the performance of the IDM with OMNIBASE. The tests compared the Britton Lee Intelligent Database Machine ..."
  17. ^ Exton-Smith, Howard (1986). "Application of a fourth-generation environment". Data Processing. 28 (9): 482–484. doi:10.1016/0011-684X(86)90317-5. Smartstar, and Omnibase/. Britton-Lee, among others. After making a shortlist, they decided that Focus would make them generate too much non-procedural.

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