Re: Is a RDBMS needed?

From: Guillermo Alan Bort <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2011 15:01:35 -0300
Message-ID: <>

Well, I think you need to ask yourself why do RDBMS exist in the first place?

I remember a few (not so few, actually) years ago, when I started college and first started writing programs (in C no less, and using API32 to have GUI, we didn't have any of this .net shenanigans back then). One of the first programs that needed persistent data was a calendar. At first I wrote my own file management interface and handled data input/output directly into the files. This made testing very easy, as I could open the files in notepad and just change whatever data I wanted and see how that impacted the application. In time I realized that after loading a few months worth of data the application became way to slow in basic I/O (as i didn't have any indexing capabilities, it just loaded the entire calendar into memory and dumped it back again). I optimized it as much as possible but instead of developing my own indexing system, I decided to do the only sane thing and move the data to a database. I chose SQLite back then, because it's a very light embeded database, and it solved the problem elegantly.

I think that the morale of my first-year-programming story is "while something may seem like a wonderful idea now, people who spent 20 years developing a solution are not complete morons, try to think ahead and find out WHY they did what they did"

If you have 100 users and each user is stored in a flat file, you have 100 flat files. it's ok, we can handle that. If you have 1mln users... then what? how many users before you run out of inodes? (I know, silly example...)

And Eventually you'll want to add more and more functionality and find yourself navigating a buttload of code to find out twenty different ways that the data is accessed... whereas using a database the *actual* data is accessed only by the RDBMS... who then gives the client what it needs...

Now, I'm an APEX developer as well (don't ask, it just happened! I know I just lost the right to rant against java developers) and can tell you that almost any application that has any non-static content can be turned into a database-centric application... so... why move away from a database?

I mean... I honestly can't think of a way to manage application users other than from a database...either as db users or using a table and an authentication function... (ok, maybe LDAP or NIS can work too)


On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 1:46 PM, Blake Wilson <> wrote:

> This is a future release that is just being developed to be released in the
> next 3-5 years. It is an open source application developed by some of the
> universities that use it. Some large universities throughout the world are
> currently using and contributing to it, including the University of
> Michigan, Indiana, Cornell, Stanford, Yale and Oxford, etc. So, it is not an
> small time application. I am not so worried about the current release, but
> the future of it. We are not currently using the application, but I am
> worried about where it will be in 5 years and do we want to be there?
> We certainly can save a few bucks on the Oracle licensing, but at what
> cost? I am glad to here your concerns as well. And yes, I realize that we
> are all DBA's and may be somewhat prejudiced, but I think there is a some
> potential trouble here in a few years.
> Thank you for you responses and ideas.
> Blake
> --

Received on Thu Jun 09 2011 - 13:01:35 CDT

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