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Re: What so special about PostgreSQL and other RDBMS?

From: Quirk <>
Date: 14 May 2004 06:03:55 -0700
Message-ID: <>

[ group removed]

Jeff Rodriguez <> wrote in message news:<>...

> *PostgreSQL*
> Free, loaded with features, not particularly fast, some extras
> *MySQL*
> Free, not so loaded with features, very fast, some extras
> *SQL Server*
> /Definetly/ not free, jam packed with features, very fast, lots of extras
> *Sybase and Oracle*
> Can't say, I have no experience with them.

Ok, in very general terms, true enough, but of course anyone making such a choise should ask themselves, what are my performance needs, which features to I need, which extras do I need, etc.

> _Answer to your question_

> Suitable for a high-end commercial application? I'm not sure I would risk my > job on it...

But you *would* risk your Job on developing "high-end commercial" applications for which you have no source code for dependencies, or even perpetual access (at any cost) to the dependencies, and a sole source for your support?

Interesting priorities your employer has, certainly no real software developement company, like microsoft for instance, would put themselves in
such a position, namely making their //own// software, that they have invested there own money in developing, depend exclusively on an //external// product, for which they only have a binary.

> We use SQL Server where I work and we well, beat the shit out of the server. > The hardware is backed with F.C. NAS from Network Appliance. The actual
> hardware is a Dell 4-way (excluding Hyper Threading) with ~8GB of RAM and
> considering what a beating the box has to endure it does really well until
> one of the developers starts joining half a million records off of a table
> with insufficient indexes.
> But I digress...

You do digress, so I'll take this window of offtopicness to say that in no way am I suggesting that one should _never_ use proprietary or closed source applications. For high end or very specialized applications they often make a lot of sence, and are sometimes the _only_ solution.

What I am trying to do, is to give some sensibile advice on what a choice between closed and open source really means, namely that closed source means an *exclusive* external dependency, when entering such a dependency you are extreamly vulnerable and should only do so with both eyes open, after you have determined that this is justified for you needs. And even then, you should have an exit strategy so that your investment is not lost when the relationship ends or the external provider's product loses whatever advantage they had when you made the deal.  

> Personally, I wouldn't use it for commercial apps. The commercial solutions
> have something very useful, commercial backing. This gives them the
> opportunity to work on the server itself, extra features, extras like
> management interfaces and clustering software.

Commercial backing is available for //all// products, closed or open source, except that with open source, you can chose the commercial backer, and with closed source, you can only chose the copyright holder.

> IMHO current open source RDBMS do not have the robustness, stability, or
> performance to use in mission-critical situations.

That depends on the mission. If your mission really does depend on million record table joins, I may agree with you, if your mission depends on being able to build new commodity-grade servers anytime you need one, with out risking getting sued for 'over-deployment' I may not.  

> _A Message to Open Source Bible Beaters_

> I'm one of you too,

Then why do you preach FUD?

In anycase, open source is a good engineering practice, not a religion, we do not need 'bible beaters' thank you.

The real 'bible beaters' are those that endlessly repeat their metephysical belief in the infallibility of closed source vendors, and even they can not agree on *which* closed source vendor is the real infallible one, simular to actual bible beaters and their scriptural disputes. The open source community are better compared to Quakers, no source is sacred.

Most of the poor closed-source zealots do not even realize what a small segment of the computer industry licence vending closed-source software developers actualy are.

> but I also work in a company where we make thousands of
> dollars per minute.

If I where I you I would feel antsy about an application where being down for
a minute would cost me a thousand dollars, and yet I had no source code and was locked into a exclusive external support contract. But good luck.

> Downtime is /not/ an option and frankly,

Microsoft released an unprecedented release of eight patches that repaired 21 security holes on April 13, how safe where you on April 12? Since you have no source code, no one knows but Microsoft (and the hackers).

I'm glad you trust Microsoft, I would rather trust the likes of Bruce Schneier.

> open source databases are not quite there yet.

For million record table joins, perhaps not, but for large commodity-grade clusters that can handle billions of simple transactions, they may be, as I said, it all depends on the application. Google, perhaps the worlds biggest database application, doesn't use any database products at all, comercial or otherwise, but rather uses their own specialized code built on top of as many lines of open source code as they can their mits on.

> I forsee things seriously shifting in the
> next decade or so.

Really? I see the barbarians of the Open Source database world storming the datacenters quite aggresively, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MaxDB, Firebird, SQLite, and many other less prominent ones. And NetApp is losing ground to the likes of DRDB. Huge powerhouses like IBM, SAP and Novell are joining the charge, if you think the paradigm shift is a decade off, you need get out of your chair and look out of the window a little.

Not much longer than a decade ago there was no MS SQL Server. Received on Fri May 14 2004 - 08:03:55 CDT

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