Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

IBM To Purchase Informix Database 228

Boban Acimovic writes "According to this story on the Yahoo Financial News", IBM is going to buy Informix Database Software for $1 billion in cash. The main players in database leader struggle will be Oracle and IBM after this acquisition." That's in the commericial space - obviously SleepyCat, PostGres and MySQL and others aren't going away. And it appears that the other parts of Informix will be staying around as a seperate biz, so we should continue to see their support for OSS [?] .
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM To Purchase Informix

Comments Filter:
  • They're paying that much money in cash? why would they do such a foolish thing?
  • I would think it's an embarrassment for the OSS community that their flagship DB is so incomplete.

    Who the fuck said MySQL was the open source community's flagship database?

    Honestly -- we have PostgreSQL (which at version 7.1 is actually a passable database for smaller implimentations), InterBase, and many others. The state of a single product says nothing about the OSS community as a whole, and it's quite improper to suggest otherwise.

    That said, I utterly agree that Oracle and DB2 beat the cr*p out of their OSS competition -- but that doesn't stop me from using PostgreSQL when my needs are modest and my budget slim.

  • What features does Postgres have that Interbase lacks? Just curious.
  • nice non sequitur.

    What he's saying is that very often people performing benchmarks against oracle are likely not to be Professional Oracle DBAs.

    Most real world Oracle shops have professional DBA's running their systems (this is one area where I'm glad to say I *have* seen companies spare little expense at hiring the best & brightest; their data is their lifeblood).
  • and both have SQL server JDBC drivers.

    Though I will grant it still is a niche product, but that's one helluva niche.
  • User definable functions including aggregate functions. You want to define a MAX or MIN on text fields go crazy!.
    Oracle has this. And a bunch of predefined ones for text fields (included in intermedia, the thing you said "I have no idea what this is" to)

    Loadable stored procedure languages. You can use perl, python, C or the built in language. You can write code in C and run it privledged mode with access to the OS (as the postgres user).

    Oracle allows C and Java for the same thing.

    Ability to define your own operators. It also has a very rich set of operators like a operator that says "is this point outside of this circle". In fact the geometric datatypes are freaking awsome.

    Oracle has this (Java or C). Oracle Spatial also has many built in operators and functions for geometry.

    Ability to define your own objects (kinda) and store them in the database. Very object relational.
    ...Oracle has been object/relational since 1997.

    unlimited row size. Unlimited length text fields.
    Oracle CLOBs are unlimited size. Can't confirm column limits.

    Regular expressions in the SQL statements.
    Groovy. Don't think Oracle does this yet.

    I could go on and on but trust me there are problems postgres can solve that oracle can't.
    Please do go on... you've dug yourself into quite a hole so far.
  • by Stu Charlton ( 1311 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @11:29AM (#268751) Homepage
    For one, cache coherency on read/write conflicts between parallel cluster nodes. In 9i this will be increased to write/write conflicts as well.

    other things that Oracle has that PostgreSQL may need to catchup on:
    - Materialized views & snapshots
    - Tons of documentation (look at the book store)
    - Tablespaces and rollback segments for fine grained disk usage distribution
    - 24/7 operation: the ability to take portions of the database offline for backup / recovery while keeping other parts up (i.e. tablespaces)
    - Tools support (SQL Navigator, DBArtisan, etc.)
    - Heterogeneous data replication
    - Text-based indices (intermedia)
    - XSQL and XML rowsets

    And 9i is going to add even more features for 24/7 operations, such as re-creating indices without table locks, moving tables across namespaces with only short duration locks, etc.

    So, while I really do like PostgreSQL, it isn't Oracle.
  • MySQL does not have many of the features of an Oracle or DB2. There are no provisions for refferental integrety. I don't think there is a good way to back up very large databases. (Say more than a few hundred megs) and so on. That does not make it bad. Just not in the same ballgame as the big databases.
  • IBM is no more worried about MySQL cutting into its DB2 market than Boeing is worried about Cessna cutting into its airline market.

    Its not that DB2 is "Better" than Mysql any more than a 747 is "Better" than a Cessna 172, they just do different things and get used for different jobs.
  • I would certainly agree that Oracle on Solaris is more scalable, bulletproof, karma-riffic, etc. than MS SQL server, but you only need an aircraft carrier when you are fighter planes at sea. If you are just going fishing, a rowboat is a much more useful craft.

    While it certainly is true that Microsoft has hyped their database as being capable of things it really isn't capable of, for most projects it is perfectly adequate. Of course, in that same vein PostgreSQL would probably work as well, and it is a heck of a lot cheaper than either Oracle or SQL Server

  • []:
    "50,000 ATM-style transactions per second logged to disk with full recovery on a single cpu. This was against a database of over 100,000,000"
    "on the 35 megabyte OLAP APB-1 benchmark queries, Kdb ran 12,000 queries per minute with no precalculation."
    "TPC/B benchmark that achieves 25,000 transactions per second with full recoverability and TCP/IP overhead on an (167 Megahertz) UltraSparc I."
    and you can eat it too:
    "K is also small. The entire runtime system, written in C, fits in 300,000 bytes."

  • TPC is hardly the best indicator of performance or scalability. It doesn't really allow meaningful comparisons between systems.
  • Sad - responding to my own message.

    I did, of course, mean TPC-C. Other TPC benchmarks are more meaningful, and less tweakable by the vendor.
  • Sleepycat is a commercial embedded database. Sure, it's Open Source, but it's still commercial.

    More to the point, it's playing in a completely different market to all of the others. It isn't, and probably never will be considered a replacement for Oracle, because it's not SQL based. It is, however, a fully fledged database, supporting transactions, fine grained locking, online backups etc. Also, anyone that thinks MySQL or PostgreSQL are players in the database leader struggle is dreaming. Sure, they're fine databases in their own right, and in time, they well gain some of the features that they're missing. They're fine for small to medium businesses, but for enterprise use (which is where Oracle and DB2 reign supreme), they're just not even close.

  • by AMK ( 3114 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @05:53AM (#268759) Homepage
    Current versions of BerkeleyDB support transactions, and note that MySQL's transaction support is built using BerkeleyDB, so clearly MySQL isn't going to support transactions and be any faster.
  • I thought Oracle 9i was an Apache-based application server, not a database.

  • IBM wanted Red Brick and the only way to get it was to buy the rest of the Informix database business.

    Red Brick []
  • Linux if not open source is very much a part of IBM. If you spend any time at any IBM campus that deals with software or cruise through any of their internal web sites, you'll quickly understand this fact. Perhaps more telling is that IBM is spending real dollars to contribute to the Linux community.

    Also, a recent post stated that the enterprise db's are in a different space than the available open source offerings. This is very true. For my part, I'm looking forward to better support for an improved database offering from IBM that runs on Linux.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
  • by hatless ( 8275 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @05:35AM (#268763)
    Hm. I do think Sybase and Microsoft are also players in the mid-to-large database market, and that a lot of companies with decent products but small market share, like Progress, would also take issue with the idea of IBM and Oracle being "it".

    Sleepycat? Yeah, , Oracle and IBM do have little embedded data store products, but I'd hardly mention them in the same breath as FIlemaker, much less Oracle and DB/2. And as for MySQL and Postgres? Please. They're competition for Filemaker, MS Access, Interbase, Cloudbase and the like, and in some cases very good competition for them. But not even Postgres 7.x touches the lowest end of what the IBM, Oracle and Informix server products do. With live replication and decent hot backup features, maybe it could chew on their ankles, but that's about it. As for the middle-range, wake me up when Postgres can do clustering and failover, or when a single Postgres database can hit at least half a terabyte with good performance.
  • You really hit the nail on the head. Wintel just can't make it to the big time. I have to ask why anybody or company can think that a consumer OS, which has all the bolted on crap Microsoft forces into its Windows OS's, should be capable of high-end computing on the scale of the large *nix's? It's rediculous to think it'll ever make it there. The fact that Microsoft NEVER ventures off it's OS means they will never make it to that big $$ market. As long as they only play in THEIR sandbox ( Windows/x86 ) their stuck. For an example, last year they released a micro-dbase for handhelds. Guess what, it only ran on WinCE! PalmOS has 80%-90% of the market and they don't support it.
    Why did this thread even come up? A PC Database running the same Databases run on HP-UX, AIX, OS/390, Solaris? Not likely. And they expect this to come from a company that took 10 years to make a 32bit multi-threaded OS that crashes as few times as IBM's OS/2 v2.1 ( but requires 4x the hardware )? ;) Had to throw that in there for fun. :)

  • I believe the overhead of transactionally-aware auto-increment fields would be far to greater that they are worth. Sequences are very simple to partition to prevent primary key collisions and don't have the burden of transactional awareness. This is especially useful in asychronously replicated environments as it allows for fault-tolerance on the connection between the DB's.
  • MS dropped support for Alpha in Win2K. There will be no more official releases for the platform.
  • Anyone who does disk space management with mission critical data using a symlink should be strung up by the short and curlies and summarily shot.

    You simply don't do that sort of thing with mission critical data.

    Of course, with mission critical data, you are using an enterprise class database so you don't have to, and that's the point. Postgres, MySQL and others are excellent products in the space they operate within. That space is not mission critical, enterprise level database servers. That is why lumping them in with a story about enterprise level servers is bad reporting. There are people out there who think that it is perfectly ok to keep a company's financials on Postgres, because they just don't know anybetter. What's sad, is that when the shit hits the fan and the stock holders come looking for the executive who has personal liability for that decission, the sysadmin who made the call isn't going to be the one who ends up bankrupt and in debt 5 mil to the corporation.
  • by Kope ( 11702 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @05:30AM (#268768)
    It is really dissappointing to see PostgreSQL, MySQL and SleepyCat compared to Oracle, Informix, Sybase, and DB2. The latter are enterprise databases, the former are not. While PostgreSQL adn the others are very good in the space they operate in, they do not do what Oracle and company do. To compare them as if they operated in the same space shows a gross ignorance of enterprise level data computing that is inexcusable for a site that is suppossed to be about "news for nerds." "Nerds" should know that enterprise level databases are more than transactional SQL engines (hell, in the case of MySQL and Sleepycat, not even that!).
  • Then again, some applications are better off just staying on a free database. NASA for instance, no longer uses Oracle. They are now using MySQL instead just because of the huge amounts of licensing fees that they can now divert to other areas, while still keeping their databases very fast and useful.

    Where did you hear that?

    NASA uses Oracle, MS SQL, Access, DB2 and a bunch of other databases. NASA is not a monolithic organization that dictates what software can be used. Each project makes its own decisions as to what software is the best fit for its needs. It could be Linux with MySQL, NT with MS SQL or Solaris with Oracle. If you name a software package, there is probably a NASA project that uses it.

  • I'm sure there more, but I would say the biggest thing postgres has that interbase doesn't is support for objects and object-oriented behaviors.
  • Interbase (Firebird on sourceforge) has a nice niche in the open source database arena as well.

    I would put it somewhere in between mysql and posgres in terms of ease of use, ease of installation, performance, features, and third party tool support.

    For some of us it's a good compromise.
  • Considering how difficult it is to pry corporate customers from an entrenched platform, I'd say "leading in sales" is pretty significant.

    Technical merit doesn't always lead to success.
  • if you've really been following the RDBMS market for about 10 years, informix has really been in a very precarious position for the last 7 of them, or so. they've done rather poorly financially, and the (ISV) software development community has only barely continued to support them from what i've seen.

    there's absolutely no surprise in any of this to me...

    ibm is buying *INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY*, first and foremost.

    searching patent databases shows us that since 1996 somewhere around 17 very useful (and non-frivilous) patents have been granted to informix. i'm fairly certain that a number of these methods are directly used by oracle in their engine (say the one that discusses the method of building a two-phase commit engine into the RDBMS itself).

    in short, ibm (beelzebub) has now a new lever to exert force onto larry (satan himself)...


  • i had a posting somewhere above, but i believe this is a purchase for INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. there are a number of key patents that informix has been granted (it looks like searching the patent database that about 17 fairly good patents have been granted since 1996 to them). one of these is, for example, describes the method by which you could implementing a two-phase-commit transaction processing monitor inside the kernel of the RDBMS itself (which oracle has also done, for instance).

    i think this was a leverage purchase, no more no less, but what do i know.


  • i don't agree with your statement that foreign keys are really only applicable to schema that is expected to see NO deletions performed against it.

    i can envision many cases where i want to ensure that a parent table's row exists before i go decorating that parent with additional rows in a child table (say in a star schema).

    i have actually built a few simple applications that did add additional attributes to some base object by decorating it inside a child table in this manner. most were normalized to third-normal and backed off from just a bit.

    this just makes relatively good sense if you expect people to be using the schema OUTSIDE some very well controlled and implemented abstraction layer. if the abstraction layer (say some object-relational mapping) is the only inserter/updater of the tables, and you just use the relational engine to do REPORTING efficiently, then heck, no foreign keys necessary at all :)

    so, foreign keys are still pretty useful for even insert-then-select schema objects, but it depends upon the situation, as usual...

    just my 0.02.

  • regarding sequences: i totally agree.
    this is significantly more valueable with one caveat:

    if you have multiple databases replicated in different spots (say different customer service centers in different geographic locations) you are usually forced to do manual partitioning with the sequences to keep your data segmented (and thus not colliding).

    it's a corner-case, i conced, but could theoretically be easier with some type of transactionally-aware auto-increment implemented inside the rdbms' transaction layer instead. (sequences are NON TRANSACTIONAL, remember)


  • damn!

    ran out of mod points.

    you're not kidding, though.
    this might be the best post i've seen in a while.

    makes you wonder what the last two dozen years of research into transaction processing & relational database management were wasted on?


  • i'll add to this.

    as was mentioned numerous other places in the replies to this story:

    the tpc-c benchmark results can be easily "enhanced" by partitioning data into multiple individual instances (unfortunately the benchmark allows this).

    so, most people looking for a suitable one-box or two-machine-cluster solution are going to be confused by all these partitioned results to say the least.

    if we pay attention to the non-clustered results, the IBM 680 sits at the top, while the bull, hp, & fujitsu, sun, & other offerings follow closely behind.

    the important thing to note is that if you needed to buy a single box (or a pair to form a cluster or an OPS cluster if oracle) you would be making a very different decision than buying a partitioned cluster of IBM xSeries 370's. this, in fact, is the decision almost everyone looking at these types of performance numbers has to make "in the real world".

    few have the luxury to partition their data into multiple instances... they usually are stuck with inescapable growing-pains from the past.


  • my opinion, and only that:

    i searched through the patent search engines, and came across a fairly healthy intellectual property portfolio. some of those patents are describing methods that i'm almost positive are used inside oracle, for example.

    this could be a tool in order to gain leverage on the competition merely from this one perspective...

    time will tell...

  • first, i am neither an employee of oracle, ibm, or sybase, nor am i a VAR, or any agent of any of the above (but am a stock holder in both ibm and oracle)... these are the three RDBMS engines i know best, i'm sure others do a bunch of these things too. the exclusion is not intentional, just ignorance.

    all claims i make below generally are present across all three RDBMS', but in a few cases, they are features specific to one or the other.

    to add on to what the other poster(s) has(have) already mentioned, some of the features that are as of yet unmatched by any open source RDBMS (but correct me if my information is old):

    1) two-phase commit built into the kernel of the RDBMS. this is really a must-have to support a bunch of the others features to follow. don't underestimate how difficult this gets when you begin to consider MULTIPLE VERSIONS of your rdbms kernel that may need to cooperate on transactions that span over 5 or more databases (this happens all the time). i can only imagine that this is the most technically challenging software in all three kernels.

    2) when you've got a problem that needs it and constraints that allow for it, symmetric replication. two distinct database instances that share the same schema objects, replicating transactions applied to either instance to it's peer, both in real time, AND disconnected (therefore, queued). the devil in details of this one is all the collision resolution rules. this is a VERY tricky tool and one must be very judicious in its use. be certain that not everything ends up looking like a nail, if you get my drift.

    3) (oracle) parallel server (as already mentioned) allows for multiple "instances" on multiple machines to securely perform i/o against the same physical database on the same disks. this is a big feature that has, again, a necessity for just the right problem with just the right set of constraints...

    4) SNMP trap agents that can send traps to any SNMP compliant management tool (say ITO, Tivoli, etc, etc) such that alarms can actually be aggregated into one spot for all instances in an entire enterprise. don't discount how big this could really be. the alternative is to use some type of log sniffing facility that comes with ITO, etc, and maintain filters to catch all those corner-cases (since, for example, oracle doesn't hand you those filters).

    5) an extremely powerful, if not terribly devious query optimizer. this thing can be the bane of whole groups' existence (and i know people whose entire life is nothing but understanding that optimizer in and out to help hundreds or thousands of people to correctly optimize their queries), but when you understand how to make it work for you, it is INCREDIBLY powerful. most databases try hard to optimize for certain corner-cases, but generally don't do that well at it. they do well for the general case, instead. to compensate, they all allow for very specific manual query tuning that allows you to "hint" the optimizer that a particular mathematical model is going to be a closer approximation than another to your data. this is another HUGE feature that is a must-have. oracle's optimizer, for example, is able to perform joins at least 6 different ways (hashed, bitmaped, merge-sorted, nested-loop, etc. it can also make decisions based upon statistics, histograms, etc.). with so many choices, naturally the optimizer can't always spend enough time to choose right on every query (as it must spend predictable-time in the query-plan calculation, and i regularly see 10 page SQL queries. yuck.).

    6) materialized views - the ability to store an entire query's result set as an "appendix" to a table such that when the optimizer sees a repeated query with the same where clause, it simply short-circuits the query to read the already-calculated result set. remember the oracle contest a few years back? this was their evil trick on how they could ensure no one could beat them at their own game. AN INCREDIBLY useful tool for most situations in data warehousing.

    7) table partitioning. one can build a "partitioned" table by some partitioning key. the rdbms' optimizer then can selectivly discard entire partitions from a query's access plan on the fly if the first column in the index it intends to use matches the partitioning key (but this isn't the important part). key, however, is that you can partition data (say by date) and drop whole partitions of the table without having to have some very serious queries running against the table that delete a half billion rows (which, of course, cause other running queries to have to deal with the data saved in rollback for all those rows, usually causing "snapshot too old" (in oracle) errors. this has to do with transaction isolation level and the limits to what you can do if you delete billions of rows). instead, you just drop the whole partition that contained those rows out of the table, and along with it go all the index blocks from any global indexes that span partitions.

    8) callbacks outside the database. you can configure oracle (not sure of the others) to make calls to EXTERNAL PROCESSES to the database kernel in order to handle certain things types of things or data. this can be immensely powerful when you need to do notifications via a trigger regarding cache-invalidation, for example.

    9) i can think of some first-hand examples where 10k two-tier clients are connected to RDBMS' performing hundreds of millions (if not billions with all the automated processes) of transactions per day.

    10) online backup and recovery (where applicable). again, this isn't as easy as it might sound and is a huge deal. some vendors now support both full and incremental (through custom software) backups of their databases. this is easy to dream about, but very difficult to make happen. it's, as everything else, a matter of TIME to get it perfected.

    that said, of course, none of this software is perfectly implemented, and without the vendor's support organization, you'd be floating the niagra river in a wicker-basket.

    all of these packages are really HUGE pieces of software that really stretch the limits of what these companies can manage with THOUSANDS of people working on them. literally. there isn't a day that goes by that we don't stumble onto some other bug in one of the three.

    it's getting so complex that i personally can't imagine how any could ever be made to be bug free, as the product development folks never let the kernel of the rdbms' sit still for too long...

    it's a problem of eternal scope-creep...

    just my 0.02...

    hope this helps a bit. there are hundreds more subtle things like this... this is why people say "enterprise features!" it's really quite difficult to explain until you actually need the features yourself. :)

    you can infer some of the other features by examining the release notes of various oracle, db2, sybase, (& to a lesser degree sql2k) releases...


  • Of course, it's a turn-on if you don't want to wait around for SQL parsing. To each his own, I suppose.

  • That's in the commericial space - obviously SleepyCat, PostGres and MySQL and others aren't going away.

    Doesn't one of these seem a little out of place?

    Mark: "We're going to need SPEED! Let's use MySQL."

    Bob: "This is going to be a high transaction session database! We're going to need transactions and rollbacks! Let's use PostgreSQL."

    Dennis: "We'd a crummy little dot-bomb. We don't need speed, and we don't need transactions and rollbacks. Let's use DBM files."


  • A guy walks into an automotive store and asks "Would you give me a rear view mirror for a yugo?" The clerk thinks about it for a minute and says "Okay, that's fair."
  • This is utterly bizarre. What on earth is IBM buying? It can't be the "brand". That was destroyed in the disastrous Illustra integration.

    It can't be the software, which was crap. In 200 lines of code, I wrote two different test cases, (only one of which was multithreaded), which crashed the Informix server.

    It can't be the support organization. Getting help from Informix support was a surreal experience. There was the time I had to instruct one of their support guys how to unzip a zip file. I had to explain to another one the concept of a client, and introduce the fact that Informix was accessed from one.

    It can't be the advanced R&D: The aforementioned Illustra was surpassed in all ways by IBMs research out of their Santa Teresa Labs, and some of this research has already found its way into DB/2.

    Customer base? I didn't think Informix had that much of a following.

    So what is it? What? I just don't get it.

  • You're missing my point. Up until that point, I had never done any sort of programming beyond shell scripting. If you're a PICK programmer then more power to you but making personal attacks is a bit low. I'm sure if I were to revisit it today, I could handle it just fine. But you were correct in saying that I didn't work with it long enough to figure it out.

  • It's funny that you mention the Video DataBlade. My day job company did some qa testing (for Informix) of media360 before/when they were rolling it out to CNN. It's definitly a killer product. CNN was so anxious to get it that informix actually installed beta's on site at cnn and kept coming out to upgrade it. I'm guessing CNN was a rather LARGE customer to them ;)

    My feeling when I read this was that IBM wanted some of the Media360 technology/customers and that's where the buy came from.

  • God man. I had to deal with Universe/Unidata at one of my jobs. We ran it on HPUX. What a pain in the ass it was. At the time I wasn't OVERLY database savey but it seemed to be a workhorse. Not very friendly, that's all.

  • I got my pile to work.

  • but in MySQL you can emulate most, if not all, of those features in your Perl code.. and with far less code than the dangerous C code Oracle includes in their database kernel. For example, the MySQL documentation specifically says:

    MySQL, in almost all cases, allows you to solve for potential problems by including simple checks before updates and by running simple scripts that check the databases for inconsistencies and automatically repair or warn if such occurs. Note that just by using the MySQL log or even adding one extra log, one can normally fix tables perfectly with no data integrity loss.

    Not even transactions can prevent all loss if the server goes down. In such cases even a transactional system can lose data. The difference between different systems lies in just how small the time-lap is where they could lose data. No system is 100% secure, only ``secure enough.'' Even Oracle, reputed to be the safest of transactional databases, is reported to sometimes lose data in such situations.

    Smart companies save money by deploying MySQL instead of Oracle. They can invest that money in smart Linux developers and the NASDAQ. With a powerful return for their money, the developers can run simple scripts to detect database inconsistencies as soon as possible. The developers can immediately load the backup tapes, losing some potential sales but maintaining perfect data integrity. Neither Oracle nor SQL Server allow you to run these simple scripts to automatically repair database inconsistencies. Is your data truly safe in a "black box" like Oracle or SQL Server?

  • IBM deserves any and all DB misfortune (including pissing away a billion dollars) for the crime of destroying the far superior QUEL query language from Ingres with 'the EBCDIC of query languages', SQL!

    But on the other hand, IBM deserves any and all relational database glory for employing E. F. Codd, who wrote the innocently titled paper "A relational model of data for large shared databanks" in 1971, which started the whole field. Given IBM's previous monopolistic tendencies, it's sweetly ironic that they end up spending a billion dollars to gobble up *any* other RDBMS provider when they used to *own* the field, lock, stock and barrel, starting with their own System R. Indeed, IBM Japan used to brag about it:


    ( just had to be said. :-)) Meanwhile, with their purchase of Informix, IBM has probably stomped out the last possibility that any form of QUEL would ever make any comeback, given that Informix had bought Illustra which had commercialized Postgres, which originally spoke Postquel, the follow-on to QUEL after Ingres had gone commercial. That is, unless the developers in the PostgreSQL project miraculously resurrect it themselves...

  • Of course, one of the great stengths of Pick is *being able* to program in Data Basic. Being able to use Basic or C or java or perl or ... would be a real strength. Pick Basic is a great language for the batch processing, reporting, and green screen user sessions it has traditionally been used for. As a former Universe and Unidata programmer, I'd love to see IBM do something cool with these databases. If nothing else, VARs can start telling people that their product runs on one of IBMs databases, thereby avoiding any discussion of obscure proprietary database issues.
  • So do this:

    IF (Y.Q1.AMT + 0) # 0 THEN...

    Ugly yes, but more idiomatic.
  • As has been pointed out by others Postgres, MySQL and Berkley DB aren't players in the same area as DB2 and Oracle.

    However, there are a couple of other surprising omissions. Sybase ASE 12 is a pretty nice database, and is very competitive feature and platform wise with Oracle and DB2, and probably has a bigger market share than Informix. MS SQL Server 7/2000 is also a very nice database to work with. It's use is growing quickly for good reason - it's fast (on comparable hardware), cheap and the SQL Server development tools kick Oracle's Ass. Ever used MS Query analyzer? It is beautiful.. and comes free with SQL Server licences. You can get third part equivalents for Oracle (eg, from Quest), and they are also nice, but they cost around $10,000 for a site licence.

    No, it doesn't run on non-Windows platforms, and yes Oracle on high end Sun hardware will run quicker. However, there are probably less than 5000 companies in the world that need that much power - and MS is going after that, too with MS Windows Data Center.

    I'm not a MS weenie - I like an Oracle DB as much as anyone. However, it isn't as far ahead of SQL Server as some of you seem to think - and some of the bugs in it [] are just as bad as anything you'll see in SQL Server.

  • This for some reason brought up a scene where Dr Evil (or was that Aevil) would be one of these OSS developers, and these IBM would be the US.

    Evil: Well IBM, you better pay us for our DB before we crush you.

    IBM: Hahahhaa.. we have DB2

    Evil: (demonstrates Informix) As you see IBM, we do have a powerful DB. Pay us $1 BILLION DOLLARS, or we'll have to release the new version that outperforms db2 by 50%.

    IBM: You fiend!


  • On dual CPU PIII 800 running Linux it would cost about $19,000 USD for Oracle workgroup edition. For DB2 it would cost about 2500 per CPU , total of about $5,000 USD. I found Informix to be more expensive (you have to buy the enterprise edition to get things such as java stored procedures, etc) which was almost 25,000 per CPU.

    I would say that right now DB2 is the best buy for the money, even over Microsoft SQL Server in terms of performance and price.

    (Our company is moving to DB2 from MySQL as we speak... )

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • There IS some interesting technology at Informix, you just have to know what it is. Look at ZDNet Article [] on it. The main thing they're buying it for, somewhat, is the data warehousing capabilities. This is actually someplace where IPS (Informix Parallel Server) has a reasonable advantage.

    Informix has two main enterprise products: IUS (Informix Universal Server), which is the result of the Illustra integration; and IPS, which is the massively parallel server. IPS is actually pretty widely respected and used. It's a monster for data warehousing, and is very commonly used in large (i.e. bricks-and-mortar) retail installations. In fact, a very common installation platform for large retail is to use IBM (mainframes, AS/400, and POS terminals) for the transaction processing, and IPS to handle analysis.

    So in that sense, there's both interesting technology there (the massively parallel bits in IPS) and a very good synergy of customer base and products.

    So in direct response, there IS interesting R&D out of the Portland lab where informix did the XPS work (I forget if they're actually calling it XPS or IPS these days, it used to change around a lot), you just didn't know it.

    And the research you're probably thinking of comes out of Almaden. There's some interesting DB/2 related work out of Santa Theresa, but Almaden is where the really cutting-edge stuff has taken place IIRC.

  • Was. From what I've heard, at this point they've removed virtually all of the Sybase code. MS SQLServer 6.5 was almost all Sybase code, 7.0 and 2000 are virtually NO sybase code.
  • In the history of the world has there ever been a case when stockholders came looking for executives who have personal liability? Of course not. When PSIX (PSI-NET) stock went from $60.00 to nothing what happened to the executives? NOTHING!
    The xecutives cached their stock options at $60 and have that money tucked away in some bank or another.

    Personal responsibility and personal liability have no place in the corporate world. That's why corporations were invented in the first place to shirk personal responsiblity.

    As for everyting else you say it's pure garbage.
    Postgres can keep your financials just as well as oracle, mysql, SAP-DB, interbase or whatever. It's fiscally irresponsible to pay for enterprise features if you are not running an enterprise. For the vast majority of the businesses in the world who have less then a couple of hundred employees any open source database if plenty good enough. Lots and lots of businesses worldwide ran interbase and SAPDB for years before they became open source. The idea is to choose the right tool and to manage it properly. I would reccomend a easy to understand and use tool like interbase any day over a complex monster like oracle if the business does not need enterprise features like 32 processors or gigabytes of data.
  • Materialized views & snapshots

    Rule subsystem. Very powerful in fact arguably more powerful then oracles implementation of views.

    - Tons of documentation (look at the book store)

    All you need is on the web including the source code.
    - Tablespaces and rollback segments for fine grained disk usage distribution


    - 24/7 operation: the ability to take portions of the database offline for backup / recovery while keeping other parts up (i.e. tablespaces)

    You can do live backups but not live restores. You can however stream a backup from one server to another. Pretty cool.

    - Tools support (SQL Navigator, DBArtisan, etc.)
    There are plenty of tools as well as ODBC drivers so you can interface it with just about anything. psql is pertty great too one of the best command line tools I have used.

    - Heterogeneous data replication

    no live replication but it does supports oids and you can roll your own relatively easily if your needs are not too complex. See my comment of streaming backups.

    - Text-based indices (intermedia)
    I have no idea what this is or why it might be useful.

    - XSQL and XML rowsets

    Not needed because really it does not belong in a database. Any dork can write a few lines of perl to get the data and turn it into XML.

    OK here are some features of postgres that oracle does not.

    User definable functions including aggregate functions. You want to define a MAX or MIN on text fields go crazy!.
    Loadable stored procedure languages. You can use perl, python, C or the built in language. You can write code in C and run it privledged mode with access to the OS (as the postgres user).

    Ability to define your own operators. It also has a very rich set of operators like a operator that says "is this point outside of this circle". In fact the geometric datatypes are freaking awsome.

    Ability to define your own objects (kinda) and store them in the database. Very object relational.

    unlimited row size. Unlimited length text fields.

    Regular expressions in the SQL statements.

    I could go on and on but trust me there are problems postgres can solve that oracle can't.
  • I am afraid your knowledge is out dated. Postgres has had serials sinse 6.5. By creating a table with serial datatype postgres actually creates a generator and attaches it to the table. BTW generators are much more flexable then autoinc fields because you can prefetch them, there are lots of neat uses for that. since v7.0 postgres has had unlimited row sizes (limited by the OS).
    The documentation is one of the best. Second only to the truly awsome php documentation. Go read it yourself.
  • not true. It's open sourced. You can do whatever you want with it.
  • Lots actually. A rule system (every view can be made editable). User defined operators including aggregates. User loadable SP languages (no more SET TERM!) you can use perl if you like. Lots of object oriented stuff. Unlimited row size, easier import and export of text data blah blah. Lots of cool things in postgres.
    OTOH it's a royal PITA to install in windows. IB is so much easier to install and manage if you are running windows. And IB/Delphi combo kicks ass.
  • I have ran sql server 7.0 before and it's really not a 24X7 system. It frequently needs to be shut down to clear some odd locks. Mostly if the client software crashes in the middle of doing something it's impossible to clear the transaction or the locks without killing the server (I forget which types but about 5 types of locks could not be killed with kill command). Also someimes you had to kick people off to reorganize some tables basically clustering on different indexes. It kept getting confused and gave odd errors which had nothing to do with the problem.

    Anyway it was no fun to manage and kicking people off the database always get the management in a huff. I guess it reminded them that they made a huge mistake when they bought the damned thing.
  • The main players in database leader struggle will be Oracle and IBM

    <naive> Microsoft & SQL Server? </naive>

    I don't really keep up with such things (though I probably should), but does this really mean that "no one" is running SQL Server? I thought it was doing well enough that some naive people -- marketing drones, purchase mismanagers, etc -- see the term "SQL" as being synonymous with the M$ product instead of, oh, say, 'structured query language'.

    I'm not even trying to start a flamewar here (though Slashdot is oh so good at that), but I didn't think M$ was a player to be dismissed in this area. Am I wrong?

  • Well, what I meant was that I don't keep up with these sorts of kneejerk flamewars, that really aren't much more illuminating than emacs vs. vi or kde vs. gnome.

    My half-paying-attention understanding was that, among "serious" server systems (that is, neither mainframes nor desktops), the main databases included Oracle, DB2, Informix, and SQLServer/Sybase (with several others, notably open source ones like MySQL and PostgreSQL, trying to get a foothold).

    Given that, I was a little bit surprised to see that SQLServer wasn't mentioned in the article or writeup. I realize that it could be seen as, oh, say, "Access Server Edition", but I also realize that real companies are putting it to real use and are quite happy with it. As a flagship demo, Terraserver [] runs [] a pretty serious load [] on such a Windows []/Intel [] based SQLServer [] system.

    Now I realize that that might be all marketing hogwash, tweaked to hell to handle that kind of load or running an application that may be of no relevance to other uses (e.g. web business etc). But nonetheless, it seems pretty respectable to me. If that's "a toy", it looks like a damn powerful toy. Like I say, I don't really keep up with such things, and maybe the competitors can do even more interesting workloads.

    I'm here to learn -- enlighten me, flamethrower.

  • Yep.
    C:\WINNT\system32>strings C:\WINNT\system32\FTP.EXE | grep -i "copyright"
    @(#) Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California.


  • And it appears that the other parts of Informix will be staying around as a seperate biz, so we should continue to see their support for OSS.

    Informix Corporation owns Informix Software and Ascential Software. The software assets of Informix Software are being sold to IBM for cash, not shares. The Informix Corporation will be renamed Ascential Software, and will take up where its former second subsidiary left off. Informix Software will disappear into a legal entity on a shelf.

    Ascential, formerly known as Ardent, has no history of involvement in Free or Open Source software: they're best known for their Extract-Transform-and-Load tool "DataStage". They also sell a few other software tools. But there will be no OSS support from Ascential. If any GPLing or open-sourcing is to happen with the database products, it will have to come from IBM, and I'm sorry to say that today's announcement tells us nothing new about that.
  • by jdfox ( 74524 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @07:09AM (#268838)
    For starters, Informix owns the telecoms market: 8 out of 10 calls placed worldwide transact across an Informix DB.

    Second, big chunks of the Time Series Analysis market: several large finance houses including Merrill-Lynch, Morgan-Stanley and Chase use Informix IDS to do speeds and volumes no one else can get near. When you're doing Time Series on trillions of stock ticks per day, that's important.

    Third, video: CNN, BBC, RAI, Telecinco and others use IDS and the Video DataBlade for storing video objects in the DB. CNN saves around a million per year by doing real-time ingestion and indexing of video streams, saving them on manual keying of the metadata, and getting video out onto the editors' desktops within 2 seconds.

    Fourth, Data Warehousing, esp. in retail: Informix Redbrick is designed for DW, not OLTP, and it shows in the performance. Redbrick also scales to multi-terabyte far more easily than most DBs (including Informix IDS).

    Informix has a sizeable, loyal customer base of people that can't get what they need from Oracle or DB2.

    IBM will take the IDS/Illustra code and use it to build the next gen of DB2 with improved Object Relational support, plus star-schema support for Data Warehousing, and ride on the revenue of the installed base while they wait for the oven to go "ding". The legacy products like C-ISAM can be maintained at very little expense, giving additional long-term cash cows: it's surprising how much of that is still out there, chuggin' away untended.

    Finally, there's headcount: the acquisition will also go roughly halfway toward IBM's recruitment goals for the software business, in which they intend to be one of the 3 serious players in a few years' time.

    And no, I no longer work for Informix.
  • Thats the question that I have. This makes no sense. DB/2 has the same distribution that Informix has, are they going to support both? I suppose that DB/2 is more of a mainframe application than Informix is, but I could be fudding that.
  • Hemos is off his rocker. IBM could care less about MySQL, and Postgres. IBM is pitched in a battle with Sun in the enterprize server market. The database machine is often the big piece of hardware that enterprize sites buy, and it dictates the type of storage array and software they'll use. Sun + Oracle has a nice ring to it when you are talking about laying down $40,000+ for a database. That's were IBM and Informix come it. With a top of the line Database (I'm not sure what is wrong with DB/2), IBM can compete with Oracle, which really means that they can compete with Sun.
  • Previous to this, Informix wasn't exactly what you'd call "cheap". I worked for an all-Informix shop at one point, and they paid through the nose for a then-obsolete Informix 5. Mind you, they had multi-terabyte databases and millions of transactions a day, but still....
  • Customer base? I didn't think Informix had that much of a following.

    It may not be worth $1B, but Informix does have a fairly large list of prominent customers.

    When I worked for an all-Informix+IBM RS/6k house, we were told that the company did some $BIGNUM%, where $BIGNUM > 40 and $BIGNUM < 100, of all the real estate-based credit reporting in the US. As another poster has said, they also hold Verizon and Deutsche Telekom as clients as well. I don't call that small :-).

    I do concur about their support being surreal, though, and some of their DB Servers were extremely flakey, and as for R&D, well, you already said everything I was going to say :-P.

  • That just comes out to $10,000/customer. If every customer had an annual support program with Informix, and bought additional software licenses from IBM née Informix every year, then the purchase isn't exactly a silly investment, from this point alone.
  • by Nexx ( 75873 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @06:35AM (#268845)
    MasterCard International, for one. And yes, MS Outhouse is still better than Lotus Nots.
  • I don't buy your argument because people who are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a database are going to need technical talent that is rational enough to consider the attributes of the benchmark under consideration -- including the DBA-costs required to tune the respective databases for the benchmark.
  • I am all ears. What has Oracle got that Postgres does not? The only thing I am aware of is the JVM built into the core of it and that it can be used as a versioning file system. Is there anything else?

    I wish someone would PLEASE enlighten me as to what all these great secret enterprise features are that Oracle has that Postgres does not!
  • Anyone with even a scant knowledge of commercial database system should know that comparing Oracle and DB2 with Postgres and MySql is comparing apples and oranges. They are not even close to being in the same class. If you don't know why, perhaps you should find out yourself.

    Then why is it so hard for me to find someone who can tell me what makes Oracle better than Postgres?

    Every time I ask someone what makes Oracle so much better they either say "Enterprise features!" and change the subject or say "Oracle has X!" making obvious their ignorance of Postgres since it has X too.

    As of PostgreSQL 7.1 Oracle is not longer the faster of the two. Thanks to GreatBridge, Postgres has awesome support. Postgres now has all the foreign keys and inner and outer, left, right, up, and down joins. It has a data management layer where you can stick your indexes on a different spindle than your table. It has stored procedures and triggers. It has full transaction support and a write ahead log.

    Come on! Will one of you Oracle advocates PLEASE tell me what the hell makes Oracle so damn good. I'm not trying to pick a flame war, I just want to know! Has Oracle really fallen so far behind that the only people who advocate it are those who are drinking too much of the Coolaid to form a real argument? There must be another reason people like it so much!

  • This is probably too late in the discussion for anyone to see this, but an interesting tidbit is that the $1 billion IBM is spending on Informix, they are spending on something.... that was made from the same codebase as Postgres!!!

    Computer Associates' Ingres is another Postgres-based commercial database.

    Of course, both these databases have many enterprise-level features Informix doesn't...
  • Having been subjected to Lotus Notes for the past 6 years, I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about. I have yet to meet an IBM employee who likes Notes and I have yet to meet anyone outside IBM who uses it (MCI did for a while before moving to MS Outlook.) The fact that I (A rabid Linux fanatic) would prefer to use Microsoft products over Lotus products should be a damning enough indictment of any company and its software.
  • For starters, we know longer use MySQL, but we wrote a PHP generic DB class that lets us switch between PostgreSQL and MySQL (and will support other DBs that we add). As a DB designer, I hate MySQL. However, it isn't an embarassment.

    Remember programming little BASIC toys? If you wanted to keep info you openned a random-access or sequential datafile? MySQL is a set of fast random-access datafiles. It is accessable via a subset of SQL, because people who are comfortable using databases with SQL find it easy.

    If all you are doing is supporting a website (no delete operations) then the lack of foreign keys, etc., doesn't matter.

    MySQL can be tricked into being useful. You just have to write EVERYTHING (and therefore QA A LOT) in the database. Unfortunately, it is reinventing the wheel.

    PostgreSQL is a reasonable database. I don't know why MySQL gets all the credit. But if you have real database logic in your website, it is worth looking into PostgreSQL.

  • That's very true, I don't get why they don't support foreign keys. However, the scenario you are describing is easier to work around. Given that you have to build a front end for MySQL, only presenting the options that are in that table largely removes the necessity.

    You still have "foreign keys" (where Foreign Key is a reference to another table), you just don't have foreign keys, where the database makes certain that they point to an actual reference.

    My point is that the MySQL busted/non-existing foreign keys only really kill you because it will let you delete fields referenced by others and other stupidity. MySQL isn't a relational database, it is just a giant file/data store accessable via SQL.

  • You still can't even make a simple nested SELECT in this thing !
    That's because MySQL isn't even suggestably conformant to SQL92, which is a necessity for a real database. MySQL also lacks: transactions, rollback, stored procedures, external keys, views... shall I go on? MySQL is fine for setting a toy personal website (i.e. Slashdot) but isn't even an option for business use. I would think it's an embarrassment for the OSS community that their flagship DB is so incomplete.

    Its only grace is that the little it does, it does fairly fast.

    OSS has proven the old tenet that "you get what you pay for". Which is buy business users pay for Oracle, DB2 and SQL Server. (Well, that and the cool schwag the marketing people bring. "Well Oracle brought me a travel mug, but Microsoft brought this cool bomber jacket! I'm going to make a business decision** and go with SQL Server."

    ** "Business decision" is dronespeak for "random yet biased stupidity".


  • There is no direct and definite correlation between their investment in Linux and their profitability. As someone else pointed out, it's only a small part of IBM. I remember about 7 years ago, when Microsoft's worth (back when it was still relatively small) was only about as much as IBM's AS/400 business line...
  • In-depth knowledge of enterprise level data computer is NOT a prerequisite to being a nerd, but if you are going to be an authoritative source of information pretending to have some journalistic integrity, you should have your facts straight. Anyone with even a scant knowledge of commercial database system should know that comparing Oracle and DB2 with Postgres and MySql is comparing apples and oranges. They are not even close to being in the same class. If you don't know why, perhaps you should find out yourself.
  • Sometimes I wonder if these kinds of mistakes erring on the side of open source isn't intentional (whether consciously or unconsciously). Slashdot editors can hide behind the semi-official line of "we are/are not real journalists" to promote their agenda and plead ignorance when the facts are wrong (as they often are).

    That being said, I have found some very useful and informative and correct information, many of them coming from the community that make up Slashdot. I find it disappointing when the editors who are responsible for deciding which stories to post and for adding editorial content don't get their facts straight, and depend on the community to correct them.

  • That is not to say that I don't believe it didn't have influence. What I am saying is the to infer the connection between spending $1 billion in Linux development and profitability is simply the wrong thing to do. Of course, if you were a linux/open source marketing machine, that's whole different story.

    Do you know where they derive their profits from? Do you know how much profit did IBM turn on Linux specifically? I'm sure IBM can make Linux more profitable for them in the future than it is now, and it's just a matter of time. I have no doubt that open source and profitability are not mutually exclusive goals either.

    In fact, I think the best way to make open source and Linux profitable is what IBM is doing, not necessarily what RedHat is doing. IBM provides more solutions. Whereas very often, RedHat just provide more questions (ok, it's just me).

  • IBM deserves any and all DB misfortune (including pissing away a billion dollars) for the crime of destroying the far superior QUEL query language from Ingres with 'the EBCDIC of query languages', SQL!

  • Oh, and don't mention the Transaction Processing Performance Councel, by Performance or by price/tpmC (a hint: MS has 10 of the... top ten), or heck, just overall!

    Yes, MS has made some mistakes in the past, but they are learning from them and are making a quiet comeback. Nothing comes close to touching thier data mining/warehousing product.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but in terms of raw performance, MS SQL server 2000 doesn't cut it. Those performance figures are very interesting, so lets take a look in more detail.

    In third place in raw performance is DB2 UDB, running on 128 700Mhz PIIIXeons. This manages 440879.96 TPC-C throughput.

    In second place in raw performance is MS SQL2000, running on 192 700MHz PIIIXeons - 50% more processors than the DB2 UDB result. And the TPCC throughput? 505302.77 - a mere 15% more throughput. Not impressive.

    In first place in this raw performance chart is another MS SQL2000 result, running on 280 900MHz PIIIXeons. Oh dear - they added another 50% more processors, upped the speed to 900MHz per chip and still only managed another 36% in TPCC throughput. I reckon that a linear fit should have shown about 55% more performance than their second place result to be competitive.

    So you see - while MS has the money to buy lots of equipment to get impressive TPCC scores in raw performance, they need far more grunt from their hardware to provide equivalent performance to DB2.


    Toby Haynes

    DB2 developer and therefore biased :-)

  • I believe MS ripped a goodly amount of their TCP/IP stack out of one of the main BSD trees.
  • Thanks for the example. Cygwin? Gotta admit, when MS decides to use other work, they pick the good stuff. :-)
  • A clip from this [] story, posted today actually:

    Using the SAP Standard Application Sales and Distribution (SD) Benchmark, an industry-standard measure of server performance, a Unisys e-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000 equipped with 32 Intel Pentium III Xeon 32-bit processors supported 18,500 SD Standard Application benchmark users. This result is the third highest result ever recorded on any platform tested with the SAP SD benchmark methodology, regardless of the number of processors per server tested.

    Oh, and don't mention the Transaction Processing Performance Councel [], by Performance [] or by price/tpmC [] (a hint: MS has 10 of the... top ten), or heck, just overall []!

    Yes, MS has made some mistakes in the past, but they are learning from them and are making a quiet comeback. Nothing comes close to touching thier data mining/warehousing product.
  • With having invested $1 billion on Linux development [], IBM has met expectations [] for the second quarter in a row. Now, they are purchasing Mainspring [] and Informix.

    Who said that working with open source software wasn't profitable?
  • A small part...well..lets see...when your company spends about $5 billion per yr on R&D and 20% of that is on Linux (straight out of the previously quoted Linux Journal ad)....I think that is not a small part..but believe what you like. Only time will tell.
  • That's in the commericial space - obviously SleepyCat, PostGres and MySQL and others aren't going away.

    Ummmm....Sleepycat is a commercial embedded database. Sure, it's Open Source, but it's still commercial. The two adjectives "Open Source" and "Commercial" are not mutually exclusive.

  • What I couldn't figure out yet, is why anybody spends a ton of Money on database licenses, when Postgresql provides a very viable alternative.

    You pay money for support. When your entire company rides on the sanctity of a huge database (like a bank, for example), newsgroups just don't cut it for support. Oracle offers time-assured support (i.e., you database will be up in x hours under this support level).

  • Despite being a total abortion from a user interface point of view, Notes still sells in volumes close or greater to MS Exchange, and has far more deployed seats. Supposedly for each larger Notes to Exchange conversion, Lotus has scored an Exchange to Notes sale.

    Which means that it was a smart buy for IBM, even if you hate using.

    The biggest problem IBM has is that customers tend to user Notes *too much* and build all sorts of applications that should have never been built on Notes. That makes it difficult for IBM (or anyone else) to come along and get them to transition to WebSphere/Java, or whatever the perferred direction of the future is. (and also leverge their Lotus user base to sell DB2 etc).
  • by tshak ( 173364 )
    I wonder how this will affect IBM's DB/2...
  • MySQL also offers transaction support using two other table types (with their associated back-ends)...Gemini (from NuSphere i think...might be wrong), and InnoDB from Innobase. I've been playing around with the InnoDB tables in the last few days with MySQL 3.23.37 and they seem to support transactions nicely. InnoDB tables also support row level locking, so MySQL shoudn't slow down as much under a heavy insert load.
  • DB/2 is very expensive, on par if not more pricy then Oracle

    DB2 is actually a fair bit cheaper than Oracle, especially when you start running it on fast SMP machines. Oracle charges you based on the number of CPUs in your server, multiplied by the CPU speed in MHz, multiplied by a $ amount. You also pay an additional premium if your CPUs are RISC, rather than plain-jane Intel.

    DB2 is priced on a flat per-CPU basis, irrespective of CPU speed. Basically you're penalised for running Oracle on fast CPUs, whereas with DB2 you aren't. Run Oracle on newer high MHz CPUs (like an Alpha, UltraSPARC III or PIII-Xeon) and your wallet starts to bleed pretty badly.

  • Yep, I'm aware of that line of reason. However...

    ...I worked on the frontline re: RDBMS for nearly a decade now. And the support I partially experienced from the big boys can partially only be described as shoddy (to put it mild).

    Of course that doesn't invalidate your argument. When something goes wrong, as it inevitably does, you're sure better off when you went for Oracle or so. However,: support per se is certainly not better (I'm convinced that e.g. Great Bridge provides good support). It just looks better in your memo to the vice president that explains why the database fscked up big time.

  • Nothing on PICK or any of it's various flavors in the article. It would be nice if IBM decides to throw some support behind this, as Informix has done nothing with Pick/Universe, et al. since acquiring Ardent (Vmark, etc.)

    Currently, the best version I've heard is JBase, which allows coding in C, which addresses one of the great weaknesses of Pick, having to code in Basic.


  • Agreed on the obscure/proprietary database issues. We looked around to see if we could run on top of Oracle or something else. Some company promised to provide that layer, but produced vapor instead.

    The great downside of Pick basic is all the crappy habits bad programmers leave in it and that variables can be of any type (only two firm types, file variable and everything else!) Petty annoyance... having to do this check:
    IF (Y.Q1.AMT # 0) AND (Y.Q1.AMT # "") THEN ...

    Multivalue fields are actually pretty cool and easy where Unidata was concerned, you could create parenthetic selection clauses.


  • Oracle doesn't allow for open benchmarking for a very simple reason. VERY few people are good enough DBAs to tune Oracle properly to run at optimum performance levels. Somebody who just installs Oracle and trys to do benchmarks with the default install is going to get EXTREMEMLY different results than a professional Oracle DBA.

  • by Hilary Rosen ( 415151 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @05:14AM (#268965) Homepage Journal
    You answered your own question. MS isn't a player in the high-end database space. It will be.

    Not to troll, or start a flamewar or anything, but MSSQL 2000 (== MSSQL 8.0 == MSSQL 7.5) is a pretty good DBMS. I haven't seen anything to touch it on a MS platform. The cynical [] might say that the MSSQL releases right after they hire a bunch of talent from the competition are always the best. This release appears to follow that rule.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson