An Analysis Of The Strengths And Weaknesses Of The Big Six Database Servers

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Comparison Summary
DBMS Server Comparison Supplement
An Analysis Of The Strengths And Weaknesses Of The Big Six Database Servers. In 1991 I performed a thorough evaluation and comparison of the four major DBMSs at the time: Informix, Ingres, Oracle, and Sybase. This comparison was done for a client building a huge distributed database application, currently in its second phase of d evelopment, with the first phase running successfully country-wide. At that stage, the distinguishing criteria were query optimizers, triggers, views, and support for distributed databases. Some products had these features, but some others' marketing per sonnel were just talking about them. For example, declarative integrity was a "future" that was at
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To explain further, I review a few of the features in this comparison supplement.
Relational Data Model
Although the DBMS products reviewed here can rightfully claim to be relational, their support of the relational data model must be scrutinized closely. Obviously they all support the basic relational concepts, such as data stored in tables and accessed b y high-level set operations, mostly through SQL. However, not one of the Big Six supports domains. It is crucial that these products address this fundamental concept of the relational data model. You must be able to define your domains and then specify y our table columns, and preferably also your stored procedure variables and parameters, in terms of the domains. This process is necessary to ensure tight type-checking, as you can do in some programming languages. If a "small" (in terms of market share) product such as Interbase could implement domains five years ago, surely the Big Six should be able to "get it right" today.
All of the Big Six can rightfully claim that they support declarative integrity constraints. Except for domain constraints, they all support declarative key, column, and referential-integrity constraints. But you must investigate these claims closely as well. Only Informix and Oracle support cascading delete as a referential-integrity constraint violation option, and only DB2 supports the

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