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[vox] PostgreSQL vs. Oracle
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[vox] PostgreSQL vs. Oracle

I thought I would share this reply to an Oracle rep who has been
pestering our admin. I suppose I was mostly irritated by all of the open
source bashing. Interesting in light of the recent events at Oracle.

> I spoke to an Oracle system engineer currently working with Incyte
> Genomics.  Incyte is using Oracle very heavily, from partitioning of
> data for easier manageability, to running it in a parallel server
> environment.  Oracle can handle databases in the Terrabyte range
> trouble.  In fact, Celera (another heavy Oracle user) has told Oracle
> they expect to be in the Xa-byte range within 5 years.

It is interesting that you use Incyte as an example. Isn't Gary Wolfe
now the VP of bioinformatics at Large Scale Biology. I understand that
Gary is a huge fan of PostgreSQL and Linux.

The scalability and load balancing of PostgreSQL under Linux is
wonderful, and all without the heavy fees associated with Oracle's
payment schemes. 

Here is the truth about PostgreSQL limits:

Maximum size for a database: unlimited
Maximum size for a table: 64 TB on all operating systems 
Maximum size for a row: unlimited
Maximum size for a field: 1GB 
Maximum number of rows in a table: unlimited 
Maximum number of columns in a table: 1600 
Maximum number of indexes on a table: unlimited

PostgreSQL also has several useful features not offered by Oracle. Ask
your engineer about blobs and the sequence data type.

> Postgress is a file based system - it won't scale beyond 150 users as
> performance will degrade rapidly. A row can't be more than 8K.  Row  
> level locking problems escalate with lots of users - you could have
> table locks and users wouldn't even know it, compromising your data
> integrity.  Database size is limited also. We don't know of a single
> Postgress system in the Terrabyte range.

These statements are misleading. Prior to this letter, didn't you tell
Patrick that you hadn't even heard of PostgreSQL? You certainly have
many of your fact wrong.

>Most are in the 100MB range.

Well gee, most databases are in the 100MB range (or less). This is a
simple fact of database use.

> And based on what we've seen in the industry, you'll get to the TB
> faster than you think.  You said yourself that you expect Sagres to
> to this range.

> Where are you going to get support for this product?

One of the beauties of open source is that help is all over the place.
There are user's groups many sources of documantation on the web. If we
feel that we have to have dedicated commercial support, then there is
the RedHat PostgreSQL support: http://www.redhat.com/software/database/.
Since it is open source, I am also free to read, alter, and recompile.
You certainly can't do that with Oracle.

  It would be a huge
> business risk to bank on a shareware database to run your operation.

Why exactly? How can you say that when Oracle is moving to use Linux
exclusively? Please read the following:
{thanks to VOX for that one!]

> Don't get me wrong, Postgress is great for small web sites and small
> data sets, but it does not make sense to use it in your environment.
> One thing is for sure - if you implement Postgress, the longer you
> to replace it, the harder it will be.  Oracle will cost you more in
> dollars up front, but your TCO will be lower in the long run, and your
> risk will be drastically reduced.   The last thing you want is your
> technology to limit your business growth.

You have provided little evidence to support the previous claims.

> I have nothing that directly compares Oracle to Postgress - we simply
> don't run into them in serious business situations.  I'd recommend you
> not allow your firm to make a decision based on the mindset that
> Opensource is good enough for you.

Why not? It is good enough for Oracle.

Eric Engelhard
vox mailing list

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