[DUG] Why InterBase

Jeremy Coulter vss at vss.co.nz
Thu Jun 1 00:03:49 NZST 2006

I used IB for about 6-7 months after going from MSSQL 7(this is like 6 years
ago now), and HATED that IB didn’t have a nice GUI interface. I didn’t like
this whole "Domains" thing for variables, although I did see the sense in it
after a while and did use them, and REALLY hated having to use some other
DLL to get any decent functions to use when doing Stored Procs.
When I left that job, after 6mths cos I hated the pace, and got my current
role which I have had for 6years now, I went back to MSSQL, and now MSSQL
2005 is out, I REALLY like it !
I guess it’s the old story of horses for courses. We do a LOT with stored
procs (well not so much me these days) and we are ready to start getting in
MSSQL 2k5 soon as we can.

With my after work business, I have been using Access which has served me
well even when the clients DBs have got huge, it still runs well, but once
again, its down t how you design the DB and how well you use keys etc, AND
as I learnt very early on when using access backin the VB3 days, ALWAYS do a
night compact and repair and you will be fine.
But, we are needing to move to a proper DB server solution very soon. My gut
instinct is to go with MSDE, but Firebird seems attractive for its
cost...thats if its still free, but it worries me that there is not a lot of
non borland type people to support it, where as there are a lot of people
who can administer MSSQL.
So I Am still rolling these things around in my head...sigh

Anyway, that’s my 2c worth.


-----Original Message-----
From: delphi-bounces at ns3.123.co.nz [mailto:delphi-bounces at ns3.123.co.nz] On
Behalf Of Kyley Harris
Sent: 31 May 2006 18:55
To: NZ Borland Developers Group - Delphi List
Subject: RE: [DUG] Why InterBase

Well. I have been using interbase since version 4 on linux, and recently
firebird. I only just migrated and made the decision to use MSSQL server for
new products a month ago. IB will handle millions of records with ease. I've
never seen what I'd call a slow query with IB, so it depends on how you
write SQL I guess.

These are my reasons, and I am certainly not advocating that I moved from
firebird/interbase because they were bad.

the main reason I like interbase(meaning FB or IB) is because of its tiny
foot print, ease of installation, and speed. My testing so far has found
that FB is faster than MSSQL in raw inserts, updates and deletes.
(this is only in my testing in a certain environment, so I cant claim that
as you scale no of users etc that FB will maintain that advantage) My
testing is with less than 5 concurrent executions against the database. I
have also never ever had database corruption in FB/IB in all the years I
have used it and I have never needed DBA's to do anything.

Now. Why did I change, even though MSSQL seems to be slower. Ease of
development, and customer support. 

>From my development perspective. MSSQL (and I could as easily say 
probably ) has 128char field & table names, which means I can generally
store my object with the same names and fields. IB only has 32 chars.
Which is an old legacy terrible thing that is only a tiny bit better than
8char DBF files.
Stored Procedure Language is more powerful. In MSSQL you can return
different rowed data based on conditions. When using the database to store
classed data with polymorphing this is great. It means that When I ask for a
TClient from a stored procedure passing it a primary key, it can work out if
the key is for a TClient, or a TBetterClient, and return the correct result
set to be processed. IB/FB cant do that, which makes for more overhead. I've
always found writing server side in IB a pain in the ass.

So far as I have seen. You can do a lot more with SQL language in MSSQL,
Oracle etc.  

>From a client perspective, it is easier to backup MSSQL in line with
server backups, so I can blame them if things are not backed up.

Still. IB makes for a good database when selling a cheap product, like <
$1000 per seat. Well Firebird does, I don't know what the licenses if IB


-----Original Message-----
From: delphi-bounces at ns3.123.co.nz [mailto:delphi-bounces at ns3.123.co.nz]
On Behalf Of James Sugrue
Sent: Wednesday, 31 May 2006 6:20 p.m.
To: 'NZ Borland Developers Group - Delphi List'
Subject: RE: [DUG] Why InterBase

Interbase seems ok - haven't used it that much so can't comment on
performance. It seems to be a good small footprint db. My question is how
does it scale? How does it handle large databases with millions of records? 
How good are the tools provided for DBA's?

I have used MSSQL since v5.5 in many sized apps, from 2 or 3 users to 100's
of users with millions of records. I have never had a problem with MSSQL
infact it's pretty much install and forget.

I'm not bagging Interbase, but saying that it is far better than MSSQL seems
to be a stretch. Glad to be proven wrong though....

-----Original Message-----
From: delphi-bounces at ns3.123.co.nz [mailto:delphi-bounces at ns3.123.co.nz]
Behalf Of Richard Vowles
Sent: Wednesday, 31 May 2006 4:20 p.m.
To: NZ Borland Developers Group - Delphi List
Subject: [DUG] Why InterBase

I'm leaving this here instead of going off-topic because I'd like people
other than Neven (who is a confirmed IB disliker :-) and me (a confirmed
SQL-Server, I mean what a dumb name, disliker) may have useful information.

-----Original Message-----
From: delphi-bounces at ns3.123.co.nz [mailto:delphi-bounces at ns3.123.co.nz]
On Behalf Of Neven MacEwan
Sent: Wednesday, 31 May 2006 12:02 p.m.
To: NZ Borland Developers Group - Delphi List
Subject: Re: [DUG] Migration from IBX to Interbase to SQL-Server 2005

> > Seriously, because it is a far better embedded, reliable database
> > SQL Server or MSDE.

> I think youd have an issue proving this, enough people have bagged its
query optimiser on this list alone > as for

Where does the query optimiser come into "embedded, reliable"? Both products
have problems with query optimisation - you just hear about them more on
here as more people have used InterBase than SQL Server. I know of customers
who write screeds of stored procs just to try and get SQL Server to perform
with lots of hand coded optimisations to specifically to get around the
query optimiser. IB is most certainly not alone in this. I mean, otherwise
why would you have sites like this?

> >> It requires no DBA

> Neither does MSSQL or MSDE in the sizes you are talking about, and
certainly not when its a back end to an > application (where the data
structures are tested by the app developer)

Well, we have quite a few customers running back-end databases using MSDE
and StarTeam. The concept of not requiring someone in the organisation who
is a dedicated MSSQL person fills them with horror. I remember one customer
who said to the new IT operations staff at Auckland City Council where they
had an app running InterBase that over a 2 year period they had never had a
crash or needed a system recovery.
The op guy (who only had experience with SQL Server) accused him of
downright lying. 

I suspect you have done a lot of work to mitigate these problems in MSDE/SQL
Server, but I'm sure I could be wrong. What do you do or do you in fact do

> >> Reliable

> Well I've had one failure in MSDE is five years and that was because I
didn't apply a service pack...

This is a test that the IB guys used to do with customers when Borland
actually made an attempt to sell IB (such as to Boeing and the US Army -
both of which they succeeded in doing). 1) Have an application actively
updating the database 2) pull the plug 3) put the power back on and start it
up. How long does SQL Server take to start? IB has no restart time - it is
up and ready to go immediately. SQL server spends quite a bit of time
stuffing about with re-do logs and so forth. That is the first test of
reliability. There are others but as you have mentioned above, you have no
problems with this in MSDE/SQL Server - but I am not sure if you do anything
to mitigate it.

> Having used both IB & MSSQL my choice would be PostgreSQL..

Have you used Postgres? I used it once and wasn't so impressed from an
operations standpoint (backup and restore seemed unnecessarily weird
operations). I haven't used it in development.

I'm now happy to have this discussion when I wouldn't have bothered before.
InterBase is a core product of DevCo going forward so I need to know what
are its selling points and what aren't. And I intend to have an InterBase
partner programme that rocks.

InterBase and Firebird are different products now - didn't they re-write
Firebird and fluff around with it for a few years? I mean they have been
trying to put out Firebird 2 for years now haven't they? I'm not saying it
is bad, I just don't know anything about it.


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