Dbms ComparisonThis print version free essay Dbms Comparison.
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DBM502 Week 2 Individual Assignment
This paper will discuss and make comparisons on the markets top Database Management Systems (DBMS) currently available. The paper includes a table for side-by-side comparisons of feature sets and other factors required when making decisions on which DBMS to purchase and implement in a business. While this may not be a complete list of all available DBMS systems it will include important discussions on aspects required when evaluating any major application / system choice.
Currently in todayâ€™s complex computer systems environment there are more choices available than ever before. While this is a huge advantage to the purchasing agent, it adds an enormous amount of work to the IT department tasked with specifying which DBMS is best for the organization. Making the wrong decision can definitely be a career-limiting  move in more ways than one. The amount of resources and time invested in an endeavor such as development of a database needs to be take very seriously and fully researched prior to the first line code is written or the first data table specified.
Choosing a DBMS is not as simple as looking at the specifications and finding the feature set you are interested in and then going with the lowest price option, while at first this may sound exactly like what most companies have done. There are things beyond the technical specifications that may require some in-depth thought and decision-making.
While price plays a factor it is not the only factor when making a decision your company may have to live or die with.  If price were the only factor, weâ€™d all be trying to run MS Access for everythingâ€¦. Basing a decision solely on price could lead you down a path that turns out to be more expensive than investing in the proper DBMS initially after factoring in all the changes and work around that have to be implemented to accommodate a DBMS that does not meet the feature-set requirements of your business. Adding on extra modules or hiring consultants to design and implement special patches or options can be more expensive and time consuming that the most expensive DBMS on the market today and those costs do not include the potential lost revenue or other intangible items that can add up when your company is struggling to make do with the wrong DBMS.
This paper will discuss various aspects of some of the premier DBMS systems on the market today. Those products include Microsoft Access, SQL, DB2, and Oracle. While each of these systems has specific features and advantages they also have distinct disadvantages as well. Our job is to gain an understanding of each of them to best determine which the best choice today.
While each application may be generically the same there are technical differences between them. This section will discuss some of the basic technical specifications of each of the systems. This can be a very detailed task and while a majority of these comparisons fall outside the scope of this particular paper due to the size constraints placed on this requirement.
The table below points out some basic features of each DBMS system:
DB Name Max Size Max Table Size Max Row Size Max Columns per Row Max Char Size Max Number Size
DB2 512TB 512TB 32677 Bytes 1012 32KB 64 bits
MS Access 2GB 2GB 16MB 255 255 32 bits
MySQL Unlimited 2GB to 16TB 64KB 3398 64KB 64 bits
Oracle Unlimited 4GB * block size Unlimited 1000 4000 bytes 126 bits
 Source of information for the table?
Itâ€™s obvious when you look at these basic features that one option stands out as being a little less than the other, Microsoft Access. While Microsoft Access may appear to have a less robust feature sets it is one of the most prevalent DBMS on the market today. Given Microsoftâ€™s penetration into just about every aspect of computing it is no wonder that they would offer a base line product that would give them the entrance they need into this market. Microsoft has a big brother version of a DBMS (Microsoft SQL Server) that has numbers that hold their own against the others listed in the table above. Do you know the origins of SQL Server? It is Sybase. Up until around release 4, the two products were identical until MS got what they needed from Sybaseâ€¦.
IBMâ€™s DB2 and Oracle are the venerable standards when it comes to DBMS. Both have been around in one form or another for a number of years. Each has its own feature set that has definite appeal and Oracle has made great strides in combating who they believe to be the arch enemy of the computer industry, Microsoft, over the past few years. Both applications can be pretty costly in regard to price-per-seat comparisons. IBM has stated that Oracle is their largest competitor.
The most unique participant in this comparison has to be MySQL. MySQL is a freeware DBMS made available through the GNU General Public License rights while a company does maintain the codebase and offers maintenance options. With over 10 million reported installations of MySQL it is most likely the absolute most prevalent single DBMS available today. While this low cost option appears to be making a huge headway into the DBMS marketplace it does so with some risks. Having an open source freeware application as the heart of your business data applications may leave some businessmen very uneasy and rightfully so.
While this admittedly is a superfluous look at some of the features and limitations each DBMS system has to offer there is much more to looking at file size limitations when it comes to choosing an investment that can make or break an organization.
Each package has some features that a business owner may find important. As I see it, going from one package to another is natural progression of how these applications are perceived.
Microsoft Access while it has limitations when compared to its big brothers is part of the Microsoft Office package and therefore readily available and the cost has already been absorbed in the purchase of the office word processing system which is obligatory in todayâ€™s Windows based environments.  This isnâ€™t entirely true. Many organizations choose not to purchase the MS Office package that includes Access and thereby save themselves some money. Starting out developing your own databases with limited capabilities may just be the first step in understanding the needs and benefits of a DBMS.
As a company matures and becomes more technical savvy they may become daring and venture forth with MySQL and try and implement this freeware giant. This is an important step in the learning process of databases and their uses. Creating a database is easy, the day-to-day maintenance and upkeep not to mention the requirements in getting the data populated into the database can really show itself if a company tries to take this burden on its own. Even though MySQL is a freeware application there are numerous developers and DB Administrators available to help implementation and expansion of this to fit any given organization. Based on the claim that there are currently 10 million installed copies someone somewhere is doing something right.  In the TCO (total cost of ownership) picture, the cost of the software is actually small in comparison to the rest of the picture.
As their knowledge grows along with the complexity of their database needs the migration to either Oracle or DB2 is next. These two companies are the premier players in this arena and they both know it. Both solutions are comprehensive and can support multitudes of resources as well as global infrastructureâ€™s available today to see to it that your complete database needs are met. At a cost however that may shock some business owners. There is an old saying though, you get what you pay for and these two companies did not get where they are today by not knowing what they are doing. Both organizations are comprehensive in the available services that they can offer and whether you chose to do some of the implementation work or ask for a turn-key system you can expect nothing but the best from either of these two.
There are numerous Database Management Systems available in todayâ€™s market. Each offering has both advantages and disadvantages and this paper cannot do justice to the amount of information available in regards to the technical capabilities available on the very limited set of offerings described in this paper. Looking at Access, DB2, Oracle, and MySQL would only be the beginning of what an IT department might be tasked with if given a project to determine where a company should spend its capital resources, both time and money, on investing in.  On the other hand, if they were to look elsewhere, what would be the advantage today? Is there enough differentiation to warrant a broader search and investigation? (Sometimes too much study provides little to no additional benefit. Where would you draw the line?) Each available offering need to meet the distinct needs of the corporation implementing the system and each item listed here should be analyzed in great detail to ensure that this investment is not a wasted effort. Some of the items that need to be researched when making a decision include the following:
â€¢ Query ability â€“ the ability to retrieve information out of the database is as important as the ability to put data in, if not more so.
â€¢ Backup and replication â€“ the need to safe guard a companyâ€™s information in case of disasters is crucial and the database system needs to be aware of these needs and be able to accommodate whatever methodology is implemented.
â€¢ Rule enforcement â€“ the design of the database needs to be such that it is not possible to violate basic business premises used in the design of the database, to ensure normalization to prevent the corruption of data.
â€¢ Security â€“ access restrictions as well as data checking to ensure that only authorized users have access to data.
â€¢ Computation â€“ typical calculations such as sums or averages.
â€¢ Change and access logging â€“ the ability to track changes as well as being able to restore previous data is critical given todayâ€™s compliance requirements.
â€¢ Automated optimization â€“ modern DBMS systems have the ability to â€œtuneâ€ themselves to ensure fast efficient access times. They also have the ability to analyze their data to ensure proper allocations of resources.
â€¢ Meta-data repository â€“ databases no longer consist of just ASCII text. Multimedia needs also dominate todayâ€™s database needs.
â€¢ What about cost? This can vary by the target environments. A single large DB implementation may result in different economies than if you were a Wal-mart wanting to put a DBMS into every one of the 2000+ store locations. Small price variations may become significant in those situations.
While this paper only barely scratched the surface when it comes to comparing DBMS systems the basic premise of what an IT department would be required to do remains the same but in obviously much greater detail. Each DBMS available on the market today remains there for some reason, whether there be a feature that they only support or an operating system that is specific or that their price is cheap or that their support is better than others is all part of the decision making process. Oracle and IBM DB2 charge some unbelievable prices but there has to be a reason that they stay in business, they offer a service or a feature that others see valuable and are willing to pay them for it, thatâ€™s the bottom line. Iâ€™ve seen firsthand some of expenses incurred when doing an Oracle database application and while I thought the prices were outrageous I do have to admit that the application did exactly as we specified when it was all said and done. Doing research for a decision such as this is not an easy task and should be taken very seriously. I believe all of the discussed DBMS offerings will be with us for quite a while. Each has a competitive advantage and enough of a following to ensure that they will be here for the long term. As previously stated, you get what you pay for.
 Other factors? What about other DB applications you may already have inhouse? If you already have Oracle inhouse, does it make sense to purchase SQL Server for a new application?
Wikipedia, â€œDatabase Management Systemsâ€ retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_management_system#References on 11/11/07
Other sources on Wikipedia include:
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