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Re: Postgres database vs Informix

Posted By: Gregory S. Williamson
Date: Friday, 1 October 2004, at 5:52 p.m.

In Response To: Postgres database vs Informix (Peter J Diaz de Leon )

Peter --

We have migrated most of our site to use postgres instead of Informix and are generally satisfied (cost was the overwhelming reason, plus a bit of wariness of IBM's plans for Informix/DB2 which would probably require some migration anyway).

But our experience may not be applicable to you -- our runtime database is heavily read/only (with occasional massive updates) and depends very heavily of the spatial blade (postGIS being the postgres equivalent). We have gotten roughly similar results from postgres as we do from Informix -- both after some tuning work. Informix has an edge in raw disk speed when using raw disks and native Informix support for this is good, but not applicable in all environments, as I understand it.

Database migration is *not* a thing to be done lightly, but this has mostly not been too painful. Postgres is -- contrary to opinion of another poster -- a mature product with serious capabilities (especially in the current beta relase of postgres 8.0) but there may be specific thing your site needs that it can't provide. Its replication is not as advanced as Informix' for instance, but there is replication that may meet your requirememnts. Perusing the postgres archives might give yousome idea of how well this tool would work for you; there are some sites that do large volume OLTP, for instance, but we don't so I can't address it well, for instance.

Never had a bad experience with Informix and got help with downed site issues even when contractual issues were, uhm, unclear. While you can buy support from various companies for postgres, we haven't. So far the postgres forums (and a bit of extra help from the postGIS creators) has given us timely relief from a the issues we have had).

As for developers -- they can't be allowed to run the DB side of things, and need to work *with* the DBA. There are some things that a database can do, and some it can't no matter how much they try. This was true when I was DBA at TRW using Informix, and applies in my current job as well. There are subtleties to a database that developer ought not/need not worry about, but it has to be a cooperative effort or I fear for the long term success of the effort.

Greg Williamson
GlobeXplorer LLC

---Original message---

SUBJECT: Postgres database vs Informix [3517]
AUTHOR: Peter J Dia....
DATE: Friday, 1 October 2004, at 7:20 a.m.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me. Some of the developers
within our company are advocating
the move from Informix 9.4.x to Postgres for no other reason (it seems)
than Postgres is "free/open source."
They are of the mind set that everything should be database agnostic and
the use of SPL's, triggers and
any form of business logic in the DB is evil. There plan it to stuff
all business logic etc... into the Java App
Server. For example, instead of using triggers to create a history
table to track any update that occurs
they decided to place that logic in the App Server. They use of
Tapestry and Hibernate are increasing.

They believe (the developers) should have complete say on what database
should be used and how
everything should be architecture from start to finish leaving me the
DBA out of loop until they are
ready to deploy.

So I guess I have really two questions.
1) Is Postgres database a potential replacement for Informix. If not
why not? If it is, why?
2) Are the way the developers relate to me the DBA the way developers
relate to DBA's elsewhere.


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