Subject Re: [firebird-support] Firebird/Internet performance questions
Author David Johnson
If I was writing a desktop application for my own use, or even a small scale system aimed at an installation size of less than 100 users, where I had control of the environment,I would agree with your general approach.

Unfortunately, I do not have control over my end-user's machines or architecture specifications. The company that I work for, for example, will not purchase any product that cannot use DB2 as the back end DBMS. Other large companies are married to Oracle or M$-SQL. I do not want to rule out the (lucrative) enterprise market by tying into a single DBMS. This product is aimed at an open market, so the DBMS must be as transparent to the product as possible.

The entry level operation will not want to use a high end contender such as DB2 because of cost. These operations will generally be more amenable to free and inexpensive software provided it has a good reputation (like Firebird/Interbase). Midsized operations are likely to want M$-$QL, and large scale operations will tend to lean towards Oracle or DB2. It is even reasonable (and likely) for a mid to large scale customer to use entry level configuration (Firebird/Interbase) at field sites, but Oracle or DB2 at the home office.

This is not a classical client-server architecture system - it is best classed as an n-tier tier recursive distributed enterprise framework for mission critical situations where communication capacity is limited or intermittent. While it can be configured as a client server desktop application, its most common configuration will be as a multiprocessing middle tier. There are a number of considerations besides DBMS performance obviously, but the DBMS performance is a key part of the overall picture since it is my biggest remaining bottleneck.

I know that I can support 8,000 concurrent users on an IBM 2500 running DB2, but can I also do this running on an 8 processor Opteron system for a fraction of the cost? What about shops whose primary database is on AS/400, System 9000, or Sun hardware?

My current task is to determine the performance characteristics of Firebird so I can extrapolate load capacities and know the limits of its scalability - will it be limited to desktop, or can I go up to 100 users, or 1,000 users? What size box would be required to service my target 8,000 concurrent users without undue strain?

The data that I am collecting from my own tests and other responders on this list (thank you all!) will be collected, analyzed, and those portions pertaining to Firebird/Interbase will be posted back here for reference.

----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Gough
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 2:33 PM
Subject: Re: [firebird-support] Firebird/Internet performance questions

Hi David,

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Johnson" <d_johnson@...>
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 1:06 PM

> So I can only expect 68 transaction per second or roughly 250,000
transactions per hour (I agree, row count is beside the point)? I will run
a recalibrated test to see how far this gets me.
> Since the typical insert transaction in my framework will be in the
neighborhood of ten statements, I will work with this. I will also prepare
a test case for random accesses through the database.
> Any other sggestions you have would be appreciated.

When we started working with Firebird, we also had issues with insert
performance. A complex set of insertions across multiple individual tables
using individual SQL statements prepared & executed across the network was
taking upwards of 15 minutes.

The same functionality placed in a parameterised stored procedure performed
_exactly_ the same operation in < 1 sec.

If you can commit to a DBMS platform (ie. Firebird), there are huge
performance gains you can achieve using specific features at the cost of
DBMS portability.


Andrew Gough
LiveNote Technologies Inc.

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