Subject Firebird, ODBC, web access and various beginner questions
Author Thomas Løcke
Hey all,

In my business I have a mission critical application. This application
is more or less the core of my product. It was custom build for my
company a good 6-7 years ago. It utilizes 3 databases: 1 Firebird and 2
Microsoft Access. All three databases are located on the same server as
the application itself. The application is Windows only, so naturally
the server is installed with Windows.

The connection to the Firebird database is done "natively" in the
application, which is programmed in Delphi. The 2 Microsoft Access
databases are accessed using ODBC. One of the Microsoft Access databases
are also being accessed by a webserver (also via ODBC). This webserver
is also installed on the server.

Lately my business have seen a surge in new customers, and performance
is starting to be an issue. The server is already running the "fastest"
single core CPU money can buy, as going multicore is not an option. The
application craps out in the presence of more cores. Redoing the
application to run on a multicore system is too expensive, so that's not
an option. The performance issues are database related, as the
application itself doesn't use a lot of resources.

The amount of data being moved to and from the databases are miniscule,
but the queries can be quite taxing.

I've thought about moving the three databases to a new multicore Linux
server with Firebird installed. I would then convert the two Microsoft
Access databases to Firebird and still access them using ODBC.

My questions are:

Is the Firebird ODBC driver stable? I've noticed the latest versions are
considered BETA, and the non-BETA versions are quite old. Which one
should I opt for?

Is Firebird suitable for web access? I will be accessing the database
from a PHP powered web application situated on a dedicated web server
(Apache). The current solution where I access the Microsoft Access
database using ODBC is by no means fast, so I'm not spoiled.

Classic or Super? I've read the papers on the subject, and it seems to
me that I should go for Classic, seeing as I would like to fully utilize
a multicore system. Is this assumption correct?

How important is RAM? The databases aren't very large (a few hundred
megs total). On the Windows server it seems the Firebird instance never
grows beyond 25-30 MB. I know from a few MySQL servers I run that RAM is
God. The more the better. It seems this might not be the case for Firebird?

How important is harddrive speed? IDE, SATA, SCSI?

Intel or AMD? I personally have no preference, except I tend to cheer
for the little guy. :o)

OS suggestions? I plan on using Slackware, as all my other servers are
running Slack (except of course for the one Windows server discussed

This is my very first venture into the Firebird world. Any and all
advice is welcome.

Med Venlig Hilsen
Thomas Løcke

Loecke K/S
Mosekrogen 3
DK-3520 Farum

Tel : +45 70205721
Fax : +45 44995715
Mobil: +45 24247138

Mail: thomas@...
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