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February 8, 1989

“FORGET PERFORMANCE, WE WANT TOOLS, HETEROGENEITY, TRANSPARENCY” – DB USERS

By CBR Staff Writer

With all the flack flying around about how my database processes so many more billions of transactions per nanosecond than IBM’s does, and IBM responding with not – so – much – as – what – you – are retorts about benchmarking methods, it is sobering for all to learn that database software buyers are far more interested in access than performance, according to an audience straw poll conducted at last month’s DB/Expo in San Francisco. Only five of the 150 assembled vendors, corporate planners and consultants cited performance as their chief selection criterion, when buying a new database, reports Microbytes Daily. The majority was concerned with the provision of transparent access to diverse and remote systems, the availibilty of development tools, and a data typing scheme sufficiently fluid to handle complex objects, digitised photos, and recorded speech. On the issue of mixed computing environments, consensus was reached among both audience and vendors. On the one hand, most vendors were forced to concede that the database environment in the mainframe world was dominated by IBM’s DB2. On the other, and in the words of Relational Technology’s Martin Sprinzer, mixed environments are the real environments. For the corporate user, he added, the process should be transparent, regardless of location, data format, operating system and user interface. Some felt that a mixed solution lay with distributed databases and gateways. According to database guru C J Date, however, distributed systems often suffer in performance terms, through their inclusion of replication schemes designed to protect data. IBM is among the companies currently working on a new snapshots technique that can address this problem, he added. Other developments alluded to include new products from Relational Technology which enable a user to write an application once under VMS, and then access it transparently under Unix – it’s due to be announced next week (CI No 1,111). Oracle Corp, meanwhile, is working hard to make its graphical user interface invisible, by producing a product which looks like Presentation Manager, the Apple Macintosh interface, or Open Look. The company also said that announcements, pointing towards the integration of data dictionaries and computer-aided software engineering tools, would be made shortly.

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