I'm on an Ingres Performance Tuning course this week. Just completed day 4 of 5 and it's all been quite tough. There are many ways to tune a DBMS including choosing your table structures (heap, hash, isam and btree), when to use secondary indexes, how to examine the Query Execution Plan (QEP - the way the DBMS chooses how it will execute a query), key design, application design consideration, which have all led us to the locking and logging system today. The subsystems that enforce consistency but allow concurrency. The number of options and strategies are many and an Ingres installation is extremely flexible (it needs to be when systems have hundreds of concurrent users and databases in the hundreds of gigabytes).
The whole thing is really quite amazing and I bang my head against a wall when people automatically assume "open source database" equals only MySQL or Postgres.
I admit it - I like Ingres - I'm a fan. It's a free download and you can get it up and running (on Linux or Windows) very easily. There is a JDBC driver,
.NET connector, PHP, Python and Perl interfaces. Go on, try something new... :-)
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