Putting Database Performance to the Test

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2002-02-25 Print this article Print

Look for independent confirmation of a vendor's claims, and you're often out of luck. But not anymore, thanks to a huge effort by eWeek Labs West Coast Technical Director Tim Dyck, in conjunction with staff members from sister publication PC Magazine Talk to database vendors, and theyll quickly tell you a companys database is its crown jewels. Ask a database vendor why you should select its product, and itll quickly produce reams of data showing how its system has more capacity and is faster and more secure than any other companys database. Look for independent confirmation of a vendors claims, and youre often out of luck. But not anymore, thanks to a huge effort by eWeek Labs West Coast Technical Director Tim Dyck, in conjunction with staff members from sister publication PC Magazine.

Database tests are among the hardest testing a lab can do. Configuration is a nightmare, writing scripts that treat all databases equally is tedious and time-consuming, and tuning hardware is an art in itself. I often wondered which would crash first: the databases being tested or the database tester. Im happy to report Tim made it through in fine shape, although I dont think he wants to hear the word "database" for a couple of months. This is the first time (we believe) a computer publication has published database benchmark results tested on the same hardware since 1993. See our article, "Server Databases Clash", and you can visit our Web site to download the database configuration and tuning scripts, benchmark application source code, and benchmark results data.

The database is the heart of a companys computing infrastructure, and we believe this exhaustive test will help you keep your companys database in shape for an increasing load of digital demands.

While Tim was in New York tuning databases, Executive Editor Stan Gibson was in California interviewing IBMs new boss, Sam Palmisano. Stan caught up with Palmisano at IBMs PartnerWorld conference, where the CEO-elect championed computing integration and end-to-end digital enterprises as the next wave in computing. But between the promise of digital businesses and the reality of tight budgets resides a long march of product selection, infrastructure development and hard work. For an insight into what the new regime at IBM is planning for you, take a look at Stans interview.

In his speech at PartnerWorld, Palmisano talked about the difficulty of integrating processes across individual and multiple enterprises. But IBM is not alone in realizing that cross-enterprise integration is the current core of computing technology. In this weeks issue, read Darryl K. Tafts article, "Building Portals Made Easier", which shows that computing integration is best made visible to the user through a corporate portal. The trouble has been trying to tie those visual portal capabilities to back-end processes. Portal vendors now seem to realize that the tools provided—rather than the look and feel—will determine the winner in the portal market war.

Since 1996, Eric Lundquist has been Editor in Chief of eWEEK, which includes domestic, international and online editions. As eWEEK's EIC, Lundquist oversees a staff of nearly 40 editors, reporters and Labs analysts covering product, services and companies in the high-technology community. He is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings and user events and sits on numerous advisory boards. Eric writes the popular weekly column, 'Up Front,' and he is a confidant of eWEEK's Spencer F. Katt gossip columnist.

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