The iSeries Blog

Oct 21 2008   11:12AM GMT

The database debates: DB2 vs Oracle

Leah Rosin Leah Rosin Profile: Leah Rosin

This fall we have been examining the power of DB2. Andrew Borts first wrote about what DB2 does on the AS/400. And Joe Pluta contributed a well-received tip comparing DB2 to SQL. Continuing with the examination of DB2 versus competing databases, and in a nod to the current political campaign season, Andrew Borts chose to create a mock debate between DB2 and Oracle.

This content has been written as a humorous endeavor and is not meant to be a political statement. Please read and respond with this in mind.

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by Andrew Borts, Contributor

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s debate format will be a town hall style, with both candidates having limited time to respond. We’ll start the questioning with Oracle. Oracle: What are your advantages, and why are they so important in today’s world of business?

Oracle: First off, I’d like to thank the academy for allowing us to have this debate in public for the first time. To start off, I am available on almost all operating systems …

DB2: Except i5/OS …

Announcer: Please, would the candidates let the others complete their statements… we have certain time limitations!

DB2: Sorry … will I have time to rebut the comments?

Announcer: Yes… of course…

Oracle: As you know, Oracle is world class, and you don’t have to limit yourself to only IBM hardware. I cost less than my opponent, and I’m easy to manage. Using the same criteria, DB2 isn’t world class, and in my opinion, is not enterprise worthy. Just because DB2 is “pal-ing” around with i5/OS – which is certainly not enterprise worthy! We don’t even hardly see advertisements for it! Does IBM still SELL this i5 system??? Because you hear about me frequently, I am obviously far more popular. Why, we practically invented SQL, we’re so good at it. We’ve been around much MUCH longer than DB2, and cater to the Web world in today’s modern times. You don’t see really big applications using DB2 – only Oracle. We’re simply the Maverick of the Database world!

Announcer: DB2 – same question…

DB2: Thank you. And I’d also like the thank the Academy. My opponent would like to convince you that DB2 isn’t available on all platforms, but that’s simply not true – including Linux, Windows, and of course, our flagship the i5 or iSeries. The i5 system is where SQL the common database language was invented back when it was called the “System 38” now I know that Oracle has been on the market a whole two weeks longer than DB2; however, we still invented SEQUEL – which we had to rename SQL, and I noticed that you refer to that name yourself, Oracle. Running DB2 is least expensive on the i5/OS as it is built into the operating system, removing a layer of complexity not necessary. Application systems such as SAP run best using DB2, due to lower costs of ownership, and faster processing using less hardware.

Announcer: This question starts with DB2 — what is the most common misconception people might have about you?

DB2: That we’re not enterprise worthy, and we cost more. To say “enterprise worthy” we need to bring both of us on the same terminology. We support partitioning, database mirroring, and commitment control managed at an operating system level. These optional journals are used to send records remotely to backup systems. Giving more backup options and solutions for our customers. Our reputation may look bad, however many of these excellent solutions are available through third party applications such as DataMirror and iTERA solutions. Our flagship, the i5 server, is also the most reliable computer in the world, giving them the highest repurchase rate of any computer, bar none. If you buy an i5 OS, you’re going to buy one again – over 95% of the time! Who needs to advertise when you your customers are addicted to you!

Oracle: So you admit! Some of your customers are addicted to you!!!

DB2: In as much that they want us more. It’s like Chocolate – too much of a good thing, just makes you happy. In standard and enterprise configurations, we cost less per CPU then Oracle. And on the i5, there is only an operating system fee, and no separate license for the database. It’s built in!

Oracle: How about security! We’re a highly secure Database – how about you?

DB2: The i5 system has plenty of security. We’re even certified “secure” by the government – as a matter of fact, we were the first system certified with a C2 clearance. So our flagship system is secured far more than any system. If your database isn’t a part of the operating system, you’re only as good as the OS securing you. I must tell you, I sleep well at night.

Announcer: Oracle, same question – any misconceptions?

Oracle: None! I utilize triggers, indexes, arrays, commitment control relational tables — all industry standards. Something that we don’t hear much of from DB2!

DB2: [throat clearing] Actually, we have all those functions as well. All of our limitations, are within site of one another. It’s all a matter of preference these days, but it should be about return on investment, and lowering costs.

Announcer: Final Statements — Oracle?

Oracle: Do you want speed? Then you want Oracle! Do you have a Java application? Well then we’re your database! Do you have a legacy application? Then we’re your database as well. Want to make sure you have plenty of solutions for high availability? We’re your guy! I don’t need to waste more time. We’re faster, stronger, and lighter!

Announcer: DB2 — final statement?

DB2: I know you’re all concerned about speed. But looking at the numbers crunched by outside organizations that test the systems you’ll see that we’re speedier then you think. We’re tied with the top two places on the TPC chart – with almost 2 million transactions between us, and Oracle. 2 million. As far as Java, both Websphere and Tomcat are available. So if you want to do open source, we’re there. We support PHP as well with our product, all for low cost. As you know, PHP is Web-based, but years ago, a few of our nerds in the lab invented DB2WWW or Net.Data — delivering DB2 for the Web, back when people thought the Web was a passing phase. As far as highly available systems, with third-party mirroring solutions in place, we’re right there. So we’re really more like twins separated from birth, more than being different. Where there is a fundamental difference is our overall costs. Look at the return on investment. In the long run, you spend less with DB2, and especially the i5 or iSeries. With these troubled economic times, you need DB2 on your side, fighting for you.

Announcer: This ends the debate between DB2 and Oracle. In a moment, George Stephanopoulos will give his analysis of the debates. Right now we’re looking at both Debaters, shaking each others keyboards, and being friendly with one another. Maybe they’d interface well using XML or Soap services — we’ll have to let time tell the rest of this tale.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew Borts is webmaster at United Auto Insurance Group in North Miami, Fla. He is a frequent speaker at COMMON and is past president of The Southern National Users Group, an iSeries-AS/400 user group based in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

3  Comments on this Post

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  • Maryann Kluver
    Great debate! I too work in an environment where we are converting out applications to Oracle and outsourcing our equipment plus we have one i5, 810 and and 820. When I compare the two environments, iSeries is faster, data sent quickly and accurately and trouble shooting is awesome, I primarily use SQL and AS/400 Query to validate sent to Oracle. Of course when an issue occurs it is always the iSeries fault yet once validated it never has been. I love our boxes! I could go on and on about how powerful the i5/OS is.
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  • Paul
    I've loved DB2 - till now. If Oracle is the "maverick" then DB2 must be for change". That means DB2 wants to tax me more and redistribute my wealth - so I guess I'll be voting for Oracle then...
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  • Ken Kuhlman
    Oracle the maverick? DB2 for i the flagship product? Not acquiring new customers is a good thing, and so is addiction to chocolate? Triggers, indexes, & commitment control being treated like leading edge features? There's a lot of biases & quirks in this dialog. Perhaps not enough to justify the previous poster's asinine comment, but still..
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