s Pervasive.SQL and PostgreSQL: Expert at Low ... - Analyticabiz.com

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Dec 16, 2012 (4 years and 6 months ago)


Infostructure Associates

Pervasive Software, Inc.’s Pervasive.SQL and PostgreSQL:
Expert at Low-Cost, High-Performance Databases
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Executive Summary
There are now two large classes of database users falling outside of the traditional large-
enterprise database customer — loosely, “Low-IT” and “high-flexibility” organizations.
Table 1 shows some of the key database characteristics that these organizations seek.
Table 1: Needs of Non-Data-Center Database Users
Organization Type Administrative Effort Flexibility License Cost
Low-IT “Very low touch” — non-
technical user can handle
Medium Medium
High-flexibility “Medium touch” High — use open
source communities
and/or software
Low — use open
source license and
some services
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 .  !!
“Low-IT” organizations are users — both SMB (small to medium-sized business) and
workgroup/department — that aim primarily to minimize both the cost and the complexity
of IT — often to the point of demanding that their computing architecture be entirely man-
ageable by non-technical personnel on their off hours. Moreover, these users now under-
stand that the enterprise database that consultants and data-center experts reflexively rec-
ommend is not appropriate for achieving Low IT — they are by their nature too complex,
too expert-intensive, and too costly (in cost of ownership terms).
The “high-flexibility” organization — which can range from a workgroup to a large enter-
prise — values above all the ability to innovate and upgrade rapidly, with low license costs.
In order to do this, the “high-flexibility” organization seeks to tap into the rapid-
development, low-cost characteristics of the open source movement. In particular, the
“high-flexibility” organization uses open source databases as the core of scalable, open ap-
plications. Research by Infostructure Associates personnel shows that open-source database
Pervasive Software 2
  
  
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  )

users form a distinct niche in the market, that these number in the tens of millions, and that
open-source databases are “ready for prime time” — that is, they are scalable, robust, and
powerful enough to support all but the largest of today’s enterprise applications.
This Analysis describes Pervasive Software. Pervasive’s Pervasive.SQL has long proven
itself in Windows-desktop environments as a strong Low-IT embedded database, with so-
phisticated replication and audit features, and has shown itself to be especially attractive in
Novell environments. To meet the needs of “high-flexibility” organizations (and particu-
larly Novell users turning to Linux), Pervasive now intends to support the PostgreSQL open
source database, in a solution that Pervasive calls Pervasive Postgres. Past research by
Infostructure Associates personnel shows that both PostgreSQL and Pervasive are ready to
meet the needs of these organizations.
What To Look For in a Low-IT or High-Flexibility Database
The demands of today’s Low-IT and high-flexibility organization require that IT buyers
place a different emphasis on Infostructure Associates’ usual criteria for databases (scalabil-
ity, flexibility [including open support of standards], robustness, and programmer produc-
tivity). In the Low-IT case:

The Low-IT user need only scale so far, and therefore places a higher emphasis on per-
formance (or rapid response to users) in a typical user load.

By flexibility, the Low-IT user is apt to mean ease of customization and upgrade, rather
than openness to a wide variety of hardware and software.

By robustness, the Low-IT user is likely to mean ease of administration, preferably by
non-technical personnel, rather than just staying running 7x24.

Again, programmer productivity means that the ISV (independent software vendor) that
delivers an application can rapidly create and deploy new versions, and the user can cus-
tomize them easily, rather than the user writing the application themselves.

Other key considerations are security and total cost of ownership (TCO).
The high-flexibility organization emphasizes:
• Higher scalability than the Low-IT user.
• Open-source support to achieve both openness to a wide variety of hardware and
software and ease of new-application development.
• High availability in Web situations.
• Low license costs for rapid project startup.
Infostructure Associates finds that Pervasive.SQL meets Low-IT criteria well, and that
PostgreSQL, with Pervasive’s support, is positioned to meet high-flexibility criteria well.
Pervasive Software 3
  
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 !"#
  )

Typical Low-IT and High-Flexibility Architectures
Low-IT users are usually of one of three types:
1. Local SMBs with 10-200 end users using one or a few local servers.
2. Local workgroups or departments in larger enterprises, with 10-100 end users per work-
group using one or a few local servers.
3. Mass-deployment architectures, with multiple workgroups in multiple localities using one
local server which may feed back to a central server.
All of these are more apt to implement packaged applications from vertical ISVs rather than
enterprise-packaged applications or in-house-developed ones.
Mass-deployment architectures, in turn, are typically of one of two types:
1. A centralized copy of the application and embedded database, accessed remotely by desk-
top and mobile clients.
2. Multiple copies of the application and database, each at a locality, with replication-style
synchronization with a central database.
High-flexibility organizations may include SMBs, workgroups/departments, ISVs, and
large enterprises; but all seek to develop new, scalable applications rapidly, at low cost.
Pervasive.SQL Technology Overview
Pervasive.SQL offers full database functionality, especially for Low-IT users of Windows
XP, Novell NetWare, and Linux LANs. With Server and Workgroup versions, Perva-
sive.SQL provides versions that include a strong “near-lights-out” administrative function-
ality, support for rapid high-level programming using Low-IT-tailored components, and
support for Web and similar standards for connectivity such as ODBC, JDBC, and OLE
Other key elements of the Pervasive.SQL solution include database replication (Pervasive
DataExchange), database logging and auditing (Pervasive AuditMaster), and ETL (extract,
transform, load) technology (Pervasive Data Integrator) for effective integration with enter-
prise data sources.
Pervasive has a strong reputation in the embedded database market, including accounting
and healthcare verticals, as well as in the Novell NetWare market and other Low-IT sites.
This evidences Pervasive’s ability to deliver administrative ease of use, minimal downtime,
performance, flexibility, and low TCO in its Pervasive.SQL product.
Administrative Ease-of-Use
While Infostructure Associates personnel have not surveyed Pervasive.SQL users for the
last three years, previous user reports about administration were glowingly positive. For
example, Pervasive.SQL periodically reorganizes the database — a feature key in avoiding
performance degradation, and one often omitted by other database vendors. Automated
Pervasive Software 4
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  
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backup and recovery and expansion of the database as it nears its capacity likewise go be-
yond the norm. Distributed Tuning Interface for deployment allows the user to integrate
Pervasive.SQL’s toolset within an application. Pervasive System Analyzer manages com-
ponents, allows the user to avoid database version conflicts, reports deployment errors, and
suggests solutions for problems reported. Pervasive Control Center automates typical
cross-server administrative tasks. Note also that AuditMaster’s ability to zero in on user
errors can sharply decrease administration costs, and therefore TCO.
Pervasive’s support for Pervasive.SQL includes a strong Web support site, sales/marketing
and development support, and partnership programs.
Minimal Downtime
Past reports indicate a very low incidence of Pervasive.SQL downtime. Features that allow
Pervasive.SQL to achieve this include careful attention to data integrity, automated online
backup/recovery and reorganization, and the ability to maintain a remote synchronized
backup server (Pervasive Business Integrator) — which also provides a measure of physical
security for key user data.
Pervasive also aims to improve PostgreSQL’s reliability to match Pervasive’s high Low-IT
standard — although recent surveys by Infostructure Associates personnel indicate that
PostgreSQL does surprisingly well already at administration and deployment.
The typical Low-IT transaction mix involves small to medium-load “OLTP” (online trans-
action processing) updates or “mixed” queries and updates. Pervasive.SQL’s multithread-
ing support allows it to perform very well in OLTP situations, and its “navigational” data-
access support, dynamic caching, row-level locking support, and optimizer means high
“mixed” performance as well. The result is not only performance but scalability to 1000s of
end users.
PostgreSQL users report that it is highly performant and scalable, comparable in some
situations to an enterprise database.
Pervasive.SQL supports Windows XP, Novell NetWare, and Linux. As noted above, Per-
vasive.SQL offers an extensive set of connectivity features, including ODBC, JDBC, OLE
DB, ETL technology, components, and Pervasive Direct Access Components (PDACs) that
allow Borland and Delphi toolsets to view Pervasive.SQL data as objects.
Developers can invoke Pervasive.SQL’s administrative features — a highly useful feature
for, say, self-tuning applications that monitor system statistics. Again, past user reports in-
dicated that Pervasive.SQL upgrades require little or no database expertise.
PostgreSQL likewise runs on Windows XP, Novell NetWare, and Linux — in fact, there
are a surprising number of Windows users. As an open source database, PostgreSQL bene-
Pervasive Software 5
  
  
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  )

fits from unmatched ability to tap into an open source community for rapid upgrade in re-
sponse to particular user needs.
Programmer Productivity
Pervasive.SQL offers a free downloadable SDK with components and class libraries, sup-
port for Borland and Delphi tools, and a JDBC driver. These are typically used with popu-
lar Low-IT languages such as Java/J2EE and Perl.
Pervasive.SQL offers extensive security features, including encrypted communications be-
tween client and server, physical security (the Business Integrator remote synchronized
backup server), and forensic analysis of logs to detect fraud.
Suggestive TCO Results
Although, as noted above, Infostructure Associates personnel have not assessed Perva-
sive.SQL’s TCO for three years, the results back then were striking:

250% better TCO than the nearest comparable database, and 11-to-1 advantage over the
average (enterprise) database.

An even more marked advantage in mass-deployment architectures.
Infostructure Associates research suggests that open-source database “zero license costs” do
not necessarily translate into lower TCO. However, if Pervasive can successfully translate
its expertise in “near-lights-out” administration to PostgreSQL, then PostgreSQL may
match or even exceed Pervasive.SQL in TCO.
PostgreSQL Technology Overview
Although open source database are sometimes thought of as “toy” databases, PostgreSQL is
not. PostgreSQL is a full relational database, including:
• SQL support.
• Tablespace and online backups.
• ODBC and Unicode support.
• Read-only views.
• Stored procedures and triggers.
• Object-type data support.
• Cost-based query optimizer with statistics to back it up.
Pervasive aims to provide full support for the PostgreSQL open source community and
PostgreSQL users, without violating the spirit of open source. Thus, Pervasive emphasizes
add-on services for PostgreSQL users.
Pervasive Software 6
  
  
 !"#
  )

Research by Infostructure Associates personnel shows that users give surprisingly high
grades in performance and scalability to PostgreSQL — in some OLTP and “mixed” (up-
dates, reads, and querying) cases, these users claim scalability even higher than that of en-
terprise databases such as Oracle.
PostgreSQL is a full-fledged open source database, and works well with other open source
software, including development tools. PostgreSQL provides its own set of developer tools
and interfaces. Users testify that open-source development efforts using PostgreSQL are as
productive as the average open-source development project.
Research by Infostructure Associates personnel suggests that, when tuned properly, Post-
greSQL is as robust and as available 7x24 as enterprise databases.
Pervasive supplies Pervasive Postgres (at present a distribution of PostgreSQL version 8) as
precompiled binaries for popular platforms, bundled with connectivity drivers and man-
agement tools, to ease customer adoption and deployment. Pervasive Postgres is presently
free of charge.
Pervasive will offer annual subscriptions, which will include support, updates, and
value added tools for Pervasive Postgres. Subscriptions will be available for a
range of required service levels, from basic product updates to 24/7 live production
support. Present plans are for pricing to range from $99/year per server for basic
updates to $4,999/year per server for premium production support.
Pervasive will offer packaged migration services to ease adoption and shorten time
to value. These 5-day engagements involve Pervasive professional services con-
sultants using Pervasive Data Migrator to rapidly migrate customers from Oracle,
IBM DB2, Sybase, MySQL, and other databases to Pervasive Postgres.
Pervasive will offer other professional services for Pervasive Postgres, including custom
development, database optimization and tuning, and training for developers and administra-
Infostructure Associates Conclusions
Pervasive’s move to complement Pervasive.SQL with the PostgreSQL open-source data-
base is bold — but it makes sense as a way to extend Pervasive’s ability to service both ma-
jor classes of non-data-center database users. Infostructure Associates research suggests
that open-source database users are “a breed apart,” a submarket characterized not only by
Pervasive Software 7
  
  
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  )

strong adherence to open source tenets but also a growing array of home-grown applica-
tions, complements to existing applications, and products increasing in popularity, such as
Firefox. By providing this “high-flexibility” organization the administrative robustness,
programmer support, and community coordination that Pervasive can abet, Pervasive bids
fair to deliver the same strong solution for “high-flexibility” as for “Low-IT” users.
The addition of support for PostgreSQL is therefore good news for Pervasive and for open-
source database users. Pervasive’s new strategy represents another good reason for Low-IT
users to check Pervasive out.

Pervasive Software 8

© June 2005
Infostructure Associates
24 Muzzey St.
Lexington, MA 02421
Telephone: 508 265 1558
Fax: 781 862 6236
Infostructure Associates is an affiliate of Valley View
Ventures that aims to provide thought leadership
and sound advice to both vendors and users of in-
formation t
echnology. This Analysis is sponsored
Email the analyst: wkernochan@aol.com