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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2

    Unanswered: Choosing an RDBMS for my web application

    Hi everyone,

    The company I work for has an application that has been developed using PHP and MySQL. We recently received a large contract and are expecting even larger ones. Because of this, we've decided to re-evaluate our platforms.

    I've developed a lot of web applications in the past, even ones with a lot of users and large databases, and I've never had a problem with PHP and MySQL. If it were up to me, I'd just stick with them because I think they are perfectly adequate, but for reasons beyond my control, we have to switch to a "more robust" database. We've already discussed the programming language (a .NET vs PHP battle) and decided to stay with PHP, with the compromise being that we move from our Linux server to a Windows server. However, the database discussions have just started heating up. It is important to note that, while this is a pretty standard web application, it is going to be used by the government and even be hosted on government servers. I've already been told by one group that MS SQL Server 2005 is on their list of approved RDBMS's and that they would like to use that, so that is an option. However, this application will be rolled out for many different groups, and I'm afraid that retooling our app to work with MS SQL Server will tie us to using a Windows system. MySQL and Oracle are both capable of running on multiple operating systems, which gives us freedom with our other clients. There are more considerations.

    Here is a list of the considerations

    • This product will be licensed by multiple entities and hosted on those entities own servers
    • Each instance will probably contain 10k to 1 million users, most of which will only use the application a few times a year, but the app hosts a lot of information about each of these users
    • We'll be doing a lot of heavy-duty reporting on our web application (lots of joins)
    • We don't currently have a DBA on staff. I'm acting as the DBA and have only administered MySQL in the past
    • Cost is an issue. Not a big one. But it is an issue.
    • We'll want test, development, and backup servers in addition to our production server, so that ties in with our concern on the cost


    The options are MS SQL Server 2005, MySQL 5, and Oracle 10g.

    MySQL is obviously free, but I'm unclear on the costs of the others when used as a web system. I saw MS SQL Server 2005 on CDW.com for $5k. I talked to an Oracle representative who told me the Oracle 10g Standard Edition One is $5k per processor. Are there other costs that I should consider?

    I believe there is a free Express edition or Oracle 10g w/ no support that has all the same features as the standard edition but with a limit of 4Gb of data. If I'm not planning to go over 4Gb of data, is this a viable choice? Is anyone else running an important production web application using Oracle 10g Express? Would this have any advantages over MySQL?

    If we end up consolidating all of our clients into one server farm hosted by us, then we'll want to have some sort of high-availability clustering system between multiple database servers. I know that MySQL can do this w/ a bit of legwork. I know that Oracle can do this with their most expensive version. But I don't know what MS-SQL's capabilities are or what the extra cost would be.

    Please feel free to chime in with any thoughts or experiences you have. Thank you in advance for your feedback.

    - Shaz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    20,002
    hmm, licensed by multiple entities, a million users, heavy-duty reporting, lots of joins, and you don't have a DBA!!!

    what's wrong with that picture?

    it's good that you don't have one, because it might be the wrong one -- you're going to want to hire one with deep, deep, deep skills in the database which you end up choosing

    by the way, i have been in these types of wars before -- if somebody has already said MSSQL 2005 is on the approved list, then i can tell you right now, that's the database you're going to end up using
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
    Buy my SitePoint book: Simply SQL

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by r937
    it's good that you don't have one, because it might be the wrong one -- you're going to want to hire one with deep, deep, deep skills in the database which you end up choosing
    Yeah, it sounds like getting a DBA would be a good idea. I've been a multi-hat IT generalist for many years, so I've done a lot of DBA type stuff for MySQL and am capable of doing that. But I'm under the impression that Oracle requires more knowledge and skills and that I wouldn't be able to do it myself, whereas I could do a lot myself in MySQL. Is that a fair assumption?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    20,002
    Quote Originally Posted by ShazPro
    Is that a fair assumption?
    i believe so

    i have heard overwhelming anecdotal evidence that oracle database administration is gruesome
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
    Buy my SitePoint book: Simply SQL

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