War between 2 Databases – Oracle 9i vs. DB2 v8.1

It has been a reigning question, triggering endless discussions in various professional forums, hence the need for this article today. We are going to delve into the various features, functionalities and capabilities of the Oracle database version 9i and compare it to IBM’s Universal Database version 8.1. Aspects to be considered in this article include performance, requirements, support of platforms, TPC testing and of course price comparison.

Now to begin!

  1. Platform comparison

The Oracle 9i as well as DB2 v8.1 can support all the known platforms – HP-UX systems, Windows-based platforms, Linux Intel, AIX-based systems, Sum Solaris among many others. For better comparison data for platforms, ask the Remote DBA Expert – http://www.remotedba.com/.

Database table

  1. Hardware requirements

Oracle 9i database

The following hardware is necessary on order to be able to run the Oracle 9i database on a Windows-based platform:

  • Pentium 166 MHz processor or higher
  • 128 MB RAM Memory, though 256 MB is most advisable. Initial size of virtual memory should be 200MB, growing to a maximum size of 400 MB.
  • Hard disk – system drive should be 140 MB at least, and an additional 4.5 GB on the FAT Oracle Home Drive (OHD) and 2.8 GB on NTFS OHD.

On UNIX Systems (AIX-BASED Systems, Linux Intel, Sun Solaris, HP 9000 Series HP-UX and Compaq Tru64 UNIX), the following hardware requirements are necessary:

  • 512 MB RAM memory minimum
  • Either 400 MB or 2x RAM swap space, whichever one is larger
  • 5 GB hard disk space

DB2 Universal Database v8.1

Windows-based platforms must fulfill the following hardware requirements:

  • Pentium processor or Pentium-compatible CPU
  • 256 MB RAM memory minimum, though more may be required
  • At least 350 MB on the hard disk for typical installation, 100 MB for the compact or custom installation options. Additional space may be necessary on FAT drives that have large cluster sizes.

UNIX systems conversely must fulfill the following:

  • Processor: AIX – eServer pSeries or IBM RISC/6000; HP-UX – 700 or 800 system on HP 9000 series; Linux – Intel 64-bit, Intel 32-bit, Multiprise 3000, S/390 9672 generation or more recent, eServer z-Series.
  • 256 MB RAM memory minimum, though more may be necessary.
  • At least 450-550 MB on the hard disk for typical installation, 350-400 MB for the compact installation and 350-700 MB for custom installation options.
  1. Software requirements

Oracle 9i Database

There are three editions of the Oracle 9i, Personal, Enterprise and Standard. All three require the following:

  • Windows-based: Windows NT 4.0 SP5, Windows 2000 SP1, Windows XP
  • AIX-Based: AIX 4.3.3 – Maintenance level 09 & IY30151, IY 24568, IY27614, IY25282 or AIX 5.1 – AIX 5L release 5.1 ML01+ (IY 22854), IY30150, IY28766, IY29965, IY26778, IY28949
  • Compaq Tru64 UNIX: Tru64 5.1 – patchkit 4 or Tru64 5.1A patchkit 1
  • HP-UX version 11.0: (64-bit) – Sept. 2001 Quality Pack, PHKL_24729, PHSS_24301, PHCO_24148, PHKL_ 25475, PHSS_22868, PHCO_23792, PHKL_25525, PHSS_24303, PHKL_24268, PHSS_24627, PHNE_24715, PHSS_23670.
  • Linux: SLES-7 with glibc 2.2.2 and kernel 2.4.7
  • Sun Solaris: Solaris 32-bit 8 (5.8), 7 (5.7) or 2.6 (5.6) or Solaris 64-bit 8 (5.8) – Update 5

DB2 Universal Database v8.1

DB2 comes in six editions: Enterprise Server (ESE), Personal (PE), Workgroup Server (WSE), Workgroup Server Unlimited (WSUE), Personal Developer’s (PDE) and Universal Developer’s (UDE) Editions.

Software requirements are as listed below:

  • Windows-based: Windows NT 4.0 SP 6a & above, or Windows 2000 SP2 for Terminal Windows Server, or Windows XP.
  • AIX-Based: AIX 4.3.3 – Maintenance level 09 & later with APARs IY22308, IY33024 and IY32690 or AIX 5L (32-bit) – Maintenance level 2 and later with APARs IY29345, IY31254, IY33023, IY32217 and IY32905 or AIX 5.1.0 (64 bit) maintenance level 2 and later with APARs IY32466, IY31254, IY33023, IY32217 and IY32905.
  • HP-UX version 11i: Dec 2001 GOLDAPPS11i bundles or GOLDBASE11i
  • Linux: Intel 32-bit – glibc 2.2.4 and later, kernel level 2.4.9 and later or RPM 3 and later OR Intel 64-bit &z-series – SuSE Linux SLES 7, Red Hat Linux 7.2
  • Sun Solaris: Solaris 7 32-bit patch 106327-10 or 64-bit patch 106300-11 OR Solaris 8 32-bit patches 108528-12 and 108434-03 or 64-bit patches 108528-12 and 108435-03 OR Solaris 9
  1. Performance comparison

Making a performance comparison between the two databases is quite difficult, since the efficacy and performance of a database predicates more on the developers and administrators of a database than on the database provider. Both RDBMSs are applicable with the result of an efficient and stable system.

However, one can define the typical transactions used in various systems – inventory control, banking, airline reservation – after which the transactions can run using either RDBMS to examine operation on different software and hardware platforms.

  1. TPC testing

The TPC (Transaction Processing Performance Council) is an independent organization, which defines typical transactions (those used in in inventory control banking and airline reservation systems) and then stipulates rules to which these transactions must adhere.

The mandate of the TPC therefore is to give benchmarks that apply to the measurement of database performance and transaction processing, expressed as a number of transactions any system and/or database can perform within a unit of time.

There are various specifications set by the organization in this regard: TPC-W, TPC-R, TPC-H and TPC-C as well as older versions line the TPC-D, TPC-B and TPC-A. Of these, the TPC-C test is the most popular and most widely applied and as at the time of writing this article, Oracle held the top spot for the TPC-C by performance result.

However, this score is more relevant to companies that operate larger databases, since the key points of the TPC-C test depends on attributes applicable to larger databases.

  1. Price comparison

Comparing Oracle 9i Standard Edition to the equivalent IBM DB2 v8.1 Workgroup Edition:

Number of CPUs Oracle ($ ‘000) IBM DB2 ($ ‘000)
1 15 7.5
2 30 15
4 60 30
8 120 60
16 240 120
32 480 240

Comparing the Enterprise Editions from both Oracle 9i and IBM DB2 v8.1:

Number of CPUs Oracle ($ ‘000) IBM DB2 ($ ‘000)
1 40 25
2 80 50
4 160 100
8 320 200
16 640 400
32 1, 280 800

The price comparison above is neither exhaustive, nor does it account for any product discounts provided by vendors. Prices are not constant and therefore users should consult actual vendors to ascertain product pricing.

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