4 reasons to reduce your Oracle usage

I have a lot of database-related subjects to blog about here. (Just look at the categories list on my blog DBMS2 for a preview of coming attractions.) But before I dive in, perhaps it would be best to point out why you should care. In particular, let's talk about why you'd ever consider using something other than the default choice of Oracle. (Similar reasons apply to Microsoft SQL Server.)

Price

Oracle costs a lot to buy and maintain. And the price keeps going up, even as the cost of hardware goes down.

Complexity

Running Oracle requires huge amounts of manual intervention. Newer products generally require less. True, Oracle was totally rewritten in Versions 6 and 7, which takes us to the early 1990s, when many current competitors were already in some form or other on the market. But even so, Oracle is effectively an older product than most alternatives.

Compatible alternatives

Postgres Plus Advanced Server offers strong Oracle compatibility, including a broad range of functionality few applications ever use. It's based on a well-tested open source code line. And it's vastly cheaper than Oracle.

One area where I wouldn't say Postgres Plus is well-proven is large-scale data warehousing. But Dataupia offers a low-cost data warehouse appliance that can back-end Oracle databases.

Non-relational alternatives

Oracle has impressive datatype extensibility. Even so, if you want to manage text or native XML or native object-oriented structures, it's probably not the way to go - unless your non-relational needs are pretty lightweight. If you want to manage text, look at Autonomy or Microsoft/FAST or Coveo or Mark Logic or Attivio (especially the last three). If you want to manage XML, look at Mark Logic or maybe Intersystems Cache'. If you want to manage objects, look at Cache'.

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