[DB-SIG] DBMS with easy administration and replication

David Rushby davidrushby at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 28 00:03:55 EDT 2003

--- Lloyd Kvam <pythontutor at venix.com> wrote:
> There is no tech support at the remote locations, so database
> administration must be minimal.  The central server is running
> RedHat 9 Linux while the remote locations are running Win2k.

Firebird's ease of administration is top notch, in part because its
predecessor, Interbase, has long been included with Borland developer
tools as an embedded database solution (these days, both are more
typically run as a standalone server, AFAIK).  Obviously, embedded
databases have stringent requirements for ease of administration.  I
leave the Firebird server running for months at a time at client sites
without anything but automated administration (for backups).

kinterbasdb also thickly wraps Firebird's administrative API (called
the Services API), so you can perform administrative tasks like backup
and restore from a Pythonic API instead of scripting command line

> Everything works reasonably well, but I am curious as to whether
> I could make this work with another DBMS.  Firebird seems like 
> a possible candidate.
> I could not find any details about replication on the Firebird
> web site.

AFAIK, the Firebird core engine contains no support for replication.

I know of a few third-party, bolt-on solutions that provide
asynchronous master/slave replication, usually implemented via
triggers.  They look pretty lame compared to Oracle-level replication.

Here's one open source bolt-on replicator (in "early beta"):

and two commercial ones:

I haven't used any of these, so I can't comment on how well they work.


As far as the other open source relational databases, neither
PostgreSQL nor SAPDB has built-in replication support, though in the
case of PostgreSQL, there are some bolt-on implementations similar to
those available for Firebird.

However, replication is high on the PostgreSQL to-do list:
PostgreSQL's proposed replication includes features such as
multi-master replication, cross-server data partitioning, and
replication over non-persistent links.  I applaud them for aiming to
provide a featureful implementation rather than something simplistic. 
MySQL supports only asynchronous master/slave replication, which is
just the tip of the iceberg.  Who knows when PostgreSQL's support will
arrive, though--they haven't even finished adding two-phase commit
support yet.


As an off-topic bit of trivia, isn't using MySQL on 41 servers
expensive?  Or maybe your app is open source, or you get a volume discount?

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