A Comparison of Oracle 9i with DB2 v8.1

Wednesday Sep 10th 2003 by Alexander Chigrik
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Alexander Chigrik compares Oracle 9i with DB2 Universal Database v.8.1 regarding price, platforms supported, features, and product limits.

Introduction

Often people in newsgroups ask for a comparison of Oracle and DB2. In this article, I compare Oracle 9i Database with DB2 Universal Database version 8.1 regarding price, performance, platforms supported, SQL dialectsand products limits.

Platform comparison

Both Oracle 9i Database and DB2 Universal Database version 8.1 supportall known platforms, including Windows-based platforms, AIX-Based Systems,HP-UX systems, Linux Intel, Sun Solaris and so on.

Hardware requirements

To install Oracle 9i under the Windows-based platforms, you should havethe following hardware:

Hardware

Requirements

Processor

Pentium 166 MHz or higher

Memory

RAM: 128 MB (256 MB recommended)
Virtual Memory: Initial Size 200 MB, Maximum Size 400 MB

Hard disk space

140 MB on the System Drive
plus 4.5 GB for the Oracle Home Drive (FAT)
or 2.8 GB for the Oracle Home Drive (NTFS)

To install Oracle 9i Database under the UNIX Systems, such as AIX-BasedSystems, Compaq Tru64 UNIX, HP 9000 Series HP-UX, Linux Intel, and SunSolaris, you should have the following hardware:

Hardware

Requirements

Memory

A minimum of 512 MB RAM

Swap Space

A minimum of 2 x RAM or 400 MB, whichever is greater

Hard disk space

4.5 GB

To install DB2 Universal Database v8.1 under the Windows-based platforms,you should have the following hardware:

Hardware

Requirements

Processor

Pentium or Pentium compatible CPU

Memory

RAM: 256 MB minimum,
additional memory may be required.

Hard disk space

Typical installation: 350 Mb minimum
Compact installation: 100 Mb minimum
Custom installation: 100 Mb minimum.

Additional disk space may be required
on FAT drives with large cluster size.

To install DB2 Universal Database v8.1 under the UNIX Systems, suchas AIX-based systems, HP-UX systems, Linux and Sun Solaris, you shouldhave the following hardware:

Hardware

Requirements

Processor

For AIX:
       IBM RISC/6000 or eServer pSeries.

For HP-UX:
       HP 9000 series 700 or 800 system.

For Linux:
       Intel 32-bit,
       Intel 64-bit,
       S/390 9672 generation or higher,
       Multiprise 3000,
       eServer z-Series.

For Solaris:
       Solaris UltraSPARC-based computer.

Memory

RAM: 256 MB minimum,
additional memory may be required.

Hard disk space

Typical installation: 450 to 550 Mb minimum
Compact installation: 350 to 400 Mb minimum
Custom installation: 350 to 700 Mb minimum.

Software requirements

Oracle 9i Database comes in three editions: Enterprise, Standard and Personaland requires the following software:

Platform

Operating System Version

Required Patches

Windows-based

Windows NT 4.0

Service Pack 5

Windows-based

Windows 2000

Service Pack 1

Windows-based

Windows XP

Not Necessary

AIX-Based

AIX 4.3.3

Maintenance Level 09 and IY24568,
IY25282, IY27614, IY30151

AIX-Based

AIX 5.1

AIX 5L release 5.1 ML01+ (IY22854),
IY26778, IY28766, IY28949, IY29965, IY30150

Compaq Tru64 UNIX

Tru64 5.1

5.1 patchkit 4

Compaq Tru64 UNIX

Tru64 5.1A

5.1A patchkit 1

HP-UX

HP-UX version 11.0 (64-bit)

Sept. 2001 Quality Pack, PHCO_23792,
PHCO_24148, PHKL_24268, PHKL_24729,
PHKL_ 25475, PHKL_25525, PHNE_24715,
PHSS_23670, PHSS_24301, PHSS_24303,
PHSS_24627, PHSS_22868

Linux

SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7
(or SLES-7) with kernel 2.4.7,
and glibc 2.2.2

Not Necessary

Sun Solaris

Solaris 32-Bit 2.6 (5.6), 7 (5.7)
or 8 (5.8)

Not Necessary

Sun Solaris

Solaris 64-Bit 8 (5.8)

Update 5

DB2 Universal Database v8.1 comes in six editions:7 DB2 Enterprise Server Edition (ESE)7 DB2 Workgroup Server Edition (WSE)7 DB2 Workgroup Server Unlimited Edition (WSUE)7 DB2 Personal Edition (PE)7 DB2 Universal Developer's Edition (UDE)7 DB2 Personal Developer's Edition (PDE)and requires the following software:

Platform

Operating System Version

Required Patches

Windows-based

Windows NT 4.0

Service Pack 6a or higher

Windows-based

Windows 2000

Service Pack 2 is required for
Windows Terminal Server

Windows-based

Windows XP

Not Necessary

AIX-Based

AIX 4.3.3 (32-bit)

Maintenance Level 9 or later, and
APARs IY22308, Y32690, and IY33024

AIX-Based

AIX 5L (32-bit)

Maintenance Level 2 or later

AIX-Based

AIX 5.1.0 (32-bit)

Maintenance Level 2 or later, and
APARs IY31254, IY32217, IY32905,
IY33023, and IY29345

AIX-Based

AIX 5.1.0 (64-bit)

Maintenance Level 2 or later, and
APARs IY31254, IY32217, IY32905,
Y33023, and IY32466

HP-UX

HP-UX 11i

December 2001 GOLDBASE11i,
December 2001 GOLDAPPS11i bundles

Linux

For Intel 32-bit:

7 kernel level 2.4.9 or later

7 glibc 2.2.4 or later

7 RPM 3 or later

For Intel 64-bit and z-Series:

7 Red Hat Linux 7.2

7 SuSE Linux SLES-7

Not Necessary

Sun Solaris

Solaris 7 (32-bit)

patch 106327-10

Sun Solaris

Solaris 7 (64-bit)

patch 106300-11

Sun Solaris

Solaris 8 (32-bit)

patch 108434-03 and 108528-12

Sun Solaris

Solaris 8 (64-bit)

patch 108435-03 and 108528-12

Sun Solaris

Solaris 9

Not Necessary

Performance comparison

It is very difficult to make a performance comparison betweenOracle 9i Database and DB2 Universal Database v8.1. The performanceof your databases depend rather upon the experience of the databasedevelopers and database administrator than from the database'sprovider. You can use both of these RDBMS to build stable andefficient systems. It is also possible to define the typicaltransactions, which are used in inventory control systems, airlinereservation systems and banking systems. After defining thesetypical transactions, it is possible to run them under the differentdatabase management systems working on different hardware andsoftware platforms.

TPC tests

The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC.Org) is an independentorganization that specifies the typical transactions (transactions usedin inventory control systems, airline reservation systems and bankingsystems) and some general rules these transactions should satisfy.The TPC produces benchmarks that measure transaction processing anddatabase performance in terms of how many transactions a given systemand database can perform per unit of time, e.g., transactions persecond or transactions per minute.The TPC organization made the specification for many tests. There areTPC-C, TPC-H, TPC-R, TPC-W and some old tests, such as TPC-A, TPC-Band TPC-D. The most popular test is the TPC-C test (OLTP test). At the moment the article was wrote, Oracle held the top TPC-C by performanceresults. See Top Ten TPC-C by Performance Version 5 ResultsNote. Since most organizations really do not run very large databases, the key points on which Oracle 9i Database won the TPC-C benchmarks do not really matter to the vast majority of companies.

Price comparison

Compare pricing for Oracle9i Standard Editionand IBM DB2 v8.1 Workgroup Edition:

Number of CPUs

Oracle9i Standard Edition

IBM DB2 v8.1 Workgroup Edition

1

$15,000

$7,500

2

$30,000

$15,000

4

$60,000

$30,000

8

$120,000

$60,000

16

$240,000

$120,000

32

$480,000

$240,000

Compare pricing for Oracle9i Enterprise Editionand IBM DB2 v8.1 Enterprise Edition:

Number of CPUs

Oracle9i Enterprise Edition

IBM DB2 v8.1 Enterprise Edition

1

$40,000

$25,000

2

$80,000

$50,000

4

$160,000

$100,000

8

$320,000

$200,000

16

$640,000

$400,000

32

$1,280,000

$800,000

Note. This is not a full price comparison between Oracle 9i Database and DB2 Universal Database v8.1. It is only a brief comparison. You may qualify for discounts and the prices may be increased or decreased in the future. See Oracle and IBM to get more information about the price of their products.

Features comparison

Both Oracle 9i Database and IBM DB2 Universal Database v8.1 support theANSI SQL-92 entry level and do not support the ANSI SQL-92 intermediatelevel. In the Features comparison section of this article I want tomake a brief comparison of the PL/SQL with DB2 SQL dialect and showsome Oracle 9i Database and DB2 Universal Database v8.1 limits.

PL/SQL vs DB2 SQL dialect

The dialect of SQL supported by Oracle 9i Database is called PL/SQL.The dialect of SQL supported by IBM DB2 v8.1 is called DB2 SQL dialect.A brief comparison of PL/SQL and DB2 SQL dialect follows:

Feature

PL/SQL

DB2 SQL dialect

Indexes

B-Tree indexes,
Bitmap indexes,
Partitioned indexes,
Function-based indexes,
Domain indexes

B-Tree indexes,
Bitmap indexes,
Partitioned indexes,
block indexes,
dimension block indexes

Tables

Relational tables,
Object tables,
Temporary tables

Relational tables,
Object tables,
Temporary tables

Triggers

BEFORE triggers,
AFTER triggers,
INSTEAD OF triggers

BEFORE triggers,
AFTER triggers,
INSTEAD OF triggers

Procedures

PL/SQL statements,
Java methods,
third-generation language
(3GL) routines

DB2 SQL dialect statements,
Java methods,
third-generation language
(3GL) routines

Multiple Triggers

Supported

Supported

Arrays

Supported

Supported

Oracle 9i and DB2 v8.1 limits

Some of the limitations of Oracle 9i Database and DB2 version 8.1:

Feature

Oracle 9i Database

IBM DB2 v8.1

database name length

8

8

column name length

30

128

index name length

30

128

table name length

30

128

view name length

30

128

stored procedure name length

30

128

most columns per table

1000

1012

most columns in an index key

32

16

max number of columns in GROUP BY

255

1012

max number of columns in ORDER BY

255

1012

longest index key

3155

1024

max varchar() size

4000

32672

max char() size

2000

254

max table row length

255000

32677

longest SQL statement

16777216

65535

recursive subqueries

64

28

constant string size in SELECT

4000

32672

Conclusion

It is not true that Oracle 9i Database is better than DB2 Universal Database v8.1or vice versa. Both products can be used to build stable and efficient systemsand the stability and effectiveness of your applications and databases dependrather upon the experience of the database developers and database administratorthan the database's provider.

Literature

1. Oracle documentation
2. DB2 Technical Support
3. DB2 Universal Database v8.1 system requirements
4. Top Ten TPC-C by Performance Version 5 Results
5. SQL Server 2000 vs Oracle 9i
6. SQL Server 2000 vs DB2 v8.1

» See All Articles by Columnist Alexander Chigrik

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