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Re: Postgres vr.s Oracle

From: Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net>
To: pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Cc: "Jonah H(dot) Harris" <jonah(dot)harris(at)gmail(dot)com>, "Brian Hurt" <bhurt(at)janestcapital(dot)com>
Subject: Re: Postgres vr.s Oracle
Date: 2008-12-13 20:38:58
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-advocacy
On Saturday 13 December 2008 13:06:33 Jonah H. Harris wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 2:08 PM, Brian Hurt <bhurt(at)janestcapital(dot)com> wrote:
> > Thought I'd point this blog post out to the list:
> >
> >res-Redux.html
> Hmm... I wonder how scientific his benchmarking is and how well his
> Oracle system was tuned.  Because I've done quite a few performance
> comparisons between Postgres 8.3 and 8.4-dev against a well-tuned
> Oracle8i instance on Linux, and 8i (from 1999) beats the latest
> versions of Postgres quite handily on the same hardware.  And, while I
> have received permission from Oracle to publish the result, I haven't
> had the time to write up the blog entry yet.

Curious, but does your "well tuned" system include query hints? I've certainly 
seen cases where Oracles hinting system allowed them to get to places that 
Postgres couldn't get to, but without hinting things tend to be much closer 
(not necessarily even; it still has other advantages like advanced sql 
syntax)  In my mind this is an argument for adding query hinting to postgres, 
but I hate to even mention that idea :-)  

> Outside of simple curiosity, my reason for running the benchmark was
> simply to show that in terms of performance, Oracle had it right over
> 10 years ago and that our continual discussions about leaving things
> to the OS and file system developers (because they know how to manage
> memory/data better than we do) is pointless.  

I think you have misjudged the argument, which would be (IMHO) more accurately 
stated that given this projects resources, we will get better performance by 
leveraging os/filesystem improvements rather than circumventing them. One 
such example is a patch for doing auto-alignment of columns at the disk layer 
for optimal performance. This patch is relatively simple (for this 
discussion), yet the idea has been around for years; if we can't knock that 
out, do you really think we have the resources to move towards direct 
hardware interaction?

> Regardless of what some people on this list tell you, one of the main
> reasons Oracle and other vendors don't like people performing external
> benchmarks is because the majority of people screw them up.  Proper
> benchmarking is something that takes time to do and you have to have a
> good amount of experience ensuring the SUT environment is exactly the
> same for both databases.  Similarly, the majority of people don't know
> how to tune an Oracle system properly, which is why they get bad
> results.  Whether that's the case in this test or not, is unknown.

Well, there is something to be said for having a database system so complex 
that properly tuning it can't be done even by experienced users. Postgres is 
an order of magnitude easier to configure (imho) and we still get beat up for 

Robert Treat

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