Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Trio of Free Databases from Major Vendors

2005 and 2006 have certainly been good ones for those seeking inexpensive or free databases.

Not only were there already free open-source DBMSs such as MySQL as well as related toolkits like Hibernate, but most recently (in late 2005 and early 2006) the three major vendors in the DB arena themselves came out with no-charge versions of their key commercial database products.

Here's a summary of their new free products. This summary is also posted at (Australian server) and (U.S. server).

THE database phenomenon of 2005 / 2006 -- feature-laden, industrial-strength FREE versions from the leading DB vendors!

  • IBM DB2 Express-C for Linux and Windows (DB2 Express community edition) - a no-charge data server for use in development and deployment. Providing the same core data server features, development interfaces as well as system limits as DB2 Express in a smaller package, DB2 Express-C offers a solid base to build and deploy all applications including: C/C++, Java, .NET, PHP, and more. DB2 Express-C is available for Linux and Windows running on 32 or 64 bit hardware with up to two CPUs and 4GB of memory. Unlike other free databases, DB2 Express-C does not impose any database size limit, no limit on the number of instances or databases per server and no restriction on the number of users. ... Should you require a data server with more advanced features and 7x24 support from IBM, it can be seamlessly upgraded to DB2 Express, DB2 Workgroup and DB2 Enterprise Server Editions without modifying your database or your application

  • Oracle Database 10g Express Edition (Oracle Database XE) -- an entry-level, small-footprint database based on the Oracle Database 10g Release 2 code base that's free to develop, deploy, and distribute; fast to download; and simple to administer. "You can now develop and deploy applications with a powerful, proven, industry-leading infrastructure, and then upgrade when necessary without costly and complex migrations. ... It can be installed on any size host machine with any number of CPUs, but this free version of the world's leading database will store up to 4GB of user data, use up to 1GB of memory, and use one CPU on the host machine.

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition - an easy-to-use, lightweight version of SQL Server 2005. It is "free to download, free to redistribute, and easy for new developers to use immediately. Using Microsoft Visual Studio Express or the development tool of your choice, you can start building applications right away. ... Best of all, as your needs grow, your applications will seamlessly work with the rest of the SQL Server product family." It supports 1 CPU but can be installed on any server, 1 gigabyte (GB) addressable RAM, and 4 GB maximum database size.

It could be a while before I have the the time to install and try out any of these three well-respected DB products, but I'm really looking forward to doing so.

There are many things to be considered, and I merely note here that the IBM DB2 Express-C offering does not restrict a database's size to 4 GB and this alone would differentiate it as the product of choice for those databases which you expect will need to store more than 4 GB of data. (This could easily be the case, for example, when there are lots of BLOBs.)

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