Connectivity between databases

Connectivity between databases

Post by William Thompson, code 682.1, x20 » Thu, 19 Nov 1992 06:09:00

I'm currently in the market for a Unix RDBMS, and the selected software needs
to be able to communicate with other people's databases which will probably be
from other vendors (Oracle and Sybase for certain).  I was looking for insight
as to how this would work, and whether people had any experience of how well
the different database products work with other SQL databases.  I want to hear
from users--I've already talked to the vendors.

What we would be doing would be to compare our databases against other people's
databases.  The database would contain information about our scientific
observations, and we would want to correlate our observations with the
observations of other instruments--e.g. when were we pointed at the same
target, etc.  The users would *not* be storing or updating any data in the
remote database--just looking at it.  In fact, I don't really expect the user's
to be writing to the local databases either, except for temporary tables used
to store the results of queries.

However, the database software will only represent a small fraction of the
activities that will be going on at our site (say 5-10%), so we don't want to
put a lot of manpower into putting together a sophisticated distributed
database.  We have also looked at transaction managers, and have decided that
those would be inappropriate since they require that everything can be
expressed in well-understood and predefined transactions--we want to keep a
lot of flexibility open in the system.

It seems that there are several ways to go about it:

        1.  The local database software could spawn a shell script which starts
            a session on the remote database which extracts the requested data
            and writes it to one or more flat ASCII files.  These ASCII files
            are then imported to temporary tables in the local database and
            manipulated locally.  This probably would be sufficient for our
            needs.  Also, if we did this we could probably use any database
            package, since (I believe) any of them can spawn OS commands, and
            import/export ASCII text files.  Does anybody have any experience
            working this way, and can comment on how well it works?

        2.  We could use gateway products from one vendor to another.  I
            believe this requires buying additional software for at least one
            of the machines.  I don't know how well these gateways work, and
            expect that the gateways from one vendor are different from those
            from another vendor.  I'd be interested in hearing about people's
            experiences with gateways from Oracle, Ingres, Sybase, Informix,
            etc., and whether they think one is better than another.

        3.  We could use 3rd party front-ends which have their own gateways.  I
            don't know much about this either--up to now I've only been
            studying the problem of the back end.

Thank you in advance,

Bill Thompson


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