Re: Database Licensing for Public Web Access

> I'd be interested in any comments anyone has regarding
> database licensing as it relates to the Web and a
> Public Internet Site.  
> The Quotes I've seen lately for the database license (ranging 
> from $5,000 to $64,000) are, IMO, crazy.  ... 

I agree.  We have an Ingres-based database of electronic parts 
information that we wanted to put onto the Web, and chose to 
convert it to a very simple (but still relational) Web-ized 
database using a database product called /rdb, which is very 
cheap (licenses ranging from $150 on a Linux system to ~$2500 
on a mainframe ... we use Sun servers, for which license cost 
is ~$500).  License costs are flat, not tied to number of users, 
so whether it is used as a local or public site is not an issue.  

We were delighted to find several fringe benefits, including: 
use of shell scripts as the "4GL" (we use the Korn shell, 
with some gawk, and really like it!) -- which leverages our 
existing Unix knowledge base; easy interoperation with free 
text search capabilities like agrep, glimpse, etc.; great 
performance, as good or better than the original Ingres 
indexed tables; very easy to offer various output format 
options ... text, HTML, spreadsheet, etc.  

The one caveat is that this architecture works best for 
query-intensive applications ... update-intensive applications 
will probably need the more powerful transaction mechanisms of 
the big DBMS's (journaling, rollback, etc.), which /rdb does 
not do.  However, I suspect most applications that are targeted 
for a Web interface will be query-intensive. 

Stephen C. Waterbury         Assurance Technologies Division
Code 310, NASA/GSFC                     CAE Staff Specialist
Greenbelt, MD 20771                           and Webmeister
Phone/FAX: 301-286-7557/1695        
email:                         waterbug@epims1.gsfc.nasa.gov
WWW:        http://arioch.gsfc.nasa.gov/people/waterbug.html