Proprietary is not always the answer;
open source is not always the answer.
Our principal focus has been on
running on one or another flavor of UNIX:
AT&T System V, BSD, Solaris, and so on.
These platforms are generally stable;
they usually have better MTBF's than NT does.
And they offer a rich tool set in support of
the basic relational database functionality.
In the early stages of a project
it is usually necessary to tune
the operating system and database –
i.e. experiment with operating system and database options,
buffer sizes, disk and table layout and so on –
if best performance is to be seen.
Typically changes have to be made
to database and operating system in parallel.
Frequently a second wave of performance tuning is required
on elevation of the project to production.
this could be avoided or minimized by preventive load testing.
it can be difficult to see where the loads are coming
from until the system is up.
The relational database offerings on NT platforms are dominated
-- logically enough -- by Microsoft's SQL Server and Access products.
The aggressive use made by SQL Server of the underlying NT features
can offer significant benefits in ease-of-use.
Of course, this tighter coupling can create corresponding vulnerabilities
it is sometimes necessary to reboot an NT box to clear a problem
with SQL Server -- if the database and operating system
were in fact completely decoupled, this should never be necessary.
Even in Windows 2000,
it still seems sometimes necessary
to get down to the DOS level.
And DOS is sometime unavoidable
when dealing with legacy hardware and software systems.
hardware control code (in C and assembler)
for DOS systems.
has provided design and debugging consultations
for DOS databases.
With OS X,
Apple appears to have been successful in making the
Mac into what is essentially a UNIX box.
In fact, much Linux code ports to the Mac with little or
no effort, and a small cottage industry has sprung up to do this.
Given that the Mac is in some ways still the friendliest GUI,
this may lead to a revival of this platform.
In several cases
has worked with virtual operating systems,
e.g. IBM's MVS configured to look like UNIX,
NT Windows made to look like an Amiga.
These offer some interesting capabilities
for dealing with unusual problems,
but the almost inevitable performance hits
make these usually something of a last resort.