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MPbase And Application Complexity
Simple information access

Here is a common performance assumption Next Paradigm System's would like to challenge: "My database is running just fine. It is my applications that need speeding up."

An information processing system is not arbitrarily split into these two pieces. Every application designer makes information-handling choices. Choices about which functions will be performed inside the database and which will be performed inside the application. The line between the two systems is set by choice.

This choice is based on the current database's performance characteristics. What a database does well, or not well, will be a major factor. Also effecting this choice is database performance. Different application systems will make and use different choices. In most cases the application will attempt to compensate for any lack of information-handling ability in the database.

What this means is that the application will assume database functions as needed to allow the system to work. This creates an environment in which the database is not the primary information-handling system. In this environment the applications become more and more "database like." In short, the database problem becomes an application problem. Hence, the slow-running application is a DATABASE problem.

In the ideal information-handling environment, the application is nothing more than a graphical user interface (GUI). The original purpose of database technology was to provide the ability to get answers from a data store. What most database systems have become are data extract engines. In this mode, the applications must assume a large share of the information-handling requirement. This results in large and complex programs.

When the database is capable of both the needed functionality and the needed performance the applications can become a very thin and simple layer. This layer need only deal with the actual user-interface issues. All of the information-handling issues can be found in the database. This allows far better performance and more consistent functionality than is possible using a conventional DBMS.

In the current environment, it is to a large extent up to the application programmer to dictate access strategy to the database. Doesn't it make a lot more sense to just ask the question and allow the database to control how the answer is found. In which part of the system would you expect to find the best understanding of what is stored and how best to handle it. In short, it is time to let the database do what it was originally intended to do.

So the statement: "My database is running just fine. It's my applications that need speeding up," becomes: "My applications are as fast as possible. Now my database controls system performance." Add this to "I am using the fastest database available," and you really can have a winner.

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