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Firebird Databases as the Back-end to Enterprise Software Systems

Helen Borrie

with other IBPhoenix Consultants

This paper was prepared in February 2006 for a customer of IBPhoenix in Australia. The customer has kindly allowed its release to the Firebird community as an open document for translation and other uses by the community for informing the public about the capabilities of Firebird for enterprise use.

28 November 2006 v.1.2.2

Table of Contents

What is Firebird?
Software Release History
Is Firebird “Enterprise Capable”?
ACID Compliance and Firebird
Who Uses Firebird?
Factors Impacting Scalability
Who Owns and Manages Firebird?
A. Document History
B. License Notice

What is Firebird?

Firebird is relational database management software, similar in purpose to products such as DB2 by IBM, Oracle, SQL Server by Microsoft and the open source PostGreSQL. The software has two main components: the database server, which lives on the same host machine as the databases, and the application interface, commonly referred to as “the client library”. The client library is a run-time component—a DLL on Windows or a shared object (.so) on other platforms—that two-tier deployments need on each client workstation. For multi-tier deployments, where users access databases through middleware from a web browser or other “thin” interface, the Firebird client library is not deployed to end-users at all but is incorporated into the middleware.

The Firebird server boasts a very small “footprint” on the filesystem when installed on a host server. The server's executable is less than 1.5 Mb and a full server installation, including all tools and documentation, takes up less than 10 Mb. The memory footprint will vary according to the scale of the deployment, which can range from a single user running an application over a single database to hundreds of concurrent connections to multiple databases servicing thousands of users on wide-area networks.

Firebird is maintained and developed by a community of developers from around the globe. It is a non-commercial, open source software project owned by the developers. Because the software is distributed completely free of any fees, licensing is not a revenue source to anyone.

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