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Advantage Database Server

In a similar vein to the interbase thread, does anyone here use it?

Pro's and Cons please.

I am about to commit to standardizing all our software on it as the .net data provider that comes with it is superb.

Mike G
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

i have heard of it. the company that was using it (a tax software package) really loved it. the price is like 1/10 of Oracle and a lot less the SQL Server. And i heard that performance was good.

Patrick
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Advantage was marketed heavily to the Delphi developer community a few years ago. I never heard anything bad about it. Advantage has local and server based versions, so a scalable application is a possibility.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Advantage has a good reputation in the Delphi community.  The only downside, as far as I can see, is that it's not licensed on a royalty-free basis.  Instead, as with SQL Server and Oracle, you pay a fee for each deployment.

The ADS deployment fees are far smaller than SQL Server's or Oracle's, but the availability of comparable databases with royalty-free deployments detracts somewhat from the appeal of Advantage Database Server. 

DBISAM (http://www.elevatesoft.com) and NexusDB (http://www.nexusdb.com) are roughly comparable to ADS, but their modest purchase prices include rights to royalty-free deployment.  Firebird is also comparable to ADS, and is even open-source under commercial-friendly OS license, not GPL.

Herbert Sitz
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I should have added that both DBISAM and NexusDB also have .NET providers. 

Both DBISAM and NexusDB are excellent products. NexusDB would probably be my choice, they have a modular design that makes it flexible and easy to extend.  The speed with which the developers are adding new features is impressive.

Both NexusDB and DBISAM are small companies where the sales model does not involve salespeople.  You generally just research and purchase on your own.  In their newsgroups you get support directly from the developers.

The Advantage Database Server sales model, in contrast to the sales model of DBISAM and NexusDB, is based their being salespeople who will hold your hand and encourage/pressure you to buy their product.  This might be helpful or welcome if you think you'll need a lot of handholding.  If not, then it seems to me that you're probably paying extra for something you don't need.

The difference reminds me a bit of points I've read Joel and Eric Sink make about software sales models.  That if there's a sales team devoted to a product, you can expect it to cost more than comparable products (and also expect that it's not being developed as aggressively as those products without a sales team).

I'm not trying to knock the quality of ADS.  But I tend to stay away from companies whose software is marketed and sold by sales people.  I think ADS is a safe bet.  I just think you end up paying a little more (or in some cases a lot more) than you need to.

Herbert Sitz
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I know someone who uses DBISAM for single workstation use in a shrink wrapped Delphi product. They love it. Very reliable, very small footprint. They looked at Advantage but I think you're right, the royalty situation was a turnoff.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

yep, the company that i mentioned above went from FoxPro for Dos to Paradox to Advantage.

They were using Delphi on the front-end. It all makes sense now.

Patrick
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Just a thought, if your database is less than 2 gigs, you might be able to use MSDE 2000 or SQLExpress (MSDE 2005).  You get most of the power of SQL Server and it is royalty free.

Eric Budd
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Another thing that should be mentioned about Advantage:  They have a fileserver version and a database server version, based on same code.  The fileserver version is free, but has some limitations on its use.  Obviously, they want to get you started using the fileserver and then make money off of you when you make the step to their true database server. 

If you're certain never to need to move to the full database server, then Advantage is actually free.  The free fileserver version is limited to 5 concurrent users, unless you contact Advantage and get instructions on how to enable it for more users.  Perhaps not coincidentally, this also lets their salespeople get your contact information. . . .

Herbert Sitz
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Note that MSDE can be a real bear to manage if you're talking about using it on client machines.  It needs to be installed (as opposed to XCopy), and it's pretty much vulnerable to all the same attacks as SQL Server, so make sure you think carefully about deployment and security.  In general, the same issues are present using any database engine which is going to run as a service and listen on a port.

In comparison, embedded databases generally consist of an API which runs queries against a local file store.  Of course, these solutions work best for use by a single running process, but since there is no service running, and no port accepting requests, security is much tighter.  Installation is usually done via XCopy as well, so there's nothing to worry about there either.

Joe
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Thanks for the info.

I agree that it would be better if it was cheaper.

I'll check out the other databases as well.

Mike G
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

We use Advantage Database server for our product.  It is very fast (and the current beta 7.1 makes it even faster).

However, it is very easy to install (though they have an activiation key that needs registering with ADS which is a bit of a pain), but other than that it is good.  Once it is installed and configured (you have to configure maximum connections, work areas and threads and any specialist communication settings) you can forget about it.  It really does run without a problem. 

We have been using it for years and in my memory it has never gone wrong.

The UK sales team is always friendly and I have met one of them and promptly wangled some free stuff ;) 

I would recommend using the ADT table format, rather than dbase if you're starting from scratch though.

The main problem we have with it is credibility.  Not many people have heard of it and some people just want SQL server.

Steven
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

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