Customs, PTO databases rank in world's top 10

Customs, PTO databases rank in world's top 10

U.S. government agencies run two of the world's 10 largest transactional databases, according to a survey released this week by database consultant Winter Corp. of Waltham, Mass.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office placed fifth on the world list with a 5.4T Oracle Corp. database using storage from EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass. PTO has a symmetric multiprocessing architecture, in which processors are pooled dynamically for large jobs.

The Homeland Security Department's Bureau of Customs and Border Protection checked in at No. 7 with a 4.1T Advantage CA-Datacom database from Computer Associates International Inc. with Hitachi Corp. storage. The bureau uses the database to track the flow of goods and people across U.S. borders.

The U.K.'s Land Registry topped the world list with an 18.3T IBM DB2 system. The Land Registry issues and tracks land titles for England and Wales. The database runs in a cluster architecture with Hitachi storage.

Winter divided the survey into two categories. One was for relational databases primarily used for online transaction processing, in which the above three placed. Winter also compiled a list of the top 10 relational databases used in decision support. No U.S. agencies ranked in that list, but one anonymous organization placed with a 16T DB2 system.

In addition to database size, the Winter survey also tracked the number of rows per system and peak workloads. The Customs system was reportedly the fastest transactional system of the lot, processing up to 51,448 transactions per second.

The candidates in the Winter survey were self-nominated. In addition to government agencies, there was a heavy presence of telephone carriers such as AT&T Corp. and retailers such as Amazon.com.

Besides relational databases, Winter also solicited nominees among hybrid databases. The Energy Department's Stanford Linear Accelerator Center topped this category, being one of only two entrants. The research facility runs an object-oriented database storing more than 896T. The database, from Objectivity Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., has at least some files stored on tape libraries.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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