Accounting Information Systems - Postgresql vs. Oracle Term Paper

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Accounting Information Systems - PostgreSQL vs. Oracle

Comparative Analysis of PostgreSQL vs. Oracle

Enterprises are increasingly relying on open-source databases and platforms for their main accounting, finance and transaction processing needs over the higher-priced and higher annual maintenance-fee-based counterparts (Burriesci, et.al.). Any analysis of PostgresSQL, a leading open-source database, relative to Oracle 11i, is provided in this report. The pricing model of PostgresSQL has attracted much initial interest in enterprises that see the opportunity to consolidate their previous-generation proprietary platforms into a single, virtualized instance (Salomie, et.al.) and reduce their maintenance fees which average 22% per year (Zhou, Chaudhry, Zhu, Li, 2603). These are the economic catalysts that are serving as the impetus for enterprises to re-evaluate their commitment to traditional enterprise software and pilot, then eventually deploy open source databases enterprise-wide for their accounting and finance systems. Each aspect of these systems is analyzed from the context of accounting and financial reporting needs within a global enterprise.

Transactional Analysis and Integrity of PostgresSQL vs. Oracle 11i

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A common misconception regarding the performance of open source databases, PostgresSQL included, is a lack of precision and accuracy in managing extremely large data sets proprietary databases. Based on a series of benchmarks using XML-based data transfers across OLAP integration points to minimize variation in results PostgresSQL was found to be comparable to Oracle 11i in performance and capable of scaling more efficiently to larger data loads through virtualization (Kit, Amagasa, Kitagawa, 143, 144). Another study showed a virtualized instance of PostgresSQL using VMWare delivered greater levels of accuracy and precision to complex financial reporting and analysis tasks than proprietary databases including Microsoft (Kong, Li, Feng, et.al.).

Term Paper on Accounting Information Systems - Postgresql vs. Oracle Assignment

The XML performance study showed the scalability of PostgresSQL relative to proprietary databases and also provided insights into how the open source alternative can maintain packet and record locking across XML-based networks, even when TCP-IP-based commands for encryption have not been used (Kit, Amagasa, Kitagawa, 145). Open source-based accounting systems therefore can in reality scale to the same level of data set transactions and manage secured communications across a network with the same level of performance as proprietary databases as well.

Enterprise however continue to purchase Oracle 11i for the majority of their accounting and financial management systems requirements. There are four factors from a database design perspective that favor proprietary databases including Oracle 11i versus open source databases on this point. They are support for declarative constraints, greater control over programming abstractions, more secured multiuser access and greater flexibility in managing stored procedures and trigger functions (?avka, Miki?, Sari?, et.al.). These four functions taken together are what provide Oracle with a competitive advantage in the area of enterprise-wide accounting and financial reporting. While PostgresSQL is often used in a department or distributed office environment, the reliance on Oracle 11i across multiple reporting divisions, each with their own set financials and in many cases, subsidiary accounting systems of their own, force the need for greater control over programming abstractions and much greater levels of multiuser access (?avka, Miki?, Sari?, et.al.). From a transaction processing standpoint, support for declarative constraints, greater control over programming abstractions, and greater flexibility in managing store procedures and trigger functions all correlate back to the ability to complete more complex transactions and reporting analysis (?avka, Miki?, Sari?, et.al.). An example of this type of report programming is support for nesting structures that provide insights into subsidiary revenue and P&L projections by business unit (Mok, 1017). Accounting and finance professionals seek to customize their reporting and analysis using balanced scorecards provided through Intranet portals and supported on mobile devices. In a PostgresSQL database, this deployment decision to a dashboard and support for a mobile device has implications on how the actual data is structured (Kit, Amagasa, Kitagawa, 122 -- 150). In the Oracle 11i database, the use of the iStore platform and Decision Analyst series of utilities and programs. In short, Oracle's platform decisions over the long-term have concentrated more on the multi-location enterprise that requires complex transaction reporting and financial analysis. The fundamental transaction support for PostgresSQL is very solid (Zhou, Chaudhry, Zhu, Li, 2607) yet it lacks the enterprise-wide scalability that Oracle 11i has.

Comparing Administrative Functions of PostgresSQL vs. Oracle 11i

Both PostgresSQL and Oracle 11i have a comparable series of administrator-level utilities and applications for supporting these databases across hundreds of users, with many shared integration points with other enterprise systems (Duggan, et. al.). Both also have the ability to support multicore-based transactions or be configured by administrators to support virtualization

(Salomie, et.al.).

Where each vary however from an administrative standpoint in accounting and finance especially is in the areas of Access Control, Role-based Access, Backup, and Data Migration. Of the two, Oracle has pioneered the development of role-based access control, so that only a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for example can access and use the most sensitive data in the company. Role-based access control can also be configured to be fine-grained to content and contextual data in addition to defining dissemination strategies and third party publishing architectures (Bertino, Sandhu, 5). There are only a few databases that can manage this level of access control with role-based data, and PostgresSQL has not yet been able to attain this level of functionality (Bertino, Sandhu, 7). Oracle is by nature a very engineering and technology-driven company and has been able to attain role-based authentication of assets and contextual access, including support for publishing architectures. Based on these advances, Oracle is considered to be the leader on Access Control as an Administrative function in an accounting and finance database environment.

Two very common administrative functions in databases are Backup and Data Migration. PostgresSQL and Oracle are split in terms of their functionality and value in accounting and financial management applications on these two attributes. On Backup, Oracle is far superior as their approach to defining data models and taxonomies is more flexible and capable of matching more precisely to what a distributed accounting and finance function needs (Kit, Amagasa, Kitagawa, 143).

Data migration as an administrator function is one of the most critical there is in accounting and finance as ERP, database and pricing systems often rely on legacy, 3rd party systems for costing, transaction and warranty data (Bertino, Sandhu, 5). Being able to migrate data securely and with no interruption to ongoing operations while also creating entirely new systems of record is difficult and requires advanced levels of expertise by Database Administrators (DBAs). Open source databases have greater flexibility in this regard due to the byte ordering and open architecture of their kernel providing greater flexibility of greater support for designing in secure, and reliable data migration workflows (Zhou, Chaudhry, Zhu, Li, 2603). On this attribute, open source is superior to proprietary databases (Kit, Amagasa, Kitagawa, 139).

Comparing Portability and Scalability of PostgresSQL and Oracle 11i

Accounting and financial applications in enterprises are designed to support multisite and location-based preferences of accounting and financial management-related tasks. The greater the need for distributed accounting and financial data, the more strains these requirements place on the portability, scalability and query optimization of databases. The portability of a database refers to its designed in support for multiple platforms. On this attribute, Oracle 11i is superior to PostgresSQL as it supports multiple platforms and including byte ordering options for UNIX vs. Microsoft-based operating systems (Duggan, et. al.). Portability is al.so a function of the underlying coding architecture being customizable across platform as well, which is a key requirement in large, enterprise-wide deployments of accounting and financial systems. Both databases are evenly matched however on scalability however, with the edge going to PostgresSQL due to the efforts of the many distribution partners it has including Red Hat, who has worked to make the platform more scalable than higher-priced proprietary platforms (Salomie, et.al.). Scalability in demanding transaction environments favors open source due to the continued innovation occurring in this area of database design.

Query optimization, structures supporting optimization, and support for OLAP all are inherently more supported in Oracle's 11i due to the accounting and financial community requiring these to support enterprise-wide deployments of their financial applications. The influence of the Oracle customer base has led to these three features becoming more significant in database design and development. For accounting and finance professionals, support for query optimization is directly related to how quickly SQL-based reporting and analysis can be done of complex financial data sets and reporting tasks being completed. Optimization support and support for OLAP via XML are more prevalent in multisite databases that also require role-based analytics and access to data (Kit, Amagasa, Kitagawa, 133). Due to these factors, Oracle 11 I dominates these specific features that accounting and financial professionals need. Multisite accounting and financial reporting systems also require greater levels of query optimization to ensure data accuracy and fidelity over time as well. All of these factors inherent in broader, more enterprise-level deployments of accounting and financial management systems favor the refinement of query optimization to support complex transaction workloads. While PostgresSQL can… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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