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The World's Hardest-Working Databases

The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection tops the transactional databases, and Experian ranks first in decision-support databases.
The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection has the hardest-working transactional database in the world. At peak workloads, the bureau's database processed 51,448 transactions per second last year, nearly twice its peak of 26,655 tps in 2001, according to the results of a study released this week by Winter Corp.

Experian Marketing Services Inc. has the busiest decision-support database, which, at its peak workload, handles 887 simultaneous queries, the Winter survey found.

The market-research and consulting firm periodically surveys companies and government organizations to identify the largest transactional and decision-support databases and those with the heaviest workloads. Winter issued its findings on the largest databases in November (France Telecom holds that record with a 29.2-terabyte monster) based on a survey conducted earlier in 2003. This week's workload rankings came from the same survey.

The Customs bureau, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has a transaction-processing system based on an Advantage CA-Datacom database from Computer Associates running on IBM eServer zSeries hardware. Experian's system is based on an Oracle database running on Sun Microsystems Sun Fire servers.

But the 2003 survey also found that a rapidly growing number of systems in the transaction-processing peak-workload rankings are based on Microsoft's SQL Server database. SQL Server was once considered a departmental database that wasn't scalable enough to handle heavy-duty computing chores, but Microsoft's efforts to overcome that reputation in recent years are apparently succeeding.

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