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InterBase v Firebird

Banco de dados SQL embutível, ultrarrápido e escalável, com segurança de dados
de nível comercial, recuperação de desastres e sincronização de mudanças

If you are looking to compare InterBase and Firebird then you will find the answers here to your questions around

  • Performance
  • Business Readiness
  • How key feature compare
  • Total Cost of Ownership

In summary, InterBase is faster, scales further, offers more business critical features, has commercial grade support and a lower total cost of ownership. Read below to see how that is all true.

Funções InterBase Firebird
Plataformas ( )
iOS and Android  
Mac OS X
Core SQL Engine
ACID Compliant
Stored Procedures, Triggers, Generators
High Concurrency
Data Security ( )
Database Encryption External
Column Level Encryption
Multiple Encryption Keys
User / Role Decryption
Business Continuity ( )
Recuperação pontual
In-built change tracking
Change Tracking / Sync 3rd Party External option
License Cost Per Server & Destination

InterBase – Commercial Grade Database

InterBase is focused on providing commercial grade database features that supports you deliver cost effective software with industry best practice around change tracking, disaster recovery and data protection. InterBase delivers this power in an admin free, fast, scalability architecture so choosing InterBase means choosing a database that grows with you and meets your demands into the future.

Firebird – A distant relative

The Firebird database was developed from an open source copy of the InterBase code back in mid-2000. Firebird is currently community developed, which is co-ordinated by IBPhoenix. While InterBase and Firebird share a number of core features, 15+ years of commercially focused development has enabled InterBase develop a long way from the original open source code.

Below you will discover how InterBase will reduce your costs, save you time, add core business features to your product (especially around business continuity / disaster recovery) and is cheaper than choosing Firebird when it comes to data movement and support.

How they compare

InterBase v Firebird on Scale and Speed.

When it comes to speed and performance many processors make light work! Even mobile phones today carry multi-core processors and InterBase has experience developing for multi-platform devices exploiting SMP since 2002. In contrast Firebird has released in 2016 its first attempts at providing SMP support.

To give a flavor of how much faster and more scalable InterBase is, below are two key metrics from TPC-C performance benchmarking. TPC-C benchmarking provide an industry recognized standard for testing database performance using a fictional warehouse (wh) system that mimics real world usage by mixing read and write activity simultaneously.

Comparing the benchmark test for InterBase XE7 and Firebird 3 on identical hardware show InterBase to be consistently faster than Firebird.

Testing to ensure throughput when data is safely persisted, InterBase out performs Firebird dramatically. Testing a 4wh setup shows InterBase is 30% faster than Firebird. After this point Firebird’s performance drops significantly where as InterBase continues to scale.


Another critical test is against the time you wait for data to return. Based on a complete table scan (the quicker the better!) InterBase is consistently 5 times faster than Firebird, regardless of the data types or number of rows in a table.


One key element to InterBase and Firebird is database transaction handling. Originally InterBase, and thus Firebird, ran with a 32bit Transaction ID. While not a problem for many, the most active systems with large user numbers have in practice needed to backup and restore their database monthly to ensure they don’t run out of transaction IDs. InterBase has moved to a 64bit Transaction ID that mean even the busiest embedded systems today would take closer to 150 years before the system would need to be taken down for maintenance.

In summary; If you are looking for a fast database that will grow with you, InterBase scales further, for longer, and is consistently faster than Firebird.

InterBase v Firebird on Data Protection.

Data protection is a key worry for all businesses today. A data breach typically leads to 4% loss of your customer base with regulatory fines that can lead into millions of dollars and corrective action plans that require staff re-training, customer credit score monitoring etc all on top. This all adds up to a rather expensive exercise best avoided. It is far better to build this in upfront rather than pay for it later.

Watch the Rising to the Data Security Challenge webinar for best practice advice on how to reduce the risks around Data Protection.

When it comes to data protection, both InterBase and Firebird offer role based authentication to control access to data inside the database however this is just the foundation and encryption at rest is key to safe storage of data and avoiding the bigger fines.

The first encryption capability for Firebird arrived in 2016 allowing for the database in its entirety to be encrypted using external encryption libraries. While useful, the architecture is prone to man-in-the-middle attacks and encrypting everything unnecessarily will slow down the database engine and reduce scalability.

In contrast, a highly flexible encryption model has been built into the InterBase core engine since 2010 offering entire database and focused fast granular column level encryption. Additionally, InterBase allows the creation of multiple encryption keys to protect different types of data, a key requirement to conform to many industry best practices e.g. around PCI.

InterBase supports data protection best practice by separating the responsibility for defining data visibility away from general database users into the SYSDSO (System Data Security Officer) login. Having SYSDSO manage granular encryption ensures data visibility rules are built into your data layer and are enforced though-out the development life cycle. By removing the need to manage data visibility rules from the development and test teams, you protect your application from accidental data leaks when refactoring applications in the future. This also removes major risks associated with privilege attacks; the simplest example being developers seeing data they should not have access to.

InterBase v Firebird on Disaster Recovery.

Both InterBase and Firebird are ACID compliant, allowing data to be backed up while the database is live due to a multi-generational architecture.


Firebird has developed incremental backup allowing them to be run regularly appending files for only what has changed.

InterBase also offers incremental backup, but rather than into backup files that have a long restore process, InterBase produces a secondary read only database. This offers two immediate benefits

  • High demand data mining queries can be run onto a secondary server without impacting from the production server.
  • A copy of the database is available in case of hardware that doesn’t required a lengthy restore process to run first, reducing the costs and risk associated with down time.

Journaling and Point-in-time recovery

InterBase commercial grade features take one giant step on from incremental backups with Journaling and Journal Archives. Journaling allows a database to benefit from in-memory speed with the security of immediate write to disk. Journaling is available to InterBase users and is heavily used in a number of high demand medical data processing facilities due to the speed, performance and data integrity benefits it brings, where the loss of any data can be life or death.

InterBase Journal Archives are the next step on and provide point-in-time recovery, allowing you to take a database back in time to a specific split second to see how the data looked. This allows for the recovery of data, even when a backup hasn’t been run, for ultimate disaster recovery protection. Journaling to a SAN allow for complete data recovery even in the case of hardware failure.

InterBase v Firebird - Replication

The IoT Award winning InterBase technology Change Views provides a replication API built into the core InterBase kernel without extra run time charges. Designed from the ground up to be highly scalable, even for bi-directional data movement, Change Views dramatically reduces the cost of replicating data and ensures remote brief-cased data stays highly relevant.

Firebird doesn’t have any replication API, instead requires the purchase of IBReplicator licenses from IBPhoenix. IBReplicator is an established Replication Technology available for both InterBase and Firebird and is based on trigger based replication. IBReplicator charges $150 per replication server plus a replication target license of $130 per destination. Because of scalability issues, the largest pack pricing available is for 20 licenses. Bidirectional replication with IBReplicator is complicated to configure (as it requiring unique database users for each database to prevent circular changes) making it very time intensive to setup and complicated to manage (something you don’t need to worry about with Change Views). Firebird replication also requires remote databases to be fixed in their location to enable connectivity, rendering it impractical for mobilization projects where they are constantly on the move.

As Change Views is included in the InterBase license, Firebird replication soon outweighs the cost of InterBase (around 10 seats at list price), has a higher setup and management cost and are less flexible. Even if you found a way to manage Firebird replication to 1000 devices for a distributed project, IBReplicator costs would make InterBase a whopping 93% cheaper than using Firebird!

Read the Change Views white paper to discover how Change Views is different from other replication technologies and simplifies data movement.

InterBase v Firebird - Mobile

With mobile accounting for more connected devices today than traditional desktop and servers, mobile is key to the delivery of modern application architecture. The need for offline data is also essential to deliver the best user experience for end users.

InterBase brings its secure encrypted database format to iOS and Android (through InterBase ToGo) allowing one database to be used everywhere. With the addition of the patent pending Change Views, InterBase provides a scalable offline capability that helps reduce the cost of getting data to mobile.

Currently Firebird doesn’t have released support for mobile and tablet platforms.

Looking to take your work force to mobile? read
Mobilizating Enterprise Data – Top 5 mistakes and how to avoid them

InterBase v Firebird – Support and Team Access.

InterBase has cost effective options for global commercial grade support that will help give your customers peace of mind. With established SLA that include installation support to get you going, InterBase on-going support is very low in comparison to Firebird’s charged for extra.

The entry level Firebird support offering is “30 day email only support” for $850, rising to $10,000 (Windows) to $20,000 (Linux) per year.

To put it another way:

  • Just 30 day’s support for Firebird costs more than 1 years support for 100 InterBase desktop deployment licenses.
  • For 100 desktop deployments, Firebird is 15.4 x more expensive than InterBase for 1 years support.
  • If you combined licenses and 1 years support costs for 100 desktop deployments, Firebird is almost 4 times the price of InterBase in year one, and then 15.4 x more expensive for each additional year.
InterBase Firebird
100 Desktop Deployments $2,163 $0
1 years support $649 $10,000
Total $2,812 $10,000

A supported top-end InterBase license (Server with unlimited users) for windows has annual running costs that are $7,891 per year cheaper than Firebird.

Every year you pay for Firebird support, you could have purchased 4¾ years InterBase support. Over 3 years, and including upfront license costs, that is a saving of $16,643.

InterBase Firebird
1 Windows Server (with Unlimited users) $7,030 $0
1st years support $2,109 $10,000
2nd years support $2,109 $10,000
3rd years support $2,109 $10,000
Total $13,357 $30,000

When it comes to Linux you could have InterBase supported for 9 years (9 x $2109 = $18,981) for less than the price of a single years support for Firebird (1 x $20,000).

When it comes to access to the InterBase product manangement team, this is included for all InterBase ISV / VAR and OEM customers in your general license costs. The same privilege for Firebird with IBPhoenix costs $50,000!


It is never an easy conversation to suggest a customer pays for something when they could opt for an Open Source free alternative, however Open Source is not quite like a free beer, it’s more like a free puppy; you have to look after it and care for it and the costs do mount up. While InterBase has a license cost, it delivers more bang for your buck!

InterBase is faster, vastly more scalable, is packed with superior disaster recovery and data protection compliance features that are key to maintaining both you and your customer’s reputations. Additionally, Change Views adds a zero cost and highly scalable replication engine API that reduces significantly both data movement and replication licensing costs for the lowest total cost of ownership.

InterBase continues to offer a faster and more scalable solution than Firebird that will grow with your customer. And as an ISV/OEM/VAR customer your future requirements can always be shared directly with the product management team freely.

If your data is important, Choose InterBase. Choose to Embed, Deploy, Relax!

Reference Source:

Pricing Correct as of 1st July 2016