InterBase Features

Click and explore on the categories below to learn more about the features of InterBase, the scalable award winning multi-platform embeddable SQL database with commercial grade data security, disaster recovery and change synchronization.

SQL Language / Unicode

InterBase is an SQL Standards compliant database. Starting with SQL92, all features added to InterBase strictly follow industry standards. With unicode support InterBase is ideal for any character set and is widely used globally.

InterBase offers a range of SQL language features including multiple join. unicode

Transactions and Multi-Generational Architectures

When making a changes in InterBase, you must first start a Transaction. A transaction can be connected using multiple options allowing for either a live view or snapshot view of the data. This ability to have multiple view types of the data is thanks to InterBase being built using a Multi-Generational Architecture.

Having a multi-generational architecture is exceptionally powerful when it comes to reporting. Having the ability to connect with a consistent snapshot of the database ensures that you are always comparing like for like. Equally important, the multi-generational architecture also ensures that readers don’t block writers from making changes, increasing database scalability and also enabling other key features like online backup and Change Views.

Event Alerters

Finding out something is changed in a central database is a typical concern of developers. InterBase Events enable a live time alert to connected clients that something has changed. Alerts are sent immediately following the transaction making the change is committed. This saves on CPU intensive database polling thus increasing database scalability. When run along side Change Views, Events allow for the fastest way to fetch data changes by collecting just the delta of what has changed from the server, additionally reducing network traffic and associated costs.

Change Views

The award winning Change Views is a patent pending feature of InterBase that allows developers to identify what has changed in the database. Working with Change Views is simple; Running the same SQL statement in subsequent transactions will return only the delta. This makes fetching and identifying changed data very simple.

Change Views work with the multi-generational architecture of InterBase to speed up applications and lower network traffic and costs by finally allow briefcase data to become always relevant, removing the need to fetch the same data time and time again.

Read the Change Views white paper

Managed fields definitions / Domains

InterBase domains allow you to define a specific field type (e.g. VarChar(20) / Integer etc) define properties for that field (e.g. Can it be null? or define a range of values that can be passed in). Using InterBase domains allows you to easily manage the same field type across your database. This simplifies adding the same type of field everywhere, and as its defined once, you can easily update the field type across the database is requirements ever change.

Stored Procedures

InterBase Stored procedures allow you to compile server side functions into your database engine that allows easily updatable business logic that clients can call. This could be to ship and order or add a new customer, the options are endless. You can also run select statements against stored procedures to return a custom layout of data. You can even build SQL Statements inside you stored procedures to run, based on data passed in or fetched.

Triggers

Triggers are a powerful feature with a variety of uses. Among the ways that triggers can be used are:

  • To make correlated updates. For example, to keep a log file of changes to a database or table.
  • To enforce data restrictions, so that only valid data is entered in tables.
  • Automatic transformation of data. For example, to automatically convert text input to uppercase.
  • To notify applications of changes in the database using event alerters.
  • To perform cascading referential integrity updates.

Generators

Generators allow your to fetch sequential numbers that are typically used for Primary Keys within InterBase. Generators work across database transactions and InterBase will not assign a duplicate key. InterBase Generators allows you to enable the database to be responsible for the production of key values centrally in the database.

Custom Exceptions

InterBase allows you build database logic to mange the data being passed in. Working alongside Stored Procedures and Trigger that happen before data is updated, you can raise a custom exception from the server if bad data is passed in.

Multi-platform support

InterBase is certified to run on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android and iOS allowing you to develop on one platform and deploy anywhere. InterBase also supports heterogeneous OS connectivity across all supported platforms. Coupled with a single cross platform on disk format, InterBase works smoothly through the development lifecycle, while drastically simplifying and reducing workload around change tracking, configuration and testing.

Client and Server data storage

From a single user deeply embedded database to a database Server with 100’s of simultaneous connected users, InterBase offers commercial grade data storage on both server and clients powering online and offline application capabilities.

InterBase comes in two specific flavours: Installed Server (represented by Server, Developer and Trial edition) and the Deeply Embedded version that doesn’t require installation (represented by InterBase ToGo / free IBLite).

InterBase ToGo / IBLite can also be used without InterBase server as a stand alone deeply embedded database across multiple platforms (including iOS and Android). Using InterBase for local storage reduces the need for network traffic, thus reducing costs and also improving your application speed and user experience. Change Views provides the infrastructure for ensuring offline data is kept current with minimal effort. Read the Change Views white paper

Silent Installation

The InterBase Server has an embeddable installer to allow for silent install of InterBase Server and Client drivers, providing your secret competitive advantage. Rather than using the client driver, deploying InterBase ToGo (or IBLite) adds local data storage to the client.

Single on disk format

InterBase offers a single file format that works across all platforms. This makes it easy to develop on your platform of choice and then deploy your applications anywhere. Right the way through the product life cycle; from define, to build to test and deploy; having a unified on disk format allows you to quickly support and test even mobile databases directly from your development machine. In addition, with a single cross platform encryption model it reduces a number of configuration challenges typically linked to the unique way different platforms are configured.

Cross platform encryption

How much do you care about people seeing your data? Data security is important both on and off your server and devices. InterBase encryption supports both weak DES and strong AES 256bit encryption in two elements. 1) Over the wire encryption of network traffic and 2) Database data-at-rest encryption. InterBase encryption is built into the database as part of its cross platform single file format, allowing InterBase to offer protection of data everywhere it resides throughout the development lifecycle.

Data visibility is defined by a specialist login to the database (SYSDSO) with column level granularity ensuring that even developers cannot by pass encryption and view and search for sensitive data (unless your DSO (Data Security Officer) allows them access). Having granular column level encryption built into your data layer drastically reduces the risk of data breaches through requirement changes and product refactoring as your data layer (and not your application) is managing data visibility.

Along with providing role based user security that can be bound to encryption configuration, InterBase also supports a backup specific encryption key. The backup key provides no access to the data, but does allow an encrypted backup to be created and answers the needs of those requiring command line backups to be run via scheduling.

Speed

With InterBase, you can rely on powerful SMP experience to super charge your applications with one of the fastest native databases available. InterBase leverages today's multi-core CPUs and multi-CPU systems, along with a unique versioning approach and advanced disk I/O caching, to retrieve and update your data blazingly fast.

Small foot print

In its smallest distribution InterBase is only a few mega-bytes. The small on disk footprint and small in memory requirements makes it ideal for devices requiring a commercial grade embeddable database engine from laptops to tablets and phones. As InterBase scales with your application, it can take advantage of more powerful servers and can be configured to run fully in memory for blazing fast speed, all with the security of immediate write to disk thanks to enterprise grade features like journaling.

Easily installed and deployed

The InterBase Server Installer can be quietly embedded into your own installer or run manually as part of your installation. Installing InterBase can be done in seconds and unlike some databases doesn’t require a 3 day training course just to setup a blank database.

When it comes to InterBase ToGo, no installation is required! Just deploy the InterBase libraries along with your application and you gain both client drivers and local database storage will full access to features like Change Views and user security.

Award winning change tracking

Dramatically reducing the amount of data moved, lowering data costs, network traffic, server CPU demand and disk I/O all add up to why the patent pending Change Views is blazingly fast and improves data scalability. Without the need for log tables, triggers, special database users or time stamp fields, Change Views is exceptionally lightweight and fast and built into the InterBase core to work on both server and deeply embedded versions of InterBase.

Read the Change Views white paper

Encryption that doesn’t slow you down

InterBase helps speed up the development processes and makes development safer and more agile by removing the need for developers to write, test and focus on encryption. InterBase encryption is seamless and integrated directly into the database layer meaning your developer can focus on writing application code and business logic while leaving the database to worry about who can see what data.

Additionally, InterBase encryption adds very little overhead to the database speed and performance, while still maintaining full on disk encryption.

In memory speed, immediate write security

Journaling provides the security of immediate write of changes to disk, with the benefits of a full in memory database system. Journaling can be enabled on a database through a single line of SQL and requires no changes in your application to have them enabled. Journaling is sometimes referred to as write-ahead logging (WAL). Many medical systems around the world rely on InterBase journaling to deliver speed and security to their systems. Read more: http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/InterBase/XE7/en/Journaling_and_Disaster_Recovery

Long lived server

InterBase will just run and run and run! Even with the hardest working databases processing 10,000+ transactions a second it would be 150+ years before you need to backup and restore the latest InterBase database server (compared to under a month with older versions and Firebird). InterBase servers are so good at being admin free, there is even a copy on Mars right now use by the MARS Rover (Well it is to far to send a DBA)

Rapid crash recovery

InterBase was one of the first ACID compliant databases on the market, and having this built to its core means it will get back up and running very quickly following any server crash. In fact, InterBase is so good at this, it has been deployed in tanks, helicopters and medical equipment globally where time to recover is critical following any system reboots. And so it was famously once said when competing against Oracle, “No! You don’t need to put a DBA in a tank with InterBase.”

InterBase also offers a range or fail over capabilities covered in the disaster recovery section, including Incremental Backups, Journals, Point in time recovery and database shadowing.

Over the wire and data at rest encryption

Data security is a hot topic! The loss of data via cyber attacks can lead to loss of customers (typically 4% of your customer base) and reputation, lead to regulatory action, and even expose you to large fines. InterBase supports encryption of data between server and clients (over-the-wire network traffic) and data-at-rest (both DES and strong AES 256bit encryption).

InterBase encryption is built into the database as part of its cross platform single file format, allowing InterBase to offer protection of data everywhere it resides through out the development lifecycle.

Data Encryption at rest is controlled by a Separate Security login to support industry best practice for Data Controllers.

Free White Paper: Mobilizing Enterprise Data

Separate Security login

A common mistake around data security is to think encrypting the database is enough! More important is controlling WHO can see WHAT data! This is legal responsibility of the DSO (Data Security Officer) and InterBase helps you separate and manages this via a special login, SYSDSO.

The ability to read, insert, update, delete and search on data in InterBase is defined by the SYSDSO use. SYSDSO controls at a column level WHO can see, search and update data allowing you to control through out the development life cycle WHO gets to see WHAT data and WHEN; even developers cannot by pass encryption and view and search for sensitive data (unless your DSO allows them access).

Having granular column level encryption built into your data layer drastically reduces the risk of data breaches through requirement changes and product refactoring as your data layer (and not your application) is managing data visibility.

Role based User Security

Almost every application that stores data has users with different levels of access to data. Rather than you spending time building, managing and testing user security in your own applications InterBase provides it out the box. By defining User Security Roles that match to job roles (e.g. Accountant, Accounts Manager, Sales Person, Human Resource etc) you can then allocate users with multiple roles making it easy to add or remove access to data across your system.

User Security covers both data and also access to Change Views allowing you to easily control who can track data changes too.

Backup while live

Backing up the database is simple with InterBase. Because InterBase runs a multi-versioning architecture, starting a backup takes a snapshot at that point in time allowing others to still be connected and changing the database. Because you don’t need to get users out the system, InterBase can be left running 24x7 while still allowing you to backup your business lifeblood, your data!

The database can either be backed up via command line, through our admin tools, via code using the backup API’s or via the ODBC driver GUI. For Delphi, C++, RAD Studio developers IBX and FireDAC components provide a handy wrapping of the Backup / Restore / Mend API’s allowing for easy integration of database management inside your own applications.

Distinguished Data Dumps

Distinguished Data Dumps (also known as Incremental Dumps) are a fast way of creating a copy of your database as part of your disaster recovery plans. A data dump is different from a traditional backup (that has to be restored into an active database format) as it produces a read only copy of the database. It is therefore popular as a disaster recovery option, as the database just needs to be switched to read/write which is faster than waiting for a restore to complete. If you are looking to run a copy of your database on a secondary database server to spread the load of processor demanding reporting, then this may also be the right option for you.

Running distinguished data dump for the first time creates a complete copy of the database in read only mode, with subsequent runs updating this copy with only the changed pages from the primary database. Distinguished data dumps are the recommended way of backing up with Change Views as it maintain the Transaction ID’s required to maintain Change View subscriptions.

Multi-threaded restore

InterBase uses parallel processing technologies to speed up the restoration of a backup. Indexes are the most time consuming part of restoring a database as they have to be re-built, InterBase restores using multiple threads on multiple processors to ensure the fastest possible restoration of the database and Indexes.

Journaling

Many medical systems around the world rely on InterBase journaling. Journaling provides the security of immediate write of changes to disk, with the benefits of a full in memory database system. Journaling can be enabled on a database through a single line of SQL and require no changes in your application to have them enabled. Journaling is sometimes referred to as write-ahead logging (WAL). Read more

Point in time recovery

The next step on from Journaling, is Journal Archives that then enable point in time recovery of data. If you ever have someone “accidentally” run a script that deletes your orders table, or gives the rest of the staff an unauthorised 50% pay rise, then using journal archives enables you the ability to revert the database to any second in time covered by your journal archive. Journal Archives can also be stored “off device” and provide a fast way to recover from disaster even if the backup hasn’t run, reducing the risk of data changed since a backup being lost following a hardware failure. Read more

Log-less replication

The award winning, patent pending “Change Views” help speed up development and enhance the features developers can provide to their end users around changed data by eliminating the challenges posed by traditional change tracking methods. The ultimate benefit of Change Views is lower development costs and faster and smaller updates to disconnected remote data caches saving you time, money and making your development team more agile.

Traditional database change tracking technologies focus on log tables or time stamp fields. Log tables are notoriously hard to manage and don’t scale well to a high number of destinations, they also impact the database performance and bloat its size. Time stamp fields are infamously problematic when multiple users are working with a database. The IoTA award winning InterBase Change Views remove the need for time fields, log tables, additional database users or triggers instead providing a blazingly fast, highly scalable option that requires near zero CPU time and disk space designed for today’s numerous destination (mobile centric) world.

Read the Change Views white paper

Change View Subscriptions

Change Views works through a concept of subscriptions. A subscription is defined to include a number of tables or specific columns of data; using InterBase user security, users or specific roles are then granted the rights to subscribe to each subscription.

Once a device is subscribed, it tracks what is changing at field level for that subscription. This simple model enables access to data changes to be securely managed and easily scaled out without any need for log tables or additional fields simplifying the development process so change tracking is one less thing to develop, refactor, build and test.

The most secure Change Tracking on the market

One powerful feature of Change Views being controlled via user security and being private to the subscriber is that only the subscriber can see what has changed.

To illustrate why this is so important: Imagine you are building a medical system and have a HIV status on a patient record that is encrypted. Change Views allow you to control who can track changes to that field, and doesn’t provide a log table that others maybe able to scan to identify records that might have been changed. This makes for exceptionally powerful, secure change tracking that actively works to reduce the change of privilege abuse that could lead to a data breach of sensitive information.

Change Views not only makes it easy to identify what has changed, it controls who can track those changes and prevents others from even guessing at data changes.

Easy to fetch data delta’s

Dramatically reducing the amount of data you move, reducing data costs, network traffic and server CPU demand and disk I/O all add up to why the patent pending Change Views is fast and helps applications scale further. The award winning technology provides just the field level delta of what has changed, allowing developers to give detailed analysis back to the end user while lowering data movement costs.

InterBase allows Change View data to be queried via SQL, allowing developers to easily identify the total data changed before syncing ensuring you never end up with a surprise data bill. Developers can also quickly fetch changes to keep remote data caches updated allowing for blazingly fast applications with enhanced offline capabilities.

Read the Change Views white paper

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