Introduction

A relational database management system (RDBMS) is an essential tool in many environments, from the more traditional uses in business, research, and education contexts, to newer applications, such as powering search engines on the Internet. However, despite the importance of a good database for managing and accessing information resources, many organizations have found them out of reach of their financial resources. Historically, database systems have been an expensive proposition, with vendors charging healthy fees both for software and for support, and because database engines often had substantial hardware requirements to run with any reasonable performance, the cost was even greater.

In recent years, the situation has changed, ...

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