Hidden 64 file limit in Workstation Btrieve 6.15

FROM: "Bruce Chastain" <bac@pcqt.com>
SUBJECT: Btrieve/Pervasive users: WARNING:
DATE: 13 Nov 1996 16:19:27 GMT

Btrieve/Pervasive users: WARNING:

I've discovered a secret limit in the Btrieve/Pervasive database engine. If you are a Btrieve user or a potential customer, please read on.

The latest release of the Win32 Btrieve database engine 6.15, has a new and UNdocumented limit on the number of "clients" that can use the engine at the same time. The previous 5.x releases had no such limit, and in fact, the 6.x documentation contradicts that and says the client limit is "limited only by memory". Pervasive has acknowledged the problem.

With the 6.x release, file locks are now maintained by the engine using a client ID you specify on your BTRVID() request, instead of the pblk. That means that if you need to lock records for update, you must specify a unique client id on a per-file-open basis. Even if you don't specify a client id, Btrieve will allocate one for you on a per process basis.

The 6.x engine has a hidden limit of 64 clients TOTAL for local opens. Regardless of the number of processes or threads, 64 client ids are all you get. If like us, you are running NT on up to 4 processor SMP boxes with half gig of RAM, a limit of 64 file opens is flatly ridiculous. While you're application may not be that big today, this will surely affect you sooner or later.

I'm posting this warning since Pervasive is REFUSING TO FIX the arbitrary limit in their Workstation engine, so 64 opens is all you'll ever get with that package. They are thinking about a "future enhancement" to their Btrieve Server (a Btrieve request network server), but have not said how much they will increase the glass ceiling, when that will be available, or how much they'll charge for it.

Based on all this, it now appears to me that Pervasive is now using the hidden client id limit to force customers to eventually upgrade to their MUCH more expensive Server package, whether you need a Btrieve Server or not. For example, for software developers, the "unlimited distribution" license for the Workstation product is a one time $1,995. But no such package exists for the Btrieve Server version. The Btrieve Server version will set you back up to $7495 *PER CPU*! For even the largest shops, that unexpected increase would be a budget buster to say the least. Obviously, if you don't even need or want a Btrieve Server, this cost increase would be unacceptable.

It's also important to note that the Server version still shares the exact same 64 client id limit, so no fix is currently available.

Pervasive's lack of documentation on the arbitrary limit, contradicting documentation, refusal to fix the defect, and seemingly transparent efforts to milk customers for more money in a major way when they hit the hidden limit, leads me to conclude that Pervasive simply can not be trusted.

I've left several messages for the Pervasive President over a period of several weeks, but so far has failed to return a single call.

Since Pervasive has said they will not fix the defect, it now seems that whether you are a current or potential Pervasive customer, it's time to start looking for other alternatives.

Bruce A. Chastain

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