[Progress News] [Progress OpenEdge ABL] How Your Progress OpenEdge Database is Like a High-Performance Vehicle

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Roy Ellis

Explore the parallels between maintaining a high-performance car and your OpenEdge database. Discover the three fundamental categories—performance, safety and disaster avoidance/recovery—where Progress Professional Services can help.

Over the years I’ve heard this time and time again: the Progress OpenEdge database is very fast, stable and reliable. Why do I need to maintain it?

This is a good question that can be best answered using an analogy. When you buy a new high-performance car, it rolls out of the dealership tuned for best performance. After a few years go by, you may notice the car isn’t running as well. This is no fault of the car; it’s just a sign that it’s time for maintenance.

How do you restore your car to its best performance and safety? You take it to the experts.

I hear my fellow car buffs saying they enjoy doing the maintenance work themselves. As the owner of a mint 1966 Pontiac GTO—which some consider the first high-performance production car—I understand the sentiment, but there are some things that we can all agree need to be done by an expert.

Just as with your car, there are areas where your OpenEdge database should be handled by professionals. These fall into three categories:

  • Performance
  • Safety
  • Disaster avoidance and recovery

Let’s continue to take this car analogy “down the road.”


For your car, spark plugs, spark wires, carburetor and timing tuning and filters are several components that need to be maintained or replaced. Over a long period of not maintaining these components, there will be a slow decline in your vehicle’s performance that you may not notice because it is so gradual.

Unlike a car, a database has nothing to wear out, but several tuning parameters may become out of date and cause your database to slow down gradually.

Your database has three parts:

  • The database on disk
  • The before-image file (also on disk, but different)
  • The database buffers in memory

Having as much of the database as possible in memory will show an immediate return for the best performance. The problem is that, as your database grows, a smaller percentage of data will be available in memory. This causes more reads from disk and slower performance.

There are other parameters as well that can show dramatic performance improvements but, like the many parts of a high-performance car, you need to know all the places to look and tune.

The other side of performance isn’t about tune-ups but about the parts under the hood. With my GTO (see her picture to the right), I have replaced many older technologies with newer parts. My old carburetor was changed out for a newer one that performs better and needs less tuning. These changes keep my car running at peak performance.

With your database, keeping current with the latest long-term supported (LTS) OpenEdge version and updates can serve the same purpose. OpenEdge 11.7 has many performance updates over 10, and version 12.2 has even more performance updates and better-tuned parameters. Our innovation releases, most recently 12.7, can turbocharge your database until the next LTS is released. This is another compelling reason to let the experts look “under the hood” of your database.


Modern cars have many safety improvements over older ones. To my GTO, I have added disc brakes, seat belts and brighter front and rear LED lights, to name a few safety improvements. Similarly, a modernized OpenEdge application with a well-tuned database always outperforms an old one.

An OpenEdge database that is current on the latest LTS or innovation release will give you and your customers the most secure environment possible. As we create newer and stronger encryption algorithms and older algorithms are removed, installing our security updates gives you continued peace of mind. Our new advanced security features like the hardware security module (HSM), JSON web encryption and transparent data encryption (TDE) can protect data and database access.

Disaster Avoidance and Recovery​

Nobody wants to imagine themselves getting into a car crash, but unfortunately it happens every day. We maintain the brakes and get oil changes frequently to prepare for a dangerous situation. It’s also why we carry insurance. We try our best to mitigate risks as we go about our daily drives—or those exhilarating test track ones.

With your OpenEdge database, you are probably thinking what is the worst that can happen? Much like a body shop, the “mechanics” of the OpenEdge database, the Progress Professional Services team experts, see some interesting issues.

Customers run out of disk space or database extent space. Databases crash. Transactions get longer and longer until it causes a database to stall. Not only do we fix the problems, but many times we can spot the trends to help our customers avoid these disasters. In doing so, the problems won’t occur again.

And finally, we have the equivalent of OpenEdge insurance. Services like my auto insurance policy and AAA help me get rolling again as soon as possible at a minimal cost compared to what I’d have to spend out of pocket. But this is after the disaster strikes.

For your database, we offer services geared toward preventing the disaster.

Our team can configure a backup. We can show you the benefits of OpenEdge Replication for seamless replication that minimizes data loss and downtime or OpenEdge Pro2 for reporting. A database health check is a short consulting engagement to assess the status of your system. Or request our managed database administration (MDBA) service for 24/7 monitoring and reporting of your system, plus status reports and disaster recovery.

What Next?​

Trained mechanics and full-time gearheads may be able to take care of their performance cars without assistance. This could be you. Most of us, myself included, prefer to take our cars to the shop.

For your OpenEdge database, I recommend the same. You may have the experience and want to find the time to dedicate to maintenance, but most database administrators and systems admins have too many other important day-to-day tasks to manage.

Take your OpenEdge database to the experts. We specialize in performance, safety and disaster recovery and avoidance. We’ll have you back on the “road” in no time.

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