Firebird 4 vs Firebird 3 Write Performance, Selecting the best AWS instance for Firebird, and more results from simple INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE test

Since 2019, when we have published the first collection of results from the simple INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE test, many people have sent us results from their Firebird servers, and we added them to the spreadsheet and appropriate graph.

The test is the simple, but powerful tool to measure and compare performance of different hardware+Firebird configurations, to allow quickly confirm or refute the hardware or configuration problem.

Firebird 4 vs Firebird 3: Good News, Everyone!


Recently we have used this test to compare INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE performance of Firebird 4.0 (version, a few builds from the release) and 3.0 (version, snapshot, pre-release of upcoming 3.0.8, it is stable as a minor release, according the tests


The testing environment was Intel i3-10100F 3.60GHz with SSD Samsung SSD 870QVO and RAM drive (qSoft), with various sizes of RAM (16,32,64) and Page Buffers.


Below is the graph, and here is the XLS spreadsheet ( ) with the results.



As you can see, in the same conditions and with the same configuration, Firebird 4 is approximately 10% faster that 3.0.8 on write operations. This is definitely good news, and just another sign that it is time to take a closer look on the upcoming release and start preparations for the migration.


Of course, the best approach will be to run the same test on your own server and see the actual improvement by yourself.

See how to do it:


Choosing the best AWS EC2 instance for the maximum Firebird performance


More and more companies think about “moving to the cloud”, and Amazon Web Service Elastic Cloud is one of the favorite “cloud destinations”.

However, AWS offers a lot of different instances types, how to choose the best one? Of course, do the tests!

We did the simple INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE tests for the 20 instance types, and found several really good options for Firebird.


Please note – all prices in the calculation below are for Frankfurt region of AWS EC2, they are taken as is from, without any discounts, they can be subject to additional taxes, and they can change over time - so please don’t consider prices below as finals or as exact buying guide.



Here is the overall graph and XLS spreadsheet ( ) with results:




For simplicity, we have created the column Operations, which essentially is a sum of Inserts+Updates+Deletes, and used it as the united write performance metric:



As you can see, the following 3 instance types are leaders in performance (from the point of view of Firebird writes operations):


Instance type Hour cost for Linux Operations/per second

z1d.xlarge USD$0.45 ` 45834

m5dn.2xlarge USD$0.648 45198

m5d.2xlarge USD$0.544 44150


Interesting that the leaders are not the most expensive instance types! Of course, we need to keep in mind that test is single threaded (and does not benefit from the number of cores), and does not require large amount of RAM (because database is only 3.6Gb), but for the applications which require quickly process peaked write operations, these instances look really optimal.


Despite the fact that these instances types are not the most expensive (among tested), they are still expensive enough to think twice about the budget, and since one of the advertised advantages of the cloud is the flexibility, it makes sense to start with cheaper VM instances types, which could be good enough for serve our Firebird database, right?


To find out the optimal cost/performance instance types we created another column in our spreadsheet: “Operations per 1 USD”.

It means exactly what it means – how many write operations you can buy for 1 USD.


The formula is the following

Operations_Per_Second * 3600 seconds in hour / Price per Hour



As you can see, from this point of view, the leaders are different:


Instance name Linux hour price Operations per 1 USD Operations per second

c5d.xlarge USD$0,222 579062087 35709

c5ad.xlarge USD$0,2 565024995 31390

m5dn.xlarge USD$0,324 446037216 40143


The very interesting is #3, m5dn.xlarge with peak performance 40K/per second – it is pretty close to the performance leader z1d.xlarge with 45834 operations/second, but significantly cheaper.


In general, our experience with AWS EC2 shows that it is stable mature environment, with many good security/backup/high-availability/etc features, but, as any complex platform, it requires an experience (or external expertise) to make the proper choice and do not pay overwhelming bills for applications with non-fantastic load.


Recent results from INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE test

So, as you can see, our simple test can be useful not only as a comparison between hardwares and Firebirds, but also can save you a couple of dollars.

We have published graph with recently collected results and XLS spreadsheet to play with it, so you can check it yourself here

1) NVME drives really rock, so if you need the powerful Firebird server, purchase NVME to store your databases.

2) High CPU frequency is also very important for high performance of Firebird databases. Often vendors push sales multi-core processors with lower frequency (<3Ghz), but this is not the best option for Firebird.

3) If your database load profile is heavily write oriented, do not set the Page Buffers too high.