InterBase is a name of the proprietary relational database developed by Borland. InterBase is available for Microsoft Windows, Linux and Solaris operating systems. In 2000 it was briefly released as an open source and on these principles a Firebird database server was created. Subsequently Borland company ended the open development and returned to the closed model.


Jim Starkey is the original author of InterBase. In the early 1980s, DEC company started developing the Rdb database system. At the time, Jim Starkey was working in this company on another project, but still managed to push forward his own idea – multigenerational architecture MGA and the Jrd database. Thanks to this architecture, the solution provided a high rate of parallel transaction processing and quick recovery after the fail. A similar approach was later taken over by the PostgreSQL and partly by Oracle.

At the same time, there were two internal relational databases at the DEC company, so Jim Starkey decided to start his own company which eventually ended up under Borland. It was only that he transferred InterBase from Apollo, VAX, PDP and HP computers to Microsoft Windows, Novell NetWare, and finally the Linux environment.


InterBase is conventional in many ways, it is a relational database compatible with SQL-92 that supports standard interfaces such as JDBC, ODBC and ADO.NET. Yet some InterBase properties are specific:

  • Size. The full InterBase server installation requires approximately 40 MB of disk space. This is much less than a client installing many competing database servers. If the server doesn’t work, it requires a minimum of memory. The smallest InterBase installation client requires approximately 400 kB of disk space.
  • Embedded or server solution. InterBase allows us to choose between the embedded database and standard server.
  • Minimal administration. InterBase server doesn’t normally require full-time database administrators.
  • Encryption. Since the version XE, InterBase contains 256bit AES powerful encryption that offers encryption at the level of the entire database, individual tables and a separate column. This helps data controllers to comply with data protection laws. InterBase provides separate encryption and access to the database, so the database file is encrypted whenever is stored. At the same time, the separation of encryption allows developers to focus on developing the application, rather than looking at whether the data is accessible below certain login data.
  • Multi-generation architecture. Data reading doesn’t block the writing, each database record exists in more than one version. At the same time, InterBase allows the rollback function to restore data.

The advantages of using InterBase

  • Wide range of advanced functions. Interbase contains triggers, user-defined functions and external notifications of database events or BLOBs.
  • Built-in two-phase commit.
  • Unique multi-generational architecture. This architecture enables better performance than normally used locking.
  • Low resource need. InterBase requires little memory and other resources
  • Effective optimization of queries.

The disadvantages of using InterBase

  • Missing integrated tools. InterBase isn’t very widespread. Third-party tools can be used, but the selection is more limited than for other databases.
  • Slow development. InterBase doesn’t bring too many new functionalities or performance improvements. Its development appears to be underfunded.

Use of Interbase

InterBase is mostly used in banking, retail sales, education and the government. Companies that use InterBase include, for example Replacement Part Industries, Smiths Detection, Command Alkon Incorporated or DL Software. Most of the companies using InterBase have their headquarters in the United States.