Daniel Albuschat wrote:

I was just thinking about (because a client asked that question) whether a virus-scanner could interfere with Firebird's operations. Have there been reported any problems with virus-scanners?

Ann W. Harrison answers:

Some virus scanners do apparently lock bits of the file system in ways that interfere with Firebird.

Yes.There was a thread on October 11 with a name like Firebird unexpected shutdown on Win2003. The problem shows up as a server crash with a message from the file system saying that the file is inaccessible.

Adam answers:

Yes, on a number of levels it is possible to get problems.

The most serious problem is where the virus scanner places a lock on a part of the database file to 'do its thing'. If this operation occurs at the same time the database engine wishes to modify that part of the database file, the database engine will be locked out by the OS. This will cause the database engine to panic and shutdown, disconnecting and rolling back all active connections (for SS) or the connection which encountered the problem (CS).

If the virus scanner permits, you should at the very least exclude your database folders from the scanning paths.

I have also seen a virus scanner with a TCP/IP scanner, which got quite excited about all the TCP/IP traffic and wanted to analyse to death each packet. This caused both negative performance impacts in terms of CPU time and network lag, and even caused a few timeouts to occur.

Also, expect your CPU and Disk I/O to take a massive hit when the scheduled scanners start running. This hit can be somewhat mitigated with RAID and SMP.

But virus scanners are to mitigate the security risks associated with viruses and other malware. Database servers, unless they are also email servers or web servers or somehow else exposed to nasties should be pretty well immune to such threats. If in doubt, buy a cheap firewall for inside your LAN and port forward 3050 to your database server, separating it further from nasties that may come through exchange or IIS or something like that.

Unless your database server is a multi-purpose server, I would think that specific virus protection would be overkill.

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