Once again, UPHPU has had a minor stir about which database is faster / better / stronger, PostgreSQL or MySQL. All fanboyism aside, who really cares?
You want to know the way to *really* speed up your database? Normalization is probably going to be the largest factor. After that, use views, stored procedures, indexes, transactions and well-written queries, and your database is going to fly amazingly fast.
At work we have a large server we call “Zeus” because it is incredibly large. I won’t even go into specs because you wouldn’t believe me even if I told you. When I first started working here, the database running on it was incredibly slow. At first I blamed it all on the database software we are using (you can search my blog if you really wanna know which one it is. Hint: it’s neither of the two mentioned above), but as we cleaned up the databases and tables by removing columns that were complete cruft and then doing everything I mentioned above, this puppy flies. In fact, our “dev” database, which is running on nothing more than an Athlon XP 1800+ runs just as fast as our beast-monster does.
That’s how you get a fast database — doing things the right way. Who would have thought?
I have to apologize for the elitist feel of this post, but my point is this … the only magic bullet in improving performance is going to be quality code and design. Just replacing your database with something else isn’t going to make the speed fairy sprinkle your application with love.