Here's an interesting comparison on the different spatially enabled databases currently on the market. I unfortunately missed details on what e.g. ArcGIS server adds to Oracle Spatial. But maybe that would also require discussing what GeoServer or uDig add to PostGIS. Anyway, a nice product overview to start off with.
"Geo-databases are the ‘spider in the web’ in these developments. (Open source) geo-databases like PostgreSQL and MySQL open up perspectives in such developments, also in less developed countries. Today the functionalities for information management are so comprehensive that their representation within a Product Survey template such as that used over recent years in GIM International is complex. For example, subjects like ‘spatial indexing’, ‘optimising approaches’, ‘spatial joining algorithms’ and ‘topology management’ may relate to very sophisticated approaches not easily condensed and described in a survey matrix box. In my first Product Survey on RDBMS in 2002 I observed that spatial-data management was traditionally supported within GIS environments. Integration with other datasets has to be organised within such environments with the aid of complementary architectures. As more and more support for spatial-data management becomes available in RDBMS, direct integration with other datasets may be organised in an increasingly flexible way. This allows for fast data access, easy product development, avoidance of duplication of spatial data etc. Five years on, a set of mature geo-databases is available on the market, and a product like PostgreSQL has, of course, a much longer history. Thanks to OGC, developments have been rapid.
This Product Survey is based on information provided by geo-database suppliers; it is not a benchmark and it is not related to any assessment. A new series of features on geo-databases in GIM International would be a better approach to further introducing the functionality, applications, references and integration in geo-spatial data infrastructures. All Geo-database suppliers are invited to contribute their ideas."
This Jan/Feb’s 2007 issue of the German GIS Business magazine had Spatial Data Infrastructure projects as its theme. This included an article on the FAO GeoNetwork one on the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) and one on INSPIRE. I hope I’ll be able to get a pdf version of the FAO GeoNetwork article to be added to the Geonetwork opensource project’s archive. The article highlights besides the FAO node also the international collaboration, the use of Free and Open Source Software and OSGEO . There was another article on the use op FOSS to set up Free WebGIS too.