Is Ruby the right tool for our next intranet?

Hello RubyOnRails user, I am completely new to RoR and should familiarize myself with it, but also make statements: “Is Ruby the right tool for our next intranet ?” One of the most important conditions will be that we need to read / write several databases in parallel. The following task as a requirement:

  1. Standard: postgresql for development: test: production: everything for Ruby itself (read / write …)
  2. MS-SQL database: master data (read only)
  3. MS-SQL database: machine data (read / write) Can someone tell me if that’s possible? So far I have only read sqllite DBs in “database.yml”. Has anyone given me an example with Microsoft SQL Server too? That would be great. Thank you very much, WVRoR


Rails has always had support for a wide range of SQL database engines. MySQL, Postgres, Oracle, MS-SQL, FrontBase, SQLite, etc., and a fair number of non-SQL databases like Mongo and the like. This is all handled at the database adapter level, and even if Rails proper doesn’t carry an official adapter, there are third-party adapters (I’m thinking here of Oracle, which I use at work). In this earliest and simplest form, Rails’s multi-database feature referred to being able to support one application and all its models with one database (at a time).

Every Rails since version 1 has been able to connect the same application code (Ruby) to one database for test, another for development, and yet another for production (and more, those are just the basic 3 environments you get “for free” when you spin up a new application) if you wanted or needed to do that. The unsung benefit of the ActiveRecord ORM is that the underlying database is just dumb storage, and you don’t have to code specifically to it if you don’t want or need to.

(Some will argue, and provide splendid examples of why you would like to do just that, and they are also correct. When you get beyond Hello World, and “Whoops, a blog” examples, you often find you need to get into the metal of a particular database to do something that ActiveRecord doesn’t support directly. That’s not an argument against the inherent flexibility of an ORM, but just a way of measuring how successful you are. Generally, you don’t run into these problems without becoming Twitter-scale popular, and then you can usually afford to solve those problems by hiring a DBA and some more programmers.)

Rails 6 introduced a new feature allowing multiple databases to be used at one time in the same application*. This feature, which I have not used myself yet, allows you to have all sorts of flexibility around database connections. Having some be read-write and others read-only appears to be a banner feature. The way that Rails 6 has architected this, you can use multiple databases with a single model, or different databases with different models, or maybe have a read replica that only is used when servicing GET requests – the sky is really the limit.

I would surmise that, given some effort and study on your part, you would be able to stand up an intranet with multiple database connections to heterogenous RDBMSs. That seems very much to be a feature that’s in Rails 6’s wheelhouse.


*I have done a very low-brow version of this feature, usually for data migration reasons, as far back as Rails 3, and it’s not hard, but it’s definitely not what I’d like to run the whole application on full-time. It involves creating new ActiveRecord::Base instances with different database connections, and basing your separate models that relate to the secondary or tertiary database on those Bases, rather than your central ApplicationRecord.

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Thanks Walter for your quick reply. And yes i’m using Rails 6, and i’m looking for an example code for “database.yml”, to integrate 3 different DBs in one demo-project. I read the properties for readonly…, but that is not the problmem. First step is to use 3 DBs.

Have a nice day Wolfgang

Have a start here: Multiple Databases with Active Record — Ruby on Rails Guides


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Hi Walter,

thanks, i know this site, but i don’t understand what do to at the moment to have at least: DB1 DB2 DB3.

Greetings Wolfgang

Start from the beginning. What are these three database?. What do they each represent? Answer those questions by giving each one a name. Then read through the first part of this page, and look at the way you structure the database.yml. Then look in your models, and decide which models need which databases. Add the appropriate connects_to statement to each.


Different information bases to be utilized at one time in the equivalent application*. This component, which I have not utilized myself yet, permits you to have a wide range of adaptability around information base associations.