When it comes to building a database the most important thing is to look for the appropriate platform which covers all your necessities. In most cases what are you looking for is: performance, scalability, reliability and productivity. On the market today, there are more alternatives for data storage ready to answer each and every need you may have.
Depending on the size of your company and day by day needs, you can choose from: SQL Server, MySQL, Microsoft Access and Oracle. Practically these are the four large players on the data storage market. In this article I’ll only refer to their latest editions, which are: SQL Server 2008, MySQL 5.5, Microsoft Access 2010 and Oracle 11g. Among these four, SQL Server is the one which has known a progressive growth in terms of: security, performance and scalability, succeeding to surpass its competitors when it comes to profitability and productivity.
Developed by Microsoft, SQL Server offers the Microsoft warranty of performance and quality, and also provides developers with one of the best documentation and customer support service. Another big plus is that the administration user interface is similar to that of Windows Server administration tools, which means that any person used to work with Windows Server OS will feel right at home exploring the features of SQL Server.
Below I’ll present the main features that must be taken into consideration when choosing a data storage solution.
In terms of performance SQL Server surpasses its competition, recent studies showing that when it comes to the number of requests per hour, the results are in Microsoft’s favor. With features such as: Performance Data Collector, Resource Governor, Analysis Server Performance, Integration server Performance, and more, SQL Server 2008 is ready to offer control over workloads, to analyze performance data and create reports, to increase and maintain high performance.
Scalability is one of the main advantages that SQL Server has over its main competitors Oracle 11g, Access 2010 and MySQL 5.5, making it a piece of cake to configure and maintain any database, regardless of its size and complexity.
SQL Server 2008 takes a full advantage of the latest hardware configurations, supporting 64 bit and non-uniform memory access (NUMA) based high-end systems. In order to bring the most out of any server configuration, SQL Server 2008 now supports up to 50 Database Engine Instances and Analysis Services Instances on the same machine.
To further ease the administration process, SQL Server 2008 is fully compatible with systems which support “Hot-Adding” CPUs and memory resources in order to scale-up a server without even stopping the database services.
By releasing the 2008 version, Microsoft has also introduced robust features, such as: resource governing, transparent data encryption, performance data collection, CDC (change data capture) and many others, that offer a greater reliability, and which can’t be found at its open source relative MySQL.
Also in terms of security SQL Server 2008 proves to be more reliable and solid than MySQL, the latter not being able to define roles, nor use OS Authentication.
SQL Server 2008 combines cutting edge capabilities with usability, making it an extremely productive platform for database applications. It reduces the unplanned database downtime by providing high-availability capabilities which allow implementing cost-effective, automatic fail-over solutions. This makes sure that critical applications continue to run in the events of a database server failure.
Enabling most of the configuration/management tasks to be performed while the server is online, SQL Server 2008 also reduces the planned database downtime.
The Multi-Server Management feature which ships with the SQL Server 2008 Enterprise allow users to manage multiple registered database engines from the same intuitive user interface. Also, policy-based management allows users to define configuration policies that can be applied to multiple SQL Server Instances.