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The Battle of the RDBMSs: SQL Server 2000 Versus Oracle 9i (Part 1)

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Database expert Rob Hawthorne explores the Oracle Corporation and Oracle RDBMSs, peeping into the beginnings of both the company and the very popular Oracle database. See how the RDBMS sprang from the CIA!
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As an author of Microsoft's SQL Server 2000, I've been swayed by the pure thrill of using a stable, reliable, robust, and user-friendly application. However, just this once I've put my little biases aside, and with the pleasure of a small child in a toy shop, present to you the comparison of two fantastic relational database management systems (RDBMSs).

It's the match of the century. The crowd in the auditorium is totally focused on the ring in the center. As the bell strikes three times, the announcer steps forward. "In the blue corner, the most serious competitor on the market, weighing in at $1 billion USD per year: Microsoft's SQL Server 2000! In the red corner, the reigning champion, with 37% of the NT platform market: Oracle 9i! Let's get it on!"

As surreal as this sounds, the slugging match between Microsoft and Oracle is really reaching a head, as more and more features are implemented and fierce competition for the market space takes place—but the real winner is business. For many years (some say too long), Oracle has been one of the most dominating companies in the middle-to-large RDBMS market, but Microsoft has now put on the gloves and come after some of their market share. However, Oracle is not going to take this competition lying down, and in recent years has gone after Microsoft's traditional domain, the NT space.

This brutal competition has given businesses RDBMSs that perform faster, more efficiently, and with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than ever before. We're seeing feature-rich products that offer developers easy ways to create applications that deliver real business value. This new generation of databases is also fantastic for system administrators. They're easier than ever to manage, with query engines that tune and enhance performance, rather than requiring the system administrator to be a highly skilled database administrator (DBA) as well as an environmental expert.

Everyday businesses, not just IT companies, are really reaping the benefits of this tug-of-war. Not only do these RDBMSs perform faster on similar hardware to that of their predecessors, but due to severe rivalry, license costs are dropping. With new pricing options, client access licenses (CALs) may become a legacy of the past. With options such as per-processor licensing, you can roll out your application to as many users as your specific business requires. This has meant a real revolution in the Internet space, allowing companies to go online quickly and easily, and best of all with a lower total cost.

Microsoft has invested a lot of time and money into the research, development, and delivery of SQL Server. Each new version (6.0 was the first version solely produced by Microsoft) has realized more features, better performance, and easier ways of performing the mundane tasks that are essential to all well-run applications.

Oracle hasn't been a slouch in any of these areas either. With a strong focus on security and ease of use, they claim that DBAs are now working up to 35% faster with 9i than DBAs who manage and monitor IBM DB2 systems.

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