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SQL Server is Superior, and Here's Why

With these terms defined, here are the premises, inferences, and conclusions regarding the superiority of SQL Server over an Oracle system.

SQL Server Costs Less than Oracle

  • Oracle Version 9i dual-processor licenses cost about $30,000.
  • SQL Server 2000 licenses cost about $9,998.

This argument is often attacked in the Oracle camp because in a given company—given incentives, price breaks, and the like—the price of either of these platforms can vary wildly. However, skimming through the Web and checking software prices from third-party vendors, this more-than-twice-as-much ratio often appears. The "situation" defined earlier included managers and owners, who often value technical merit less than cost and suitability. Their attitude normally goes something like this: "If thing A does pretty much the same thing as thing B, buy the cheaper one." Although this attitude might not be sound technologically, IT is often bound by this constraint.

SQL Server Is Easier to Manage than SQL Server

  • Oracle includes several tools, has more complex client configurations, has more options, and requires more manual tuning.
  • SQL Server has three main tools with client configuration built into the operating system and is completely self-tuning.

Although Oracle has made great strides in this area, there is simply no comparison with the ease of implementation of SQL Server. To see this for yourself, download and install each platform. Count the number of steps, information, and decisions required for installation. Also include the time required from start to finish for the install. I think you'll find (as I did) that the SQL Server installation was up far more quickly and with fewer steps.

SQL Server Has a Smaller Footprint than Oracle

  • Oracle 9i requires a Pentium 166MHz or higher, 128MB (256MB recommended) of memory, 400MB of virtual memory, and 140MB of hard drive space on the System Drive plus 4.5GB for the Oracle Home Drive, or 2.8GB for the Oracle Home Drive.
  • SQL Server requires a Pentium 166MHz or higher, 64MB of memory, and 270MB of hard drive space.

Of course, these are all minimums, but the scale holds. For some companies, a limitless hardware budget is available, but for most, that isn't the case. Using lesser hardware to accomplish the same goal goes a long way in the "right" and "situation" definitions.

SQL Server Has Most Every Feature Required for Modern Business Applications

  • Oracle has all ANSI-92 SQL features and implements several innovations and feature sets in addition to that standard.
  • SQL Server has all ANSI-92 SQL features and implements several innovations and feature sets in addition to that standard.

There is no question that Oracle has several more index types, storage options, PL-SQL statements, and other enhancements than SQL Server. The question that should be proposed is "Do you need them?" If you unequivocally need a bitmap index, Oracle is your man. If, however, intelligent design and implementation make that unnecessary, you will find that SQL Server has every feature you need. This points again to the "thing A versus thing B" argument from management and the users.

There are other arguments that exist for SQL Server, but my space here is constrained. Because the factors referred to in the combined audience of a company purchase decision include cost, ease of management and implementation, supportability, and an adequate feature set, I believe the logical arguments above show that SQL Server is in fact the right platform for almost any business situation.

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