SQL Server was originally (1996) the Microsoft rebadged version of the Sybase relational database. It offers several advantages over Oracle:
- SQL Server licence prices are approximately half of the equivalent Oracle licence prices.
- SQL Server is easier to manage than Oracle, allowing for staff savings on DBAs and Sys Admins.
- Microsoft fully support SQL Server on virtualised VMWare environments, while Oracle do not fully support Oracle on VMWare.
- SQL Server does not offer anything equivalent to Oracle RAC (active-active clustering). There are SQL Server equivalents to dataguard and replication, and SQL Server does offer database mirroring and failover clustering (active-passive clustering).
- SQL Server is only available on the Microsoft Windows operating system, while Oracle is available on linux. However this is less of a disadvantage than it was in the past, with newer versions of Windows Server being stable and performant.
For a DBA, the two most noticeable differences between SQL Server/Sybase and Oracle are:
- SQL Server has no undo or rollback segments and therefore no rollback/commit functionality, or read consistent data views; other than what little can be accommodated from the on line redo logs.
- SQL Server architecture is: 1 host machine to 1 or more Instances to many Databases. There is no such thing as a tablespace within SQL Server. On line redo logs exist at database level.
A more complete list of differences is given in the appendix.
Note that SQL commands are not executed by ; or / as in oracle, but with go.
SQL Server is mostly managed from the SQL Server Management Studio (similar to Oracle Enterprise Manager – and was called Enterprise Manager in older versions).
The exception is the optional components (below) are instead managed from the SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio (which is a cut-down version of Microsoft Visual Studio).
Stopping and Starting SQL Server is done with SQL Server Configuration Manager (Start > All Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2012 > Configuration) or, less correctly, services.msc.
SQL Server has optional components which come at no extra cost (if hosted on same machine):
- SQL Server Reporting Services – Business Intelligence reporting, Microsoft’s alternative to OBIEE, Discoverer, Crystal Reports. Has very good integration with Microsoft client products such as Excel which is a significant for end-user usability.
- Analysis Services – OLAP (on line analytical processing), cubes, data mining.
- SQL Server Integration Services – ETL (extract transform load) and export/import tools. Is equivalent to export/import, data pump, sql loader, DBA shell scripts. This was called DTS (Data Transformation Services) in older versions.
|SQL Server 6.5||6.5||1996|
|SQL Server 7||7.0||1998|
|SQL Server 2000||8.0||2000|
|SQL Server 2005||9.0||2005|
|SQL Server 2008||10.0||2008|
|SQL Server 2008 Release 2||10.5||2010|
|SQL Server 2012||11.0||2012|
|SQL Server 2014||12.0||2014|