Advantages & Disadvantages of Microsoft SQL

By Sacha Moufarrege

As network and Web applications become more and more significant, the importance of relational database management systems also increases. Selecting the right one for your needs is essential to ensure the quality and proper performance of your application. Microsoft SQL is one option that many people select. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of running Microsoft SQL Server will help you to determine whether it is right for you.

Disadvantage: Cost

One of the major disadvantages to using Microsoft SQL Server instead of an alternative relational database management system is that the licensing options are pretty pricey. Although using the software for development or educational purposes is free, any sort of business use incurs a licensing fee. For SQL Server 2008, for instance, SQL Server Standard Edition costs $7,171 per processor. The SQL Server Datacenter edition is $54,990 per processor, according to the Microsoft website. For small businesses and individuals running for-profit websites, this is unaffordable. Competing software, such as MySQL, is often free for use. In cases where it is not, however, the most expensive MySQL Enterprise package costs $4,999 per server each year. This is significantly cheaper than even the Standard Edition Microsoft SQL package.

Advantage: Enterprise-Grade Management Software

Microsoft SQL Server includes professional, enterprise level database management software. A few competitors, such as MySQL, have developed similar software in recent years, but Microsoft SQL Server is easier to use and has more features. Full support for triggers, for instance, are supported in Microsoft's product. MySQL introduced triggers recently, but they are not fully supported. The software offered by Microsoft also offers close integration with the .NET framework, which is not the case with competing products.

Disadvantage: Limited Compatibility

Microsoft SQL Server is only designed to run on Windows-based servers. For various reasons, including licensing costs and security concerns, developers may opt to host their websites on Unix-based machines. They would be unable to use SQL Server in this case. Competing products are frequently able to run on other platforms. Unlike Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL is supported on every major platform, including Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, and other Unix variants. In addition to being unable to run on non-Windows platforms, there also may be compatibility issues regarding interaction with applications that are running on other platforms.

Advantage: Excellent Data Recovery Support

Corrupt data is always a concern when power loss or improper shutdowns occur. Microsoft SQL Server has a number of features that promote data restoration and recovery. Although individual tables can't be backed up or restored, complete database restoration options are available. Through the use of log files, caching, and backups, Microsoft's product allows you to feel confident that disaster recovery options are plentiful.