Difference Between MS SQL and an Oracle Database

By Suqing Wang

Oracle and SQL Server are the two most popular Database Management Systems (DBMS) and in this market Oracle and Microsoft have traditionally been competitors. Both vendors have continuously improved the manageability of their database servers with new features released with new versions. However, they differ with regard to manageability as well in other features, including technical support and community, installation complexity, backup and recovery and security solutions.

Management Tools Difference

Oracle Enterprise Manager and SQL Server Management Studio are both graphical interface platforms offered by Oracle and Microsoft, respectively, for the management of database applications. Oracle Manager is a complete platform for managing and monitoring databases. This Manager has a web-based component and an HTML-based interface, which enables administrators to manage database systems through web browsers remotely. SQL Server Management Studio doesn't provide this HTML-based feature and thus its client interface needs to be installed on all systems where administrators can manage the databases.

Installation Complexity Difference

SQL Server installation is quicker than installation of Oracle Database; however, more steps are needed to finish installation of SQL Server. Once Oracle is installed, essential system maintenance tools such as backup and memory tuning are incremental steps throughout setup. On the other hand, SQL Server executes an independent postinstallation task, which is to set up a new maintenance plan for these aforementioned roles.

Backup and Recovery Difference

Oracle 11g backup is quicker and easier in terms of time and complexity compared to SQL Server 2008 backup though they both provide outstanding functionality for facilitating backup and recovery roles for applications. With Oracle Database, you need to configure automatic backup parameters during the installation phase while in SQL Server backup configuration is made when the maintenance plan operations are configured.

Security Issues

Major security differences exist between SQL Server and Oracle's DBMS on the basis of vulnerabilities found by external security researchers. Many more security vulnerabilities were identified in Oracle 10g than in SQL Server 2005 in general. The result shows that Microsoft has deployed Security Development Life-cycle (SDL), which can record the vulnerabilities and provide retrospective learning. This will prevent the same mistakes from being made again, ensuring that new codes will be safer.

Technical Support and Community Difference

Microsoft has a strong technical community and its members tend to help each other out. MSDN forums are supported strongly by Microsoft's own PSS and development team; therefore, users of SQL Server get assistance from both the support team and the development team. The technical support from Oracle is much more ineffective compared to SQL Server. Open resources are more abundant for SQL Server than for Oracle, which facilitates administrators. Microsoft has attempted to construct a community while Oracle is still running its business in an old-fashioned way.