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MySQL or SQL Server?

Author: Eric Russo | | November 22, 2016

In the world of database development, there’s an ongoing debate, with neither winners nor losers, just circumstantial facts and arguments that favor one or the other. The question is: MySQL or SQL Server — which one is better?

There’s no doubt that, apart from Oracle, MySQL and SQL Server are the most widely used and most popular RDBMS options in the software industry. The choice between the two typically falls on whether you are a Microsoft developer or an open-source developer. However, the real engineering choice of which database platform to choose needs to be given much more thought than whether your loyalties lie with Microsoft or open source. This post will critically review which facts should be considered in deciding between MySQL and SQL Server.

There are key differences in proprietary aspects, which largely favor MySQL. First of all, MySQL is free, so the overall cost is significantly less when compared to SQL Server. Though Microsoft does release two versions of SQL Server that are free of charge (Express and Developer), they are very lightweight and can only be used in development and test environments.

Furthermore, MySQL is supported on multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux and iOS, whereas SQL Server stays on Windows. If you want to port your applications and databases on Windows Azure cloud, SQL Server is your only choice for now. However, recently Microsoft revealed that they are going to bring SQL Server on Linux, which is expected to be released by 2017. It’s still doubtful how willingly the Linux developers will embrace this change.

As far as performance is considered, MySQL leads the race. True that SQL Server offers more features than MySQL, but it has a weak spot when it comes to performance. It has to compromise on a certain level of performance to provide that feature-rich environment.

MySQL uses the MyISAM table format, which takes less space on the disk, and utilizes little CPU and memory. Therefore, it can run on both UNIX and Windows without a hint of performance drop, though it performs much better on UNIX than on Windows.

Even though we call both database systems relational database systems, SQL Server supersedes MySQL in that aspect. This is mainly due to the fact that MySQL doesn’t have full support for foreign keys, as well as that some versions of MySQL don’t fully support stored procedures. If you want to enjoy the full relational database features, SQL Server is still the best choice.

One of the key advantages of SQL Server over MySQL is that it is a comprehensive suite of products, shipped with built-in tools for data migration, reporting and BI. Since they are of the same family, they are compatible and work well with each other.

With MySQL, you will need the support of different tools to accomplish anything similar. Furthermore, if your application development is done in the .NET stack, the .NET framework has built-in library support for working with SQL Server databases. However, there are some database drivers that you can use on top of the .NET framework if you want to work with MySQL.

Considering all that, what is the best database platform? It’s very difficult to say, and there’s no correct answer as well. The choice depends on the unique requirements of each business problem, application development concerns, and client choices.

To help you choose which database platform fits your needs best please contact Datavail today. With more than 600 database administrators worldwide, Datavail is the largest database services provider in North America. As a reliable provider of 24×7 managed services for applications, BI/Analytics, and databases, Datavail can support your organization, regardless of the build you’ve selected.

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