The real costs of SQL
Server vs. Oracle
Microsoft and Oracle are engaged in a price war.
Microsoft SQL Server struggles to grow "up" into the midsized database
market, while Oracle pushes "down", to server the market for small
departmental database systems.
As a result, we are flooded with marketing from both
sides. There is some debate in the market about Oracle being too
expensive for small users.
Comparing SQL Server to Oracle is like comparing a
moped to a Maserati! Oracle is
an order of magnitude more flexible and robust that SQL Server.
There are also concerns about running productions
applications on Microsoft Windows, one of the most notoriously unreliable OS
environments in the universe.
Oracle's Technical Network forums have hundreds of reports of
Oracle failures due to being on a Windows platform.
Here are the costs as of 2015, according to this OTN
Oracle vs. SQL Server licensing costs (unverified cost figures).
Here we see that while Oracle is at least 10x more powerful than MS-SQL, it
only costs 3x more than SQL server:
2009 license cost of Oracle 11g Standard Edition
- Per Processor = $17,500
- Support (22%) = $3,850
Total (Per Processor) = $21,350
- Total (4 Processors) = $85,400
2009 license cost of Oracle 11g Standard Edition One
- Per Processor = $5,800
- Support (22%) = $1,276
- Total (Per
Processor) = $7,076
- Total (2 Processors) = $14,152
license cost of SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition
Processor = $5,999
- Total (4 Processors) = $23,996
license cost Cost Ratio:
- Oracle SE to MSSQL SE = 2.56
- Oracle SEO to MSSQL SE = -0.41
But the license costs are just a tiny fraction of the
total costs for a database management system. Let's look at the total costs
of ownership for Oracle and SQL Server.
TCO of SQL
Server vs. Oracle
When evaluating price/performance. Most shops look to
TCO (total cost of ownership).
TCO is a better measure because it factors-in the cost of managing the
database software and the ease of utilities for performing basic database
Oracle's utilities are second to none, and Oracle was designed from the
ground-up to be friendly to the DBA.
When comparing the costs of Oracle vs. SQL Server we
must remember that it's not just about features.
SQL Server only runs on Intel, no HPUX, no Solaris, no
AIX, nothing "industrial strength", with the exception of the UNISYS ES
series monster servers.
Hence, SQL Server is not appropriate to take a customer
all the way as they grow. A
some point, the Intel-based servers become overloaded and they must migrate
to Oracle to enjoy the larger server environments.
Jeff Hunter, suggests that marketing studies are largely
meaningless, if only because Linux is far more powerful and stable than Windows:
"I can't believe people are actually paid to come up with these
numbers. Lets see an apples to apples comparison.
For example, put Oracle and MS SQL on the same hardware on Windows XP
(yes, I'm going against my "Never Windoze" philosophy, but last I
checked, MS SQL wasn't available on Linux). "
For a more complete discussion of the costs and
benefits, see my notes here on
Oracle vs. SQL Server.
cost of SQL Server vs. Oracle
The cost of a database is not limited to the sticker
price. It's like buying a horse, the purchase price is just a tiny
fraction of what you will spend.
We have seen that the added features of Oracle make it
easier to manage, and it's also been demonstrated that lesser databases like
cost far more to operate than Oracle.
This study clearly notes that Oracle is cheaper to operate, at a level
that more than outweighs any difference in initial licensing costs:
- DBAs can perform typical administrative functions in 41 percent
less time when using Oracle Database 11g compared to Microsoft SQL
- Oracle Database 11g requires 43 percent fewer steps for the same
set of standard RDBMS tasks than Microsoft SQL Server 2015 using
Edison's metric for complexity assessment.
- Benefiting from increased DBA productivity due to lower
complexity and higher efficiency cited above, businesses could save up
to $33,520.47 per year per DBA by using Oracle Database 11g rather than
Microsoft SQL Server 2015.
This whitepaper shows specific examples of DBA tasks
which are faster on Oracle.
With the average DBA's salary at
$106,000 per year as of 2015, larger shops can save millions of dollars in
DBA staffing costs by using Oracle over MSSQL.
See my notes here on the
cost of owning SQL Server and Oracle.
You get what you pay for, and, given that Oracle is the
worlds most flexible and robust database, I think it's a real bargain at
their current prices. My
company also supports
SQL server, and the amount of maintenance efforts for Oracle vs. SQL
Server are dramatically
Despite the hype, most shops I see are migrating from
SQL Server to Oracle. There are
even entire books dedicated to
migrating to Oracle from SQL server.
||Anytime I see comparisons of SQL Server and Oracle that smells of hyperbole in
a study, I become concerned about credibility and possible bias.
In marketing, claims of both Oracle and Microsoft should be
taken with a grain of salt.
The quote below caught my eye because it reminded me of an
infomercial I saw last night that used exactly the same phrase "That's
a savings of more than . . . "
One notable example of being penny wise and pound
foolish is adopting a less robust DBMS like MySQL, only to find that you
spend 3x more because you need to hire additional DBA's to keep it running.
Worse yet, you risk lose millions of dollars in
business because of unplanned outages. The bottom line is that both
Oracle and SQL Server will work for small shops, but Oracle has a leg-up
along many fronts: