SQL Server can run your enterprise? Here’s how to prove it

SQL Server 2000 has to live with the legacy that it was once called SQL Server 6.5 – if a database could have a pain in the neck this would be SQL Server’s.  When Microsoft completely rewrote Microsoft Mail it gave it a new name, Exchange; thus everyone assumed it was a completely new product without a legacy.  Alas Microsoft didn’t do this with SQL Server, even though it was a complete rewrite.  Consequently for a long time we had to do battle with the conception that like Sybase, SQL Server 7 & 2000 would inherit the old Sybase instability inherent in SQL Server 6.5.  For those of you that didn’t know, SQL 6.5 (and under) was basically written by Sybase.  Whilst it was relatively easy to use and performed well, it wouldn’t scale very far.


Nearly 7 years on, there are still people who associate SQL Server 2000 with SQL Server 6.5, at the core of this sometimes malevolent body one naturally finds Oracle and IBM sales people.


This blog is to help those amongst you who have to do battle with people who don’t appreciate SQL Server but do appreciate the sophistry of database techno babble.  Your business has a need for a new, large, high performing, 24*7, mission critical database and the Oracle DBAs just won’t even consider SQL Server.  Your job is to convince the powers that be that SQL Server can do the job.


Having recently come out of the ‘sales’ world I have learned some winning ways to help you.  Firstly don’t get involved in those techno babble arguments; Oracle is full of knobs and whistles that simply aren’t needed in SQL Server, their absence in SQL Server is an advantage and a tribute to the engineering that has gone into the product to render them unnecessary.  Don’t be fooled into believing this is a weakness!  Most importantly don’t be fooled into thinking management will be impressed by this obfuscation, they aren’t!  Those knobs and whistles just add to the cost of running an Oracle system and, unlike in the old days, people aren’t impressed by the number of DBA’s it takes to run the MIS department.


There are two things you need to do: Firstly, prove that SQL Server can scale to the required heights and offer the required mission critical availability with the necessary performance.  Secondly you need to show its cost effectiveness (TCO - total cost of ownership).  Okay this is a simplification, you may also need to show that: SQL server is secure, there’s proper support, available skills and training, and cultural fit amongst other lesser concerns.


How do you do these two things?  There’s really only one answer and that’s proof.  Proof by way of case studies, references, testimonials and studies by independent bodies – and we’ve got lots of these.  Once you can prove theses points, management isn’t too concerned how its done under the bonnet.



l      For some large SQL references from the Winter Corporation TopTen survey of the world’s largest databases.  Contains multi-terabyte references.

l      The official Microsoft SQL Server case study repository.


l      Microsoft’s Customer Evidence website – this has a case study finder that can return many partner case studies not held on the the official Microsoft SQL Server case study repository above.

l      TCO studies and other technical reasons to adopt the Microsoft platform for SAP.

l      Contains many SAP case studies with accompanying videos and documentation


Many of these case studies contain testimonials.  There are many videos where the customer speaks for themselves.  My favourite is:


Western Digital
Western Digital migrated its mission-critical Manufacturing Execution System from Oracle to SQL Server 2000 and increased scalability and reliability at a lower total cost of ownership and realizes 120 million peak transactions per day and a return on investment in 6 months with zero down time.



56 Kbps - Windows Media

110 Kbps - Windows Media

300 Kbps - Windows Media


Closely followed by:



Largest UK Cheque Processor Reduces Cost of Processing 60 Million Records a Day.



Akzo Nobel

Completely redundant infrastructure at two locations Cluster of 30 IBM xSeries servers based on Windows 2000 and SQL Server



ASB Bank (its an old one but still one of my favourites)

Since migrating its data warehouse from Oracle to SQL Server, ASB Bank has made comprehensive customer information instantly accessible to employees. With in-depth knowledge at their fingertips, employees can now make intelligent recommendations about bank services, resulting in increased profits




If you want help on the security debate see my recent blog on security.  Oracle doesn’t try to use security as a key differentiator any more, but you can see why:


Gartner says ‘Security Flaws Show Oracle Isn’t ‘Unbreakable’’



Gartner says ‘Oracle Users Should Take Security Patch 68 Seriously’



The intention of my blog site is to make your jobs as SQL Server DBAs easier by providing technical info – but occasionally technical people have to stoop to political debates and this material is to help you defend your corner.  If you need more let me know!

Comments (5)

  1. Robby Slaughter says:

    Mat, the problem is not that SQL Server isn’t great, it’s that it’s easy to misuse. Right now I am digging through a SQL Server 7 database with over 150 tables but no referential integrity, no relationships, no indexing and lots of variable foreign keys. The problems in this database (not the database platform) has led people to curse SQL Server.

    Will future versions of SQL Server address this problem? It seems like this is something very fundamental to the architecture of any complex application.

  2. 法国 says:

    Excellent And

    Merry Christmas

  3. Robby Slaughter says:

    Okay, I’ll forward that to the people managing the DB, who will…laugh. Is there any information on what it does, so I can back it up as a good use of their time???

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