In the early 1980’s I was an Oracle Developer on mainframes and on MS-DOS using Oracle 5.1 on MS-DOS (distributed on some 20+ diskettes — I still have them). It was an interesting time because PC products like dBase II were power-user friendly but did not scale. Oracle scaled, but was not user (or developer) friendly. Developer hours were cheap compared to hardware cost. If it took 26 weeks to implement on Oracle what took 3 days on dBase II, then this was acceptable. It was often the only game in the house. Those days are ancient history and we are living in different times.
The Crimson Consulting Group has just published a white paper worth reading: Comparing the Business Value of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Oracle Database 11g, Perceptions vs. reality in the RDBMS marketplace (April, 2011). The traditional user-friendliness of a mid-tier product has matured in terms of scalability. Today, you will find SQL Server 2008R2 installations running on 256 core machines — scalability is no longer an issue. Unfortunately, the traditional scalability product has not grown significantly friendlier to developers and users; this leaves SQL Server 2008R2 the clear value winner for both lowest development expense and total cost of ownership for operations.
It was interesting to read the case study for the Dollar Thrifty Auto Group, aka. Dollar Rent a Car and Thrifty Car Rentals. This case study found savings of:
- $100,000 for hardware costs
- $495,000 for software costs
Alas, they did not provide estimates for reduced hours of DBA or for development — numbers that I suspect will be much larger when a net-present-value is calculated.
“Essentially, we migrated the Rate Engine to SQL Server for the same amount that we would have paid to upgrade Oracle.”
— Rick Morris Chief Information Officer Dollar Thrifty Auto Group
There is a lot of good information in this white paper, read it here.