If you really have a requirement for scaling out your database workload today then an option that is available to you is the public cloud with SQL Azure. This enables you to future proof your architecture and manage the scale without the complexity and overhead of managing the infrastructure. You can be future proofed by allowing you to scale to much large number of nodes such as hundreds (through Federation) as opposed to the outdated RACs limitation of less than 10-20 nodes.
On premise SQL Server also scales tremendously well with the latest Intel architecture of 10 cores allowing you to address 256 logical processors and beyond when Windows Server 8 becomes available. With SQL Server 2012s AlwaysOn capability that provides high availability, disaster recovery and active secondaries this enables your application to be up for the required 9s.
Following are some customers who have switched to SQL Server after implementing/evaluating Oracle RAC
· City of Virginia Beach: “Based on our experience with Oracle RAC, we knew that a Microsoft high-availability solution would be much easier to implement, simpler to support, and less expensive. The licensing cost for SQL Server 2012 for our particular configuration is about $120,000 less than for an Oracle RAC solution.” - Elena Balitsky, Team Leader, Database Administration Group
· Carter Holt Harvey: Building manufacturer chose SQL Server after looking at Oracle RAC on Linux, Oracle RAC on Unix, and SQL Server on Windows. “SQL Server on Windows has proven to be highly cost effective compared with our previous system” – Chris Lowe, Architect
· Powerco: “When we first set up Oracle we configured Oracle RAC to support active/active clusters, high availability and automatic failover. However, Microsoft SQL Server has many of the same features and we can get the same redundancy from SQL Server as we can from Oracle. We’ve saved a significant amount of money, almost $390,000 per annum, in migrating from Oracle to SQL Server. We’ve been able to save on rack space, reduce hardware, maintenance and licensing costs and have created numerous efficiencies through simplifying the server environment” – Huw Griffiths, Infrastructure Manager