Disclaimer and Update: I now work FOR Oracle. So keep that in mind when you read these posts. Of course I wrote them BEFORE I started at Oracle, but I still figure you ought to know that…does that mean I think that Oracle wins the debate now? I’ll let you guess how that works
I’ve worked with Oracle since 1999. Oracle’s database technology debuted in 1979, years before Microsoft OEM’d Sybase’ database. You’re just waiting to here me say ‘Yes, Oracle is better!’ Well, I’m not going to say that. Both database platforms are legitimate solutions, and it would be hard to find a clear ‘winner’ without some form of bias entering the equation. I hope that you spend a lot of time developing your core requirements before you decide which way to go. In the meantime, I’d like to share some of the things I find ‘cool’ about both platforms.
Update: Read Part II where I talk about equivalent terms, tech, and community players
Update: Read PT III where I talk about monitoring indexes
Why Oracle Wins
Oracle goes first because I’ve been using it longer and it happens to come first in the alphabet.
It runs on just about any OS you you can think of, including Windows and Mac OSX
It was the first successful commercial RDBMS, they have helped set the standard.
Yeah, it does that. Pretty much anything you can think of is supported by the engine.
You can create, populate, manage, query, backup, & destroy a database all on the command-line. No tools necessary.
You can run it for free. If you consider it’s supported on Linux, then it gets even cheaper. Just find some decent hardware, and you’re good to go.
You can control it over the web, if that’s your kind of thing.
Flexibility. You want to load data? Ok, we’ll you’ve got at 6 ways to do that based on your needs.
Tools. You know I was going there. But what I mean here is choice of tools. At one point I identified over 100 different IDEs available for working with the Oracle database. You should be able to find one you like!
It’s paid my rent/mortgage for more than 12 years. There’s no shortage of jobs that require Oracle expertise. If you know Oracle, you should be able to find a job. I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
Oracle jobs generally come with a very good salary.
Why SQL Server is EVERYWHERE
Listed second, but doesn’t come in 2nd place in very many aspects when compared to Oracle.
Easy to install. REALLY easy to install. Maybe TOO easy if you know what I mean.
You can ROLLBACK a TRUNCATE. Yes! If you do so inside an explicit BEGIN TRANSACTION
Sample databases. The AdventureWorks wizard gives you 5 very cool sample databases out of the box. Great for learning.
No DUAL table. This means I can just write SELECT function, no need for a FROM clause. Simple, but I like it.
#SQLHELP on Twitter. The number of people chipping in to help here is just amazing.
Keeps Oracle on its toes. Competition is always good. And let’s face it, DB2 and Sybase aren’t really pushing Oracle to do much. SQL Server is. BIG TIME. If I were to build a new solution today as a startup, I would be hard pressed to justify the additional expense of Oracle. — Thank goodness for MySQL!
They make GREAT tools. Not perfect ones, but really, really good ones.
Most SQL runs great out of the box. Tuning happens, but it’s not the headache it is other places.
The development platform plugs right into database (Visual Studio). Change management is pretty straightforward.
The experts have a great sense of humor, are approachable, and are fun. You know who you are.
We all do. You can’t really go wrong choosing either platform to build a career or application on. I have seen both databases perform extremely well in the industry standard benchmarks, but more importantly, I’ve seen both running in the real world by real customers for real applications.
Shameless Plug for T-SQL to Oracle SQL Translator
If you’re here I’m guessing you did a search on Google for Oracle vs SQL or similar. That tells me you’re trying to make a platform decision, win a bar bet, or trying to figure out how to do something in Oracle like you already know how to do in SQL Server. If you’re in the latter camp, check out our SQL translator. It’s built right into our default IDE, aka SQL Developer.
So what did I leave out?
I’d love to hear why you love Oracle or SQL Server or both! And that goes double for people who have actually worked with both platforms.