What is our primary use case?
As consultants, we deploy this solution to our customers both on cloud and on-prem. Most of our clients buy the solution as an application package which requires a database. If they are a "Microsoft shop," I recommend they use SQL Server. I'm the development manager and we are customers of Azure.
What is most valuable?
I like the reliability of SQL Server and the solution has become easier to use over time, and I believe it will become more popular in the future. It's also reasonably priced. As a competitor, Oracle may have 10% of the features that SQL Server cannot offer but those features are for high-end database and high-end applications. Most clients don't need those extras and shouldn't have to pay for high-end features like the redundancy.
SQL has become more versatile because of features they continue to add. Every new version has new features and it pretty much covers everything in terms of memory, database, the caching, the redundancy, and high availability. I would say MS SQL server fully meets the requirement of 95% of my clients out there.
What needs improvement?
If you use the solution in the Microsoft environment, it's fine. But if you're using Java then it seems to be out of place. AWS has a new product called Aurora, it's a new database that can deal with both types of workloads: transactional and analytical. That's a big challenge for all the other databases including SQL, because most of the databases out there are designed for either type of workload but the Amazon AWS Aurora does both. With SQL, if they do the BI normally, you then have to replicate the production database to another database which is no longer necessary with Aurora. It's something SQL could include.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using this solution for several years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
This is a stable solution.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I think they still have issues with scalability. For applications requiring scalability, I'd recommend using the database on the cloud and not on-premises. We have up to 200 users for this solution, mainly office workers and generally working in small to medium sized companies.
How are customer service and technical support?
Microsoft doesn't provide technical support, the support structure is not good. If you need something, you have to call them and the cost is $499 per incident ticket which is very expensive. The good thing about the SQL Server is that there is a lot of information out there in the community.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I also used Oracle and I think it's a good solution for companies that already use Oracle. It makes sense for them to go with that solution as the database for their application. For a company that has no attachment, I recommend SQL.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was quite straightforward.
What other advice do I have?
If our clients are non-Microsoft clients and they have the money, then I recommend Oracle. But for ease of use, scalability, and value for money, I like SQL.
I would rate this solution an eight out of 10.