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ThembaNhlapo
System engineer at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Beneficial querying, scalable, and stable

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature would most likely be querying. We query a lot, we use a lot of stored procedures. As for other features, such as replication and all other more fancy features we don't use them the most. I do not know, but perhaps the DBAs would be the best people who know of the features that they use, but as far as how I use it, it's just for querying and running stored procedures. We use the bare minimum features."
  • "If SQL Server could perhaps run on Linux, that would be good. Most of us prefer Linux and I've used a lot of Linux. I understand that SQL Server is quite powerful, but I'm not sure if the functionality is there, but if it could be used in an open-source type of environment, it would be very good."

What is our primary use case?

We provide support services to clients. We find that some of our clients are running the latest system while others are still on Windows 2016, others are moving to 2019. Some other clients take time to upgrade. If I interact with five clients, I'll basically be in five different environments.

Our use case for the SQL Server is for transaction processing. We store all the transactions that occur. For example, if you now purchase something from the point of sale, all the information about the good you are purchasing gets stored on the SQL Server. 

When you perform a transaction that information is stored at the bank that owns the point of sale and perhaps even your bank, where your money is will be stored in a SQL Server.

All the people in all of the organizations, which are involved in the process use SQL Server.

If your transaction goes through my server, I store part of the transaction there, and if I have to route that transaction to Visa or Mastercard, they have their own SQL Server, and they also store the transaction up until you get receive your goods at the particular merchant. Almost everyone in that transaction stores the information on their respective Microsoft SQL server.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature would most likely be querying. We query a lot, we use a lot of stored procedures. As for other features, such as replication and all other more fancy features we don't use them the most. I do not know, but perhaps the DBAs would be the best people who know of the features that they use, but as far as how I use it, it's just for querying and running stored procedures. We use the bare minimum features.

We do not know all the features of SQL Server.

What needs improvement?

If SQL Server could perhaps run on Linux, that would be good. Most of us prefer Linux and I've used a lot of Linux. I understand that SQL Server is quite powerful, but I'm not sure if the functionality is there, but if it could be used in an open-source type of environment, it would be very good.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SQL Server for approximately 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

SQL Server is stable and is a high-performance database. We do hundreds of transactions per second, it's fairly robust, it does not struggle. Mostly, if your hardware is strong enough and you've set it up properly, then you can actually perform a lot of transactions per second on a SQL Serving installation.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of SQL Server is relatively easy. if you are in a Microsoft environment, then I think that it relatively it should not be that difficult. However, I haven't been on a project whereby we have had to scale.

SQL Server is suitable for all companies in my experience, ranging from small to large enterprises businesses.

How are customer service and support?

I have not dealt much with technical support, because most of the time when we have issues, we go online. If it's a Microsoft issue, then we go and read up what that issue is. If there's an error, then there are places on the Microsoft support system where we are able to enter in the error code and it is able to tell you why you have that problem. As far as dealing or interacting with people or technical support from Microsoft, I have not done that.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I use MySQL and when comparing the solutions I have found the SQL Server is much more professional, and it's quite big and robust. MySQL is a community of people who are contributing to a project and you have to hack them in order for it to work. But it is quite good as well.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is straightforward and not complex. However, it depends on some of the features that you may want to use. I think it is simply because you only need to tick whatever functionalities you want to use and the ones that you don't need to use, you don't select them.

What about the implementation team?

Most of the time we are doing the implementation from scratch. If it's a big bank, then they would normally have dedicated people who deal with SQL. However, it depends on the customer.

There is some maintenance that is required, such as updates and tuning. We need to find ways of filling up the data so that it doesn't get stale but normally with regular updates, you should be fine.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I cannot comment on the price because I find that the organization already has a license when I arrived. I have not had a sneak peek at the price. When you join an organization, they tell you we are using the 2018 version and that someone purchased it. I don't know who purchased it, I'm not privy to that kind of information.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to companies that are wanting to implement the solution is they have to make sure that they've have a proper skillset. When you have the proper skillset or people who are certified it would make for a better investment into the product. When you are certified, then you know the system in and out and you should be able to have the best implementation for the type of business you have.

I rate SQL Server an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Lional Angelo
Manager Digital Technologies at a real estate/law firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to use, simple to configure, and has a straightforward setup

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution has the capability to scale."
  • "Microsoft doesn't have active-active load balancing scenarios. It's always a failover cluster."

How has it helped my organization?

Most of the application what we use today are SQL-based applications. If you take a Microsoft ecosystem, there are many tools that connect easily with SQL - especially when it comes to reporting and analytics. Power BI is one of the good examples which can easily connect to SQL and then you can pull any report you want. SQL itself has its own tools like reporting services and transformation services. It also helps you to generate reporting and analytics and data transformation.

Overall, it helps our organization a lot. Again, it depends on what requirements and company has, and for what purpose you are using it. However, from an application relational database point of view that we are using today, it helps due to the fact that it comes with all that we need. Also, from a performance point of view, it configures well.

What is most valuable?

When you use the solution with Azure, for example, you get very good scalability. You can scale fast, whether it is horizontal or vertical.

If we use the product as a PaaS, Platform as a Service, it comes with all the security features you need - including against DDoS attacks.

The product offers good bloc storage, which you can buy at an additional cost. This allows you to have large object storage if you need it.

Over a period of time, their split engine has evolved and in the latest version, they've done a lot. Even from the management tool perspective, a lot of things have been done. A lot of functions have been added.

The initial setup is pretty straightforward.

Technical support has been good.

The solution has the capability to scale.

The pricing isn't as high as other options.

SQL is very easy to use. That's a very good thing about it in general.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft doesn't have active-active load balancing scenarios. It's always a failover cluster. There is no active-active cluster, which other tools, other database providers like Oracle, provide. If Microsoft can consider or probably come up with an active-active cluster, then it would be good. It will be more powerful in a scenario like that.

The pricing, while not the most expensive, is still quite high.

They have something called Parallel Queries, however, I don't know how it works. I've never tested it in a horizontal way. I'd like to understand a bit more about it and be able to use it horizontally.

For how long have I used the solution?

I'm new to my organization and have only been using the product for three or four months here, however, previously, I worked with SQL for a long time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of direct users, there are only a few. However, there are applications that are using SQL and those application's users are 100 plus, or maybe 300 to 400 plus users.

This company is in the phase of growth. If it grows as expected, then definitely the chances are high in terms of the number of users - which means we will scale up a bit.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have direct support from Microsoft. We have Microsoft partners as well. I don't see any problem with technical support, as we ourselves are capable of troubleshooting. I'm a certified BBS developer. If there any related issues, we take care of them internally. If not, we raise a ticket from Microsoft and we get support from them. They are helpful and responsive. We are satisfied with the level of service they provide.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is very straightforward. It's not too complex. A company shouldn't have an issue implementing it. Once you install everything and get it configured as per your requirements if you are an SQL professional and an administrator, it's very straightforward.

It's doesn't take too long to set up. Within a week you can get it deployed. If you do a standalone module, a week likely is not required. If it is in a cluster module, of course, within a week you can set up a cluster and then get things done.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

SQL pricing is slightly high compared to where it was before. That said, compared to other products like Oracle, they are still cheap. It's not overly expensive in comparison to others.

The final price you can expect all depends on your requirements. A standard version of SQL is always cheaper than an enterprise. If you're going to go on a cluster, it's particularly expensive. However, when it comes to the value and what is provided, that is also important.

It all depends on what you need. I cannot just blindly say that it's expensive or cheap as it all depends on your requirement. Comparatively, SQL is cheaper than other products like Oracle. Oracle is really expensive compared to SQL. 

What other advice do I have?

We are customers and end-users.

I'm certified in SQL. I have a pretty good understanding of the product.

Overall, I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

Whether or not it would work well for a company all depends on what purpose it is being used for. However, SQL is simple to use and simple to configure, and very powerful in terms of relational database and the SQL language and functions it comes with. If you configure it well and then use it well, the outcome will likely be very good.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Learn what your peers think about SQL Server. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
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Shanti Sahu
Cloud Data Architect (Data service Team) at NTT Data India Enterprise Application Services Pri
Vendor
Top 20
Easy to code but it should improve cloud functionality

Pros and Cons

  • "The feature that I have found most valuable is that it is easy to code."
  • "In terms of what could be improved, everything on-premise is now moving to the cloud. Obviously SQL Server has also moved, because Microsoft Excel has its own cloud called Azure Finance. Every solution comes with its own advantages and disadvantages."

What is our primary use case?

We use SQL Server to ingest and to extract reports for multiple customers. 

How has it helped my organization?

SQL Server is cost effective in multiple ways - both the cost of software and the cost of the resource. Meaning, how many resources do we have and what is their expertise level? How easily can they use the SQL Servers or can I use any of the software? Do I need to hire somebody else from the outside to work on the cost?

What is most valuable?

The feature that I have found most valuable is that it is easy to code. You can very easily get a resource to work on that. For example, if we have a big project it's hard to get a good resource in the IT industry. However, since SQL Server is the most popular solution, you can easily get resources to use it so the risk factors are very, very low. Even if someone leaves the company, you can easily replace them.

Additionally, it is very stable. 

You don't need to struggle for anything. Most of the codes are there.

What needs improvement?

In terms of what could be improved, everything on-premises is now moving to the cloud. Obviously SQL Server has also moved because Microsoft has its own cloud called Azure SQL and azure synapse. Every solution comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Each cloud has its own way to maintain resources and that plays a major role. But I would say that Azure Clouds are easy to work as compared to others. To  Performance-wise it's still not as good as on-premises, but it is easy to work with. For example, if you are familiar with the SQL server then you don't need to put any effort to work on the Azure SQL or Azure Synapse. Your efficiency will not decrease and you can easily manage any projects. Its advantage is that it is very similar. Apart from that, if you moving to any other Warehouse like Snowflake, redshift with existing SQL server resources is a little difficult and organizations need to spend money on their training. Which increases cost. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SQL Server for almost 10 years.

We just use the on-premises SQL because we have our own server, and we use it on that.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SQL Server is scalable. We started with one hundred data points and now we have up to 1500, it's scalable. You just need to install the new version every time it comes out with a new capability, such as SQL Server 2019 where you can do multiple things.

If I'm talking about the on-premises maintenance requirement, we need a DBA for that if the SQL maintenance is required. But if you move to the cloud this is automatically done by Microsoft itself. however, this still requires some maintenance though.

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft has one of the best supports. They are highly enlightened. It is a very mature product. Even if many times I feel I can do it myself, I choose to reach out to the support team because they have a large number of users and they outsource. You are definitely going to get the outcome you want.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

It's hard to tell the exact reason of switching. As I told earlier, Choosing DB cannot be measured only on the performance of the Database. Multiple points need to be considered.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. Again, it's a mature solution, so it is very straightforward. You don't need to worry about that.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is that this is the time to completely move to the cloud. If you have a golden or platinum partnership with Microsoft or you have good Microsoft resources then best is to move azure clouds. Azure DB services have been improved a lot in the past few years and it continually improving like others. 

They are trying to make it closer to the on-premises version. I know it cannot be exactly like on-premises but they can bring most important features. For example Azure brings SSIS features in ADF which solve lot of issues. Another example, Azure launch Snowflake connector with ADF which saves us to writing code in Azure function. 

At last in my view, you need to evaluate what exactly you are looking for and what type of resource do you have and what is the growth rate of your data. Do you have a direct partner with Microsoft? All things are interrelated and the decision has to depend on these.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate SQL Server a Seven.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
DG
Information Systems Manager at a aerospace/defense firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
A scalable and easy-to-deploy solution that secures our data, saves time, and just runs

Pros and Cons

  • "The management studio is probably the thing we use the most for running quick queries and creating quick reports. Quite often, somebody comes and says, "Hey, can you find XYZ?" It is so much easier just to jump in there and run a quick query."
  • "They can build more performance-tuning tools in it. They can also make the stuff a little more user-friendly and provide the ability to schedule jobs. They can perhaps also streamline it a little bit so that it is not so resource-intensive, which would be helpful. SQL Server has a tendency to consume all the memory you allow it to. If you are not careful, you can basically break your server. I would like to see it having a smaller footprint in terms of system resource consumption. They might want to consider re-evaluating their pricing. It is expensive."

What is our primary use case?

It is used for the backend database for our ERP system and the document management system. We are using its latest version.

How has it helped my organization?

It saves time. Our data is also a lot more secure. Prior to SQL Server, things were run in a flat-file database that required a ton more maintenance to keep it running. SQL Server is pretty much bulletproof. It just runs.

What is most valuable?

The management studio is probably the thing we use the most for running quick queries and creating quick reports. Quite often, somebody comes and says, "Hey, can you find XYZ?" It is so much easier just to jump in there and run a quick query.

What needs improvement?

They can build more performance-tuning tools in it. They can also make the stuff a little more user-friendly and provide the ability to schedule jobs.

They can perhaps also streamline it a little bit so that it is not so resource-intensive, which would be helpful. SQL Server has a tendency to consume all the memory you allow it to. If you are not careful, you can basically break your server. I would like to see it having a smaller footprint in terms of system resource consumption. 

They might want to consider re-evaluating their pricing. It is expensive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for 12 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is pretty much bulletproof. We never had data corruption and database failure. We've had hardware failures, but that's not the fault of the software.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable, and you don't run into indexing issues like you would with a flat file. I don't think we've even scratched the surface in terms of its capabilities. Our databases are fairly small in comparison to others in our industry who are using the same software. 

We've got about 40 users using it, and primarily, they don't touch the database directly. They're just using it through ERP and our document management system. They are just non-IT employees. They are office users.

We're using it fairly extensively for the core of our business software, and we will likely increase the usage of it. We've got some projects in the hopper that will take advantage of SQL Server. So, we plan on increasing our usage of it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I didn't have the need to contact Microsoft support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We haven't used any other solution prior to SQL Server. It was just a flat-file.

How was the initial setup?

It was pretty straightforward. It basically walks you through the process. It took a couple of hours.

What about the implementation team?

Initially, we used a consultant to set up our ERP system, but that was 12 years ago. Since then, we've upgraded it several times, and that was done in-house. Our experience with the consultant was overall positive.

For its maintenance, we are a department of two.

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen a return on investment when it comes to SQL Server.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is expensive, especially when you have open-source products that are just about as functional and they're free. They might want to consider re-evaluating their pricing.

We purchased it in retail. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 9,000. There is just the standard licensing fee. If they migrate this product the way they're trying to do everything else, eventually, it is going to be subscription-based, which is going to suck, but that's the way the industry is going, so it is what it is.

What other advice do I have?

If you've never done it before, Microsoft has plenty of documentation and online guides to walk you through it. Just take your time, and follow the steps. If you can do it in a virtual environment, it is better because it is easier to start over if you mess it up, but it is fairly user-friendly. If you have questions during the setup, stop and Google it. The information is out there.

I would rate SQL Server an eight out of ten because there is always room for improvement.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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WL
Senior Programmer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to set up with good scalability and extensive online documentation

Pros and Cons

  • "The product has very good online documentation that can be used for troubleshooting."
  • "The licensing costs are very high."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution as a database for business operations.

What is most valuable?

I personally work with Microsoft products and therefore I like the continuity it provides. I like sticking with the brand.

The solution is very stable.

The product has very good online documentation that can be used for troubleshooting.

The solution can scale as necessary.

We've found the setup to be quick and relatively easy.

What needs improvement?

The licensing costs are very high.

I would like the scaling process to be more transparent and obvious.

There's a lot of documentation on the web, and it is quite extensive, and yet it isn't very well organized which makes it hard to find items often.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a very long time. It's been around ten years or more. I'd say it's been at least a decade at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is quite good. We don't have issues with it. It doesn't crash or freeze. We don't experience bugs or glitches. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

While I personally haven't gone beyond 50 or so users, it's my understanding that as long as you pay for the licensing, you can grow as much as you need to. There would be costs involved, however, the solution can scale if a company needs it to. 

I'd love to have Microsoft explain to me the scaling process so that I could better understand it. Right now, I'm in the dark.

How are customer service and technical support?

In terms of technical support, I can say that sometimes I need them. However, it's very difficult to contact Microsoft support for anything. 

In general, they have none. I wouldn't know how to reach them directly for help if I needed it.

Right now they have good support for their Azure product, in the cloud. However, this is not the case for on-premise products. That means, as an on-premise user, I have a problem. That said, since their product is well-known, there's a lot of documents on the web. If I try to search online I will typically find the answers I need. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex. It's pretty straightforward. It takes an hour or less to set everything up. Some people may need a few hours, however, for me, less than an hour was enough. That said, the Windows Server would also take an hour or two to set up as well.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution certainly comes at a cost, however, for me, it's an acceptable cost. I find it acceptable due to the fact that it would be free if I use MySQL on-premise, however, then it would be hard to hire people to maintain it. It's a give and take. That said, the license cost is very very high. I'm afraid if I use it on a larger scale it will cost a lot.

What other advice do I have?

Currently, we're just Microsoft customers, although we would like to have a partnership with the company in the future.

I haven't done the HA for SQL server yet, therefore, I'm not sure how hard it is and how difficult it would be to implement, or how stable and how scalable it is.

There are two markets really. It's Microsoft and non-Microsoft. If anyone is familiar with Microsoft products, then they should go with this, however, they should bear in mind that it comes at a cost. The SQL cost is quite high if a company is using it at a large scale.

That said, if a company is looking at something small scale, there is a free edition. I use the standard edition, and it won't cost too much. 

In any case, for those that aren't tied to Microsoft options, there are a lot of products out there that might be suitable with very little overhead.

In general, I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JJ
Business Solutions Architect at a real estate/law firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Simple to deploy and manage, good reporting and analytical capabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "The security and vulnerability management are well-managed through the vendor."
  • "Linux-based editions are not yet proven to be on par with Windows deployments."

What is our primary use case?

We use this Relational Database Management System for Line of Business systems, including Enterprise Resource Planning, Data Warehouse, Web Applications, and Business Intelligence.

Solutions are procured, built, and enhanced in the REIT industry, FMCG ERP, distribution and warehousing, manufacturing systems, knowledge workers such as workflow and portals, web applications, custom developments areas, enterprise reporting and analytics for internal reporting, and decision support systems.

Integration solutions provide robust integration to various and disparate third-party systems.

How has it helped my organization?

This is a simple to deploy, own, and manage RDMS.

Skills and support for this product are widely available. The security and vulnerability management are well-managed through the vendor. Lifecycles are greatly improved in recent releases, to make upgrades easier.

A license buys enterprise-grade data integration, reporting, and analytical capabilities as well.

It has broad adoption and support for integration with leading software brands such as SAP and Sage.

Data availability and security is well taken care of for the enterprise and is the backbone of first-class business continuity plans.

What is most valuable?

Support and adoption are important because skills are available to lower the total cost of ownership. 

High availability, read-only copy synchronization, and data integrity mean that it is relatively easy to ensure data security, availability, and integrity. Lower tier SKUs offer high-end features.

Data integration is available, as SSIS offers a flexible data integration platform with rich features including .NET integration for web-service integration, or bus architectures.

SSAS analytical DBs are powerful yet easy to develop and own.

SSRS offers enterprise reporting that is reasonably user-friendly.

It is easy to deploy cloud/on-premises hybrid implementations with a familiar and consistent toolset.

What needs improvement?

It is costly to implement high throughput systems, beyond millions of transactions per second. The hardware to run the systems, especially for high availability deployments is expensive, i.e. more resources to run.

Linux-based editions are not yet proven to be on par with Windows deployments.

Row-level security is obscure to implement.

Running cloud offerings are expensive; for example, the Instance as a Service offering.

Third-party tooling is required to manage code version control.

Managing BLOB data is not equally simple to implement.

The engine that implements query plans was updated in the 2012/2014 refresh that could necessitate a costly rewrite of queries.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with SQL Server for 21 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have a very high opinion of the stability of the solution. It is one of the most mature products available.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Best practice setup is important to consider but when implemented correctly, it just runs.

How are customer service and technical support?

The vendor is excellent and their relationship with Microsoft has proven invaluable. The 2008 > 2012 and 2012 > 2014 upgrades had specific issues that made them costly. Recent upgrades have been relatively painless.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have tried using different technologies, depending on the use case. This is not the best tool for document-oriented or unstructured data.

How was the initial setup?

It is relatively simple to run. We spent a good amount of time preparing the requirements for a high-availability cluster that paved the way for a reasonably straightforward implementation.

What about the implementation team?

We had assistance from our vendor. We consider our vendor nimble and best in class. They contributed greatly to the stable running of the platform.

What was our ROI?

It is a positive ROI, especially in that we leverage many of the features in the offering.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

With recent releases, the Standard Edition (cheaper) SKU has some of the earlier version Enterprise features. SQL Express has some limitations.

The Azure Platform as a Service option remains relatively expensive, at least in South Africa, compared to on-premises, but it is worth exploring.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Some baseline comparisons were made around 2012 to Oracle, with MS SQL Server coming out to have a lower total cost of ownership.

What other advice do I have?

It is a first-class enterprise RDBMS and will continue to enjoy favourable sentiment from developers and DBAs.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MA
Senior DBA & IT Consultant at MA Consulting
Real User
Top 5
An easily installable solution which is comparatively easier to manage than Oracle

Pros and Cons

  • "A valuable feature of the solution is that it is comparatively simpler to manage than Oracle."
  • "Database support could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We use the latest version.

Most SQL Server applications come with package applications from the shelf. This means that when one buys an application, most of these applications work with SQL Server as a basis. They add SQL Server as a database to applications which come with it that one buys. As such, I don't see many people developing new applications with SQL server.

What is most valuable?

A valuable feature of the solution is that it is comparatively simpler to manage than Oracle. Now that the Linux version is an option, this can be taken into consideration, since Windows limited one's use to things which could only be done in Windows. 

What needs improvement?

Database support could be improved. Oracle provides better support. 

While the price of the solution is comparatively cheaper, people are paying to Microsoft, in any event, for other things that they're using. 

Thoughs the licensing cost could be cheaper, this depends, as there is nobody who only uses the database with Microsoft. Every company has Windows, Office, Active Directory and all the security features of Microsoft. This means that, overall, when one buys these licenses together, he also gets the database. The focus is not on the price of the database, but what is actually being paid to Microsoft. 

The licensing price could be better, more user-friendly. Things should be be moved from the enterprise to the standard edition. 

For how long have I used the solution?

As with Oracle, we have been using SQL Server for a long time. They actually have the same shelf life. We have been using the solution for around 30 years. 

How are customer service and support?

The support does not reflect how Microsoft used to be. It can depend. Oracle has a much more sophisticated database, so it comes with expanded support. There are many solutions which come out of the box, as all the problems which could arise have already been encountered by the customers. This is why they are building a big data, to have a ready answer for any issue which may arise, the answer being very quick and straightforward. 

When it comes to Microsoft, noone delves deep, so such problems as those arising with Oracle are not encountered. Oracle is much more sophisticated and comes with many problems. This is why the solution comes with better support, as they have already provided a foundation for many of the solutions.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a solution prior to SQL Server, with the exception of, maybe, Access. 

How was the initial setup?

The installation is good. 

It took very little time, a couple hours. 

What about the implementation team?

Installation can be done on one's own. Everything can be done sequentially, from one thing to the next. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

While the price of the solution is comparatively cheaper, people are paying to Microsoft in any event for other things that they're using.

Although the licensing cost could be cheaper, this depends, as there is nobody who only uses the database with Microsoft. Every company has Windows, Office, Active Directory and all the security features of Microsoft. This means that, overall, when one buys these licenses together, he also gets the database. The focus is not on the price of the database, but what is actually being paid to Microsoft.

The licensing price could be better, more user-friendly. Things should be moved from the enterprise to the standard edition.

What other advice do I have?

Microsoft is fine. They have done a good job.

As everyone has a station with Microsoft installed, everybody is making use of it. When it comes to the database, this depends on the application. As I said, we are talking about a package solution, so use of the same application could consist of several hundred people or thousands. 

I rate SQL Server as a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Alberto Geminiani
Technical Director at Progetti e Soluzioni
Real User
Top 5
Great integration with extensive documentation and a good community for support purposes

Pros and Cons

  • "We've found it to basically be pretty problem-free."
  • "The interface could be updated to make it slightly more user-friendly."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for recording transactions and information related to the reservation of a service. 

What is most valuable?

The product is very stable.

It offers very good documentation. When there are some little issues, it's always very easy to go into the documentation for troubleshooting purposes. There's just so much documentation on hand and a really great community around the product that is very helpful.

It's a very complete product.

We've found it to basically be pretty problem-free.

The integration with other products has always been quite good.

The security of the product has never given us any issues.

What needs improvement?

We're quite satisfied with the solution. There aren't any outstanding features we would like to add.

The interface could be updated to make it slightly more user-friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for more than ten years. It's been a while. It's been more than a decade at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. there are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. it's excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't really scaled the solution all that much. At the moment, we have measured the scalability in a horizontal way. When we needed to have more installation and more capacity, we split the database into a different SQL Server instance.

In the future, we'll likely need to consider scalability more. We are also moving in the last two years, also to a different architecture from a monolithic to a more microservice architecture. Maybe the scalability can be more easily handled in the applications that are talking to each other and leaving the database out of the equation.

While end-users are hard to quantify, I can say that likely half a million users have come through our system for transactions.

In the near future, we will continue to use the solution. We might use it for the next four or five years, although it is hard to say.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've always been able to rely on the fantastic documentation and great community around the product in order to troubleshoot problems. It's very easy to fix issues as they arise due to the public knowledge available to everyone.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We've mostly always used this solution. Last quarter, we moved a little bit to a NoSQL database. We have done a little experiment on Cassandra however, previously, it has always been on SQL Server.

We're considering moving away from the solution right now and trying something new. The owner of the company wants to experiment with other technologies and see what is out there, which is why there is talk of change. However, it's not a reflection on this product, which has been largely quite good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not overly difficult. It's pretty straightforward. A company shouldn't have any issues with the process.

We have 12 technical people on our team that can handle the implementation.

What other advice do I have?

The last version we used is 2015 if I'm not mistaken. We don't jump immediately to the latest version due to the fact that, usually, we look for stability. We make the move to the next version in case of some integration or limitation. We prefer not to move onto something that might have bugs or glitches that need to be patched. It's more secure for us that way. 

I'd recommend the solution to other companies.

I'd rate the solution at a ten out of ten. It's doing exactly what we need it to do. We've very happy with it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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