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MP
Database Administrator at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Very scalable and stable, good support, and works well with Windows Server platforms

Pros and Cons

  • "Microsoft SQL Server is one of the better database administration software packages out there. It runs primarily on Windows Server platforms, but it can also run on Linux platforms."
  • "Primarily, the data replication and the backup areas can be improved. It should have data replication capabilities and uptime capabilities."

What is our primary use case?

It is used for everything under the sun. We're currently using it for a health pass for a medic aid information management system. It is also used by companies in banking and retail.

We are using SQL Server 2014 on Windows Server 2012 platform, and we also have SQL Server 2016 on Windows Server 2016 platform. I have primarily worked on the hardware, but I am now also working in the Amazon AWS cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

The entire solution that we're deploying is built on Microsoft SQL Server as a database engine. Our solution is completely engineered for that, and if we attempt to deploy it in any other database engine, it is going to be a huge nightmare.

What is most valuable?

Microsoft SQL Server is one of the better database administration software packages out there. It runs primarily on Windows Server platforms, but it can also run on Linux platforms.

What needs improvement?

Primarily, the data replication and the backup areas can be improved. It should have data replication capabilities and uptime capabilities.  The native SQL Server Backups take more time than do the backup processes from LiteSpeed, and the backup compression is a little less.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SQL Server since version 6.5, which came out about 30 years ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. You can run the database engine on the C drive, or you can run it on a large cloud array or a disk array. Currently, we just have developers and testers accessing it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support from Microsoft is very good.

How was the initial setup?

If you know how to set it up, it is easy, but you have to learn that over time. For a new user, it is detailed. You need to have the right things in place at the right time before you actually install the software.

To create an instance, it takes about an hour overall. This includes deploying the basic system, applying the latest service pack, and then applying the latest cumulative update.

What about the implementation team?

It was an in-house job. In terms of maintenance, the number of staff members required would depend on the implementation. It requires coordination amongst teams. It is a team effort. The database administrator creates and runs the jobs that create the backup file. You need to have somebody for copying the backup files to offline storage. You also need to have system administrators for setting up the hardware.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to just be familiar with Windows concepts.

I would rate SQL Server a nine out of ten. If you're familiar with Windows concepts, it just works.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

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

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Karel Van Der Walt
Data Architect at ACPAS Loan Management Software
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Stable with good time zone features and easily scalable

Pros and Cons

  • "If you need to, you can scale the solution very easily."
  • "The solution is rather expensive."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for non-management processes.

What is most valuable?

The product is very good at centralizing information.

The solution has very good features related to timezones.

The product is quite stable.

If you need to, you can scale the solution very easily.

What needs improvement?

The solution has legacy issues when it comes to compatibility. If you have older technology, you may run into compatibility problems with SQL.

The solution is rather expensive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for over a decade. It's been a long time. At this point, it's been about 12 years or so.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is excellent. We don't run into any issues with bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's fairly reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution scales well. if a company needs to expand its SQL server, it's not a problem to do so.

We do plan to continue to use it going forward. I'm unsure as to if we have plans to scale it, however.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't have too much information on technical support, however, it's my understanding that if you need it, it is available.

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

We did not previously use a different solution. We've only ever really used SQL.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup isn't too complex. It's pretty straightforward, especially if you are setting up the cloud. It's very easy to provision. It requires fairly typical knowledge. If you are familiar with Windows software, you'll find that there isn't much of a challenge to the setup. I'd say it's not overly technical.

Deployment is fast. You can have it up and running in an hour or sometimes less.

You need about two people to handle the deployment of the solution.

What about the implementation team?

I handled the implementation myself. It's pretty easy, and not too technical, and therefore I didn't need the assistance of any consultants or integrators.

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

You do need to pay for licensing in order to use the solution. It is a little bit expensive, however, it's not the most expensive option on the market. It's cheaper than the competition, however, as I mentioned, it's still pretty pricey.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer. We don't have a business relationship with the client.

We're using the latest version of the solution currently.

We use both cloud and on-premises deployment models.

I'd recommend this product to other organizations.

Overall, we've had a positive experience with the solution. I would rate it 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.
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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KG
Lead Data Architect at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to use and integrates well with other Microsoft products, but the performance needs improvement, and there are many hidden costs at the enterprise level

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are ease of use and the integration with Single Sign On (SSO), as well as with other Microsoft products."
  • "The performance needs some improvement and it needs more features integrated into it."

What is our primary use case?

We are using SQL server for both transactional and analytical purposes, and for storing the data.

How has it helped my organization?

We are familiar with Microsoft products and bringing another Microsoft product was a very easy transition.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are ease of use and the integration with Single Sign On (SSO), as well as with other Microsoft products.

What needs improvement?

The performance needs some improvement and it needs more features integrated into it.

Technical support could be better. 

Scalability could be less costly.

One of the conflicts with Microsoft is if you have an enterprise relationship, you have to deal with a third-party offering Microsoft solutions.

In the 2016 version, they don't have support for Python. It may be included with the 2019 version but if they don't, I would like to see support for Python implemented.

For how long have I used the solution?

The company has been using this solution for approximately 20 years. I was in contracting and now have been using it for approximately five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

SQL Server is pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There is a concern with the scalability because it's an on-premise technology. 

Scaling always comes with more costs and also the licensing cost increase, which makes it complex, and more difficult.

We have backend developers, data engineers, data scientists, and analysts using this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

Most of the time, technical support is not straightforward and it goes to a third party.

I wouldn't say that it is great, but okay.

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

Previously, we had not used any other solutions. We have been a Microsoft shop from the beginning.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not easy but not complex. Rather, it was somewhere in between.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use an integrator or reseller to deploy this solution.

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

Pricing is reasonable for small organizations, but the scaling increases the price.

For larger organizations that would be using enterprise solutions, it contains some hidden costs.

What other advice do I have?

It's suited for small organizations, but if someone from a larger organization is looking for this, they might have some problems implementing enterprise-wide solutions. This is because of the integrations, as there would be hidden costs to it.

The best parts of this solution are the costs and that it is easy to use, but the cons would be with implementing an enterprise-wide solution. There are many hidden factors, such as costs. Also, you have to put more effort into integrating with other solutions across the enterprise.

I would rate this solution a six 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.
Anandan Kanagarajan
Sr. Supervisor - Enterprises Application DBA at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
A relational database management system that's easy to use

Pros and Cons

  • "I like that it's very easy to use, and Veeam is excellent. There are tons of experts and writers in the area now, and we don't find the same for other databases."
  • "The price could be better. In the next release, it would be better if the database was more easily extendable."

What is our primary use case?

Despite the core database is not SQL Server in my working company, SQL Server is widely being used as the backend for many in-house applications and customized applications like Solarwinds.


How has it helped my organization?

Helping to effectively and efficiently manage the business-critical data

What is most valuable?

- There are hundreds of "Dynamic Management Views" (DMVs) & Dynamic Management Functions (DMFs) that are system views & system functions that return metadata of the system state and they provide valuable insight into the current SQL instance state. 

- Resumable online index rebuild 

- Table Partitioning and the Swap out to covert a Table Partition into a separate table.

- Python & R2 Integration, Graph Databases

- Automatic Database Tuning

- Very reliable Backup technology and many more

What needs improvement?

The price could be better:

Compare to Oracle it is cheaper but with the existence of many open source databases currently in the market, consider reducing the Licensing cost. Secondly, with the Core-based Licensing since SQL 2012 Version, the SQL Licensing price has substantially increased.

Postgres Extensions is a concept in Postgres to extend the Postgres features that are very useful for Performance Monitoring & Optimizations. Similarly option to extend the features as necessary.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SQL Server for 12 years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's been scalable since 2016. With each version, they are adding more features which are very helpful. 

How are customer service and technical support?

On a rare occasion, I had contacted technical support about five or six years ago and only when I had a specific use case.

How was the initial setup?

The GUI-based step-by-step initial setup is easier for the initial setup and even the Jr.DBAs can handle it with minimal training. The automated installation is possible with PowerShell Scripts and the Infrastructure Provisioning and Configurations tools like Ansible. We managed to automate the SQL installation using Ansible Playbooks and Gitlab to deploy Continous Integration and Continous Deployment.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented this solution by ourselves.

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

CPU Core-based Licensing & Windows Licensing costs are additional overheads compare to open source databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL.

Managed SQL Server Database Service in Azure is lagging with many features like Linked Server, DB Mail.

SQL Server deployment in the Cloud does not seem to be cost-effective with respect to the Licensing cost and average Life cycle of 5 years (I reiterate, this is in my opinion). 

If you take Postgre SQL and MySQL, they provide almost all the same features even though they are both open source databases.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend this solution because you can engage in database manipulation, administration and manage almost all your requirements. When compared to Oracle licensing costs, SQL Server is better. 

On a scale from one to ten, I would give SQL Server a 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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Girish Vijay
Deputy Manager IT at Carl Bechem Lubricants India Pvt Ltd
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Users can quickly and efficiently retrieve a large amount of records from a database

Pros and Cons

  • "The latest version supports for big data analytics. SQL Server's vector processing-based batch execution mode is now available to the entire execution of R or Python code. Since much of the work that tends to be done in R and Python involves aggregation, batch mode - which processes rows of data several at a time, can be very helpful."
  • "CAL licenses should cost less. Microsoft usually prices high for client access licenses. Server plus user client access license (CAL) licensing requires a separate Server license for each server on which the software is installed, plus a user CAL for each user accessing the server."

What is our primary use case?

ERP Database.

Using the SQL queries, the user can quickly and efficiently retrieve a large number of records from a database. In standard SQL, it is very easy to manage the database system. It doesn't require a substantial amount of code to manage the database system. Long established are used by the SQL databases that are being used by ISO and ANSI. Using the SQL language, the users can make different views of the database structure.SQL has a difficult interface that makes few users uncomfortable while dealing with the database.

How has it helped my organization?

Microsoft database is very user friendly. This new version of SQL Server continues to meet these twin demands. It adds new features from the worlds of data science and NoSQL. It offers cross-platform capabilities and Docker container compatibility. But it also reinforces its investment in core database engine performance, ease of index maintenance, high availability, and data warehouse performance. That's a difficult balance and one that other database vendors don't have to meet. While this may be Microsoft's cross to bear, the company does pretty well with it, turning a formidable challenge into a positive market differentiator.

What is most valuable?

The latest version supports for big data analytics. SQL Server's vector processing-based batch execution mode is now available to the entire execution of R or Python code. Since much of the work that tends to be done in R and Python involves aggregation, batch mode - which processes rows of data several at a time, can be very helpful. Two other new batch mode features, memory grant feedback, and adaptive joins will enhance SQL Server's performance and efficiency as well. It is good to move from Microsoft to deal with big data analytics

What needs improvement?

CAL licenses should cost less. Microsoft usually prices high for client access licenses. Server plus user client access license (CAL) licensing requires a separate Server license for each server on which the software is installed, plus a user CAL for each user accessing the server. A SQL Server CAL is required for a user to access or use the services or functionality of either edition of SQL Server and frequent updates to the latest versions will lead to obsolete and discontinuing the security patches has to be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

Since two years

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Very good stability with 250-300 users.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product can withstand with 250-300 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Very good.

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

SQL standard 2008.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward - no complexity.

What about the implementation team?

Vendor team with an in-house team.

What was our ROI?

2 years.

What other advice do I have?

It is an overall very good product.

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.
GK
Data Architect at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Reliable and easy to use

Pros and Cons

  • "It's easy to use and fairly intuitive. I do development and data analysis, so we do a lot of work with SSIS and SQL Job Scheduler. Deploying new databases is very simple with things like BACPAC."
  • "One thing I don't like about SQL Server is the way they've set up security with users and groups. It just doesn't seem that intuitive to me. Adding some more explanatory information might help some."

What is our primary use case?

We do data warehousing, and our clients are mainly large commercial Insurance providers in the United States.

What is most valuable?

It's easy to use and fairly intuitive. I do development and data analysis, so we do a lot of work with SSIS and SQL Job Scheduler. Deploying new databases is very simple with things like BACPAC. You don't have to do all the scripting for the database, then all the tables, keys, etc. It takes all that out of your hands.

What needs improvement?

One thing I don't like about SQL Server is the way they've set up security with users and groups. It just doesn't seem that intuitive to me. Adding some more explanatory information might help some. Sometimes the documentation is a little thin, but the same could be said about a lot of products.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using SQL Server on and off since it first came out in the 1990s. Most of the people I've worked for are SQL Server shops.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I can't really speak intelligently about that because I haven't been on any of the real big ones yet. 

How was the initial setup?

The complexity of the initial setup really depends. Obviously, you're going to need to know a few things and there are different ways to do deployments. I like the BACPAC, which is one of the features that come with SQL Server. It's a nice feature to deploy. BACPAC really handles all of the configuration for you. If you use that, I don't think you really need to know too much. If we're talking about a small database that holds a few thousand records, it doesn't matter what you're doing. You can't make a mistake because it's just not big enough.  

We do a lot of Azure-based on-demand type systems where we host the system or we host it in Azure. We do the work for them. So we don't really do a lot of those installs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're going a lot heavier into Azure and we're going to be dealing with lots of volume because insurance data is pretty voluminous. I think some of our clients don't like the idea of having one gigantic VM system to run the database. That's one reason why they're switching to Snowflake. We had to do some SSRS stuff in the past, and I think they're moving over to Power BI mostly.

What other advice do I have?

I'd probably rate SQL Server nine out of 10. I don't think I'd give anybody a 10, but I think nine's about the best I can do. In my experience, it's been reliable and easy to use.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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RS
Senior Developer at a non-profit with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good performance for non-complex data, and the stability is good

Pros and Cons

  • "I have seen that this is a very stable product."
  • "We experience latency at times when there is a lot of data being processed."

What is our primary use case?

We are a company that produces stock market analytics data and we are working on creating an alerting system for our customers. We use Microsoft SQL Server in our development and I have a lot of experience with it.

In my development role, I store about two gigabytes of data every month.

What is most valuable?

One of the big advantages of this product is its performance, where it works well when the data is not complex.

What needs improvement?

If you have a lot of data and you want to perform computations on it, you will have problems and the performance will be degraded.

There are problems when you are dealing with Big Data and it doesn't scale very well. For example, in Hadoop, you can partition your data very well, but in SQL Server, you can't do that. If it could handle horizontal scaling then that would be an improvement.

We experience latency at times when there is a lot of data being processed. In Iran, there is a specific time when all of the markets are open, and a lot of people are using the data to make decisions. Performing actions at that specific time gives us a lot of problems because of limitations in SQL Server. The problem seems to be caused by writing a lot of data to the table at the same time.

Improving the intelligence for managing the SQL server would be very good.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SQL Server for the past four years, and my company has been using it for approximately seven.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have seen that this is a very stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had trouble scaling the solution to handle larger volumes of data. We have been able to scale out by adding CPU power and RAM, but other than by increasing the physical solution, we have not been able to do it very well. For example, we have not been able to do what we have done using Hadoop.

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

I used Oracle in the past, approximately four years ago. That was stable, but the performance in SQL is very much better nowadays.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very easy.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team deployed it by researching how to perform the setup and configuration. As a developer, I just let them know what I need from the product. For example, for my role, I have a lot of writes and I want them to optimize for that situation.

If there are some simple features that I just want to enable, then I can do that myself.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Ossama Benaziz
Operations Director at ALTERSIS Performance
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Flexible and easy to use but the performance could be better

Pros and Cons

  • "It's a good option for those that have a lot of Microsoft solutions in use."
  • "The solution needs to be more secure. It's lacking, compared to, for example, Oracle."

What is our primary use case?

We use the product for information systems. This is a must both for us. We use it for our Enterprise Portal.

What is most valuable?

The solution has proven to be very flexible.

The product is quite stable.

Overall, we've found it to be extremely easy to use. 

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. It's not difficult to implement and the deployment doesn't take too long.

Technical support has been pretty good so far. They are helpful.

It's a good option for those that have a lot of Microsoft solutions in use.

What needs improvement?

The solution needs to be more secure. It's lacking, compared to, for example, Oracle.

The product needs to work on its scalability. Oracle can scale a bit more effectively.

Sometimes we have some performance issues. It's not like Oracle. Oracle is more powerful in terms of performance. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've just been dealing with the solution for a few months. It hasn't been too long just yet.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've had some performance issues overall. It's something that's a pain point for us. They need to work on their capabilities in this regard.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution could be more scalable. Oracle scales better for companies that need to expand.

We have two to three customers that use the solution currently.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've used technical support in the past. They've been helpful and responsive. We haven't had any issues when we deal with them. We are quite satisfied so far with the level of service we receive when we reach out. 

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

I've also used Oracle in the past. From my side, Oracle is more technical and is more scalable, and more secure than the SQL server.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is quite straightforward. It's not overly difficult or complicated. I found it to be quite simple.

The deployment is rather quick. It took us about one hour, from what I can recall.

We just need one technical person to handle the implementation and maintenance processes. 

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

Customers do have to pay to use the solution. They tend to pay on a yearly basis. 

What other advice do I have?

I'd rate the solution at a seven out of ten.

I'd recommend the solution to other customers, users, and companies. It's a good option of r many. Sometimes the customer is Microsoft-oriented and sometimes they are Oracle-oriented. If the customer is already using a lot of Microsoft products, SQL just makes sense. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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