We just raised a $30M Series A: Read our story

SQL Server OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SQL Server is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Relational Databases. It is most often compared to SAP HANA: SQL Server vs SAP HANA

What is SQL Server?

SQL Server is the Microsoft-driven relational database management system. This system is used to store data as well as retrieve it when necessary; these functions can be supported by individual users or by multiple users within a larger network. The Microsoft SQL Server has warehousing options, quality and integration services, management tools that are simple to implement, as well as robust tools for development.

Looking at the more technical end of things, Microsoft SQL Server uses query languages such as T-SQL and ANSI SQL. Disaster recovery is one of the product's most prominent features, in addition to in-memory performance, scalability, and corporate business intelligence capabilities.

SQL Server is also known as Microsoft SQL Server, MSSQL, MS SQL.

SQL Server Buyer's Guide

Download the SQL Server Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

SQL Server Customers

Microsoft SQL Server is used by businesses in every industry, including Great Western Bank, Aviva, the Volvo Car Corporation, BMW, Samsung, Principality Building Society, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.

SQL Server Video

Archived SQL Server Reviews (more than two years old)

Filter by:
Filter Reviews
Industry
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Company Size
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Job Level
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Rating
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Considered
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Order by:
Loading...
  • Date
  • Highest Rating
  • Lowest Rating
  • Review Length
Search:
Showingreviews based on the current filters. Reset all filters
GhamdanAl-Anesi
Member of the Board & Co-Founder, Executive Manager at Networld Systems
Real User
Good replication and helps to reduce costs

What is our primary use case?

We have a Windows Server environment. This is a production system for secure document issuing in a government department.

How has it helped my organization?

It helped reduce licensing costs and also running costs, as well as the learning curve.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is replication because we had several replicas of the SQL Server database in different geographical locations.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have more replication scenarios.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for twenty years.

What is our primary use case?

We have a Windows Server environment.

This is a production system for secure document issuing in a government department.

How has it helped my organization?

It helped reduce licensing costs and also running costs, as well as the learning curve.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is replication because we had several replicas of the SQL Server database in different geographical locations.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have more replication scenarios.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for twenty years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Aju Mathai
Database Architect at Huron Consulting
Real User
It is one of the most stable relational databases out there

Pros and Cons

  • "It is one of the most stable relational databases out there."
  • "I would like to see native plugins built for other platforms versus having to buy third-party plugins to tap into S3 buckets and AWS Cloud. Right now, it does not have those built-in plugins."

What is our primary use case?

Our correlation and relational databases are on Microsoft SQL Server.

The company uses two platforms: MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server. Some applications are on MySQL, and some applications are SQL Server. 

I have pretty much worked all my life in Microsoft SQL Server.

How has it helped my organization?

I am in the process of creating a data strategy to consolidate multiple siloed data centers. Once my plan is finalized and approved, then we are going to execute it on the Microsoft platform.

What is most valuable?

  • Performance-wise, it is an excellent tool.
  • It is a Microsoft product, so there's a lot of support. 
  • It's not a new tool; it has been around for a while. 
  • It is one of the top five relational databases in the market. 
  • It is very user-friendly.
  • There are a lot of resources available for it.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see native plugins built for other platforms versus having to buy third-party plugins to tap into S3 buckets and AWS Cloud. Right now, it does not have those built-in plugins.

I know that they are building SQL Server for the Unix environment, which is in the beta version, and not out yet. This has been a long time wish for a lot of people. Once that is out, we'll be able to tell how diversified they have become in regards to other platforms.

It hasn't 100 percent on scalability and third-party plugins.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is one of the most stable relational databases out there.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

With the new versions and Azure, which is in the cloud, these do accommodate scalability. Until the 2014 version, the scalability wasn't there, but from the 2016 version and above, I think they have taken all these scalability features into consideration.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used technical support for Microsoft with my current company. I have used them in the past. It depends on the tier of support that was purchased by the company as to the level of support that you receive.

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

Our company has probably been using this solution since it was released.

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

It is expensive, but you get what you pay for.

Since we are a cloud-based company, there is AWS pricing on top of the SQL Server pricing. The Enterprise Edition can typically sell from around $1000 dollars a month, which is not cheap. Then, there is an additional one-time Windows cost, based on the code, which can go anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 for the license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

From my perspective, the two vendors for this are Microsoft and Amazon (AWS).

They are working on making it better with every release, compared to Oracle Db2 and IBM.

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely recommend SQL Server. It's not cheaper any more, like it used to be, but if you can afford it, then it's the best.

When I select a vendor, from a tool perspective, I make sure that they have full support available, have been in the market for awhile, and the solution/application is stable.

From an open source perspective, like MySQL, Aurora, and MongoDB, they have done a great job in making a robust database container.

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: October 2021.
543,089 professionals have used our research since 2012.
reviewer1030020
Programmer Analyst at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Creating and implementing stored procedures is a valuable features

What is our primary use case?

Very pleasing and satisfying experience.

  • Used to create queries
  • Implemented store procedures
  • DBA can also use this effectively.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Used to create queries
  • Implemented store procedures
  • DBA can also use this effectively. 
  • Reduces other manual work.

What is most valuable?

  • Creating and executing SQL queries, transactions, ACID properties
  • Creating and implementing stored procedures.

What needs improvement?

Every good tool has its own limitations. 

  • First of all its cost. It is very high. 
  • We need a good amount of RAM to properly use this. 
  • Sometimes, query sticks in between. 

But our organization provides great RAM, so we don't have any issue with its speed.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

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

No.

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

It's good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

Go for it. Thumbs up.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Lei Liu
DBA,data architectuire at LGCNS CHINA
Real User
License price is lower than Oracle's

What is our primary use case?

The customer's MES system  use it.  The database system desgin as always on architecture.

Like Data guard in Oracle , always on contain double data and sync data by using transactions store in transaction log

How has it helped my organization?

It is easy to establish, and the license price is lower than that of Oracle.  

Otherwise, our customer could can replace primary databases from Oracle into MSSQL AG

Base on  windows cluster,  the always on no needs complicated config process.

Just click and click following  GUI interface.

What is most valuable?

table partition options,  that is very useful to separate unnecessary cost. 

For legacy data,  we can do partition swith out and store into flat files or old tables.

When it necessary, we can switch in back.

What needs improvement?

Horizontal partitioning.  

In that case,  cold , warm and hot data can be distributed into different database not only table partition located on different FGs .

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes , when windows server suddently failed, the database still can be turn on when DB server started.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When do "sp_rename" or "table rebuild" , the cluster index or non-cluster index no needs to rebuild at same time

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer always comes out many questions

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

I have no choice. our customer choose MS SQL 

How was the initial setup?

 initial setup straightforward

What about the implementation team?

ordinary level

What was our ROI?

database administrator

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

Migration local database into cloud

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No, I  have to accepted it 

What other advice do I have?

subpartition is necessary

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MR
Cloud DBA at UNIT4
Real User
Its stability delivers performance and usability and it has good reporting services

What is our primary use case?

Effectiveness in a production environment New features test

How has it helped my organization?

Besides that, SQL Server has become very expensive like Oracle. Its stability delivers performance and usability.

What is most valuable?

SSMS SSIS Reporting services FCI clustering AlwaysOn Basic availability groups.

What needs improvement?

I would like a mature real-monitoring built in into SSMS, even a trace file analyzer.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What is our primary use case?

  • Effectiveness in a production environment
  • New features test

How has it helped my organization?

Besides that, SQL Server has become very expensive like Oracle. Its stability delivers performance and usability.

What is most valuable?

  • SSMS
  • SSIS
  • Reporting services
  • FCI clustering
  • AlwaysOn
  • Basic availability groups.

What needs improvement?

I would like a mature real-monitoring built in into SSMS, even a trace file analyzer.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DD
Systems Analyst Developer with 1-10 employees
Real User
A fast and efficient way to track reporting

Pros and Cons

  • "I have experience with this product for many years. I never have problems with it. It can handle a PC, and it can also handle huge data. It is fast and efficient."
  • "It would be nice if there was a feature to search for a specific value across multiple tables. This would save a lot of time for its users."

What is most valuable?

It is widely used and we never have problems with it. It can handle a PC, and it can also handle huge data. It is fast and efficient. It is something unique that tracks reporting of records, personnel, finances and more. It also integrates well with everything, not just Microsoft tools. 

What needs improvement?

It would be nice to search for specific value across multiple tables. This would save a lot of time. 

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never had a problem with the stability of the solution. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have never really had a problem with the scalability of the solution. 

How is customer service and technical support?

I have never used technical support. It is the joke at the office that you cannot get help on the Microsoft website at all. Also, downloading anything from Microsoft is usually a nightmare. Honestly, I end up googling the problem and solving it myself. This is definitely something Microsoft needs to improve.

What other advice do I have?

It is definitely important for someone looking at a new vendor to consider the support of the solution. In addition, the customer should really do their research and understand what their needs are, and make sure the new solution will solve those needs. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Royden Akerley
Enterprise Programmes Architect at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Traditional DB toolkit is closely integrated into Microsoft Office, but it does not scale up to a truly global environment

What is our primary use case?

This is a departmental database engine which supports primarily localized solutions, data capture, and retrieval. However, with the exception of our aviation group, it is used for localized data lake or reporting solutions support.

How has it helped my organization?

It is cost effective with easy integration into the core MS Office tools. Hence user adoption is easy. Also, being a commodity product there is an abundance of cheap resources having experience with the toolkit, but very few senior or truly expert support personnel are available. Again because it is viewed as a commodity product even by developers, no serious time is spent on skills development with this toolkit.

What is most valuable?

Traditional DB toolkit closely integrated into Microsoft Office. This makes it truly easy to deploy in a light non-business critical environment.

What needs improvement?

  • It does not scale up to a truly global environment. We operate in 220+ countries and territories with data services centralized in three data centers. The ability for MS SQL to operate in this environment is a challenge for anything spanning regions or having a global footprint. 
  • It is best suited to supporting a single functional instance by business domain or a single country. 
  • MS needs to work better at the WAN implementations transoceanic. 
  • It also needs to have a less closed or less MS centric tool dependency as integration with other databases and non-MS development environments is always problematic.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PF
Engineer / MS SQL DBA at Solvinity
User
This solution has proven stability and operational power

What is our primary use case?

The database is primarily used as back-end storage.

How has it helped my organization?

As an engineer working for multiple organisations, MS SQL has proven stability and operational power.

What is most valuable?

The additional tools, like SSIS and reporting services, make this solution useful.

What needs improvement?

Improvements to the indexing, columnstore indexing, and high availability groups are good improvements for future versions.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What other advice do I have?

MS SQL is constantly improving their products. New options, such as managing with PowerShell, are good improvements.

What is our primary use case?

The database is primarily used as back-end storage.

How has it helped my organization?

As an engineer working for multiple organisations, MS SQL has proven stability and operational power.

What is most valuable?

The additional tools, like SSIS and reporting services, make this solution useful.

What needs improvement?

Improvements to the indexing, columnstore indexing, and high availability groups are good improvements for future versions.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What other advice do I have?

MS SQL is constantly improving their products. New options, such as managing with PowerShell, are good improvements.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Rahul Kumar Singh
Software Developer at OATI
Real User
I use it to fine tune my procedures and functions

Pros and Cons

  • "Tuning Advisor suggests where to add indexes and from where to remove them. It works like an adviser."
  • "SQL Server Profiler makes finding and debugging easy."
  • "I use it to fine tune my procedures and functions."
  • "Third-party services from Redgate should be built-in to it, like SQL Search."
  • "Debugging from the debugger tool functionality should be enhanced."

What is our primary use case?

I use SQL Server to optimize SQL queries and find the estimated cost of my queries. 

I also use it to fine tune my procedures and functions.

How has it helped my organization?

  • SQL Server has maintained my database problem in an arranged manner.
  • SQL Server Profiler makes finding and debugging easy.
  • Support for third-party tools, like SQL Search.

What is most valuable?

  • SQL Server Profiler: Know exactly which procedures and functions are being called and how much read and write they are taking.
  • Tuning Advisor: It suggests where to add indexes and from where to remove them. It works like an adviser.
  • Storage capability
  • Debugger: The debugger tool can execute code step-by-step.

What needs improvement?

  • Third-party services from Redgate should be built-in to it, like SQL Search.
  • Debugging from the debugger tool functionality should be enhanced.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

It is good.

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

I have been using SQL Server from the start.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

What was our ROI?

It is good.

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

The setup cost is high, but it will return every penny.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
IT Technician / Support Supervisor at a transportation company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Enables us to convert to bigger DBs and more easily move or upgrade between branches

Pros and Cons

  • "Enables us to convert to bigger DBs and more easily move or upgrade between branches."
  • "From a DB administrator perspective, I would like to see more space requirements and space capacity history, so that we are able to see which DBs are growing, and by how much per day or week."

How has it helped my organization?

All our main DBs run on SQL.

What is most valuable?

Ability to convert to bigger DBs. It makes it easier to move or upgrade between branches.

What needs improvement?

From a DB administrator perspective, I would like to see more space requirements and space capacity history, so that we are able to see which DBs are growing, and by how much per day or week.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues with scalability.

How is customer service and technical support?

Have not used tech support.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward.

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

Plan ahead, and make sure do not pay for something you are not going to fully use.

What other advice do I have?

Naming conventions are very very important. Make sure that your principle and mirror servers have the same disk space from the outset.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Developer at a tech vendor with 201-500 employees
Vendor
Gives me the ability to mold a process flow or modularly add in new structures

Pros and Cons

  • "Without any doubt the Integration Services and Analysis Services are the most widely used. These are the basis for data quality, data gathering, ETL process, as well as collation for the data warehouse, Cube-generation, and ad-hoc processes. The ease in which you may mold a process flow or even modularly add in new structures is something which is much needed in my job."
  • "An area for improvement would be the SQL Server process monitoring, which is quite basic and could sustain more information."
  • "The only item which I can list is application failure during Integration Services debugging, when restarting a process flow. In a number of instances the solutions fails. I have not given this much thought and simply stop and start the debugging service rather than restarting."

How has it helped my organization?

In the current organisation there was no centralised data repository. Thus, statistics, reporting, and generic management information were not existent. With the introduction of SQL Server, we have consolidated relevant business data into one main repository. We built reporting structures and analytics on top of the repository to help analysts and teams manage themselves, as well as provide management information. From basic or incomplete reports and statistics, we moved to a full reporting data structure, providing a holistic view of the organisation's data.

What is most valuable?

Without any doubt the Integration Services and Analysis Services are the most widely used. These are the basis for data quality, data gathering, ETL process, as well as collation for the data warehouse, Cube-generation, and ad-hoc processes. The ease in which you may mold a process flow or even modularly add in new structures is something which is much needed in my job.

What needs improvement?

An area that definitely needs improvement is the Reporting Service side with the actual report server. Although to be fair, Microsoft has developed a new branch of tools for reporting; presumably that is why they have not improved the Reporting Service side. Nevertheless, if this was not the case then, yes, it would be an area for improvement. Another area would be the SQL Server process monitoring, which is quite basic and could sustain more information.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, SQL Server 2014 is a very stable product and so far I cannot remember major issues that I have encountered. The only item which I can list is application failure during Integration Services debugging, when restarting a process flow. In a number of instances the solutions fails. I have not given this much thought and simply stop and start the debugging service rather than restarting.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, we have had no scalability issues. I have read about instances where people encounter issues online, but fortunately enough I have never encountered issues.

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

Yes, in the past I have worked with different versions of SQL server and have switched due to upgrades to utilise the latest version. I have also used Oracle, Tableau, SAP, and Jaspersoft.

The main reason I went for SQL Server is because it felt easier and more adaptive. Also, most of the products we use within the organisation are Microsoft-based, so that provided an extra advantage over the rest.

How was the initial setup?

Not too complex. We had spent a number of months on the design and planning stages, deciding how we would go about the setup, security, and accessibility aspects, so that when it came time for the actual setup, the process looked pretty straightforward. Don't get me wrong, it still took a number of days to finalise, but we had a concrete plan of action, the steps needed, and the work was delegated accordingly.

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

My advice is quite straightforward. If you know the number of users who really and truly need access to the Server then it is a no-brainer. If you do not know, then get the basic package and minimum licenses and start from there. Needless to say, users can develop/use data structures outside and then deploy onto the Server.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Within the current organisation, we did not look at other options. I was pretty confident that the product would do the job, based on my previous experience with similar products. One key factor which pushed us to choose SQL Server was the cost of the product versus the amount of work to develop/maintain.

What other advice do I have?

I rate it eight out of 10. It is quite a good product and has improved dramatically. Like all products, it has bugs here and there and some areas still need improvement.

I have been using the solution for the past two and half years, however, I have worked with older versions of SQL Server (2012, 2008, 2005). The solution is quite powerful and versatile and I have not yet used all the areas/modules of the solution. It is not always easy to utilise all the available modules for the solution, especially if your work is focused solely on a particular area. Nonetheless, I try to use different areas for side projects.

Plan thoroughly before, and once implemented go through the structure regularly and remodel accordingly. When planning, go through all the various sections, resources, accessibility, security etc.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user272976
Managing Director at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Capable, efficient, OLAP server for Analysis Services; has Big-Data performance issues

Pros and Cons

  • "It's a very capable, efficient, price-performant OLAP server."
  • "The web interface and the command line interface could be better so we could manage and build some things around an API. If we could build our own solution, our own interface, and then manage the solution through that open API, that would be better."
  • "For a big amount of data, when we are speaking about IoT Segments, and Big Data projects, there are performance issues."

What is our primary use case?

Initially as a post-transactional database, but now it's mainly a transactional database and for Analysis Services.

How has it helped my organization?

It's a very capable, efficient, price-performant OLAP server on which we can build our solutions.

What is most valuable?

Analysis Services, because we are an independent software vendor in the business-intelligence area.

What needs improvement?

The web interface and the command line interface could be better so we could manage and build some things around an API. If we could build our own solution, our own interface, and then manage the solution through that open API, that would be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

With the new, big releases, there's quite a lot of work that we have to do. From 2005 to 2008, and then from 2012 to 2016. But, otherwise, it's quite stable. It's nice.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Even for us, it's quite okay. For the type of customers we have now, it's okay. But, for a big amount of data, when we are speaking about IoT Segments, and Big Data projects, there are performance issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

If there wasn't Stack Overflow, that would be a problem. But luckily there are also other resources on the web which we can use to help ourselves. Just depending on Microsoft support it would not be so great.

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

We used PostgreSQL, and we also used some other OLAP servers.

How was the initial setup?

It's more and more complex. The 2005 version was very nice and neat, but now it's more and more complicated.

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

The price has been going higher and higher. The market is quite price sensitive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

At that time there was also Sybase, Oracle, MySQL. That's at the time those databases were up.

What other advice do I have?

It's good if you need OLAP services.

I give it a seven out of 10 overall, because of the things mentioned: First is that during the version upgrades, sometimes things are complicated. The second thing is the support is not so... without an open-source community it would not be so good. Third is the pricing, because it's changing, sometimes it's confusing.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user823959
User at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
SSAS is the most interesting feature to organize the data and let the users play with it

Pros and Cons

  • "SSAS is the most interesting feature to organize the data and let the users play with it."
  • "The reporting services of the solution (SSRS and now Power BI) are the less valuable items of the SQL Server suite."

What is our primary use case?

Implementing solutions for controllers and project managers on their financial data for 10 years, and now using the Power BI Microsoft solution.

How has it helped my organization?

Implementing a unified, reliable database is one of the main improvements of departments whose business is to make decisions according their aggregated data. SQL Server, with the services it offers, has the full capability to manage this goal.

What is most valuable?

SSAS is the most interesting feature to organize the data and let the users play with it.

SSIS is also very powerful, but not always user-friendly. It requires you to build a solution around SSIS.

What needs improvement?

The reporting services of the solution (SSRS and now Power BI) are the less valuable items of the SQL Server suite. 

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Недашковский Евгений
Senior SQL DBA at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Quite reliable in cluster configurations and has helped me to reduce downtime and improve SLAs

Pros and Cons

  • "If backups and alerts are configured properly, I can also rely on my restoration plan."
  • "It is quite reliable in cluster configurations and has helped me to reduce downtime and improve SLAs."
  • "Comparing with other database management systems that I tried in other companies, SQL Server is quite easy to install, configure, and maintain."
  • "I would appreciate a dark theme for SQL Server Management Studio and ability to add databases with TDE enabled into availability groups."

What is our primary use case?

Usually I install an SQL Server as part of something bigger from Microsoft (NAV, CRM, SharePoint, SCCM, SCOM, BizTalk, etc.) or some custom built solution that was designed around this DMBS. 

I also teach in a university. My students admit that SQL Server is quite easy to install and work with if you are a total beginner (compared with others). 

How has it helped my organization?

I am not sure, as we have been working with it from the start. Comparing with other database management systems that I tried in other companies, SQL Server is quite easy to install, configure, and maintain. It is also quite reliable in cluster configurations and has helped me to reduce downtime and improve SLAs. If backups and alerts are configured properly, I can also rely on my restoration plan saving my butt more than once. 

What is most valuable?

Always On is my favorite feature. I do like availability groups and cannot imagine how I lived with them before. 

Microsoft tries to release new features with every version, but I cannot say that they are killer features. Usually these are just "nice to have" stuff. However, SQL Server works and it works just fine. It is really reliable if you don't shoot your own leg. All the basic functionality is 100% bulletproof. 

What needs improvement?

I like it the way it is, though I would appreciate a dark theme for SQL Server Management Studio and ability to add databases with TDE enabled into availability groups.

I am aware of Connect and Trello pages, and there are a lot of good ideas from other people, most of them are useful only in some very rare scenarios. There are interesting suggestions present, and Microsoft should pay more attention. 

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Over the years, there was one service pack and two cumulative updates that were recalled as problematic ones, but otherwise it is very stable system.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Unfortunately, SQL Server cannot be scaled out so easily as some NoSQL solutions. There are some options that may allow it to work with quite enormous workloads. For example, try to google how Stack Overflow is built (yes, it works with SQL Server). They have quite an interesting architecture. 

How is customer service and technical support?

It depends. The shear number of support specialists is huge. You can get a freshman or a seasoned veteran. Usually, it is tolerable but it might take a while to solve a problem. In my experience, 50% of all problems can be resolved by installation of the latest patch. In 25% of times, it is your own stupidity. The 25% that left are real bugs, exotic configurations, and rocket science-level problems with a real high-load and very specific code and environments. 

How was the initial setup?

It depends how many features you want to implement. Basic stuff is very easy to install, but if you want to implement all the features or deploy a high-load or a clustered environment, it might be tricky. That is why you need a good architect and skilled DBA for something really complicated. 

What about the implementation team?

I have seen everything. It always depends on people skills. To get full performance from the SQL Server you need a well prepared environment and hard team work. 

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

This is a downside of enterprise Microsoft products. Currently, almost all of my machines are in Azure and I think it is the best way of licensing now (VM+software).

What other advice do I have?

Though I do like the SQL Server, I must say it is very hard to find a good DBA nowadays and having a DBMS without a DBA is like having a car without a driver and skills to drive it yourself. Before choosing or switching to this DMBS, check what kind of workforce is available in your area. 

You may consider Azure SQL Database as a simple alternative, but I would advise it only for small workloads though.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user796899
Sr. Database and Application Administrator with 10,001+ employees
Real User
It will do clustering, so you can have two database servers looking at the same data simultaneously

Pros and Cons

  • "You could have an offsite and an onsite, and if the onsite goes down, the offsite picks it up. I like that flexibility to provide continuing operations."
  • "It is a simple query language. It is consistent across all versions. If you start with an older version, move to the newer version. The same code will still work."
  • "It can go easily on a virtual machine and be accommodated by a virtual machine easily. That is a plus, as not all databases can handle that."
  • "It will do clustering, so you can have two database servers looking at the same data simultaneously."
  • "It pesters you to update the Client every month when there is nothing new that you really need to add, but it is constantly pestering you. I do not care for it."

How has it helped my organization?

It allows me to obtain access to data that I would not otherwise obtain access to from different programs. It has helped pull statistics and data, then put it into a report form to do some Power BI on it. This really helps people above me to view what we are doing, how we are doing it, and how to improve it.

Overall, it just makes your job simpler.

What is most valuable?

  • Ease of installation.
  • Ease of creating your databases.
  • Ease of changing what your databases look like when you need to.
  • Creating tables is simple.
  • They have lots of different options that you can use for the fields within the tables. 

It is a simple query language. It is consistent across all versions. If you start with an older version, move to the newer version. The same code will still work.

It can go easily on a virtual machine and be accommodated by a virtual machine easily. That is a plus, as not all databases can handle that. It also will do clustering, so you can have two database servers looking at the same data simultaneously. 

You can always access the data. You could have an offsite and an onsite, and if the onsite goes down, the offsite picks it up. I like that flexibility to provide continuing operations.

What needs improvement?

Right now, the tool you use to query the system updates every month. It pesters you to update the Client every month when there is nothing new that you really need to add, but it is constantly pestering you. I do not care for it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have no problems with stability at all, even when they are clustered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability depends on the version. I have to know ahead of time what version I need, but that is typical of all database software. However, as long as I build it correctly, it works great.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had support for the SQL Server product. 

This is Microsoft, so you just buy a ticket and they will just work with you until it is fixed. However, I have not had any issues where I needed to contact them.

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

We previously used MySQL, because it is a free product. It was just hard to operate, do backups, and make automated. Also, it was not scalable.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is real simple. Just install it. Though, I recommend for new users to at least look online for training or a manual.

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

It has the easiest licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are a Microsoft shop, so we use Active Directory. That integrates well with this product, but we did look at Oracle. We also looked at IBM. This was the best price point for us for what we were getting.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DenisMunger
Chief of Engineering at a comms service provider with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 10
Ease of use, stability make it the right choice for us

What is our primary use case?

We use it to capture long distance calls for billing as a quoting database to redirect phone calls based on customer caller line id.

What is most valuable?

Ease of use.

What needs improvement?

Only one CPU core can be used Can’t move a database between servers easily Can’t use triggers The free version is cumbersome to use and maintain. But $5000 for a licence is more expense than the benefit I would get from a licensed version.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are capturing 1 million calls per month. The free version can’t scale this much data.

How are customer service and

What is our primary use case?

We use it

  • to capture long distance calls for billing
  • as a quoting database
  • to redirect phone calls based on customer caller line id.

What is most valuable?

Ease of use.

What needs improvement?

  • Only one CPU core can be used
  • Can’t move a database between servers easily
  • Can’t use triggers

The free version is cumbersome to use and maintain. But $5000 for a licence is more expense than the benefit I would get from a licensed version.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are capturing 1 million calls per month. The free version can’t scale this much data.

How are customer service and technical support?

Never used. Google is sufficient.

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

Postgre has a weird syntax and it is slower than MS SQL. The command line interpeter makes it complex to learn.

How was the initial setup?

MS SQL is the easiest of the three I tried.

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

A licence might be worth the price to simplify management and speed up searches.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user117381
Lead Software Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
We've measured notable performance improvements with this solution

Pros and Cons

  • "There was an online system in which we had about 2500 requests to the DB per second. Every request had a completion window of one second to process and retrieve data. After switching to SQL Server, and AlwaysOn, and Snapshot, and tinkering, and configuring and tinkering, the handling capacity we measured increased to about 5000 requests per second, while the time decreased to 0.5 seconds per request."
  • "As a software developer, it can be hard to do something in Oracle that is SQL Server specific, and vice-versa, sometimes."
  • "One stability issue I encountered was the deadlocking between calls to the same resources (tables, etc.). That was solved by row versioning."

How has it helped my organization?

There was an online system in which we had about 2500 requests to the DB per second. Every request had a completion window of one second to process and retrieve data. Before my arrival, the numbers were 1000 requests per second and two, and sometimes, three to five seconds spent per request.

After switching to SQL Server, and AlwaysOn, and Snapshot, and tinkering, and configuring and tinkering, the handling capacity we measured increased to about 5000 requests per second, while the time decreased to 0.5 seconds per request.

What is most valuable?

The AlwaysOn high-availability feature is the most valuable feature of SQL Server to us. This is because of the relative ease of the configuration, rather than configuring for OLTP-OLAP distinction.

What needs improvement?

As a software developer, it can be hard to do something in Oracle that is SQL Server specific, and vice-versa, sometimes.

Improvements must not be stopped and must not end. When business needs arrive, then the improvements follow. For example, 15-20 years ago, MySQL did not have built-in Stored Procedure support; there was no business need for MySQL to have stored procedures built-in.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

One stability issue I encountered was the deadlocking between calls to the same resources (tables, etc.). That was solved by row versioning. (We were shooting ourselves in the feet).

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never had the need to reach out to the vendor.

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

Yes I did use another solution previously. The switch was mainly for the performance. Secondly, it was for the technology compatibility.

How was the initial setup?

It was very straightforward. There was no complexity which I couldn’t handle.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I’m not a "product" fan. I try to use "the" product which will comply smoothly with the software I’m working on.

What other advice do I have?

I’ve been working on Microsoft SQL Server since 2005, and currently I’m using SQL Server 2014 in my development environment and SQL Server 2012 in the production environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Systems Analyst/DBA at Vecima Networks
Real User
Leaderboard
A relational database system that is critical for storing reporting data

What is our primary use case?

The primary use of SQL Server is to store and retrieve data.  If you go into the extra features that come with your license, you can also do reporting, analytics and ETL.

What is most valuable?

Everything is valuable. It is a relational database system which is critical for storing reporting data or any data that is highly relate-able. Plus your data is one of the most important assets in your company.  Might as well have a good system to protect it.

How has it helped my organization?

In a manufacturing system, storing test data in an Excel file has limitations in how much data can be stored at one time and how many people can manipulate the data at one time. Storing it in SQL Server allows you to store as much data as you have disk space for. It can be viewed and modified by multiple people at one time.

What needs improvement?

Setting up some of the more complex systems could be simpler. Things like service broker can be tricky to set up for the inexperienced.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability seems very good. I have not seen any issues with this.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not run into scalability issues. It feels very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not needed to contact technical support for this product

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

I did not use a previous solution. I have heard of other companies using Microsoft Access or Excel for similar problems. However, after hearing the headaches they have, I would not recommend those for large scale projects.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, but configuration post-install can be complex. Complexity comes from attempting to optimize it and implementing some of the new features that come in new versions.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it entirely in-house.  

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

Pricing and licensing is based on a per core and/or per-processor license. Try to keep these low, but keep it above four. (Four is the minimum number of cores.) If you are working mostly with OLTP, make sure your single thread CPU speeds are high.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options. The other options lacked support, lacked performance, or were too expensive.

What other advice do I have?

If you don't have a DBA on site, hiring a consultant is recommended to help get things setup and configured. This will reduce headaches down the line.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Software Architect at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Enabled us to use an Agile approach to the design and implementation of DW solutions.

What is most valuable?

  • SQL Server Integration Services tools
  • Data Quality Services tools
  • Master Data Services tools
  • SQL Server Reporting Services tools
  • Data Partitioning (Horizontal Partitioning) tools
  • ColumnStore Indices
  • In-Memory OLTP tables

How has it helped my organization?

We design and implement DW solutions with SS 2016 Dev Ed tools. This solution has given us high levels of productivity, which has allowed us to use an Agile approach to the design and implementation of DW solutions for our customers, and this Agile approach has in turn given us a competitive advantage in our market.

We have also started exploring the use of Microsoft R Client, MS R Services and MS R Server with SQL Server 2016 Dev Ed, which are part of the hosted Data Science package.

We are also looking forward the inclusion of Python support in SQL Server 2017 for said hosted Data Science package.

We are very interested in complementing DW solutions with Data Science and Machine Learning solutions, which could be a major plus for our existing DW customers, even though all hosted data science tools are only available in Enterprise Ed (for our customers), which again presents the same limiting factor (budget) already mentioned.

Having said that, we see that the potential that the hosted Data Science tools offer to some of our customers is large enough to be explored and considered on a case by case basis, with proper ROI analysis.

What needs improvement?

We do not have much to complain about SS 2016 Dev Ed in itself, we do have some complaints regarding licensing for SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Ed. In an emerging market like Argentina, it is very steep for our customers to pay U$S 28,000 or more on licensing for an instance of SS 2016 Enterprise Ed, and this poses a limiting factor to our growth.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SS 2016 Dev Ed for a few months so far, but have been using the previous version (SS 2014 Dev Ed) for more than two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The deployment tools for DW solutions in both 2014 and 2016 editions of SQL Server are part of the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) package. As SSDT is based on Visual Studio, this toolset has been very stable since its inception, both in terms of performance as well as in terms of functionality, so, deployment in 2016 is done in the same way as in 2014, which translates into no issues during deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues, even though the Dev Ed does not offer the same level of performance and scalability that the equivalent Enterprise Ed offers.

Pertaining to the hosted Data Science package that we have been exploring, we have found an important increase in scalability when comparing the performance of a given solution running as hosted, and the same solution running on the same server with only client R tools.

This scalability advantage presents itself as an important reason to consider these tools as a viable solution to some of our DW customers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

As usual, MS offers a very good customer service. The amount of resources (self-study materials, online courses, tutorials) is huge, most of it is free.

Paid customer service is also very good.

Technical Support:

Paid tech support is very good and efficient.

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

I have always used DW tools from Microsoft since SQL Server 2000.

How was the initial setup?

If prior to the setup you do the proper training, there are no issues with setup, but the learning curve is wide and tall.

You could get started fast and sure if you stick to the many Wizards included with the tools, but the scope of said Wizards is limited.

What about the implementation team?

We did not have deployment/implementation issues.

What was our ROI?

Since SS 2014 Dev Ed, MS is offering these tools free of charge, ROI mainly is focused around training investment. As I have said, we do the training in-house. ROI is around one year (12 months).

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

No issues with pricing and licensing for SS 2016 Dev Ed, as it is free of charge, as mentioned above, the thorny issue with pricing and licensing is with customers. We do our best to design DW solutions that can cover reqs from our customers within the capabilities of SS 2016 Standard Ed.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The cost-benefit ratio offered by Microsoft's DW solutions is, by a long shot, much more convenient for our customers (small and medium companies) than solutions from other vendors, hands down.

What other advice do I have?

Consider the ROI (most training investment). If training is not in-house, only hire training from an official Microsoft Training Center in your region. Look for the best Training Center. Once you are done with the training, you can start taking customers for DW projects.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I teach MOC courses on the design and implementation of DW solutions with the aforementioned tools.
it_user718458
Corporate Data and BI Lead - Database Administrator at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Provides An Easy Way To Monitor And Troubleshoot Problems

What is most valuable?

Most of SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions. They are easy to configure and maintain.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides the best performance and an easy way to monitor and troubleshoot problems.

What needs improvement?

Indexing, execution plans, and the SQL Server Management Studio performance.

For how long have I used the solution?

Over seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

Medium.

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

No.

How was the initial setup?

Complex design, easy configuration.

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

What is most valuable?

Most of SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions. They are easy to configure and maintain.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides the best performance and an easy way to monitor and troubleshoot problems.

What needs improvement?

Indexing, execution plans, and the SQL Server Management Studio performance.

For how long have I used the solution?

Over seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

Medium.

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

No.

How was the initial setup?

Complex design, easy configuration.

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

It is not very expensive and is suitable for an international company, like what I am working with. Free licenses are suitable for small companies, too.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

Stable and easy to administrate.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user715902
CEO and Founder at a tech services company
Consultant
For Mission Critical Systems, Data Warehouses, And Big Data Solutions.

What is most valuable?

Performance improvements, optimizer enhancements. Most of our clients have high demands for performance, and this version of SQL Server delivers what we need.

How has it helped my organization?

We are a professional services company, so we use SQL Server to help our clients achieve their goals. Our clients use SQL Server 2016 for their most demanding mission critical systems, for data warehouses, and big data solutions.

What needs improvement?

The Query Store is a good start, but I expect the query processor to be a lot smarter and to use machine learning in order to improve and adjust execution plans automatically.

For how long have I used the solution?

One year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Since we are working with a lot of clients on many edge cases, we encounter bugs and stability issues once in a while, but these are rare.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you know how to work with the product and leverage its various features and possibilities, then you can achieve great scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft offers several levels of technical support, which is OK, but not too good. But there is a wonderful community with lots of resources on the internet, so most issues can be solved without contacting Microsoft support.

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

No, I have been using SQL Server for the past 20 years.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very clear and friendly. It has improved from the previous version.

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

Unfortunately, SQL Server licensing is a very complex topic. I advise people to consult with a licensing expert.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

Download the Developer Edition for free, install it on your personal computer (it’s very easy), and start exploring. If you need help with something, just search for it on the internet, and you’ll find a wealth of resources about everything you need.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Management Trainee for Training at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
It solved really complex situations

What is most valuable?

  • Net integration is best for me
  • Better optimizer
  • Ease of use (admin tools)

How has it helped my organization?

We used this to solve many complex problems.

What needs improvement?

Overall, trying to make over with Oracle, it can be improved in usage for high data migration companies of large scale.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have experience using both the versions of SQL Server 2008, 2012 for more than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Never had issues with stability, may be we were handling structured data well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, federal vs clusters approach explains you well that you can search for them.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support rating would be around a seven and a half out of 10.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is easy as what we want the database to do for our problems, compared to Oracle latest versions you need to spend more time on the initial setting up where these cannot go wrong with partitioning and indexing and it needs to be perfect.

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

Go for SQL and compare it with pricing and stability with other Microsoft products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Definitely yes, with Oracle only if the needed situations cannot be met, mostly it covers better.

What other advice do I have?

Best practices are the always a better choice for implementing the solution, hire a good expert and consult a better person with huge experience in architecting database systems for decades.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
DBA de Desenvolvimento at a tech services company
Consultant
Review about SQL ServerGreat product. Like any software, a good and prepared staff is the key to success

What is most valuable?

The way the product shows the execution plan and the facility to the developer and tests the SQL code.

How has it helped my organization?

The product is used in the core systems. It has been used since the beginning.

What needs improvement?

Better execution plans and better debugging. Improved dependency of use of temporary tables to reach good performance in complex SQL.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used this solution for six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes the cross-database performance isn't the best.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

An eight out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I

What is most valuable?

The way the product shows the execution plan and the facility to the developer and tests the SQL code.

How has it helped my organization?

The product is used in the core systems. It has been used since the beginning.

What needs improvement?

Better execution plans and better debugging.

Improved dependency of use of temporary tables to reach good performance in complex SQL.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used this solution for six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes the cross-database performance isn't the best.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

An eight out of 10.

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

I have used Oracle and I also use IBM DB2. All of them have pros and cons.

How was the initial setup?

No.

What other advice do I have?

Great product. Like any software, a good and prepared staff is the key to success.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Data Analyst at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
We're able to easily upscale previous systems to provide an efficient interface for our internal clients to do their jobs effectively

What is most valuable?

The ability to organize and structure our data in order to extract and provide it to various products and systems within our organization. It is widely used and has great online support from many third-party sites.

How has it helped my organization?

We're able to easily upscale previous systems to provide an efficient interface for our internal clients to do their jobs effectively.

What needs improvement?

Learning SQL could be easier. Some inbuilt tools to enable faster query writing would be very useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used various versions for at least 25 years, on and off.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, none.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When upsizing, some tools do not do a very good job of scaling efficiently and lots of after tweaks need to be made.

How are customer service and technical support?

From Microsoft -- poor/very expensive, but there are many other helpful resources out there.

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

Used MS Access, but data ports became too large for it to support, so we needed a product to take us to the next level as our data ports grew.

How was the initial setup?

A lot of initial reading was required to carefully manage the process of setting everything up correctly.

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

Not my area.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No, others evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Do your homework first and be prepared for a tough learning curve.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
CEO/CTO at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
A useful feature is the ability to write and execute SQL on the fly

What is most valuable?

Probably the most useful feature of SQL Server is the ability to write and execute SQL on the fly.

Even though there are some very useful features on Oracle, MySQL, and other platforms, the SQL Server by far has the most robust capabilities of any database platform.

In my experience with numerous coding languages and platforms, the SQL Server has the only programming language that allows the user to create, compile, and execute code in its own language.

To clarify, Java, .NET, PL/SQL and all other programming languages can dynamically create code, but not their own. In other words, Java can dynamically create SQL and execute it, but it cannot create Java and compile/execute.

Other great features are:

  • Passing tables as parameters
  • Table valued functions
  • Horizontal table partitioning
  • Very granular disk partitioning

How has it helped my organization?

The most recent example is a data warehouse I've created for a client that enables us to use a "no-SQL" construct. This is only possible due to the dynamic SQL capability.

Our client collects data from dozens of sources with little to no commonality between them. With other platforms, this would require a table for each data source. However, because of the dynamic SQL, we have three tables that will accommodate ANY data source and it will never require us to change the data warehouse schema.

As a result, maintenance is virtually zero.

What needs improvement?

The only real improvement I've been looking for is finally being addressed by Microsoft.

Since SQL Server only ran on Windows, it was not competitive with other platforms which could run on Linux. This has recently been realized with the release of SQL Server for Linux. I currently have the pre-release version and I'm very impressed with what they have so far.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SQL Server for 17 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with stability. None at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with scalability. I have been able to create databases with billions of records with no degradation in performance. The partitioning has been a critical feature in enabling scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

In my experience with their support, I would rate it as outstanding. Their techs are professional and extremely helpful.

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

I typically use whatever database platform my client uses. However, whenever I am provided with the option to choose, I will always go with SQL Server.

How was the initial setup?

In older versions, the setup was rather onerous. However, in the latest several releases, it has been extremely simple to install and set up.

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

Do the research and get the correct licensing model for your given purpose. A lot of people gravitate toward the Open Source databases because they don't have an upfront cost.

I find that what you don't pay upfront is what you have to invest in development and maintenance time on implementation. On far too many occasions, I have spent weeks writing code for features that SQL Server already has built in.

Either pay for the licensing cost or pay multiple times that for the labor involved in creating features, from scratch, that are native to products like SQL Server and Oracle.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have a good deal of knowledge on SQL Server, and Oracle, MySQL. I have some familiarity with DB2 and PostgreSQL. The database platform chosen will ultimately depend on the needs of the client.

What other advice do I have?

Look very closely at the built-in features. For those features that you may need, estimate what it would take to replicate that same functionality on the "free" products.

The comparison is not on the licensing cost. It's on the features and the license cost versus the labor cost.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Leonardo de Andrade
Brazil IT Coordinator at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
You can share the results of an integration without having to share the file. The performance could be better.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the easy installation. The user just needs to know how to read.

How has it helped my organization?

The SQL Server is helping us with the most feared corporate problem: Excel spreadsheets. The individual user can perform an integration and share the same results with others without the necessity to "share" the file. This reduces the data traffic on my company network.

What needs improvement?

Table partition and memory management. The performance could be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for more than 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The SQL Server has a big issue when some systems use Java as a primary software interface. This database loses the ability to manage memory, consequently locking the processes and losing performance in the execution of some robust queries.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Unfortunately, this database doesn't have a good concept of partition table. If you need to create monthly (Jan. to Dec.) partitions in one table, this action creates 12 different files for the same table. In others databases, this process is more transparent and capable to create partitions inside the same database.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support team for the SQL Server is very friendly, if we compare with others commercial database products. Not only with Microsoft, but this database has more technical information published on the internet, books, and self-taught users to help.

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

I am still using other commercial solutions, but the price of this database is much less expensive than others. It is about four times less expensive.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is one of the good things about MS SQL. It is very easy to do and start the development that you need to use after the installation.

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

In my point of view, the MS SQL is the most inexpensive database commercial solution. If do you need to build a consistent ERP for example, with a medium to hard capability, and don't have much budget to spend it, this is your solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Of course, I evaluated other options! I never choose the first option and I always try to look around to find competitive vendor options. I already know and have expertise with IBM/DB2 and Oracle solutions. For this new architecture, MS SQL was the best option at the moment for being a pilot project.

What other advice do I have?

I suggest that you are first familiar with the bundle functions and plan some of the functions before starting the project. Find more information about the routines and how easy or hard it might be to start the development when you are thinking about cascade and constraints.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Scott Albritton
Applications Business Intelligence Analyst at a aerospace/defense firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Just like a Windows PC needs basic defragmentation maintenance to run effectively, SQL Server needs its own regular maintenance.

What is most valuable?

There are many, but I would have to say the two most important for me have been SQL Server Profiler -- to run traces and the ability to kill sessions in the enterprise manager tool. This command-based functionality lets you search and sort through processes actively running on the system to find your i/o hog – that is the user that is overloading the database either through a hung query or bad SQL code.

Once the hog user is found, the terminate or “kill” command can be used to shut down the hanging transaction. Similar to how clearing a vehicle crash on the interstate frees up waiting traffic, this kill command gives other users the ability to continue work as normal once the terminated transaction has been killed. This should be used sparingly though since it can cause waiting applications to corrupt data depending on how the application was written, but it is an often used research feature when a system starts to overload or show major signs of slowing.

How has it helped my organization?

In an effort to forego a data warehouse purchase, one company I worked with used a second SQL Server instance loaded to separate hardware as a reporting environment avoiding the need to hire additional employees to support a data warehouse. Essentially, the production database was snapshot and copied nightly to the reporting instance where it was restored through automated processes.

All employees who wrote queries and reports against the reporting instance utilized the same knowledge, skillset and tools already used in the OLTP production environment. While it didn’t have all the abilities of a true data warehouse, it was quickly implemented and well served for the desired purpose.

What needs improvement?

Multiple operating systems support should improve. The ongoing and newly marketed support for Linux and Unix environments running SQL Server is a big win for Microsoft, in my opinion.

Previous hold back related to open source environments stemmed from admins or management who would not run SQL Server for various reasons which many times boiled down to not liking Microsoft as a company.

Open source and Microsoft have conflicted in the open source world for years, but I think Microsoft is finally starting to turn that tide in an effort to compete with other vendors.

For how long have I used the solution?

20 years. I began as a Microsoft Access database programmer in 1998 connecting early dynamic intranet websites to Access backend databases.

I later progressed to the SQL Server 2000 environment and have utilized SQL Server ever since then.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Issues encountered with stability were always correctable assuming we as a business were willing to spend money. The two major issues that come to mind were slowing of image files loading to disk using SQL Server and lack of proper indexing.

Images were archived for a 30 year legal period at a rate of at least 12 million per year and we eventually just hit a max depth of data where SQL Server had a hard time returning results. Shortening the physical file path structure of how deep SQL Server had to dig through the hard drive in addition to changing to new and improved disk technologies resolved the problem.

After this drive change occurred, a separate problem started where our database came to a crawl which is when we realized our regularly scheduled database index had not been updated to accommodate the new structure changes. A new index was put in place which is when SQL Server started humming along better than ever.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Microsoft makes life easy to expand your environment through clustering tools and after-hours operational scheduling features. SQL Server is easily suited for small businesses where it found huge popularity, but daily operations can sometimes be overlooked as the business grows causing intermittent operational kinks. I have seen a few small businesses determine that a slowing or overloaded SQL Server environment means they should look at more enterprise level databases, which is simply not the case.

Just like a Windows PC needs basic defragmentation maintenance to run effectively, SQL Server needs its own regular maintenance. There are many options available to improve the performance of SQL Server including the simple add-on clustering features which will balance excess load on the server.

In addition, database indexes need to either be created or re-indexed periodically. A database does not automatically know how an application was designed although it’s very good at trying to guess using built-in scheme mapping software. Creating indexes and related maintenance schedules specific to your environment can make a huge difference in how quickly SQL Server responds to data requests.

Disk partitions are another method for improvement. No matter how well SQL Server software is configured, it is limited by the hardware level. Underlying disk usage grows as data grows meaning the more data you add to the database results in the longer it will take for the database to find data on-disk. That’s when it’s time to either spread data across many independent disk sets or move to more expensive flash drives which save time by avoiding read & write disk operations.

These options, of course, require time, effort, and money, but they have been well worth the costs of doing business based on my experience.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have only had to call Microsoft support 5 times in my nearly 20-year career, but they were extremely helpful. The one frustrating experience was 10 years ago when I worked over the phone 8 hours straight with 3 separate techs from the India location. Keep in mind, these were days pre-remote support meaning I had to verbally translate every diagnostic error I was seeing on the screen and assume the tech was clear on the meaning. The techs I worked with were extremely nice and tried hard to help, but I reached my frustration level due to the verbal language barrier.

The senior tech, who I spent the most time working with, had an extremely thick accent and was hard to understand. I could tell he had hit a dead-end on his knowledge of the product so I finally asked to be transferred to a specialist in America. Once I found the right person in the US, my problem was resolved within an hour.

In hindsight, I knew the senior tech was lost at the 6-hour mark, so I should have spoken up then, but he never complained and kept trying different solutions, which is good on Microsoft’s part.

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

My team and I have tried many different technologies including MySQL (cheap but effective), Oracle (expensive and effective), PostgreSQL, and DB2. I never jumped on the PostgreSQL or DB2 train, but could not give you a specific reason why due to my limited knowledge of the products. It usually came down to lack of knowledge for available programmers in our area, meaning we would have to train new hires and take a lot of time getting them familiar with a new database structure. That defaulted us to either Oracle or SQL Server since MySQL was not used in production at the time due to limitations surrounding support.

Oracle owns MySQL these days and they, of course, would prefer you run full fledged Oracle database for support needs. Oracle’s supremely expensive licensing has normally pushed me and coworkers to Microsoft SQL Server although every organization I have worked with pays for some form of Oracle even though SQL Server is primarily touching end users.

I personally feel Oracle is a great database but also think Microsoft SQL Server can be configured to run just as well as Oracle in most cases. The problem I normally find is that many bloated applications run SQL Server where more streamlined (and many times less functional) applications run Oracle. For that reason primarily, Oracle has had a better reputation in the pre-Amazon world.

This could all change in the years to come as Microsoft starts to fight Amazon and Google in cloud processing.

How was the initial setup?

Creating a SQL Server instance using the pre-installed GUI setup screen available in either Visual Studio or Enterprise Manager can be very simple to create and maintain database “instances” making it a prime choice for small startup businesses.

In addition, Microsoft has added loads of training videos on their website along with step-by-step instructions for creating and maintaining servers. The user can get as complex as desired in SQL Server by learning all the behind-the-scenes commands the GUI is using. You will start researching commands quickly once the first SQL Server error occurs and the GUI doesn’t know how to resolve it.

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

For the most part, what you see is what you get with Microsoft’s licensing website. I sat through many hours of negotiations with many database and application vendors. Some application vendors try negotiating a better deal based on their licensed volume, but only twice have I seen Microsoft cater to lower licensing and it was because they wanted to make long-term wins with the customer knowing they had the possibility of gaining market share.

That said, Microsoft is still usually cheaper than Oracle who will sometimes look cheaper to start with but add the possibility of higher long term rates. Asking for a discount can never hurt.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

MySQL (now owned by Oracle) is sometimes used internally for dynamic website needs, but Oracle is the only competitor evaluated for SQL Server.

What other advice do I have?

Start in the cloud if feasibly possible and if it makes sense for your business. I have mostly worked with organizations that still don’t trust the cloud for security and legal reasons, but Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are releasing promising products in the cloud that are leaps and bounds ahead of processing power for local servers assuming your organization is willing to pay what it takes. I have priced cloud services enough to know they’re expensive, but they could replace a lot of unknowns for growing businesses or those starting from scratch; mainly network security, redundancy and technical skillset of employees.

Cloud services have full-time employees focusing on those niches meaning you as an employer will have less headaches at night.

According to CNBC and Synergy Research Group as of this writing, Amazon AWS leads 33% of global cloud market share. That may sound like a small number, but it’s by far the majority of customers since Amazon’s AWS cloud revenue is more than the next five providers combined. Two of those 5 providers are Microsoft and Google.

And for those of you new to the cloud, you do have the ability to run Microsoft products, including Microsoft SQL Server, in the AWS cloud.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Technical lead/Senior embedded software engineer at a wireless company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
I've used SQL Server​ for most of the solutions I worked for, from web crawlers to logistic platforms and medical devices

What is most valuable?

Database Engine

Integration Services

Reporting Services

How has it helped my organization?

I am a Senior Software Engineer. I've used SQL Server for most of the solutions that I worked with, from web crawlers to logistic platforms and medical devices.

What needs improvement?

  • The Server Objects area of SQL Server Management Studio
  • The SQL Server Configuration Manager

For how long have I used the solution?

Over 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, I encountered issues only when using the Express editions during the development. SQL Server, generally speaking, is stable also in high transaction environments.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, I encountered issues in the CPU intensive application, like web crawlers. It was difficult to reach the desired scalability through the fine tuning options available.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is good. The knowledge base is very good.

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

I have experience with Sybase SQL Anywhere .

I switched mainly because the SQL Server is widely deployed and known, for better XML support, and for better integration with .NET framework and its related technologies.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward for most of the installation, thanks to the wizards.

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

I am not a direct purchaser, so I don’t know.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

SAP/Sybase SQL Anywhere for the small footprint which makes it suitable for embedded solutions.

SAP/Sybase SQL Anywhere for the built-in synchronization technologies available.

What other advice do I have?

Improve the built-in database replication technologies.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Business Intelligence and Decision Support Team Leader at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We’ve been using SQL Server for 17 years

What is most valuable?

It’s easy to develop and learn for newbies, and community MVP’s are so powerful and qualified, so info is easily accessible.

Also, SQL Server is not only a DBMS solution anymore, it is also a BI platform, and improvements are being made continuously.

How has it helped my organization?

SQL Server is our main RDBMS for SIS (Student Information System) and also our DWH, which are hosted on our SQL Server.

What needs improvement?

Version management, editor capabilities, CDC (change date capture), and some advanced analytic functions should be added; continuous integration solutions.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve been developing with MS SQL Server for nearly 20 years, since Version 6.5.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not in this version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, we did, with the 2008 version.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a yearly technical support agreement with a major partner. Consultant meetings are a requirement.

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

No. We’ve been using SQL Server for 17 years.

How was the initial setup?

We’ve been using AlwaysOn availability groups for three years. It took a while to model the structure, but now it is stabilized, and safe with disaster recovery and failover configurations.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It was years ago, so it’s not relevant info anymore.

What other advice do I have?

Database modeling and indexing best practices are so important. Do not defer to implement these practices. Before installation, planning different file groups for temp, data, and index files will help to gain performance and maintenance advantages.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user280197
BI Solution Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
The database engine is one of the most valuable components of the platform.

What is most valuable?

The database engine within SQL Server 2014 is one of the most valuable components of the platform to me.

The engine provides a solid and efficient database backend for any relational database requirement, performance is strong and there are options such as table, index partitioning and columnstore indexes that enhance the scalability of the platform.

In addition to the database engine, I would also highlight the built-in integration services platform (SSIS) for ETL purposes as well as the Reporting and Analysis Services functionality (SSRS and SSAS respectively).

One of the key features that I would use regularly to support the delivery of a Data Warehouse solution would be the Master Data Services (MDS). This is an extendable Master Data Management platform that works very well out-of-the- box.

How has it helped my organization?

As an IT Services organization, our companies have used this product in dozens of customer deliveries for solutions such as ERP applications, Data and Analytics solutions, and more. We also use the product internally as the backend for some of our most important operational systems.

What needs improvement?

The user interface to the web frontend of MDS could be more intuitive and the Analysis Services platform has not evolved much in recent times, these are the two things that come to mind.

For how long have I used the solution?

This specific version (2014), I have used for approximately three years. However, I use other versions of the software on a regular basis, such as 2012 and 2016.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft has a solid support structure for the SQL Server platform and I’ve always been provided with a good service.

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

We used a combination of RDBMS platforms and we still do in addition to this solution.

How was the initial setup?

The installation and configuration was very straightforward. The full setup typically takes less than one day.

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

The Enterprise license includes features that enrich the product experience as well as performance and scalability options. Choose this over the standard license where possible.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We reviewed many RDBMS platforms for suitability depending on the requirements of the customers. We would also use the likes of Oracle 12c and Amazon RDS.

What other advice do I have?

Install a trial version as soon as you can and give it a try.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company (Version 1) is a Microsoft Gold Partner. We are also an Oracle Platinum Partner as well as Amazon, etc.
ITCS user
IT Consultant & IT Project Manager Assistant with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
SSIS, SSRS, and DB help in everything.

What is most valuable?

The SSIS, SSRS, and DB are the most valuable features because they help in everything.

How has it helped my organization?

There is improvement in the performances and stability.

What needs improvement?

SSIS needs improvement.

I think that it should be easier in managing SQL packages, especially when we have multiple environments. With Kerberos Authentication, we had different issues on this and sometimes, we needed Microsoft Support too. Thus, a better and an organized SQL package review is needed.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When using HA (high availability), we experienced some stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is the best, I would give them a 10/10 rating.

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

We were using a few other solutions such as MySQL, Oracle and Pervasive PSQL.

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

It’s okay as compared to the features that it has.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated the Oracle solution.

What other advice do I have?

If you want stability, then choose the best.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Pre-Sales/System Architect at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
MSP
Top 10
Provides many ways to help us organize data and process information.

What is most valuable?

The Microsoft SQL Server is a great and powerful data storage capable to provide many functionalities starts on free version until the power with BI resource and mirroring.

How has it helped my organization?

MS SQL is a recognized data tool, it provides many ways to help us organize data and process information.

What needs improvement?

MS SQL need to improve the big data functions and also own market share.

For how long have I used the solution?

since 1999

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

few problems

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

no

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

i didn't use it like admin, i don't know.

How are customer service and technical support?

great product …

What is most valuable?

The Microsoft SQL Server is a great and powerful data storage capable to provide many functionalities starts on free version until the power with BI resource and mirroring.

How has it helped my organization?

MS SQL is a recognized data tool, it provides many ways to help us organize data and process information.

What needs improvement?

MS SQL need to improve the big data functions and also own market share.

For how long have I used the solution?

since 1999

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

few problems

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

no

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

i didn't use it like admin, i don't know.

How are customer service and technical support?

great product

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

Oracle, some times i used others solutions, but working by compatibility.

How was the initial setup?

easy.

What was our ROI?

never calculate.

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

according you need

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Albeez
IT Director at DAR AL ARKAN
Real User
Top 10
The AlwaysOn feature ensures database availability, even when one of the servers is down.

What is most valuable?

Apart from the standard SQL database-related features, the 2012 version enables the AlwaysOn functionality which enables two or more SQL Servers that can be clustered, with heartbeat across geographic locations along with high availability failover and 99.9999% uptime.

How has it helped my organization?

We have deployed three instances of the SQL Server, i.e., two at the primary datacenter and one at the disaster recovery facility. The AlwaysOn feature has ensured 100% database availability, even when one of the servers is down without any performance issues for the end user.

What needs improvement?

The Always ON (High Availability) functionality is support only with the MS SQL enterprise edition. It would be beneficial to many if this feature were also made available in the Standard Edition.

For how long have I used the solution?

I am using the SQL Server for more than 10 years and the 2012 version, I have been using since the last five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no stability issues. If the initial configuration is done correctly, there are no issues. If the other servers are connected at remote locations, then the connectivity performance plays a vital role and it should be 10-15 ms for best results.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have received excellent support from Microsoft and the local partners.

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

In the earlier versions, we used log shipping to the other servers for the failover and replication requirements. With this version, all the servers are Active/Active and there is no issue related to the availability or failover.

How was the initial setup?

The basic installation is simple, whereas rest of the clustering requires an expert skill level for the configuration and deployment.

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

When comparing the Standard Edition to the Enterprise, it is expensive but the performance and features meet with the ROI and TCO. Thus, overall, it minimizes the redundant servers, multiple backup copies, the risk of non-availability of the latest copy at the disaster recovery.

What other advice do I have?

The latest 2016 version has many more new features and functionalities, if you have the Enterprise Level Agreement and subscription model, you can upgrade to the latest version.

The Always ON (High Availability) functionality is support only with the MS SQL enterprise edition. It will be beneficial to many, if this feature is available in Standard Edition.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Aimee White
Info Sec Consultant at Size 41 Digital
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
High availability/failover clustering makes DR straightforward.
Where to start? Great range of admin tools (far outnumbers MYSQL) - I like the database tuning tools  Nice BI tools and integration ability.  Evolves quickly due to the monster support from MS Integrates with the rest of MS products (this is a plus and a minus, of course) Scalable - a few MBs up to petabytes.  High availability/failover clustering makes DR straightforward. Own reporting services - if you can't report on it, it's hard to manage.  Problems include - is it an MS product? Then licensing can be a pain if they do an audit.  Also, with AWS's offerings becoming so easy to set up, scale, and work at great speed, MS SQL probably needs to up its game massively if they are ever going to keep up, let alone fully compete with Amazon's database suite.

Where to start?

Great range of admin tools (far outnumbers MYSQL) - I like the database tuning tools 
Nice BI tools and integration ability. 


Evolves quickly due to the monster support from MS
Integrates with the rest of MS products (this is a plus and a minus, of course)
Scalable - a few MBs up to petabytes. 
High availability/failover clustering makes DR straightforward.

Own reporting services - if you can't report on it, it's hard to manage. 

Problems include - is it an MS product? Then licensing can be a pain if they do an audit. 

Also, with AWS's offerings becoming so easy to set up, scale, and work at great speed, MS SQL probably needs to up its game massively if they are ever going to keep up, let alone fully compete with Amazon's database suite.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Software Architect at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Provides data quality services tools and In-Memory OLTP tables.

What is most valuable?

SQL Server integration services tools

Data quality services tools

Master data services tools

SQL Server reporting services tools

Data partitioning (horizontal partitioning) tools

ColumnStore indexes

In-memory OLTP tables

How has it helped my organization?

We design and implement data warehouse solutions with SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition tools. This solution has:

Given us high levels of productivity

Allowed us to use an agile approach to the design and implementation of data warehouse solutions for our customers

Given us a competitive advantage in our market

What needs improvement?

We do not have much to complain about SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition in itself.

We do have some complaints regarding licensing. In an emerging market like Argentina, it is very steep for our customers to pay USD 28,000 or more on licensing for an instance of SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition. This poses a limiting factor to our growth.


For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for a few months so far. We have been using the previous version (SQL Server 2014 Developer Edition) for more than two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We did not encounter any deployment issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not encounter any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter any scalability issues. This is the case even though the Developers Edition does not offer the same level of performance and scalability that the equivalent Enterprise Edition offers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

As usual, Microsoft offers very good customer service. The amount of resources (self-study materials, online courses, and tutorials) is huge and most of it is free. Paid customer service is also very good.

Technical Support:

Paid technical support is very good and efficient.

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

I have used data warehouse tools from Microsoft since SQL Server 2000.

How was the initial setup?

If you do the proper training prior to the setup, there will be no issues. However, the learning curve is wide and tall.

You could get started fast and sure if you stick to the many wizards included with the tools. However, the scope of those said wizards is limited.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented with an in-house team only, with proper, prior training that was also done in-house.

What was our ROI?

Since SQL Server 2014 Developer Edition, Microsoft has been offering these tools free of charge. The ROI is mainly focused around training investment. We do the training in-house, so the ROI is around one year.

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

We have no issues with pricing and licensing for SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition, as it is free of charge. The thorny issue is with pricing and licensing with customers.

We do our best to design data warehouse solutions that can cover requirements from our customers within the capabilities of SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The cost-benefit ratio offered by Microsoft's data warehouse solutions is, by a long shot, much more convenient for our customers, small and medium sized companies, than solutions from other vendors.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is focused on companies that develop and offer data warehouse solutions for customers that use SQL Server. Consider the ROI, which is mostly training investment (for the Developer Edition). If training is not done in-house, only hire training from an official Microsoft training center in your region. Look for the best training center. Once you are done with the training, you can start taking customers for data warehouse projects.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Prakash Somasundaran
Project Advisor at A private sector Company
Real User
The MSBI features SSAS, SSIS as well as SSRS together, has enabled us to build a data warehouse for our Enterprise.

What is most valuable?

I would rate MS SQL Server 4/5 for its ease of administration,rich features, Nice GUI support for all its complex features.

Valuable features include:

1.Management Studio (Nice GUI support for all its complex features.)

2.Hot add CPU

3.Configure Dynamic memory also configure MIN and MAX memory.( Very flexible)

4.Replication ( Very Simple).

5.Clustering (The best high availability feature available among all
its compitators due to its robustness and scalability).

6.SSIS ( Very rich).

7.In memory OLTP in SQL Server 2012

8.Always On (High Availability) in SQL Server 2012

9.SQL Server Profiler

10.DMVs

How has it helped my organization?

The MSBI features SSAS, SSIS as well as SSRS together has enabled us to build a data warehouse for our Enterprise with Business Intelligence reports around the data. We have fully exploited its all complex features like Slowly Changing Dimensions in SSIS etc.

What needs improvement?

I am not sure if these areas have been taken care in SQL 2012 but areas for improvement include:

1.In SQL 2008 ,Data encryption is not a fully mature feature.Encryption works fine for individual rows.For handling a batch a for loop has to be written.This is not straight forward.
2.Horizontal partitioning is not a fully mature feature.In horizontal partitioning Partition key has to be part of primary key.This becomes difficult to implement in already existing database.

For how long have I used the solution?

14 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No not at all.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Good.

Technical Support:

Good. We have had only a few issues.

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

We were a Microsoft shop (.NET, Share point etc) primarily, hence using MS SQL Server 2008.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented through in-house.

What other advice do I have?

1. Find out the right licensing mode you require (Comes with different options CAL/Server and # of CPUs and Virtualisation).

2. Use the Enterprise lincencing or Standard edition or Web according to your need.

3.Make use of SQL Server Clustering or LOg Shipping high availability solution, the best you can find.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Enterprise Architect with 51-200 employees
Vendor
We're able to create an end-to-end automated BI platform, but we'd prefer hosting multidimensional OLAP instances with Tabular rather than the either/or installation.

What is most valuable?

  • Business intelligence platform
  • Analysis services (multidimensional and tabular)
  • Relational database features
  • Data extraction and transformation (integration services)

How has it helped my organization?

It provides the ability to create an end-to-end automated BI platform through data management and provisioning, transformation and publication.

Data platform development process improvement: Integrating the features of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server data projects for SQL Server development. Allows for smooth operation between development environments in conjunction with an agile process to release database changes.

What needs improvement?

Hosting multidimensional OLAP instances in conjunction with Tabular, rather than the either/or installation.

OLAP multidimensional ongoing maintenance - automated partitioning or interface for streamlining the mechanism within the cube and data layers.

Integration Services: There is a great deal of room for improvement here in that thepackages are the least extensible part of the platform. Even with the feature ofplatform variables, since these are not easily managed and deployed. Our testers have had a great deal of difficulty swapping environments, particularly where the connection information changes (underlying database name, for example). Changing servers with identical database names is less problematic.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it since its release in 2012 until now.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were some avoidable issues, primarily due to a lack of scaling in our own design.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were some avoidable issues, primarily due to a lack of scaling in our own design.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Online information for SQL Server is extensive.

Technical Support:

I did not have the need to contact technical support for any reason.

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

Open Source database and OLAP solution was found to lack stability, and required the installation of many moving parts in order to have a complete stack. These services don't always work together well, and the various online communities would frequently blame the other for issues.

How was the initial setup?

It's straightforward to install a new instance, but more complex if new features are added to an existing instance. Deployment of SQL code is efficient through Visual Studio database project development methodologies.

What about the implementation team?

I have used both in-house, and vendor teams for implementation, both with very high levels of expertise into different aspects of database development.

What was our ROI?

It's very high as the data platform is business-critical.

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

I don’t concentrate on this issue, but rather the necessary features and the version required.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other oprions were evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you have an experienced database administrator to implement the infrastructure of the solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Web Content Editor at a consumer goods company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The most valuable feature for us is SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access.

What is most valuable?

SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access (AccessToSQL).

How has it helped my organization?

We migrated loads of access database into large scale SQL server.

What needs improvement?

Access validation rules and expressions need improvement while converting into SQL Server.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for 10 years, and was using previously older versions and now I'm on the latest one.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We just needed to upgrade Windows.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It was average.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It was average.

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

I previously used Oracle 11G, I switched…

What is most valuable?

SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access (AccessToSQL).

How has it helped my organization?

We migrated loads of access database into large scale SQL server.

What needs improvement?

Access validation rules and expressions need improvement while converting into SQL Server.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for 10 years, and was using previously older versions and now I'm on the latest one.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We just needed to upgrade Windows.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It was average.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It was average.

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

I previously used Oracle 11G, I switched because of less hardware resources were needed to run heavy software.

How was the initial setup?

It's straightforward to do providing you've read the manual.

What about the implementation team?

We did it in-house.

What was our ROI?

It's beneficial in terms of what the business gains from it.

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

It's average to purchase.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also looked at Oracle 11G.

What other advice do I have?

First look into scalability issues before adopting the right product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Engineer at a hospitality company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The High Availability feature provides us with failover if a node becomes unavailable, but it lacks realtime data refresh in SSRS.

Valuable Features:

It's a solution that's always on.

Improvements to My Organization:

It has High Availability, therefore provides failover if a node becomes unavailable.

Room for Improvement:

Few in SSIS Realtime data refresh in SSRS More datasources in Power BI

Valuable Features:

It's a solution that's always on.

Improvements to My Organization:

It has High Availability, therefore provides failover if a node becomes unavailable.

Room for Improvement:

  • Few in SSIS
  • Realtime data refresh in SSRS
  • More datasources in Power BI
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
SAP NetWeaver Implementer at a tech services company
Consultant
With it, we've been able to tune individual queries by optimizing the database server, but the speed is inconsistent.

Valuable Features

It allows for performance tuning to maximize performance. With the enhancements to the tuning wizard indexes are added to the needs of the system structure and use. I find this helps prevent locking of the system.

Improvements to My Organization

It cuts down on the variable speed of queries, and individual queries can be tuned by optimizing the database server.

Room for Improvement

The speed is inconsistent.

Deployment Issues

N/A

Stability Issues

N/A

Scalability Issues

N/A

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service: N/A Technical Support: N/A

Valuable Features

It allows for performance tuning to maximize performance. With the enhancements to the tuning wizard indexes are added to the needs of the system structure and use. I find this helps prevent locking of the system.

Improvements to My Organization

It cuts down on the variable speed of queries, and individual queries can be tuned by optimizing the database server.

Room for Improvement

The speed is inconsistent.

Deployment Issues

N/A

Stability Issues

N/A

Scalability Issues

N/A

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

N/A

Technical Support:

N/A

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user285990
Service Operations Manager at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Its use of hyper-threading causes stability issues, but the higher limits for storage and table management are valuable features.

Valuable Features:

  • Reliability
  • Transaction management
  • Its higher limits for storage and table management

Room for Improvement:

Improvement to synchronous replication. Currently Microsoft's Always-On implementation of synchronous replication is not truly synchronous, as it counts the data to be written to the slave node, when it is written to the LDF file, not when it is committed to the actual database. This cause a problem when you are load balancing transactions across synchronous nodes.

Use of Solution:

I have been using it for over seven years, including 2008 (5/10) and 2012 (6/10) versions. We also have an early release of 2016 (8/10) which I have tested, but it's not in our production environment.

Deployment Issues:

We deploy multiples of these servers now and it is all managed via PowerShell scripts and templates. It does not play nicely with hyper-threading, so we disable this now by default.

Stability Issues:

If there is flapping of Always-On database node, SQL Server will break the replication to the child nodes, and it requires manual intervention to restart replication.

Scalability Issues:

Currently no as we use our own load balancer to enable us to scale to any level.

Initial Setup:

A strong knowledge of AD is a must as well as the ability to decipher MSFT blog posts.

Implementation Team:

We did it in-house.

ROI:

Depending on how the product is used, it will take about 12 months.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Chose your database based on traffic type and desired functionality not on initial cost.

Other Advice:

Take a look at the environment you plan to implement including the application and traffic model. Consider using Azure DB depending on your implementation requirements.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user284160
Freelance at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Running long and complicated queries could make the software crash, but it allowed to me make all kinds of important reports easily.

What is most valuable?

The ability to browse table structures and re-design it easily.

How has it helped my organization?

It improved the efficiency in giving service to clients, and allowed to me make all kinds of important reports easily.

What needs improvement?

The compiler should be much more precise and give you more information about the error.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for two and a half years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Running long and complicated queries could make the software crash. You should run them part by part instead (i.e. with stored procedures).

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues…

What is most valuable?

The ability to browse table structures and re-design it easily.

How has it helped my organization?

It improved the efficiency in giving service to clients, and allowed to me make all kinds of important reports easily.

What needs improvement?

The compiler should be much more precise and give you more information about the error.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for two and a half years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Running long and complicated queries could make the software crash. You should run them part by part instead (i.e. with stored procedures).

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I haven't had to contact them.

Technical Support:

They give quick, and helpful, responses. About 9/10.

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

This was the solution I've used.

How was the initial setup?

It's pretty straightforward, and usually everything goes smoothly. Everything was user-friendly and took me a minimum amount of time to understand how everything works.

What about the implementation team?

We did it in-house.

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

The price is pretty high, buy it's worth getting the license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options were evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Personally, I love Microsoft products and I’m pleased with this one as well. I would advise you to get it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user231318
Associate Consultant with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
​It has enhanced our real time decision making capabilities but SSRS could include some ad hoc reporting.

What is most valuable?

There are lots of features including the analysis, database, and reporting, services. We use it mainly for reporting and analysis purposes.

The components I use are -

  • SSAS 8.5/10
  • SSIS 8/10
  • SSRS 7/10

How has it helped my organization?

It has enhanced our real time decision making capabilities. It ensures we are up to date regarding our customers buying behaviour.

What needs improvement?

  • SSRS should have more capabilities in terms of more ad hoc reporting
  • SSAS multi-dimensional expression queries should be more simple

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for the last five and a half years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

With the latest version, it's very easy and intuitive.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had a stability issue with the SSRS component when we deployed it into the production environment.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not much of an issue to date.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

9/10.

Technical Support:

9/10.

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

We were using a solution from Informatica for ETL purpose, which was 8.5/10, but now we are doing it through SSIS, because it is easy to use and its cost.

How was the initial setup?

The migration was, as always, a hard job, but we were able to migrate successfully.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house.

What was our ROI?

We are pleased with the level of our ROI.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Infrastructure Analyst / Engineer (24x7) at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
The user interface can be improved but its always been reliable and consistent, providing tremendous functionality.

What is most valuable?

  • Reliability
  • Ease of use
  • Extensive Knowledge Base to improve and maintain the product

How has it helped my organization?

The majority of the software frameworks utilised by companies I have supported use SQL Server by Microsoft as the application's database management system. It always been reliable and consistent providing tremendous functionality for many years. 

What needs improvement?

The user interface can be improved through the adoption of the intuitive interaction design of the MS Office 2013 applications.

For how long have I used the solution?

 5 years

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

I previously used MongoDB before the stability of innovative products still remains questionable in both theory and practice. 

What was our ROI?

100%.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
SQL DBA at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
The SSIS or SQL Server Integration Services is a vital component that is associated to the Server.
SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services – Informative Article SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services: Discussed and Explained The concept of Relational Database Management System when brought forward by Microsoft was known as SQL Server. Architecture of SQL is a division where all the components combine and work, both; independently and together. This is done in order to process the services offered, in a defined way. This allows SQL Server to work smoothly. The external SQL Server interface is developed by the Protocol Layer. All the operations conducted on the server are transmitted through a defined format known as the Tabular Data Stream (TDS). Basically, this is an Application Layer Protocol that helps to transfer data between the client and server (database). Some…

SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services – Informative Article

SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services: Discussed and Explained

The concept of Relational Database Management System when brought forward by Microsoft was known as SQL Server. Architecture of SQL is a division where all the components combine and work, both; independently and together. This is done in order to process the services offered, in a defined way. This allows SQL Server to work smoothly.

The external SQL Server interface is developed by the Protocol Layer. All the operations conducted on the server are transmitted through a defined format known as the Tabular Data Stream (TDS). Basically, this is an Application Layer Protocol that helps to transfer data between the client and server (database).

Some other points that in a combination help make SQL an essential database management system for users include the following:

Data Storage

It is a collection of a variety of tables with all sorts of types including; primary types – decimal, integer, float, etc., varchar, and more.

Concurrency and locking:

The server permits users to make use of the SQL database concurrently by multiple types of clients. So it is required to take control of the simultaneous database access to the shared data. The two concurrency control modes provided are; pessimistic and optimistic.

SQL uses lock mechanism, in the pessimistic mode of concurrency control and they can be further classified as; shared & Exclusive Locks.

Data retrieval:

Data in SQL Server is retrieved via querying it and this query procedure is executed by the SQL Server variant; T-SQL. The order of steps in the procedure of querying for essentials to recall the data requested for is decided by the Query Processor.

Buffer Management

This part of SQL Server plays a critical role in reducing the Disc I/O while it buffers the pages into RAM. One can store up to 8 KB of pages in the buffered memory and this collection of all buffered pages is known as the Buffer Cache.

SQL Server and Its Versions

The entire database held by SQL Server is available as Primary (*.mdf) and Secondary (*.ndf) Database respectively. While an LDF file’s role is to hold the entire log details of the transactions carried out on any of the database.

Amongst all the versions of SQL Server; 2005, 2008 R2, 2014, and others; 2000 was the first version to be adding multiple performance measures to the Server. And out of all the measures introduced by SQL Server version 2000, SQL Server Integration Services or SSIS was the most vital one.

Detailing Of SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services Security

The SSIS Security of SQL Server consist of a variety of layers offering a completely sound environ for the services. These layers constitute of the below mentioned components:

  • Package Properties;
  • Digital Signature;
  • Operating System Permissions;
  • Database roles.

When used in a combination for applying security measures, these components act as a defensive shield to the packages of SQL Server.

In order to interpret the concept of SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services security, understanding the platform of SSIS is of primary importance. The forthcoming segment of this article discusses about the same as well as the attributes offered by it in SQL Server environ.

Understanding the SSIS Concept of Security

The SSIS or SQL Server Integration Services is a vital component that is associated to the Server. Normally used for carrying out a wide number and variety of operations related to data migration this platform has been structured considering the two mentioned elements:

  1. Data Integration which happens to be an approach for combining the data from different set of resources. Thus, representing it in a manner that is unified and coordinated.
  2. Workflow programs a set of applications that modify procedures to some point and even require manual agreement / customization or modification of activities sometimes.

The following functions are allowed to be performed at a higher level:

  1. Data retrieval through any source and loading of components into any source with a defining workflow.
  2. Carrying out a wide number procedures on the database including; calculation, conversion, etc.

This was an overview of the SSIS platform therefore, proceeding to the concept of SSIS security measures is feasible now.

The Concept of SSIS Security

Always using trusted mediums for launching the packages is one of the most important concepts of the SSIS Security measure. And prior to that, you must necessarily identity the source of package before opening it, which can be done by allotting certificates to packages.

The Perks of It: Unauthorized access to the server’s sensitive data can be kept under control via allotting identity features to a package. Also, it guarantees control on the SQL Server package configuration.

Even the logs, checkpoint files, and the configurations can be protected as well.

The Package Information displayed via SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) Integration Services is offered integrity and protection by the medium of this platform.

A better understanding about the functional measures and features of the SSIS Security can be referred in the upcoming sections below.

  1. Access On Package Data Components To Be Controlled: To limit or restrict access to package or its components, they are encrypted via “ProtectionLevel” property applied. Level of this type of security can be adjusted accordingly. Values get automatically encrypted for properties that are assigned to sensitive set of data by the IS (Integration Services). Only on providing the correct password, can an encrypted data be displayed.
  2. Package Access To Be Controlled: SQL’s MSDB database or an XML file can be used for storing the IS Packages with file extension as .dtsx. In an MSDB database the “sysdtspackages” & “sysssispackages” for storing the package, tables are taken into usage. Thus, when database backup is created, associated packages automatically get backed up. In order to control access to these packages, three types of database roles are allotted to them:
    1. Db_ssisadmin
    2. Db_ssisltduser
    3. Db_ssisoperator

TIP: In case the file system is used for package storing, make sure that file or folders containing the packages are secure completely.

  1. Access to Packages Containing Files To Be Control: Information encapsulated within the log, checkpoint files, and configuration packages require being prevented and protected due to the sensitive nature they have. Some of the factors associated with the approach are:
    1. Checkpoint file storage must only be done into the file system.
    2. Storage of Logs and Config files can be done using; SQL DB Tables or the File System.
    3. Extra provision of security is needed by the checkpoint files stored under file system.
  2. IS Service Access To Be Controlled: “Windows Administrative” group members are assigned with package running access & stop roles. Meanwhile, users that are not member of the group are authorized to access or eliminate packages started only by them.

Conclusion: Security is a matter of concern regardless of the platform being discussed about. And understanding the detailed aspects of the SSIS Security measure helps prevent the SQL Server packages from unofficial access.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior IT Consultant/Program Mgmt at Consultant
Consultant
Performance Monitoring

Valuable Features:

Activity Monitor and Dynamic Management Views

Improvements to My Organization:

After reviewing a client's Microsft SQL environment, I have been able to setup specifics alerts and jobs in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to definitely show them where they are experiencing network latency, disk latency, memory pressure, etc., etc.  I have done this type of performance review for over 20 clients in the last 5 years

Room for Improvement:

When reviewing SQL processes it would be great if all of the local processes on the SQL server were marshaled to a remote SSMS client.

Use of Solution:

I have been using Microsoft SQL Server since 6.0

Deployment Issues:

WMI configuration

Initial Setup:

Setting up Microsoft SQL server performance alerts and jobs on a single server or in a Cluster is very straightforward. I typically start off looking at the following:
  • Batch Request/Sec
  • Buffer cache hit ratio < 96%
  • CPU Utilization  > 80 % sustained
  • Compilation/Sec
  • Re-compilation/Sec
  • Page Life Expectancy (PLE)
  • User Connections
  • Lock Waits / Sec: _Total
  • Process Lock/Block By

My objectives are to provide a baseline to determine database growth pattern to ensure capacity planning, stability, bottlenecks, etc., etc.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Developer at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
SQL server is probably one of the best relational database servers.

What is most valuable?

Indexes, CTE, aggregate functions, partitions, memory optimized tables, service broker, CLR (C# assemblies),...

How has it helped my organization?

Can't imagine work without sql database. I have complete warehouse logic inside stored procedure and it works like a charm. It is installed in 20 companies with different warehouse types.

What needs improvement?

There is always some place for improvements. Statistics could be better (2 table statistic), or dynamic partition function, but that is probably true with every other product.

For how long have I used the solution?

I'm using this solution for 14 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Deployment is pretty fluent.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, mostly connected to bad code.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Very good.Technical Support: Very good.

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

Better user experience, very rich functionality and good reliability.

How was the initial setup?

Pretty straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

In house.

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

Impossible to say. We have about hundred SQL servers.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

mySql, firebird, access, and probably some more.

What other advice do I have?

With right use it could be part of almost any size and type of company.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Founder & Principal Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
The best-ever SQL Server release - again
Microsoft’s flagship database engine, SQL Server, keeps getting better with every release. The SQL Server 2014 platform is the best-ever SQL Server release, and is packed full of features for organizations of all sizes. Every organization has different requirements for data. Vendors might specify a particular product or platform for their software. In-house development staff might be geared towards one platform over others. Management might have their preferences. SQL Server might not be right for all shops out there, but I can state that it provides the same scalability, flexibility, and raw power of other DBMS platforms on the market, and does it with the easiest to manage suite of features that I encounter. I enjoy this product and the technical community that has grown up around this…

Microsoft’s flagship database engine, SQL Server, keeps getting better with every release. The SQL Server 2014 platform is the best-ever SQL Server release, and is packed full of features for organizations of all sizes.

Every organization has different requirements for data. Vendors might specify a particular product or platform for their software. In-house development staff might be geared towards one platform over others. Management might have their preferences. SQL Server might not be right for all shops out there, but I can state that it provides the same scalability, flexibility, and raw power of other DBMS platforms on the market, and does it with the easiest to manage suite of features that I encounter. I enjoy this product and the technical community that has grown up around this product so much that I have dedicated this portion of my career to the mastery of SQL Server as a database and architecture consultant. SQL Server 2014 continues the platform’s evolution towards the future, and I continue to stand by it.

The core database engine is one of the easiest portions of the product to administer via the included SQL Server Management Studio tool. Quite a few of the SQL Server installations that I encounter in the wild are installed by non-DBAs who just click through the installation wizard and stand up their required SQL Server instances. This simplicity is one of the product’s double-edged swords, because even though it is trivial to install, non-DBAs tend to skip the best practices around infrastructure architecture, installation, post-installation configuration, and ongoing management that helps the product to really shine.

The Enterprise edition contains an updated and enhanced feature called AlwaysOn, and it allows for the simple setup of highly available databases so that the data is available if a server fails. It also plays a double role in allowing for the setup of disaster recovery database servers so that if an entire datacenter fails, applications can continue to work with only a minor interruption in service (usually measured in seconds). Failover and failback are trivial, and a single interface is all that is required to manage the entire setup. I love this feature, and as my clients are starting to migrate to SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014, see a tremendous increase in AlwaysOn adoption at the moment.

The other huge feature is with In-Memory OLTP, or codename Hekaton. It is in-memory extensions that allow an application to begin to use memory to dramatically improve the performance of an application with only minor modifications to the app code.

Other features included in the core engine and licenses editions of the production include:

  • Backup encryption to make things more secure
  • Resource governance to keep high trafficked databases from being ‘noisy neighbors’ to other application databases
  • Data and backup encryption
  • Finely tuned security levels, based on your organization’s requirements
  • Integration Services - that includes a graphical means to transport, load, and transform data
  • Analysis Services – build data warehouses and cubes to help you gain serious insight into your business trends
  • PowerPivot for Excel to allow your end users to manage and transform the data that they require for decision support processes
  • Reporting Services – grant your users the ability to run and schedule their own reports in a simple to use management interface
  • Report Builder – advanced end users can construct their own reports, and even their own queries with the ‘model’ of the data that you present to them

SQL Server also now has the ability to move data into and out of the public cloud with ease through backing up to Microsoft’s Azure platform.

If you currently have SQL Servers in your organization, run – don’t walk – to SQL Server 2014. If you have some of the other database platforms on the market, consider migrating to SQL Server so you can reduce licensing costs, improve scalability while reducing complexity, and increase the number of database that a single DBA can individually manage.

Pros: Tremendous scalability. Easy to use and manage. Blur High Availability and Disaster Recovery with AlwaysOn Database Availability Groups. Business intelligence tools increases business insight into data.

Cons: The licensing has persisted the per-core model, and as a result the cost for the platform stays higher than expected. Adding software assurance, which I consider a must for virtualizing SQL Server, also drives up the cost.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Founder & Principal Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Best DBMS platform for all of your business needs

Valuable Features:

- Ease of use of this product is much better than equivalent products - New AlwaysOn availability group enhancements bundles more DR and HA features in one easy to use interface - In-Memory OLTP, or project Hekaton, allows for utilizing memory to boost application performance with only minor application changes - Power, scalability, flexibility, and bundled tooling means it will meet all of your organizational DBMS needs for all size workloads - Support from MS and free knowledge and support from the MS community is terrific - Virtualization friendly! - Core features of the product include many features that require additional licenses with other platforms - SImple to setup and keep running

Room for Improvement:

- Ease of installation means that anyone can install it, but many do not perform the steps required to properly maintain the data - The increasing cost of the platform is slowing adoption by the SMB space

Other Advice:

I am so fond of this product that I have dedicated this portion of my career to focusing on mastering this platform as a consultant. I feel that this product is the best fit on the market for your database needs. The product is stellar, the amount of free knowledge on the Internet for this product is without parallel, and the community around SQL Server is so strong that I consider it a family.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Sales Engineer at a tech consulting company with 11-50 employees
Real User
I have found SQL Server to be fast, secure and low cost

How has it helped my organization?

Security, lower cost, ease of maintenance and administration, performance. When all of these are considered, our business is able to run faster, more securely, with SQL as the back-end.

What needs improvement?

The Management Studio front end still needs work as does Indexing.

For how long have I used the solution?

14 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, SQL installs well.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, SQL was stable for our applications.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, scaling was easy with SQL. We never had an issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Do not expect Microsoft to be in a hurry to get to you, but I have…

How has it helped my organization?

Security, lower cost, ease of maintenance and administration, performance. When all of these are considered, our business is able to run faster, more securely, with SQL as the back-end.

What needs improvement?

The Management Studio front end still needs work as does Indexing.

For how long have I used the solution?

14 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, SQL installs well.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, SQL was stable for our applications.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, scaling was easy with SQL. We never had an issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Do not expect Microsoft to be in a hurry to get to you, but I have always found their support to be helpful.Technical Support: I would rate the support as average.

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

We also used Oracle. We supported both with our application.

How was the initial setup?

SQL is very easy to setup.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also used Oracle. We supported both with our application.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have your prerequisites installed and the proper amount of resources dedicated. You should not have a problem.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Network Engineer & Web Developer at OneTexh
Vendor
Consequently, Microsoft SQL server is best choice.
SQL Server Microsoft Microsoft itself is the name of trustworthiness, solid promise, reliability, steadfastness, loyalty and commitment. Among its ranges of products which are mostly open source and freely available for consumers, Microsoft SQL server is useful for the “Great Data Storage” tool. The latest version of MS SQL server is 2012 which incorporates many enhanced features but previous versions like 2003 and 2008 also meet the needs to store data and analytics of data during structuring query. Microsoft SQL server 2012 emerged in three different versions Standard, Enterprise and Business edition. The basic standard version can be used by smaller companies' databases and include many vivacious features to manage the data integration. Some features are not available but still…

SQL Server Microsoft
Microsoft itself is the name of trustworthiness, solid promise, reliability, steadfastness, loyalty and commitment. Among its ranges of products which are mostly open source and freely available for consumers, Microsoft SQL server is useful for the “Great Data Storage” tool. The latest version of MS SQL server is 2012 which incorporates many enhanced features but previous versions like 2003 and 2008 also meet the needs to store data and analytics of data during structuring query.
Microsoft SQL server 2012 emerged in three different versions Standard, Enterprise and Business edition. The basic standard version can be used by smaller companies' databases and include many vivacious features to manage the data integration. Some features are not available but still it meet the needs of consumers and data handlers. Other two editions have more features like high end data integration, large data analysis, query optimization and other data encapsulation.
It can also integrate to Apache Hadoop e.g. running on different remote machines, capturing queries and send them to SQL server for further investigation. It can manage both relational and non relational data through its built in data-connectors. Database creation is trouble-free along with transportation of database from one platform to another much more uncomplicated.
The best feature in my point of view in its Enterprise and business intelligence edition builds on Power view, a web service BI toolkit that can be attached to the share point. So one can pull the data from any other source from the network and throw in Power View to view them (it mainly includes reports).
Disadvantage
As 2012 edition has a data-connector to have a connection with other data centers but it is still available for the windows environment. It can only be enforced in that hardware configuration which suits windows environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user6414
CEO at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
SQL Server offers tight integration at low pricing

Valuable Features:

• SQL Server provide end users and database programmers with a broad spectrum of services such as Analysis and Reporting services, Data Engine, Integration Services thus making database development and management easier and reliable. • SQL Server offers a platform on which data in all levels- structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data can be managed, integrated and analyzed thus enabling an organization to realize its mission-critical information. • Latest versions of SQL Server provide a handy development studio that not only make the creation of database objects easy but also offer useful tools such Object Explorer to allow quick processes.

Room for Improvement:

• SQL Server work best with Windows Operating System and it is not compatible with some other systems hence limiting its platform friendliness. • Advance versions with higher functionality such as Work Group Edition have high installation requirement such as multi-processor computers, larger primary memory and are not open source.

Other Advice:

• Database developers who want to have a clear logical and physical understanding of database systems will no doubt benefit much from using SQL Server. I personally marvel at the extensible support provided by the management studio especially on disk and file management as I enjoy using SQL Server 2008. SQL Server is friendly to both beginners and experts and its installation process can be customized to suite different features.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user5520
Network Manager at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Will be my first choice for a DBMS again in the future.

Valuable Features:

A great database management system for all size companies. SQL server is more user friendly than competitors. Provides easy installation. If you need support or research for the product, it is easy to find help online. There are 3 editions available which will meet any companies needs. Latest version is cloud ready. Offers power and flexibility.

Room for Improvement:

For each additional core feature you want to add to your DBMS edition, it is more money. This is not a FREE program as most other DBMS are. So basically, the more you want, the more you pay.

Other Advice:

A great DBMS for organizations of all sizes. Will be my first choice for a DBMS again in the future. The installation process was simple. You will pay for this SQL Server, but don't be afraid to try the free programs also.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Database Manager at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
A tool of choice for many corporate environments

Valuable Features:

• SQL server has dynamic resource allocation feature that allows disk and memory usage scale to meet changing database demands. This facility provides better performance and simplifies software management.• SQL Server’s Graphical Query Analyzer not only helps building stored procedures and interactive queries but also graphically displays the steps performed by query processor to execute the query. • SQL Server’s Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) provides services like data warehousing, data marts and decision support to many medium sized companies.• Data Transformation Services is a powerful and flexible tool provided by SQL server, it simplifies importing and exporting data between and OLE-DB compatible databases.

Room for Improvement:

• Installation and operation of SQL Server requires Internet Explorer (IE). • Reloading all the data in a database can cause potential data loss especially when the size of database is large. • No Cascading declarative referential integrity is available in SQL server.

Other Advice:

Microsoft SQL Server is the tool of choice for many corporate environments because it is a commercial database server. Its core role in the commercial world is only to store data which is slightly different than other databases like MS Access. In addition to data storage capability, MS Access allows developing a full user interface for data entry and reports generation. Whereas SQL Server simply stores data. Significant numbers of companies are moving to SQL Server. When it comes to costs SQL will very often make a very good business case.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.