Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft SQL Server
Microsoft SQL Server is our primary data storage for our in house software as well as 3rd party financial software and provides the data for all of our enterprise reporting. We also leverage the additional services that come with Microsoft SQL Server including SQL Server Reporting Services and SQL Server Integration Services.
- Extremely Reliable - We have not had an instance of SQL Server itself having issues or causing downtime. We have had AWS hardware failures but not Microsoft SQL Server failures.
- Total Cost of Ownership - Having Enterprise Edition provides us with the additional features of SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Integration Services, and if we would like, SQL Server Analytics Services.
- Multiple disaster recovery options - You can use mirroring (replaced by Always On Availability Groups), replications and log shipping to name a few options.
- Elastic Database options - You can have a mix of on-premises and Azure instances if your use case requires it.
- Easy Manageability - Microsoft has done a great job of making the management of Microsoft SQL Server easier with every release.
- In-Memory Database options - You can have in-memory tables for any business case needing that level of performance.
- While I really like their disaster recovery options, they could make them more affordable and easier to implement. Always On-Availability Groups is improving with every edition but still can come with some gotcha's if you do not watch it. Including Security across instances, jobs across instances, etc.
- In memory, at least in 2014, once you enable it that is it. You cannot go back. This makes it difficult to retire this feature.
- Better native Enterprise management meaning, in a use case where you may have multiple servers or clusters with multiple instances the native tools are lacking and typically require purchasing 3rd party tools or building out tools for monitoring and managing the servers and databases.
- Positive - When you purchase the Enterprise Edition you get SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Integration Services, and SQL Server Analytics Services included. This has saved us from needing 3rd party tool sets.
- Negative - Disaster recovery. You need to be careful especially if you are going to a hosting provider such as AWS as it can get very pricey very quickly. We have had to make decisions based on CPU vs. memory and compromise to save on licensing.
- We have multiple servers and multiple instances on each server and they are managed by only 1 part time resource. The reliability and ease of management is a big win.
When we looked at Oracle, the cost comes up and Oracle is far more costly in terms of TCO compared to Microsoft SQL Server. MySQL is very cost-effective, however, it is not as Enterprise-ready in that our 3rd party products such as financials do not run on MySQL so, for a small shop like us, it would add cost from development and management. Amazon Aurora is a very good option but, it is essentially MySQL or Postgres so for us, the switching costs and then cost to manage a mixed environment would negate the licensing savings.
I have only had to use Microsoft SQL Server support one time in my career and it was a situation where they needed to send a support team member on site to fix. They where great with it. There is a lot of great content available for Microsoft SQL Server available online that will solve almost any issue you run into.
Do you think Microsoft SQL Server delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Microsoft SQL Server's feature set?
Did Microsoft SQL Server live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of Microsoft SQL Server go as expected?
Would you buy Microsoft SQL Server again?
I love the fact that with the Enterprise version you also get a robust reporting platform, ETL tool, and data warehouse platform. While some use cases may favor other tools in this space, these tools are all mature, robust and feature-rich with 3rd party add-ons available. When compared with other options in the Enterprise space such as Oracle and DB2, I like what Microsoft SQL Server offers and now it can be installed and ran on Linux which is a huge plus.