SQL Server Still No. 1 in Databases

Published by: SD Times
Written by: Alan Zeichick

Microsoft SQL Server is still No.1. According to the 2007 Database and Data Access, Integration and Reporting Study, completed by BZ Research in late June, 74.7 percent of enterprises are using SQL Server. This is slightly lower than the 76.4 percent reported in a comparable July 2006 study, but it’s still significantly higher than the other popular databases.

BZ Research, like SD Times, is a subsidiary of BZ Media. This survey, conducted during the second half of June, was completed by 686 software development managers.

The study showed that the other top databases, in terms of use, are Oracle (54.5 percent in 2007, up from 51.3 percent in 2006), Microsoft Access (54.4 percent, down from 56.1 percent), MySQL (43.4 percent, up from 38.5 percent), IBM DB2 (23.5 percent, up from 20.4 percent) and PostgreSQL (11.2 percent, down from 11.6 percent). All other databases had less than 10 percent responses.

One Microsoft user in this anonymous survey said, “SQL Server is much, much easier to use with ADO.NET than Oracle is at the moment. If Oracle ever addresses this, then we might be able to utilize Oracle more in the future.” Another commented, “Oracle is perceived as requiring a ‘Priesthood’ to program, configure and run. SQL Server is just another tool and is integrated with Visual Studio.” A third said, “SQL Server is more than adequate for our needs, easy to administer, works well with Visual Studio and runs fine on an x86 server. It is our standard for most in-house deployments. A lot of our third-party vendors use it too.”

Not everyone, of course, uses SQL Server: “We’re a major corporation and Oracle is a de facto standard for enterprise computing (along with IBM DB2). Microsoft SQL Server, though we use it, is not industrial strength.” Another added, “IBM is much easier to work with than Oracle in terms of tech support and sales.”

And sometimes it just depends: “We develop J2EE and .NET applications, SQL Server from Microsoft is everywhere in the small to mid customers, Oracle is in the large customers. When we sell applications we need to deploy apps that already mesh with existing databases.” Another said, “MySQL has been started to test as alternative to Oracle.”

Sybase had its fans and critics: “Sybase is still the de facto standard on Wall Street. It practically runs itself allowing the DBA staff to take on ‘other duties as assigned,’” said one respondent. Another said, “We wish Sybase added features as quickly as MySQL would, would extend T-SQL, and implement other features commonly found in other databases. Otherwise we’ll probably leave it.”

Not all installed databases are used for new projects, but are retained as part of legacy systems. The 2007 study also asked which databases were used for the most recently completed project. For this question, SQL Server was used by 51.0 percent of projects, followed by Oracle at 37.1 percent, MySQL at 20.7 percent, Access at 14.9 percent, DB2 at 12.5 percent and PostgreSQL at 4.2 percent. All other databases had fewer than three responses.

One respondent said, “Most [databases] are legacy, but new development is to be Oracle or SQL Server.”

Choosing Familiarity

When asked why they chose a specific database for their most recent project, nearly half of all respondents—45.9 percent—said “familiarity with the database.” The other top answers were “high availability or reliability features” (21.3 percent), “lowest development costs” (20.1 percent), “lowest deployment costs” (18.6 percent), “covered under site license” (17.1 percent) and “requested by specific applications” (15.3 percent).

The lowest responses to this question were “won competitive bidding” (1.9 percent) and “lowest memory footprint requirements” (3.1 percent).

The full study, with verbatim responses, is available for purchase from BZ Research.

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