Microsoft SQL Server vs. Oracle Database

Any business that needs a lot of data and information for their daily business activities must consider the high availability capabilities for the database. Data is a sensitive and highly critical asset of any organization and it needs to be handled with proper care. There are several databases including MySQL, Sybase and Microsoft access. But for several years we have had a constant battle between fans of the Microsoft SQL Server and those of the Oracle Server. Of course most fans argue from the point of perception of functionality but that is not the only thing you ought to consider before making a choice. But let’s now crack out the nut and see which one is better in what aspects. Let us look at a closer analysis of the Microsoft SQL Server vs. Oracle Database:

  1. Language

One of the most fundamental differences between the Microsoft SQL Server and the Oracle Database relational database management systems is the language that they use.

Even though both of them have the Structured Query Language or SQL, Microsoft uses the T-SQL or Transact SQL; which is an extension of the SQL that was originally developed by Sybase before being used by Microsoft. On the other hand, Oracle uses the Procedural Language/SQL or PL/SQL. In other words, both sets of servers use different dialects or flavors of the SQL but the languages have different capabilities and syntax.

The main difference between both sets of languages, however, is the manner in which they handle stored procedures, variables and the in-built functions. The Oracle PL/SQL easily groups procedures into different packages—something that the MS SQL Server cannot handle.

  1. Organization of Objects of the Database

The MS SQL Server performs the important function of organizing all objects including procedures, views and tables by the names of the database. The users are then assigned a login which is granted direct access to a very specific database along with its objects. Each database also contains an unshared, private disk file on the server.

On the other hand, the Oracle Database has all the database objects grouped according to schemas that are actually a subset of a collection of database objects. All the database objects are normally shared among all the users and schemas. However, the sharing capability is limited to some specific tables and schemas through the requirement of certain permissions and roles.

  1. Transaction Control

One of the biggest differences between the Oracle Database and the MS SQL Server is the power of transaction control helps in data recovery. For your understanding of this aspect, a transaction will be defined as a group of tasks or operations that ought to be treated as a single unit. In other words, a collection of various SQL queries modify records so that all are able to get updated at the same time. For instance, if there is a failure of updating one of the records then all the records should not get updated at all.

The MS SQL, by default, executes and commits each task or command individually. Therefore, it is impossible or difficult to roll back the changes if any error is encountered in the process. These are commands in the MS SQL:

  • The “Begin Transaction” command is used to indicate the commencement of a transaction
  • The “Commit” command is used to end a transaction and write changed data or information to a disk
  • The “Rollback” command allows for protection against incidences of data corruption when used properly in the aspect of error handling. This command also discards any changes that may have been made is a particular transaction block. The user cannot roll back any other information apart from what the “Commit” command can do.

On the other hand, every new database is handled as a new transaction in the Oracle Server. When commands and queries are issued, the changes are only effected in the memory and nothing else is committed until a “commit” statement is issued. Once the “commit” command has been executed, the next command is only used to commence the process once again. Therefore, this gives the handler greater flexibility that assists in controlling errors as well.

  1. Operating System

While the MS SQL Server is executed on the Windows operating system, the Oracle Database can be executed on several operating systems including Windows, Linux, z/OS, UNIX and Mac OS X.

  1. Features

Both the MS SQL and the Oracle Servers have similar principal features including referential integrity, Unicode, transactions and ACID.

  1. Architecture

Both servers use the same architecture which offers numerous advantages to the user: the relational model.

  1. Access Control

Both servers share various aspects of access control including audit procedures, security certifications, native network encryption, resource limit controls, password complexity rules, brute-force protection and enterprise directory compatibility. However, the MS SQL Server has additional access controls including separation of duties, running unprivileged and patch access that make it function much better.

  1. Database Capabilities

Both servers share numerous database capabilities including the except function, blobs and clobs, the union function, windowing functions, outer joins, merge joins, intersects, inner selects and inner joins. These improve the performance of both servers.

  1. Indexes

Both the MS SQL Server and the Oracle Database indexes include spatial, partial, full-text and expression components. However, the Oracle Database has additional indexes including the hash, reverse and R-/R+ Tree that makes its performance better in this area. sql-oracle

  1. Support Options

Users of the MS SQL Server can seek assistance through a Blog and various Forums while Oracle Database users can only seek assistance through various forums.

  1. Cost

The MS SQL Server has always been cheaper as compared to the Oracle Server. Therefore, this is a better option in case you are factoring in your financial budget.


From the discussion above, it is very clear whether there is a particular kind of server you can lean. Both servers are good. However, the best option depends on your business database requirements. You can seek advice from our database experts before making an informed decision today.



About the Author: Sean McCown is a renowned database expert who is knowledgeable in multiple aspects of Information Technology and Computer Science. He was first involved with the SQL Server in 1995 when he started working for Oracle. Since then, he has worked with several high-transaction databases that have crossed the bridge to become popular options in the market. Having served as an editor and sole database expert at the InfoWorld Magazine, this means that he has expert knowledge about the MS SQL Server, Sybase, DB2 and many other servers out there. As a versatile researcher, he has also written for, SQL Server Standard, SQL Server Magazine and SSWUG. His prime areas of concentration include reviews, vendor products and industry analysis

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