Developers
September 1, 2020

Multi-User Databases Compared—Part Two

Not all multi-user databases are created equal. Here’s a look at the top contenders.

In Part One of this two-part series, we looked at multi-user databases, how they operate, and what sets them apart from embedded databases, such as SQLite. We also looked at two of the most popular open-source options available, MySQL and PostgreSQL.

In Part Two, we’re going to look at two popular closed source options from Oracle and Microsoft, and see which of these four options is right for you.

Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft’s entry into the database field began in 1989, with version 1.0 running on OS/2, an operating system that was a joint venture between IBM and Microsoft.

As one would assume, SQL Server runs best when paired with Microsoft’s OS and ecosystem. Microsoft has added support for other OSs, but SQL Server first and foremost is a Microsoft-centric database.

In terms of features, SQL Server has established itself as a viable enterprise database, comparing favorably with the other entries in this two-part series. It provides excellent performance and scalability, although it’s horizontal scaling is limited, compared to other options.

In terms of security, SQL Server utilizes multiple layers to keep data secure. SQL Server supports multiple encryption styles and it manages access to securable entities. MySQL, for example, allows database files to be accessed by other processes, as well as via binaries. SQL Server, on the other hand, locks out this kind of access, eliminating a popular attack vector.

Oracle Database

Oracle is currently the king of multi-user databases. Larry Ellison founded the company that initially developed Oracle in 1977. The first release was in 1979, with version 2.3 of the database. Larry Ellison made the first version 2.3 instead of 1.0 as a marketing ploy, since he didn’t believe anyone would want to purchase a 1.0 product.

Over the years, Oracle continued to evolve, adding features and abilities to become one of the most powerful options available. As a result, some of the biggest companies in the world rely on Oracle to run their operations.

One of Oracle’s biggest advantages is performance. Other databases are often easier to deploy and operate, but Oracle’s performance is industry-leading.

Scalability is another big advantage that Oracle has. Specifically, Oracle has the ability to scale both vertically and horizontally. This is especially important in today’s cloud-centric industry. Vertical scaling involves adding more hard drive space, memory, and processing power to a single server running a database. Horizontal scaling, in contrast, allows a database to scale across other servers that work together as a cluster. Obviously, horizontal scaling has a much higher growth ceiling than vertical scaling. Many databases, however, struggle to scale horizontally, as it can be a challenge to maintain a database structure across a cluster of servers. This gives Oracle one of its most powerful advantages.

Oracle is also well known for reliability, as well as security. Both of these have contributed to Oracle’s widespread adoption in industries where security and reliability are paramount, such as the banking industry.

Which Database Is Right For You?

In this two-part series, we’ve looked at four of the most popular databases: two open-source and two closed source. Which of these is right for you?

As with many questions in the tech industry, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each of these databases has pros and cons, and use cases where they shine.

In the case of MySQL, it has earned a reputation as a strong contender, in terms of performance, features, security, and scalability. In many ways, MySQL is a good all-around choice, especially for developers who are comfortable configuring it to achieve maximum features and performance.

PostgreSQL, the other open-source entry in this series, is an absolute powerhouse in the database community. PostgreSQL is often compared with Oracle, offering many of the same features in an open-source package. It has some of the best concurrency abilities in the industry, making it an ideal choice for intense multi-user operation. In addition, PostgreSQL is sometimes easier to deploy and get up and running than MySQL and other competitors, offering more out-of-the-box features.

Microsoft’s SQL Server is the obvious choice when running a Microsoft ecosystem. This is where SQL Server shines and offers the best performance. On its own, Microsoft’s offering is a solid choice, providing a good combination of features, performance, and security. Outside of the Windows ecosystem, however, there are better options.

As stated above, Oracle is the reigning king of multi-user databases. There’s a reason that many of the other databases are often compared to it. It offers some of the most powerful features, security, and scalability. As highlighted above, it has outstanding support for horizontal scaling, making it an excellent option for large enterprises.

Other factors to consider are cost and support. Both MySQL and PostgreSQL are free, open-source options. While this makes them very cost-effective, it also means there isn’t one single entity to rely on for support and help. Instead, users must look to forums, user groups, and documentation for support. In most cases, however, that support is fast and competent, as both options have vibrant user communities.

In contrast, SQL Server and Oracle can be very expensive, depending on what plan and features are included, but it does provide a single point for support—albeit usually at an additional cost. In fact, Oracle’s support options are known for being so expensive that an entire industry of third-party Oracle support has grown up to offer cheaper rates.

Whichever option you choose, any of these four databases will likely serve your needs. With a little planning and evaluation, however, you can choose the one that best lines up with your specific use case.

TagsMicrosoft SQL ServerOracleDatabases
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles

Back
DevelopersSeptember 1, 2020
Multi-User Databases Compared—Part Two
Not all multi-user databases are created equal. Here’s a look at the top contenders.

In Part One of this two-part series, we looked at multi-user databases, how they operate, and what sets them apart from embedded databases, such as SQLite. We also looked at two of the most popular open-source options available, MySQL and PostgreSQL.

In Part Two, we’re going to look at two popular closed source options from Oracle and Microsoft, and see which of these four options is right for you.

Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft’s entry into the database field began in 1989, with version 1.0 running on OS/2, an operating system that was a joint venture between IBM and Microsoft.

As one would assume, SQL Server runs best when paired with Microsoft’s OS and ecosystem. Microsoft has added support for other OSs, but SQL Server first and foremost is a Microsoft-centric database.

In terms of features, SQL Server has established itself as a viable enterprise database, comparing favorably with the other entries in this two-part series. It provides excellent performance and scalability, although it’s horizontal scaling is limited, compared to other options.

In terms of security, SQL Server utilizes multiple layers to keep data secure. SQL Server supports multiple encryption styles and it manages access to securable entities. MySQL, for example, allows database files to be accessed by other processes, as well as via binaries. SQL Server, on the other hand, locks out this kind of access, eliminating a popular attack vector.

Oracle Database

Oracle is currently the king of multi-user databases. Larry Ellison founded the company that initially developed Oracle in 1977. The first release was in 1979, with version 2.3 of the database. Larry Ellison made the first version 2.3 instead of 1.0 as a marketing ploy, since he didn’t believe anyone would want to purchase a 1.0 product.

Over the years, Oracle continued to evolve, adding features and abilities to become one of the most powerful options available. As a result, some of the biggest companies in the world rely on Oracle to run their operations.

One of Oracle’s biggest advantages is performance. Other databases are often easier to deploy and operate, but Oracle’s performance is industry-leading.

Scalability is another big advantage that Oracle has. Specifically, Oracle has the ability to scale both vertically and horizontally. This is especially important in today’s cloud-centric industry. Vertical scaling involves adding more hard drive space, memory, and processing power to a single server running a database. Horizontal scaling, in contrast, allows a database to scale across other servers that work together as a cluster. Obviously, horizontal scaling has a much higher growth ceiling than vertical scaling. Many databases, however, struggle to scale horizontally, as it can be a challenge to maintain a database structure across a cluster of servers. This gives Oracle one of its most powerful advantages.

Oracle is also well known for reliability, as well as security. Both of these have contributed to Oracle’s widespread adoption in industries where security and reliability are paramount, such as the banking industry.

Which Database Is Right For You?

In this two-part series, we’ve looked at four of the most popular databases: two open-source and two closed source. Which of these is right for you?

As with many questions in the tech industry, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each of these databases has pros and cons, and use cases where they shine.

In the case of MySQL, it has earned a reputation as a strong contender, in terms of performance, features, security, and scalability. In many ways, MySQL is a good all-around choice, especially for developers who are comfortable configuring it to achieve maximum features and performance.

PostgreSQL, the other open-source entry in this series, is an absolute powerhouse in the database community. PostgreSQL is often compared with Oracle, offering many of the same features in an open-source package. It has some of the best concurrency abilities in the industry, making it an ideal choice for intense multi-user operation. In addition, PostgreSQL is sometimes easier to deploy and get up and running than MySQL and other competitors, offering more out-of-the-box features.

Microsoft’s SQL Server is the obvious choice when running a Microsoft ecosystem. This is where SQL Server shines and offers the best performance. On its own, Microsoft’s offering is a solid choice, providing a good combination of features, performance, and security. Outside of the Windows ecosystem, however, there are better options.

As stated above, Oracle is the reigning king of multi-user databases. There’s a reason that many of the other databases are often compared to it. It offers some of the most powerful features, security, and scalability. As highlighted above, it has outstanding support for horizontal scaling, making it an excellent option for large enterprises.

Other factors to consider are cost and support. Both MySQL and PostgreSQL are free, open-source options. While this makes them very cost-effective, it also means there isn’t one single entity to rely on for support and help. Instead, users must look to forums, user groups, and documentation for support. In most cases, however, that support is fast and competent, as both options have vibrant user communities.

In contrast, SQL Server and Oracle can be very expensive, depending on what plan and features are included, but it does provide a single point for support—albeit usually at an additional cost. In fact, Oracle’s support options are known for being so expensive that an entire industry of third-party Oracle support has grown up to offer cheaper rates.

Whichever option you choose, any of these four databases will likely serve your needs. With a little planning and evaluation, however, you can choose the one that best lines up with your specific use case.

Microsoft SQL Server
Oracle
Databases
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles