IBM DB2 UDB V8.2 Oracle10g Microsoft SQL Server 2000 A technical comparison
In 2003, over 86% of the worldwide total RDBMS revenues went to only three vendors. According to a recently published study by the Gartner Group1, IBM had 35,7%, Oracle 32,6% and Microsoft 18,1% of total 2003 RDBMS new license revenue. But neither license revenue nor market share will be the dominant factor when selecting a database for enterprise applications. Prospective customers should be looking at a large range of criteria, including a great number of technological aspects, to evaluate available database products. This paper seeks to support senior technical product evaluators in comparing IBM DB2 Universal Database v8.2, Oracle10g, and Microsoft SQL Server 2000. A thorough list of technical criteria (with over a hundred detailed measures) has been grouped into 13 categories, enabling a comparison based on database technologies. Additional criteria concerning product architecture and operating system support has been researched and documented. It is important to understand that, although this paper includes information on built-in features and payable options, our evaluations have disregarded any TCO aspects and should be viewed from a technical perspective only.
Database technology has grown to be very mature. Market leading DBMS offerings include much more than the basic traditional relational features that support reliable and flexible data access. These additional capabilities enable bringing various forms of data processing closer to the database engine, in support of management efficiency. While this is appealing to the user, it also adds complexity. Databases have grown to support very large data volumes and/or high-end transaction loads. While this adds to overall complexity as well, the individual user will need to know and comprehend which features and capabilities he/she will actually need to fulfill enterprise requirements. All three DBMS’ in question are mature products with an acceptable level of stability. They all fulfill major business requirements and can generally be recommended for professional use. They all have answers to today’s technical issues (with varying implementation depth) and leave no essential gaps. The differentiating factors will be found in high-end technical requirements and product innovations. Value will need to be measured by individual requirements.
DB2 v8.2 and Oracle10g offer major enhancements in the area of manageability and availability. Both have added significant improvements in managing complex data environments and automating many administration activities. While SQL Server has been perceived as the most manageable database for small to medium databases, DB2 has clearly closed this gap and leads for medium to large implementations, with Oracle following as challenger. In the area of planned outages, both IBM (with utility throttling) and Oracle (with Data Pump) have enhanced the latest versions of their DBMS products, however leaving the lead to Oracle due to unmatched advantages in schema management. In the area of unplanned outages, we see a tie for Oracle and DB2. DB2′s new HADR closes the gap to Oracle’s Data Guard. While Oracle offers additional features in the area of undo management, DB2′s abilities for failover clusters appear to have advantages in BI environments.
SQL Server is perceived as a very usable product that integrates extraordinarily well into the Windows application development platform. In the past, SQL Server has carried the reputation of being clearly small-scale, sometimes unstable and not as functionally rich as other leading DBMS. While Microsoft has addressed some of these concerns with SQL Server 2000, there have not been significant enhancements in a number of years. SQL Server integrates well into application development tools based on Windows standards, although it lacks the level of integration in .NET that DB2 has to offer. Microsoft has done a good job of incorporating basic BI tools and capabilities into the product, and by integrating these extensions into the typical environment of a Windows developer they tend to be adopted very well. The latest enhancement in this area is Report Services. Yet ability to execute in a BI environment must also be viewed from a scalability and performance perspective. While in the past, SQL Server has led some benchmarks in OTLP processing, it still fails to address the needs of large scale, query intensive applications based on very large data volumes so typical for BI applications. However, due to moderate overall complexity as well as an impressive level of autonomy, SQL Server delivers very good manageability for the environments it supports best – small to medium applications on the Windows platform.
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