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MicroSoft(MS) SQL

What is MS SQL ?

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system developed by Microsoft Inc.. As a database, it is a software product whose primary function is to store and retrieve data as requested by other software applications, be it those on the same computer or those running on another computer across a network (including the Internet). There are at least a dozen different editions of Microsoft SQL Server aimed at different audiences and for different workloads (ranging from small applications that store and retrieve data on the same computer, to millions of users and computers that access huge amounts of data from the Internet at the same time). Its primary query languages are T-SQL and ANSI SQL

Why SQL Server is better than any other RDBMS Applications?

Earlier I had announced contest on blog where I gave away two MSDN Subscriptions to person who has provided best comment on the subject of “Why SQL Server is better than any other RDBMS Applications?” I have received tremendous response to the contest. I got many responses, it was extremely difficult to announce the winner and I requested help of two SQL Server MVPs to help me out with the results. Here is the winner of the contest. They really spend good time and wrote about their feeling for SQL Server product. Here is their answers.

I strongly suggest that you bookmark this post as this post can be used in future when you might want to write why SQL Server is better than any other RDBMS application.

SQL Server is like most RDMS systems, a database engine but what make it better than other RDMS systems (especially SQL 2008 onwards) are new features and other bells and whistles it comes with.

Here are the few:

1. Easy integration with Microsoft Operating systems.

2. East integration with world’s most common database: Spreadsheet, Microsoft excel in particular and power pivot has significantly enhanced its value.

3. User friendly interface

4. Easy to create maintenance plans.

5. Integrated Security (windows authentication): This definitely help streamline server access based on Active directory policies and groups.

6. Mixed Authentication: Not only it gives the option to use windows authentication, it allows other applications to authenticate based on username and password

7. Disaster recovery: SQL Server is very easy to restore after a disaster (proper backup and recovery strategy needs to be implemented) as compared to other RDMS. All you need is File system restore followed by system state and then restore databases from backup. I have been involved in DR for a lot systems and doing DR on a SQL Server is much easier than any other RDMS system. Other benefits include Failover Clustering and Transaction Replication

8. Licensing: The licensing structure of SQL Server is much better as compared to other RDMS systems. Other RDMS systems have a very complex licensing structure which comes out to be much costly than SQL Server.

9. SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS): As compare to other RDMS systems tools, SSMS is the best tool for a developer or a DBA.

10. SQL Server Business Intelligence: Business Intelligence in SQL Server has come a long way and has evolved so much. It is one of the best if not the best in the market at the moment.

Since SQL Server Integration Services, SQL Server Analysis Services and SQL Server Reporting Services comes with the SQL Server license, customer doesn’t need to spend extra money on these additional tools, instead that money can be spend on something else e.g. upgrade SAN, user training.

11. Visualization

12. Administering and Monitoring: SQL Server 2008 R2 has really scored high in its new administration and monitoring tools. It has made the life of a DBA (even accidental DBA) a lot easier.

13. Backup Compression: Even though it is a new feature in SQL Server 2008, it has really helped companies to upgrade to the new version and speeding a lot (if not all) of the backup operations.

14. Data Encryption: SQL Server 2008 provides a lot of encryption options to encrypt data and code. Transparent Data Encryption has really safe guarded some of the crucial data movement operations our company.

Top 12 Features of SQL Server 2012

1. AlwaysOn Availability Groups -- This feature takes database mirroring to a whole new level. With AlwaysOn, users will be able to fail over multiple databases in groups instead of individually. Also, secondary copies will be readable, and can be used for database backups. The big win is that your DR environment no longer needs to sit idle.

2. Windows Server Core Support -- If you don't know what Windows Server Core is, you may want to come up to speed before Windows 8 (MS is making a push back to the command line for server products). Core is the GUI-less version of Windows that uses DOS and PowerShell for user interaction. It has a much lower footprint (50% less memory and disk space utilization), requires fewer patches, and is more secure than the full install. Starting with SQL 2012, it is supported for SQL Server.

3. Columnstore Indexes -- This a cool new feature that is completely unique to SQL Server. They are special type of read-only index designed to be use with Data Warehouse queries. Basically, data is grouped and stored in a flat, compressed column index, greatly reducing I/O and memory utilization on large queries.

4. User-Defined Server Roles -- DBAs have always had the ability to create custom database role, but never server wide. For example, if the DBA wanted to give a development team read/write access to every database on a shared server, traditionally the only ways to do it were either manually, or using undocumented procedures. Neither of which were good solutions. Now, the DBA can create a role, which has read/write access on every DB on the server, or any other custom server wide role.

5. Enhanced Auditing Features -- Audit is now available in all editions of SQL Server. Additionally, users can define custom audit specifications to write custom events into the audit log. New filtering features give greater flexibility in choosing which events to write to the log.

6. BI Semantic Model -- This is replacing the Analysis Services Unified Dimensional Model (or cubes most people referred to them). It's a hybrid model that allows one data model will support all BI experiences in SQL Server. Additionally, this will allow for some really neat text infographics

7. Sequence Objects -- For those folks who have worked with Oracle, this has been a long requested feature. A sequence is just an object that is a counter -- a good example of it's use would be to increment values in a table, based a trigger. SQL has always had similar functionality with identity columns, but now this is a discrete object.

8. Enhanced PowerShell Support -- Windows and SQL Server admins should definitely start brushing up on their PowerShell scripting skills. Microsoft is driving a lot of development effort into instrumenting all of their server-based products with PowerShell. SQL 2008 gave DBAs some exposure to it, but there are many more in cmdlets in SQL 2012.

9.Distributed Replay -- Once again this is answer to a feature that Oracle released (Real Application Testing). However, and in my opinion where the real value proposition of SQL Server is, in Oracle it is a (very expensive) cost option to Enterprise Edition. With SQL, when you buy your licenses for Enterprise Edition, you get everything. Distributed replay allows you to capture a workload on a production server, and replay it on another machine. This way changes in underlying schemas, support packs, or hardware changes can be tested under production conditions.

10. PowerView -- You may have heard of this under the name "Project Crescent" it is a fairly powerful self-service BI toolkit that allows users to create mash ups of BI reports from all over the Enterprise.

11. SQL Azure Enhancements -- These don't really go directly with the release of SQL 2012, but Microsoft is making some key enhancements to SQL Azure. Reporting Services for Azure will be available, along with backup to the Windows Azure data store, which is a huge enhancement. The maximum size of an Azure database is now up to 150G. Also Azure data sync allows a better hybrid model of cloud and on-premise solutions

12. Big Data Support -- I saved the biggest for last, introduced at the PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) conference last year, Microsoft announced a partnership with Hadoop provider Cloudera. One part of this involves MS releasing a ODBC driver for SQL Server that will run on a Linux platform. Additionally, Microsoft is building connectors for Hadoop, which is an extremely popular NoSQL platform. With this announcement, Microsoft has made a clear move into this very rapidly growing space.

SQL 2012 is a big step forward for Microsoft -- the company is positioning itself to be a leader in availability and in the growing area of big data. As a database professional, I look forward to using SQL 2012 to bring new solutions to my clients.