Virtually every modern web application and databases play a crucial role. Due to the dynamic nature of current web development, even rudimentary applications require some mechanism of storing, retrieving and modifying data. Naturally, as the importance of databases has soared, so has the popularity of certain Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS).
Two of such systems are MySQL and SQL Server. Both perform the same functionality, though they have distinctive use-cases. They run different flavors but are jointly based on, SQL, or Structured Query Language.
What is MySQL?
Developed in the mid-90s (later acquired by Oracle), MySQL was one of the first open-source databases and remains so to this day. But the differences between these variants are not too pronounced; syntax and basic functionality remain identical.
Something which has become a characteristic of MySQL is its popularity within the start-up community. Because it’s open-source and free, developers can easily get started with MySQL, and modify its code in the rare instance they might need to. MySQL is typically used in conjunction with PHP and Apache Web Server, on top of a Linux distribution, which has led to the famous acronym LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP).
What is SQL Server?
Microsoft developed SQL Server in the 80s, with the promise of providing a reliable and scalable RDBMS. These remain the core qualities of SQL Server after all these years, as it is the go-to platform for large-scale enterprise software.
SQL Server is mainly intended for developers who are using .NET as their development language, as opposed to PHP for MySQL. This makes sense, since both fall under Microsoft’s umbrella. Lets us look at some of the several key departures between MySQL and the SQL Server which have been widely existed.
♦ Key differences between MySQL and SQL Server ♦
» Backup Process
While using MySQL, developers have to backup data by extracting all data as SQL statements. The tool provided by the RDBMS further blocks the database while backing up data. The feature reduces chances of data corruption while switching from one version or edition of MySQL to another. But the feature makes the data restoration process time-consuming due to execution of multiple SQL statements. Unlike MySQL, SQL Server does not block the database while backing up data. The feature enables users to backup and restore huge amount of data without putting extra time and effort.
» Community Support
While you can pay for MySQL support, the scenario rarely arises, due to stellar community contribution and support for it. A perk of having the wider community on your side is that most people do not have to reach out for official assistance – they can search the web and find a tons of solutions.
» Cost Method
Microsoft requires you to buy licenses to run multiple databases on SQL Server – there is a free version, but it’s only meant to familiarize you with the RDBMS. In contrast, MySQL uses the GNU General Public License, which makes it completely free to use. Do note, however, that if you need support or assistance for MySQL, you will need to pay for it.
» Platform Environment
As alluded to earlier, SQL Server works best with .NET, while MySQL can be paired with just about every other language, most typically with PHP.
» Query Cancellation
Not many people know this, but a potentially deal-breaking difference between MySQL and SQL Server is that MySQL doesn’t allow you to cancel a query mid-execution. This means that once a command starts executing, you better hope that any damage it might do is reversible. SQL Server, on the other hand, allows you to cancel query execution mid-way in the process. This difference can be particularly damning for database admins, as opposed to web developers, who execute scripted commands that rarely require query cancellation during execution.
» Storage Engines
Another big difference that is sometimes overlooked between MySQL and SQL Server is the way they store data. SQL Server uses a single storage engine developed by Microsoft, in contrast to multiple engines on offer for MySQL. MySQL supports several storage engines. This gives MySQL developers much more flexibility, as they can use different engines for different tables, based on speed, reliability or some other dimension.
» Supported Platforms
SQL Server was originally developed by Microsoft for Windows operating system exclusively. Microsoft recently announced its decision to make the RDBMS available on both Linux, and Mac OS X. Hence, the enterprises now have option to run the database system on three distinct platforms. But they will lack the option to avail certain features while running SQL Server on Linux or Mac OS X. The enterprises can run MySQL smoothly on several popular operating systems including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
The choice of RDMBS is an important one for those just starting modern app development. People who choose one system rarely switch later, which means that it is crucial to weigh different offerings and go with the best for you.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. As a rule of thumb, if you’re developing medium/small-sized applications and predominantly use PHP, go with MySQL. Whereas, if you’re interested in building large-scale, secure, resilient enterprise applications, SQL Server should be right up your alley.