Oracle vs SQL Server

OK, while I'm really bad about approving comments (mostly because the platform makes it so painful), I do want to answer a few of them here real quick. First and foremost because this is bothering me. I've been in DBs for 15yrs now. It's not all I do, but it's certainly what I do best. So you guys don't have to remind me again and again that there's a difference between 'SQL' and 'SQL Server'. I'm fully aware of

OK, while I'm really bad about approving comments (mostly because the platform makes it so painful), I do want to answer a few of them here real quick.

First and foremost because this is bothering me. I've been in DBs for 15yrs now. It's not all I do, but it's certainly what I do best. So you guys don't have to remind me again and again that there's a difference between 'SQL' and 'SQL Server'. I'm fully aware of that. However, when writing long posts, it's nice to have your audience be able to follow along in the conversation a little bit. Once I establish that I'm talking about Oracle and SQL Server, I should be able to short it to SQL without getting spammed by people who have to have everything spelled out for them every time. I'm sorry that it confuses some of you sometimes, but learn to follow a conversation. I'm clearly not talking about the language. One fellow even said that the proper name was Microsoft SQL Server and that's what I should use. Well, sure, I suppose... but I don't see any of you getting confused when I just say Oracle. Oracle is a corporation. They make many products. Why have I never gotten an email telling me I should call it Oracle Database 11g every time? Could it be that you know what I'm talking about without me having to spell it out every... single... time? I've talked with devs and PMs at both MS (that stands for Microsoft Corporation) and at Oracle (that's short for Oracle Corporation) and none of us ever have any trouble keeping up with the fact that we're talking about DB platforms and not ANSI (that's short for American National Standards Institute) standards. So I'm pretty confidend that you guys can do it if you put your mind to it. Ok, I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Now on to the real topic. Some of you gave some really clear, lucid, well-thoughtout comments. And others called me names and contributed nothing to the conversation other than acrimonious fodder. That's fine. I won't be concentrating on the latter.

Some of the better comments were by the Oracle people themselves. And I'm not surprised... they're a bright bunch of guys and they can make their point without calling names.

What I'm seeing though is interesting. And if we went through the same exercise with MS (again, short for Microsoft Corporation) we'd probably get pretty close to the same results. There are plenty of people who agree with me and who have a hard time finding the Oracle (that's Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g, not Oracle Corporation, sorry to be vague) answers they're seeking. It's not that the answers aren't out there, it's just that they don't seem as readily available as they do for MS (this is a tricky one... here I mean Microst SQL Server 2000/2005/2008 in any edition, and not Microsoft Corporation as a whole).

And there were those who thought I was barely applying myself because they never have any trouble finding help with their Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g (in any edition) product. Perhaps we're both right. It's all in what you're used to. In fact, there was a local IT group around here that started circulating that original blog post and most of them agreed with me. And a lot of these guys are DBAs in mixed shops.

However, I will say though that while there were plenty of people who don't agree that Oracle resources are hard to find, it's still fairly overwhelming that MS (this time I mean Microsoft Corporation) resources are easier and more available.

Someone asked me why I just didn't go to OTN. Well, I always start there, but hey, I get pretty tired of having to sit down and pick through dozens and dozens of pages to find something that should be fairly easy. And it would be nice to sit back and watch a video now and then too. I personally learn much better visually. So I like video training. And it's hard because almost no vendors make any modern Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition) training. In fact, I don't know of any companies who produce any real Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition) training on even close to the same caliber as the training for MS (short for Microsoft Corporation) products. Take AppDev for example. They've got excellent training, but they only do MS (short for Microsoft Corporation) products. And even other vendors who do video training usually don't touch Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition). So why is that? That was really the crux of my discussion initially. Is nobody using Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition)? We all know that's not true. Are Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition) DBAs just born knowing everything about Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition)? Of course not. So what is it about the Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition) community that makes vendors stay away from teaching the product? It's not the fact that Oracle (short for Oracle Corporation) is producing such fine training that vendors just can't do better. Is it just that with Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition) being based in Unix/Linux, that their techs just prefer to read rather than watch videos? Is that it? You guys need the command-line so much you can't stand to use a GUI of any kind, if even to learn? And this is the atmosphere I find in the Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition)community. Again, it's not that the information isn't out there, it's that it's harder to find and is unfriendly.

Let's take my very recent experience with setting up Data Guard. I went to the OBE and I followed it as best I could. The problem was the OBE was for Linux and I was on Windows (that's short for Microsoft Windows 2003 Enterprise Server). So some of the directions didn't translate well, and if the slightest thing goes wrong, it offers no advice at all on how to get it back on track. To boot, there are some things that have to be followed to the letter, and some others that can be loosely followed, and the OBE doesn't give you any guidance on which is which. And I found one for Windows (that's short for Microsoft Windows 200/2003 Server in any edition) too, but it wasn't much better. So don't go talking to me about how complete OBE is and how I'm a fool for not kissing the feet of the ones who wrote it. It could be much better. But again, why isn't there more of a demand for rich training content in Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition)?

Still others of you said I was a fool because Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition) is much easier to support than SQL (this is a tricky one... here I mean Microst SQL Server 2000/2005/2008 in any edition and not the ANSI SQL language standard).

Well, it doesn't take many examples to ferret out the answer here. Just look at what it takes to backup Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition) vs what it takes to backup SQL (here I mean Microst SQL Server 2000/2005/2008 in any edition and not the ANSI SQL language standard since you can't backup a language standard and since the discussion is clearly about database platforms).

And I believe I gave managing tablespaces as an example before and someone said that managing tablespaces was easy because he does it all the time and he can do it in a single command. Yes, that's true, but you just proved my point. You do it all the time. In SQL (here I mean Microst SQL Server 2000/2005/2008 in any edition and not the ANSI SQL language standard since you can't backup a language standard and since the discussion is clearly about database platforms), I don't have to manage tablespaces (or filegroups) because they autogrow. The only time I have to manage a filegroup is when I've set a hard limit on it and it's run out, or when the disk runs out of space. In Oracle (that's short for Oracle Database 9i/10g/11g in any edition), if I create my tablespace with the wrong block size, it can only grow so big and I have to manage it now because my table to bigger than I thought it was going to. Now they have to bigfile parameter in 11g (that's short for Oracle Database 11g), but that's only very recent.

I did get one very interesting comment on whether these differences are because their respective customers are doing different things with the products. This is exactly what I was talking to one of the MS (Microsoft Corporation) executives about last year. I was asking him why Oracle's (Oracle Corporation, not the database platform) customers appear to be asking for different things than MS's customers. It was an interesting conversation on the database market in general and how people view each product.

Database platforms have definitely grown into a religion. No matter what MS (Microsoft Corporation) does they'll never be able to shake the small-time reputation of their youth in some people's minds. That's just a fact. Which one is better really depends on what you're doing with it. I've found that SQL is much better at getting up and running and building apps quickly. Oracle is just too complicated for normal people to be able to pick up a book and a CD and start coding within any reasonable time.

However, when you look at Oracle's Data Guard, it's lightyears ahead of SQL's mirroring. And I sincerely hope that MS takes a page out of their book and realizes that HA technology can be so much more than they're making it.

OK, I hope this was long enough for you guys. I know it was for me.

And I'm not knocking Oracle as a platform. I never have. But come on guys, let's be honest. You're not the most user-friendly kid on the block.

Watch my free SQL Server Tutorials at:

http://MidnightDBA.ITBookworm.com Read my book reviews at:

www.ITBookworm.com

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