I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in conversations around the topic of “Oracle vs. Microsoft”. I’ve heard both sides of the story ranging from “SQL Server for mission critical operations…are you crazy!” to “Oracle costs me my first born child…year after year!”. While these discussions are often entertaining, the line delineating the two database giants is blurring by each subsequent release.

In my years consulting for MDM, I have worked for numerous clients that have had installations of both Oracle and Microsoft running in their environments. With recent statistics estimating that Oracle controls >50% of the database market and Microsoft controlling >50% of the server operating system market, are you surprised? SQL Server only runs on Microsoft. Oracle offers more operating system versatility. While you’ll see UNIX and Linux installations, Oracle’s ability to run on Microsoft remains strong and they are improving their functionality with respect to Microsoft development. Where might an Oracle database deployed on a Microsoft server make most sense? In the small and mid-sized business market (SMB). In the SMB market, Oracle has competitively priced versions such as Oracle Database Standard Edition and Standard Edition One.

So what advantages does running Oracle on Microsoft have to offer? First, Oracle has tight integration with Active Directory and Windows Security Framework. Items such as single sign-on and security via database role and Active Directory group fall into this category. Next, Oracle offers 32-bit and 64-bit versions. In the 32-bit version, Oracle is able to utilize up to 3GB (out of a 4GB O.S. maximum) of system memory for database use. Finally, Oracle has also been working on enhancing its ability to integrate with the Windows development suite, specifically Visual Studio 2008. Oracle supports .NET in 3 ways. The Oracle Data Provider for .NET leverages ADO.NET API and allows .NET applications to access Oracle data. These APIs should be familiar to most Microsoft developers. In addition, through an add-in (free for that matter), developers can work with Oracle services via Visual Studio 2005 (and 2008 as previously mentioned). Through the development suite, developers have access to various wizards to perform various database tasks (i.e. DDL), a procedure editor (for PL/SQL procedures, packages, and functions), a Debugger for runtime error interaction, and integrated help for items such as Oracle error reference, SQL, and PL/SQL user manuals. Lastly, Oracle has integrated .NET extensions directly inside the database. This allows developers to created stored procedures and functions using C# or VB.NET within Visual Studio. This code can then be deployed to the database and referenced wherever a stored procedure or function is permitted.

Oracle has shown it is advantageous to offer solutions that fit neatly into an operating system that controls the majority of the server market, even if that vendor also happens to be a major competitor in the database market. Offer a product that is extensible and easy to use with development GUIs is sure to give you a seat at the table when it comes to choosing a solution for your organization. That is precisely why Oracle supports Microsoft (most of the time <grin>).


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