MySQL is currently owned by Oracle and SQL Server is owned by Microsoft. Both of them are used by big and small companies and depending on the situation, one can dominate over the other. In terms of processing power, SQL Server is the more powerful one because of its extra features over the basic MySQL. It also supports parallel and distributed Databases and offers better indexing because of which can have a competitive advantage over MySQL.

This article presents a comprehensive analysis of the two Databases and helps companies decide to try to answer the MySQL vs SQL Server easily. It gives a brief introduction to both MySQL and SQL Server and provides the factors driving the MySQL vs SQL Server decision. Furthermore, it also talks about the challenges of both these databases. Read along to find out about both these popular Databases and how companies can choose the Database they need depending on the situation.

Introduction to MySQL

MySQL Logo
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MySQL was introduced by MySQL AB (now Oracle Corporation) – a Swedish Company. Launched in 1995, MySQL is an open-source, relational database management system (RDBMS) used to store, retrieve, upgrade and administrate a database. Today, you will find myriads of MySQL variants in the market, most of them inheriting similar functionality and syntax. It supports all platforms including Linux, Mac OS, Windows, Free BSD, Solaris, and so on. MySQL was primarily written in C and C++ and it is available in the English language only.

MySQL provides multi-user access to your databases and uses the SQL language to run queries. For a Linux distribution, MySQL RDBMS is often used in combination with Apache and PHP Web Server.

To learn more about MySQL and how to deploy it in computer systems, click this link.

Introduction to SQL Server

SQL Server Logo
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SQL Server is also a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft in 1989. SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is a basic programming language used to manage data stored in RDBMS. Different databases may require minor changes in the SQL syntax, but most of them remain the same. SQL operates via simple, declarative statements. It keeps your data secure and accurate, whilst maintaining the integrity of databases, regardless of their size.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) considers SQL as the standard language to run your relational database systems such as MySQL. It is used to access, upgrade and manipulate data across your entire database system. Besides, it can also be used to control data accessibility and to build and manage database schemas. Also, check SQL vs MySQL key differences.

SQL Server supports Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. With its language drivers, you can easily connect with any code. It is available in multiple languages including French, English, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and more.

Factors that Drive the MySQL vs SQL Server Decision 

Now that you have a basic idea of both technologies, let us attempt to answer the MySQL vs SQL Server question of how to make a decision between the two. There is no one-size-fits-all answer here and the decision has to be taken based on the business requirements, budget, and parameters listed below. The following are the key factors that drive the MySQL vs SQL Server decision:

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1) Platform Support

As mentioned above, MySQL has cross-platform support for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS, OpenBSD, HP-UX, AIX, IBM I, OpenSolaris, Symbian, Oracle Solaris, FreeBSD, ArcaOS, IRIX, and so on. It runs on almost every popular OS.

As compared to MySQL, SQL Server supports lesser platforms. It supports Linux, Microsoft Windows Server, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Originally, it was only developed for Windows. But now, it is available on Mac OS X and Linux via Docker.

2) Programming Language Support

SQL Server supports multiple programming languages such as PHP, Go, Python, C++, Java, VB, Delphi, Ruby, and R.

MySQL supports nearly all programming languages supported by SQL Server. Moreover, it also supports additional languages such as TCL, Perl Scheme, and Haskel. This feature is what makes it extremely popular among developers.

3) Features

MySQL has an impressive set of features such as cross-platform support, ACID compliant, triggers, stored procedures, views updatable, commit grouping, data definition language, cursors, SSL support, partitioning, Unicode support, and more.

MySQL supports multiple storage engines. Moreover, it also allows you to use a plug-in storage engine. In MySQL, you can filter out rows, tables, and users through different methods. But, it supports filtering on individual databases only. This is why developers need to execute multiple queries to individually filter tables in the database.

For backup, MySQL allows you to extricate full data as SQL statements. While backing up, it blocks the database, thus preventing attacks or corruption during data migration from one MySQL version to another. But, this process is time-consuming and demands efforts during data restoration as you have to run multiple SQL statements.

MySQL cannot kill or cancel the query execution without killing the whole process. 

SQL Server on the other hand also has loads of features such as a database table model used to store information or record. Multiple developers can use the same database in SQL Server. The syntax here is very simple and easy to understand. Plus, it helps you write basic queries in no time such as for creating, inserting, update and deleting. These are also known as CRUD statements.

SQL Server supports row-based filtering which can separate records through the database by database method. This feature gives you the benefit to filter multiple rows without worrying about the number of databases. The filtered data is stored in a different distribution database. 

It has a single storage engine viz. native engine. As for backup, SQL Server does not block the database when backing up. This provides the advantage to the user to complete the process of data backup and restoration in less time.

SQL Server can stop the query execution without killing the entire process. For this, it uses a transactional engine.

4) Scalability

MySQL lags when it comes to scaling up. When the number of rows increases, MySQL tends to witness an increase in time. In the same scenario, SQL Server takes less time. Therefore, SQL Server scales up better as compared to MySQL.

SQL Server is highly scalable as it can be used for small-scale projects to large applications. It can handle millions of transactions every day whilst delivering efficient performance and high speed. SQL Server is often used as a service such as SSNs, SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS. For data programming, it can seamlessly integrate with a Visual studio.

5) Performance

When it comes to running high-end applications, both MySQL and SQL Server deliver exceptional performance and speed. Both of them are capable enough to host multiple databases on a single server. They use indexes for data sorting, thereby boosting performance.

In terms of response time, SQL Server is slightly better than MySQL.

SQL Server delivers faster and efficient performance on Linux and Windows. It allows you to upgrade and modernize your database in the cloud, at the edge, or on-premises. Their database compatibility certification mitigates the risk of application incompatibility. It leverages memory-optimized “tempdb” and persistent memory support to boost your workload performance.

6) Query Language & Syntax

MySQL and SQL Server both use the “SQL” language to query the database. MySQL syntax is a bit complex to understand. It helps you with handling, storing, modifying, and deleting data in a tabular format.SQL in itself is a query language, and it has a simple, easy-to-use syntax. It helps you query and operates the database system.

7) Connectors & Integration Support

MySQL comes with “MySQL workbench”- an integrated tool that allows you to design and build databases. Besides, MySQL offers various connectors and APIs to connect your applications in different programming languages to MySQL servers. It offers connectors for C++, Java, Python, JavaScript, C#, PHP, C API, and others.

SQL offers various connectors such as Microsoft ADO.NET, JDBC Driver, and ODBC Driver. Plus, it also offers Node.js, Python, and Ruby drivers. As for tools, SQL Server offers various intuitive tools such as Azure Data Studio, SSMS, SSDT, etc.

8) Product Support & Documentation

MySQL provides dual-licensing distribution. It is free, open-source software under GPLv2 license as well as under many other proprietary licenses. To get support, you need to pay extra charges.

SQL Server is proprietary software. It has wide-ranging community support and forums. 

Both MySQL and SQL Server have comprehensive technical documentation to help you get started.

9) Security Features

Both MySQL and SQL Server are developed as binary collections. But, SQL Server is far more secure than MySQL. MySQL allows developers to access and manipulate files in the database through binaries at run time. Plus, it also allows other processes to access and modify files at run time. Also check MySQL to Redshift Integration.

SQL Server features built-in security features for data protection, data classification, monitoring, and alerts. It can monitor, identify and send alerts when it suspects unusual activity. Besides, SQL Server can even identify and remediate misconfigurations and security gaps.

SQL Server can encrypt sensitive data and then run rich computations on the encrypted data. For additional protection, it features to control access with RBAC (Role-Based Access Control) and ABAC (Attribute-Based Access Control) with complex row filtering. 

SQL Server does NOT allow any process to access or manipulate the files in the database at run time. To do this, users need to run specific functions. This greatly prevents malicious attacks by hackers.

10) Pricing Models

MySQL comes in multiple commercial editions to meet your technical and business needs as listed below.

  • Cluster Carrier Grade Edition costs $10,000 to $30, 000 (1-4 socket server)
  • Cluster Carrier Grade Edition costs $20,000 to $60, 000 (5+ socket server)
  • Enterprise edition costs $5,000 to $15,000 (1-4 socket server)
  • Enterprise edition costs $10,000 to $30,000 (5+ socket server)
  • Standard edition costs $2000 to $6000 (1-4 socket server)
  • Standard edition costs $4,000 to $12,000 (5+ socket server)

MySQL also has a community edition which is open-source and free to use. The pricing model of MySQL is shown below.

MySQL vs SQL Server: MySQL Pricing Model
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SQL Server comes in various editions such as Standard/Basic edition, Enterprise edition, Web edition, BI, Express Edition, Developer Edition, and so on.

Both the editions- Developer and Express are free of cost as listed below.

  • Standard edition costs $3, 586 per core 
  • Enterprise Edition costs $13, 748
  • Standard- Server pack costs $899
  • Standard- CAL pack costs $209

The pricing model for SQL Server is given below.

SQL Server Pricing Model
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Challenges of MySQL

In MySQL, the “Triggers” allow only single action per timing which is quite restricting to the user. In other words, you can only carry out one trigger on the table in case of any event. You cannot define triggers on views. 

Another downside of MySQL is that it does NOT comply with full SQL standards.

Challenges of SQL Server

To use SQL Server efficiently, you need to learn the language. Another thing about SQL Server is that if the database has case-sensitive collation then the names of tables and columns also become case sensitive. In this case, you need to write these names in the query in the same case as it was written at the time of table creation.

SQL Server is licensed and users need to purchase licenses to run and use multiple databases, which can be expensive.


  • This article gave a comprehensive analysis of the 2 popular Database technologies in the market today: MySQL vs SQL Server. It talked about both Databases and the parameters to decide which one better suits your business. It also gave a few challenges on both Databases.
  • Overall, both MySQL and SQL Server are RDBMS having consistent speed and performance. They use ACID transaction types and provide good support for data schemes, typing, triggers, XML support, and secondary indexes. 
  • Choosing between MySQL and SQL Server depends on your application, the language you will use, its operating system, and the environment where it will be hosted. SQL server is quite expensive, thus only Windows-based application developers use it to integrate .Net and other languages.

Share your experience of learning about MySQL vs SQL Server in the comments section below!

Hitesh Jethva
Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Hitesh is a skilled freelance writer in the data industry, known for his engaging content on data analytics, machine learning, AI, big data, and business intelligence. With a robust Linux and Cloud Computing background, he combines analytical thinking and problem-solving prowess to deliver cutting-edge insights. Hitesh leverages his Docker, Kubernetes, AWS, and Azure expertise to architect scalable data solutions that drive business growth.

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