Before we get started, let me say that I always liked being a SQL Server DBA. My database experience started with DB2, then Teradata, followed by Oracle, and then SQL Server (and then a little bit of Sybase after that, followed by MySQL). Coming from the other databases, I found SQL Server the easiest and quickest to learn at the time, but of course, a lot of that had to do with the fact that Microsoft was really the only database vendor around then (I started with version 4.2 of SQL Server) that shipped any decent GUI management tools with their server. Take the tools away, and you basically had Sybase on Windows with the ISQL command line tool, which was not pretty by any means.
I started managing a lot more database servers with SQL Server 6.0, 6.5, and then SQL Server 2000. I was doing a lot of Oracle at the time too, but still felt that SQL Server had an edge on Oracle in terms of ease-of use. Oracle’s done a lot to improve their tools and overall manageability over time and today they are way ahead of where they were in the version 8/9i days with their 10/11g tools, but Microsoft has kept moving forward too. SQL Server 2005 came along with a little more help in the area of management, but it wasn’t as much as in prior versions. The same can be said (in my opinion) of SQL Server 2008 in terms of additional management help. But don’t misunderstand me, in my DBA days, SQL Server was still the easiest to use over all its competitors and I never thought I’d find another database server that could equal it in terms of having the total package of ease-of-use, reliability, and good performance.
But then I found MySQL.
Of course, you can say I’m biased because I oversee product management for MySQL inside of Sun, so guilty as charged there. But I do think MySQL has SQL Server beat in many respects, even when it comes to running on the Windows platform. Moreover, a lot of other folks seem to agree. When it comes to migrating away from another database to MySQL – or using another database for new applications – the #1 database platform is Microsoft, three years running according to our year-end surveys.