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is MS SQL practical for this scenerio (pricing)? details inside



9:23 am on Jul 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I created a web application that is heavily database dependant. It is a complex application and every page is dynamically generated by the DB. The original intent was for this application to run MS sql for its backend. However due to ms sql licensing costs I think I may need to change to a less expensive solution such as MySQL.

Just to be clear, I want to go live with this web application with my own servers but Im having second thoughts if i should stick with MS SQL.

Here are the options:

-MSDE/sql_serverExpress FREE but database limit of 2/4 GB, and you can only use serverExpress with 1 processor.
So if you're using a dual processor server, you are out of luck. Also, we have to think of the future here and plan for having a DB greater than the 2/4 GB size. If we exceed this size we have to move on to MS SQL Standard edition.

-MS SQL Standard $4,999 per processor. So if the application is doing well and we have 4 processors running our DB then the cost is 20,000$ USD
OK assume that the site is succesful and your startup can manage to pay this amount.
SQL standard has a 4 processor limit. So if you go beyond 4 processors you will need to get MS SQL proffesional

-MS SQL Professional $19,999 per processor. So if you have 5 procs you are now paying $120,000.

Source for prices: [microsoft.com...]

Ofcourse in order to need 5 processors running your DB your site must be doing pretty well. But still, It just doesnt seem like MS SQL scales financially.

I would like the opinion of others.

q1)am I overestimating the costs. That is, can these software be found usually at much discounted prices?

q2) are ms sql licenses transferable. that is can I sell my license to someone else?

Q3)If you were in chage of a web application that you thought could become very popular would you use MS SQL? or would the expenses turn you to a less expensive solution such as MySQL.

Q4)Also what are the drawbacks of using MySQL?

Thanks for any insight.


5:21 pm on Jul 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If your site has enough load to require 4 processors on your database server and you can't generate the revenue to pay for an SQL server licence, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

If your demand is getting too high, then you'll generally find adding more servers to the mix is more cost effective than adding processors.

If you are growing your business organically. I would suggest the following...

Start with MSDE

By the time that starts to struggle then you should be able to create enough revenue up upgrade to MS SQL standard.

Then as your site grows, add more database servers in to the mix.

You should be caching as much data as possible on your web server. If you can't afford the database licences then you really need to be optimising your code so that it doesn't rely on the database so much.


2:35 am on Jul 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member txbakers is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

or Look into Open Source Databases such as mySQL or post-gre sql.

but he's right, if you need that capacity and have that much traffic, you better be making some serious money and will be able to support a professional operation.

don't put the chicken before the cart. or the ox before the eggs.


10:15 am on Jul 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Probably worth becoming a Microsoft associate just for the licence saving, you can get any certified partner to do this for you.

There are much cheaper licencing options than those you are quoting. I have SQL Standard + 50 CAL supporting 75 concurrent users (single proc) for less than 1K total licence costs.

Rather than add more processers, get a better processor, more RAM, and up the Disk I/O speeds and RAID Spec.

Q3)Use connection pooling


1:16 pm on Jul 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You could use hosted ms sql for under $30 per month.

If it doesn't take off as your expecting then you have minimal investment.


7:57 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ok thanks for the replies, heres a follow up.

What are the disadvantages of going with MySQL over ms SQL, apart from the fact that MySQL doesnt support stored procedures and views.

Also if you were in a smiliar position where you were deciding on the which DB to use, could you please tell me what DB you chose and why.



8:43 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Start with MSDE or SQL Server Workgroup edition (which supports dual processors and up to 3g ram if memory serves).

Or use connection pooling and get a user license instead of a processor license. Our main DB server is a 4 processor server running SQL Server Enterprise. We have it in an active/passive failover setup and total cost of licensing was about $12k. You can get a 25 CAL license of SQL Server standard for about $1500, and many of our clients have opted for this and it has served them well.

MySQL compared to SQL Server is no comparison (IMO). We do about 700k queries every 5 minutes and MySQL just couldn't keep up with that. Having the stored procedures helps with handling that kind of load and the Enterprise Manager makes managing multiple large databases a snap. We automate much of the workload through jobs and have the ability to keep multiple backups, even across multiple DC's.

If you're planning to be connecting to other databases down the road, SQL Server, DTS & the Agent jobs will save you more man-hours of labor than you can imagine. DTS has allowed us to grow without the worry of adding on a full-time DBA.

Licensing isn't cheap to be sure, but plan on spending the money that will save you money down the road. If starting with MySQL serves you well for now, go for it. I've never upgraded from MySQL to SQL Server but I have upgraded from other industry standard DB's (Oracle, DB2, etc) to SQL Server and had very few problems. I can't imagine going from MySQL to SQL Server would be any different.



8:56 pm on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One cost effective solution could be to use SQL server in a dedicated hosting until you can afford your own database servers. If you are thinking of scalability etc and expect a lot of traffic, I would NOT try MSDE.



1:34 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Isn't msde limited to the number of connections it can handle?


6:44 am on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

MSDE has a limit of 25 concurrent users -- which on a single server, just connected to the internet, is more than enough. After 5 concurrent users, the governer kicks in and limits performance.

MSDE can handle a decent load as well. We've pushed a few million queries through MSDE a day on one of our "worker" machines for well over a year now. All it does is track where referals come from. Keep in mind that only 2-4 concurrent users at any time, however.

[webmasterworld.com ]

There's a link on here where a guy figured he could handle 35k users per day before degredation.


7:32 pm on Jul 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You should start by deciding what response times & storage you require & how much you have to spend and then spec the best solution for the money, rather than tryng to compare every possible solution.

Zaphod Beeblebrox

1:05 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>> Isn't msde limited to the number of connections it can handle?

It's primarily limited to the number of concurrent queries it can handle. With more than 8 queries, it deliberately slows down for a certain period of time.

We found that out the hard way - as our site was gaining popularity, it completely froze up. Restarting SQL Server service was the only solution, but you simply can't do that every few minutes...

Stay away from MSDE if you expect more than that number of queries. We've migrated the DB to MySQL and haven't had a performance problem since.


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