Report Casts Doubt on SQL Server 2005 Scalability

With no TPC-C benchmarks forthcoming, the product release date mere months away and beta customers reporting disappointing results on high-end scalability, Forrester predicts Microsoft's major database overhaul will fall short in delivering high-end perfo

SQL Server 2005 will likely be a dud at delivering high-performance computing, according to a new report from Forrester Research Inc.

This major upgrade of Microsoft Corp.s enterprise relational DBMS is due in the summer. Summer being only a few months away, its "surprising" that no TPC-C results have yet been published, according to Noel Yuhanna, author of the report, titled "SQL Server 2005 Likely to Fall Short in High-End Performance Delivery."

On top of that, beta users have cited no benefits when it comes to high-end scalability, Yuhanna reported.

A Microsoft spokeswoman attributed the lack of TPC-C results to the fact that the DBMS is still in beta.

Yuhanna was skeptical of this explanation, pointing to IBM and Oracle Corp., both of which are ever-eager to roll out results for their high-end databases months before the general availability of the products.

"DBMS vendors typically roll out their high-end performance numbers six months before a major release," Yuhanna said in an interview with


Microsoft recently shipped the third Community Technology Preview of SQL Server 2005.

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Why the lack of performance results? Yuhanna said that Microsoft isnt able to match the results of its competitors and therefore wants the whole thing to just go away. "The fact is that now were getting larger and larger numbers [from IBM and Oracle]," said Yuhanna, in Santa Clara, Calif. "I think Microsoft is not able to keep up."

Yuhanna surveyed a dozen SQL Server 2005 beta customers who told him that they were finding no key high-end scalability benefits. After 18 months of the products being in beta, this is a "key concern" for those customers, some of whom plan to migrate to Oracle, DB2 and other DBMSes instead of waiting for a major upgrade to SQL Server 2005 beyond the year 2005, he said.

IBM leads the pack when it comes to high-performance computing, recently having set a record TPC-C benchmark record of 3.2 million transactions per minute. That blistering speed sets the bar even higher for Microsoft, which now holds the sixth spot in the TPC-C benchmark standings.

TPC benchmarks are one of several criteria customers use to choose a high-end, scalable database, Yuhanna said. "High-end" computing refers to very large workloads that support multi-terabyte databases and thousands of concurrent users running on large SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) servers or distributed clustered environments.

SQL Server has a reputation as being easy to use and more affordable than Oracle, IBM DB2 and Sybase Inc. databases. As such, the majority of SQL Server deployments are for small to medium-sized database applications running on one- to four-processor Windows servers.

Forrester estimates that of the 2,000 deployments worldwide with production databases larger than a terabyte, only a handful—about 80—run SQL Server, with the majority running on Oracle and DB2.

Next Page: IBM, Oracle nibble away at Microsofts share of the middle market.