I was recently at Microsoft working on one of our virtual events, and one thing that came up in our discussions was the continuing battle against the incorrect perceptions in the IT marketplace that SQL Server isn’t enterprise ready.

No doubt, this notion persists in part because of SQL Server’s origins as a departmental database. However, there’s also little doubt that these rumors persist because other competing database vendors would like the world to believe that as well.

In case you run into any of these SQL Server critics, here are some of the salient proof points that you can use to put those outdated enterprise-ready doubts to rest once and for all.

Scalability

In the past, SQL Server did have some scalability limitations that might have hindered its use as an enterprise database. However, those days are long gone.

Today, SQL Server has set many record-breaking marks both in terms of capacity as well as database performance. In terms of overall support capacity, Microsoft states that SQL Server supports the largest single product database in the world, at 70TB. In addition, SQL Server also supports the single largest table, at 20TB, and the single largest cube, at 12TB.

The performance picture is a bit harder to compare, since Microsoft no longer participates in the TPC-C benchmarks that IBM and Oracle use. However, SQL Server has set all of the top TPC-E benchmark scores. Other record-setting performance benchmarks include a Siemens benchmark showing 5,000 concurrent users for Teamcenter, as well as a SAP score of 34,000 users on its 3-tier SD Users benchmark.

Availability

In terms of importance, availability is probably more important to the enterprise than scalability. After all, it doesn’t really matter how fast a database platform is if it’s not available to support your applications and end users.

SQL Server Enterprise Edition offers many high availability technologies, including 16-node Failover Clustering, Database Mirroring, Log Shipping, Database Snapshots, fast recovery and operations. To this, SQL Server 2012 will add AlwaysOn Availability Groups. In addition, referenced architectures from hardware partners such as Stratus and NEC can offer five times the availability, right out of the box.

Security

Security is certainly another important enterprise concern. Although you might not think it because of Microsoft’s past regarding security issues, SQL Server has by far the best security record in the database industry.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, since 2009, SQL Server has had zero reported security vulnerabilities. That’s right, zero. By comparison, Oracle 11g has had 16 reported security vulnerabilities, while IBM’s DB2 has had 48.

Price and Performance

Pure performance and scalability are certainly of prime importance to the enterprise, but the ratio of performance to price is also a very important factor: What good is the fastest system in the world if your organization can’t afford it?SQL Server has always had a reputation of providing the most value per dollar of investment.

A recent comparison of the Trade Web stock trading application pitted the price/performance of a .NET version of the StockTrader application to an IBM WebSphere 7 version of the Trade application. The .NET/SQL Server application delivered 11,020 page views/sec at a total cost of $50,160 while the Java/DB2 version delivered 8,016 page views/sec for a much higher total cost of $260,128.

Business Intelligence

SQL Server has been a leader in the business intelligence (BI) space since Microsoft first released OLAP Services with SQL Server 7 back in 1998. Gartner’s 2011 report on BI ranked Microsoft as the leader in the BI market based on its “ability to execute.”

SQL Server includes Integration Services, Analysis Services, and Reporting Services right out of the box. SQL Server 2008 R2 introduced the managed self-service BI feature and the new PowerPivot tool, which were designed to help spread BI data throughout the enterprise.

To this, SQL Server 2012 adds the new Power View feature, providing powerful data visualization capabilities.