Faster than a speeding Oracle.
More powerful than a DB2.
Able to outperform MySQL in a single DDL statement.
It's a bird—it's a plane—it's SQL Server on Windows!

Two weeks ago, Microsoft broke through a barrier that many people thought couldn't be broken. The company posted a nonclustered TPC-C benchmark faster than anything that Oracle or DB2 has ever published. Microsoft posted a tpmC score of 433,107 with a price per tpmC of $12.98. Microsoft achieved the score using a 32-CPU database server running the 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition and SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition. Oracle's best score is 427,760 tpmC with a price per tpmC of $17.75. The SQL Server score costs about a third less per transaction than the Oracle system and is a little more than 1 percent faster.

You might have noticed that 64-bit Windows Server 2003 and 64-bit SQL Server aren't yet commercially available. The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) site says that this configuration isn't expected to be commercially available until around the end of June. Foul, you say! No fair comparing a future version of SQL Server to shipping versions of Oracle. Calm down. The Oracle configuration mentioned above won't be commercially available until about the end of May, so the comparison is fair.

The new SQL Server score isn't the fastest TPC-C score ever; it's the second-fastest nonclustered TPC-C score ever published. A database called SymfoWARE achieved the top honor with a score of 455,818 tpmC at a price of $28.58 running on a Fujitsu mainframe-class server with 128 processors. That score is 5 percent faster than the new SQL Server score but required four times as many processors at more than double the per-transaction cost. Besides, do you know anyone running SymfoWARE?

IBM hasn't posted a nonclustered TPC-C score for DB2 since March 19, 2001, so I'm going to leave it out of the comparison because it wouldn't be fair to compare new scores to a score that's nearly 2 years old. Presumably, IBM doesn't think DB2 is competitive in this benchmark, or it would have posted a score more recently. By all standards, SQL Server, Oracle, and DB2 are the dominant database platforms. SQL Server has a long history of being more cost-effective than Oracle and DB2, but it's never been less expensive AND faster.

This benchmark should finally put to rest the argument that SQL Server can't scale to the same levels that UNIX platforms can. For years, I've argued that SQL Server is fast enough to meet the needs of almost any business application. However, my argument didn't convince die-hard UNIX database fans who like to speculate about the future load on their database server. The recent Slammer debacle shows that Microsoft still has some challenges ahead in the world of enterprise-class support and service. However, this most recent TPC-C score should give organizations the confidence that SQL Server on Windows can meet their businesses' performance needs as well as or better than anything UNIX offers. Chances are, you'll never need to support 7,200 transactions per second, but it's nice to know you can.

For more information about this and other TPC-C benchmark scores, see the TPC site at http://www.tpc.org .