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What’s the Difference Between MySQL and SQL Server?

Data is now an integral part of business, so companies need an efficient way to store and manage it. Most companies rely on a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) to allow them to do just that. This software enables users to update, modify, and administer data in ways that are easy to navigate.

Two of the most popular RDBMS options are MySQL and SQL Server. They are both based on SQL (often pronounced as “sequel”), which stands for Structured Query Language. Microsoft SQL Server utilizes SQL to function. Database administrators (DBAs) and other IT professionals use SQL as a standardized programming language to manage databases and query their data. Although MySQL and SQL have some similarities, they function differently.

What is SQL Server Used for?

SQL Server is a Microsoft product, often referred to as Microsoft SQL Server. It supports numerous applications for IT corporate environments, including everything from transaction processing to analytics. The system is based on the SQL Server Database Engine. This controls data storage, processing and security. Microsoft SQL Server can be implemented on-premises or in the cloud and has two editions to choose from, Enterprise and Standard. The Enterprise license is built for organizations that require mission-critical in-memory performance and security, as well as high availability. The Standard version is ideal for mid-tier applications and data marts that require fully-featured database capabilities. SQL Server has many features that allow companies to manage and search their databases.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is an open-source RDMS that was developed by the Oracle Corporation. Open-source means that the software is free to use and the code is made open so that developers around the world can continue to modify and improve it.

MySQL is available in four editions: SQL Community Server, which is free, Standard, Cluster, and Enterprise, which comes with additional proprietary extensions. MySQL works by creating a database for storing and manipulating data. When the user makes a request by typing specific SQL statements, the server will deliver the requested information.

The software offers many features that make it flexible and easy to use. These features include protection of sensitive data, reduced risk of data loss, support to set up and manage MySQL in the cloud, and scalability.

What is the Difference Between SQL Server and MySQL?

The main difference between the two is that Microsoft SQL Server is proprietary software, while MySQL is open-source. This leads to significant differences in the software, which include:


Both are designed as binary collection (can run the same software without recompiling the application) and EC2 compliant. However, MySQL enables developers and processes to access database files during run time through its binaries and manipulate them.

SQL Server has more safeguards in place. Hackers lack options to open and influence data because users are required to either perform specific functions or manipulate files by running an instance. Because SQL has these measures in place when it comes to changing database files, it is more secure than MySQL.

Supported Platforms

When SQL Server was created, it was developed only for Windows operating systems and Windows Server. Over the years Microsoft has made it available for Linux and Mac OS X. However, this expansion to other operating systems does not include many of the features that SQL Server offers on the Windows platform.

MySQL, however, was not created with the same restraints. It runs on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Solarism FreeBSD and on almost every OS.

Programming Languages

Both MySQL and SQL Server can support many programming languages. However, MySQL supports additional languages that SQL Server does not, such as Perl, Pcl, Scheme, Eiffel and Haskel. The ability to use more programming languages makes MySQL a popular choice in the developer community.


MySQL is more complicated when it comes to backing up data. MySQL requires that all data is extracted as SQL statements. At the time of extraction, the database is blocked which reduces the chance of data corruption. However, this process is time-consuming as running multiple SQL statements increases time and effort.

SQL Server doesn’t block the database while backing up data. Its method enables users to back up and restore large amounts of data without extra time or effort.

Which One is Better: MySQL or SQL Server?

MySQL and SQL Server both offer a high level of speed and performance. They can host several databases on one server and work well for high-end applications. They also both offer similar support. However, MySQL’s data insertion and deletion, development functions, and capabilities are weaker than SQL Server. SQL Server offers stronger security and ETL functionality that is missing from MySQL.

Because there are many different editions of each, it’s vital that organizations do their due diligence to understand which one is best for their business. Both MySQL and SQL Server offer free versions, so consider trying out each version to see which fits your business best. Users should pick the right edition of MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server based on their needs and the requirements of their software development projects. What works for you depends on your use case, budget and perspective.

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