Testers Dispute Report Critical of SQL Server 2005 Performance

By Lisa Vaas  |  Print this article Print


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Some users dispute a recent research report that suggested that SQL Server 2005 would deliver disappointing results for scalability and performance.

SQL Server 2005 is performing just fine in at least one beta customer's site, contrary to a recent report that expressed doubt as to the upcoming relational DBMS' ability to do high-performance computing.

Jim Holt, vice president of server development for Townsend Analytics Ltd., said that data rates are "extremely high" in the real-time electronic trading company's deployment of the database's Beta 2.

"[We're processing] 50,000 transactions per second," said Holt, in Chicago. "I've seen peaks of 100,000 messages per second."

That's a performance gain of about 20 percent over early, pre-Beta 2 builds of the product, Holt said, measured on high-end but still commodity hardware.

In contrast, Forrester Research Inc.'s recently published report, "SQL Server 2005 Likely to Fall Short in High-End Performance Delivery," found that a dozen beta users interviewed by the research company have cited no benefits when it comes to high-performance computing. That feedback, mixed with the lack of TPC-C results in the remaining few months before the database's summer release, led the company to opine that it expected SQL Server 2005 to deliver disappointing results when it comes to scalability and performance.

Some analysts, however, don't think it makes sense to compare the performance of SQL Server betas to shipping versions of IBM and Oracle Corp. databases, as did the Forrester report. Chris Alliegro, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., said that Microsoft's SQL Server team in particular has been "pretty reliable" about shipping new versions that outperform their predecessors.

"It's not an accident—they come up with ship goals and criteria that require [a new version] to be faster than its predecessor," Alliegro said.

Townsend Analytics' Holt said that while performance is a top priority for his company—hence, his happiness with the performance gains of SQL Server 2005—scalability is less of an issue. "If you're looking at real-time electronic trading, you've got charts up, customers are watching stocks update in real-time," he said. "The majority of what we do is pass-through. We don't go through SQL Server for real-time updates. Only if you want to make historical requests for charts would you hit the database server. Scalability is less an issue. We wouldn't want to buy a SQL Server for every customer," though, he said.

Price is another decisive factor in the company's loyalty to SQL Server, he said—even in light of Microsoft's 25-percent price increase for SQL Server Enterprise. "From the early days we've been using Microsoft technology," Holt said. Certainly I've thought about potentially moving to evaluate IBM. Oracle is not much of an option, because it's pretty costly. … In some cases, we don't have to use [the Enterprise edition of SQL Server].

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Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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