Microsoft’s SQL Server is brutally expensive with the Standard Edition being $4999 per processor and then there is the requirement for Windows licence and CALs for the server it is sitting on. And those are US prices – it is more expensive again in Europe, of course!
Unsurprising then that people are looking for cheaper alternatives. One easy alternative is to use Microsoft’s MSDE – however, MDSE is limited to 5 concurrent connections, databases smaller than 2gb and still requires Windows licencing.
Microsoft are now touting SQL Server 2005 Express as the successor to MSDE. 2005 Express can handle databases of up to 4gb in size but again only runs on Windows.
MySQL is a fully featured open source rdbms which can run on Linux and consequently this is quite a popular alternative to MS SQL Server. Differences in the SQL implementation and lack of Stored Procedures in MySQL limit the ease of database migration projects. So while it is easy enough if you start with MySQL, moving an established database to MySQL is not a trivial task.
In the last few days Sybase announced that they were releasing a free version of their Adaptive Server¬Æ Enterprise (ASE) Express Edition for Linux. Microsoft’s SQL Server is based on an earlier version of Sybase so there are similarities between the two and their T-SQL is very close. The limitations placed on this offering are that the database be no more than 5gb, 1cpu and 2gb of ram.
With the release of this product free there is now a much cheaper alternative to MS SQL Server for people who want to painlessly migrate their existing databases.