SQL Server – is it fast enough to run my solution?

When I joined Microsoft 9 years back the most common question I heard about SQL Server was "Is it fast enough?". This was worded in so many different ways - but boiled down to a perception part based on fact (SQL Server 6.0/7.0) and part based on some great FUD from our competitors. In the last couple of years I have rarely been asked this question as I believe generally the industry accepts that SQL Server 2000 (and soon 2005) can deliver the scalability required by large Enterprise solutions. Hence I have finally stopped carrying proof points about scalability of SQL in my head - freeing up room for one or two other things - excellent! Then... last week I walked into a meeting which turned out to be all about scalability - which caused me to quickly check where we were mid-meeting. The answer I found was even better than I had expected.

Last month Winter Corp released their latest TopTen survey and the results are fantastic for SQL Server. They provide great proof points for SQL Server's enterprise credibility. In brief:
- SQL Server had three times as many customers participating this year vs. the last survey (done in 2003), with 43 entries over 1 TB, and 22 entries in data warehousing
- Three SQL Server entries ended up in the Top Ten largest OLTP systems in the world, which is as many as Oracle and IBM! 
- The 3rd largest OLTP system in the world (by rows) runs on SQL Server, and is larger than any Oracle system. 
- Finally, for the first time ever we had THE largest data warehousing system on the Windows platform running on SQL Server (a massive 19.5 TB system).

Impressive! Check them out for yourself at http://wintercorp.com/VLDB/2005_TopTen_Survey/TopTenWinners_2005.asp 

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