CockroachDB vs Microsoft SQL Server

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CockroachDB vs Microsoft SQL Server: What are the differences?


CockroachDB and Microsoft SQL Server are both popular relational database management systems, but they differ in various aspects. Here are key differences between CockroachDB and Microsoft SQL Server:

  1. Scalability: CockroachDB is designed to be highly scalable and can easily handle large-scale distributed databases. It uses a distributed architecture based on the Raft consensus algorithm and offers horizontal scaling. On the other hand, Microsoft SQL Server is primarily designed for single-instance deployments and lacks native support for automatic horizontal scaling. Scalability is a major advantage of CockroachDB in highly demanding and rapidly growing applications.

  2. Consistency: CockroachDB guarantees strong consistency by default. It follows a strict serializable isolation level, ensuring that transactions are executed in an order consistent with their serial order. Microsoft SQL Server offers different isolation levels, ranging from read uncommitted to serializable, but may sacrifice consistency for performance in some cases. CockroachDB's strong consistency model makes it more suitable for applications where data integrity is crucial.

  3. Fault-tolerance: CockroachDB is highly fault-tolerant and can tolerate the failure of individual nodes, ensuring continuous availability. It uses distributed consensus and automatic data replication to maintain data durability. Microsoft SQL Server can also be configured for fault tolerance by setting up failover clusters or database mirroring, but it relies on external tools and requires manual configuration. CockroachDB provides built-in fault-tolerance features that simplify high availability deployments.

  4. Geographic Distribution: CockroachDB natively supports geographic distribution and multi-region deployments. It allows data to be spread across different geographical locations, providing low-latency access to data for users in various regions. Microsoft SQL Server lacks built-in features for geographic distribution and requires custom solutions like database sharding or replication to achieve similar capabilities. CockroachDB's native support for geographic distribution simplifies global deployments.

  5. Open-source vs. Proprietary: CockroachDB is an open-source database built on top of PostgreSQL, providing both a free community edition and a commercially supported version. It offers the advantages of open-source software, such as transparency, extensibility, and community support. Microsoft SQL Server, on the other hand, is a proprietary database that requires licenses for commercial use. The open-source nature of CockroachDB makes it more accessible for developers and organizations looking for cost-effective solutions.

  6. ACID Compliance: CockroachDB is fully ACID compliant, ensuring Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability for transactions. It provides the necessary guarantees for reliable data processing in applications that require acid properties. Microsoft SQL Server also supports ACID properties, but the level of isolation can be adjusted based on the chosen isolation level. CockroachDB's strict adherence to ACID principles makes it suitable for applications with stringent data integrity requirements.

In Summary, CockroachDB offers superior scalability, strong consistency, fault-tolerance, geographic distribution support, open-source availability, and full ACID compliance compared to Microsoft SQL Server.

Advice on CockroachDB and Microsoft SQL Server

I am a Microsoft SQL Server programmer who is a bit out of practice. I have been asked to assist on a new project. The overall purpose is to organize a large number of recordings so that they can be searched. I have an enormous music library but my songs are several hours long. I need to include things like time, date and location of the recording. I don't have a problem with the general database design. I have two primary questions:

  1. I need to use either MySQL or PostgreSQL on a Linux based OS. Which would be better for this application?
  2. I have not dealt with a sound based data type before. How do I store that and put it in a table? Thank you.
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Replies (6)

Hi Erin,

Honestly both databases will do the job just fine. I personally prefer Postgres.

Much more important is how you store the audio. While you could technically use a blob type column, it's really not ideal to be storing audio files which are "several hours long" in a database row. Instead consider storing the audio files in an object store (hosted options include backblaze b2 or aws s3) and persisting the key (which references that object) in your database column.

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Aaron Westley

Hi Erin, Chances are you would want to store the files in a blob type. Both MySQL and Postgres support this. Can you explain a little more about your need to store the files in the database? I may be more effective to store the files on a file system or something like S3. To answer your qustion based on what you are descibing I would slighly lean towards PostgreSQL since it tends to be a little better on the data warehousing side.

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Christopher Wray
Web Developer at Soltech LLC · | 3 upvotes · 410.7K views

Hey Erin! I would recommend checking out Directus before you start work on building your own app for them. I just stumbled upon it, and so far extremely happy with the functionalities. If your client is just looking for a simple web app for their own data, then Directus may be a great option. It offers "database mirroring", so that you can connect it to any database and set up functionality around it!

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Julien DeFrance
Principal Software Engineer at Tophatter · | 3 upvotes · 410.3K views
Amazon AuroraAmazon Aurora

Hi Erin! First of all, you'd probably want to go with a managed service. Don't spin up your own MySQL installation on your own Linux box. If you are on AWS, thet have different offerings for database services. Standard RDS vs. Aurora. Aurora would be my preferred choice given the benefits it offers, storage optimizations it comes with... etc. Such managed services easily allow you to apply new security patches and upgrades, set up backups, replication... etc. Doing this on your own would either be risky, inefficient, or you might just give up. As far as which database to chose, you'll have the choice between Postgresql, MySQL, Maria DB, SQL Server... etc. I personally would recommend MySQL (latest version available), as the official tooling for it (MySQL Workbench) is great, stable, and moreover free. Other database services exist, I'd recommend you also explore Dynamo DB.

Regardless, you'd certainly only keep high-level records, meta data in Database, and the actual files, most-likely in S3, so that you can keep all options open in terms of what you'll do with them.

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Hi Erin,

  • Coming from "Big" DB engines, such as Oracle or MSSQL, go for PostgreSQL. You'll get all the features you need with PostgreSQL.
  • Your case seems to point to a "NoSQL" or Document Database use case. Since you get covered on this with PostgreSQL which achieves excellent performances on JSON based objects, this is a second reason to choose PostgreSQL. MongoDB might be an excellent option as well if you need "sharding" and excellent map-reduce mechanisms for very massive data sets. You really should investigate the NoSQL option for your use case.
  • Starting with AWS Aurora is an excellent advise. since "vendor lock-in" is limited, but I did not check for JSON based object / NoSQL features.
  • If you stick to Linux server, the PostgreSQL or MySQL provided with your distribution are straightforward to install (i.e. apt install postgresql). For PostgreSQL, make sure you're comfortable with the pg_hba.conf, especially for IP restrictions & accesses.


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Klaus Nji
Staff Software Engineer at SailPoint Technologies · | 1 upvotes · 410.3K views

I recommend Postgres as well. Superior performance overall and a more robust architecture.

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Pros of CockroachDB
Pros of Microsoft SQL Server
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    • 139
      Reliable and easy to use
    • 102
      High performance
    • 95
      Great with .net
    • 65
      Works well with .net
    • 56
      Easy to maintain
    • 21
      Azure support
    • 17
      Full Index Support
    • 17
      Always on
    • 10
      Enterprise manager is fantastic
    • 9
      In-Memory OLTP Engine
    • 2
      Easy to setup and configure
    • 2
      Security is forefront
    • 1
      Faster Than Oracle
    • 1
      Decent management tools
    • 1
      Great documentation
    • 1
      Docker Delivery
    • 1
      Columnstore indexes

    Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

    Cons of CockroachDB
    Cons of Microsoft SQL Server
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      • 4
        Expensive Licensing
      • 2

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      What is CockroachDB?

      CockroachDB is distributed SQL database that can be deployed in serverless, dedicated, or on-prem. Elastic scale, multi-active availability for resilience, and low latency performance.

      What is Microsoft SQL Server?

      Microsoft® SQL Server is a database management and analysis system for e-commerce, line-of-business, and data warehousing solutions.

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      What companies use CockroachDB?
      What companies use Microsoft SQL Server?
      See which teams inside your own company are using CockroachDB or Microsoft SQL Server.
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      What tools integrate with CockroachDB?
      What tools integrate with Microsoft SQL Server?

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      What are some alternatives to CockroachDB and Microsoft SQL Server?
      The MySQL software delivers a very fast, multi-threaded, multi-user, and robust SQL (Structured Query Language) database server. MySQL Server is intended for mission-critical, heavy-load production systems as well as for embedding into mass-deployed software.
      Oracle Database is an RDBMS. An RDBMS that implements object-oriented features such as user-defined types, inheritance, and polymorphism is called an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS). Oracle Database has extended the relational model to an object-relational model, making it possible to store complex business models in a relational database.
      Partitioning means that Cassandra can distribute your data across multiple machines in an application-transparent matter. Cassandra will automatically repartition as machines are added and removed from the cluster. Row store means that like relational databases, Cassandra organizes data by rows and columns. The Cassandra Query Language (CQL) is a close relative of SQL.
      MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
      FoundationDB is a NoSQL database with a shared nothing architecture. Designed around a "core" ordered key-value database, additional features and data models are supplied in layers. The key-value database, as well as all layers, supports full, cross-key and cross-server ACID transactions.
      See all alternatives