PostgreSQL vs. SQL Server: Which One Should You Choose?

You’re considering switching to PostgreSQL. Are you making the right choice? In this article, we’ll take a look at the critical differences between PostgreSQL and SQL Server. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know which one to choose between PostgreSQL vs. SQL Server.

PostgreSQL vs. SQL Server

What Is PostgreSQL?

Assuming you’re unfamiliar, let’s briefly go over what PostgreSQL is. PostgreSQL is a free and open-source relational database management system (RDBMS). It’s often referred to as an “object-relational” database management system or ORDBMS.

Some features that make PostgreSQL stand out are its support for various data types, extensibility, adherence to SQL standards, and ability to run on multiple platforms.

It’s also worth mentioning that PostgreSQL has a pretty active development community. In fact, it was named DBMS of the year in 2018 by DB-Engines.

What Is SQL Server?

SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft. It’s based on the Structured Query Language (SQL), and it’s used to store and retrieve data. The data is organized into tables, and each table has a schema that defines the structure of the data.

SQL Server can be run on-premises or in a private or public cloud. It’s available in different editions with different features and prices. The most popular edition is the Enterprise edition, which includes all the features.

SQL Server has many features that make it a powerful RDBMS, such as security, high availability, scalability, and performance.

PostgreSQL vs. SQL Server

Modern applications need a database that can handle increasing workloads, scale gracefully and offer the flexibility to integrate with other technologies. PostgreSQL is an excellent fit for these needs, while SQL Server is not.

Here are the critical differences between PostgreSQL and SQL Server:

  • PostgreSQL is an open-source database, while SQL Server is a proprietary product. This means that PostgreSQL is free to use, while SQL Server is not.
  • PostgreSQL is released under the GPL license, while SQL Server is released under a restrictive Microsoft license.
  • PostgreSQL is developed by a large, active community of volunteers, while Microsoft develops SQL Server. Also, PostgreSQL has a better community than SQL Server. More people are using and supporting PostgreSQL, which means you can access more resources if needed.
  • PostgreSQL is used by many large organizations, including Apple, Google, Netflix, and Wikipedia, while small businesses and organizations primarily use SQL Server. Because PostgreSQL is more secure than SQL Server. It has been tested more thoroughly and has a more robust security infrastructure.
  • PostgreSQL supports various programming languages, while SQL Server supports only Microsoft’s own languages.
  • PostgreSQL has more features and functions than SQL Server. Also, PostgreSQL is updated more often than SQL Server. It receives new features and bug fixes more frequently, ensuring you permanently have installed the latest version.
  • PostgreSQL is more scalable than SQL Server. It can handle larger volumes of data without breaking down, while SQL Server often struggles under heavy loads.
  • PostgreSQL is more reliable and flexible than SQL Server. It can handle a broader range of tasks and can be adapted to meet specific needs more efficiently than SQL Server.
  • PostgreSQL is easier to use than SQL Server. It has a more straightforward interface and requires less configuration to get started.
  • PostgreSQL is less expensive than SQL Server. You can use it without paying a license fee, while SQL Server requires a paid license for most versions.

Let’s get into the details.

PostgreSQL Is the World’s Most Advanced Open-Source Relational Database

SQL Server is an impressive piece of software. But when it comes to PostgreSQL, it doesn’t hold a candle.

PostgreSQL is the world’s most advanced open-source relational database. It has more features than SQL Server and is constantly updated with the latest innovations. It’s also more secure, thanks to its robust authentication and authorization systems.

But the most significant difference between PostgreSQL and SQL Server is performance. PostgreSQL is much faster, thanks to its sophisticated optimizer and query planner. It can handle larger workloads with ease, while SQL Server struggles under the weight.

If you’re looking for a robust, open-source relational database, PostgreSQL is your best bet.

SQL Server Is a Relational Database Management System

A relational database management system (RDBMS) is a type of database management system (DBMS) that stores data in relations or tables. A table is a collection of columns and rows, where each column represents a different attribute, and each row represents a new record. SQL Server is a relational database management system that can store data in the form of relations or tables.

PostgreSQL is not a relational database management system. It is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS), that stores data in objects. An object is a collection of attributes, and each attribute can have its data type.

SQL Server Is a Microsoft Product

You might not know this, but SQL Server is a Microsoft product. That means it’s designed to work well with other Microsoft products, like Windows Server, Visual Studio, and so on.

If your organization is already using many Microsoft products, then it might make sense to go with SQL Server. But if you’re not locked into the Microsoft ecosystem, then you might want to consider PostgreSQL.

SQL Server Is Used by Millions of Organizations

You might be wondering if PostgreSQL is so great, why does SQL Server even exist? Well, the answer is that millions of organizations worldwide use SQL Server.

And that’s because there are trade-offs, just like with any other software. For example, while PostgreSQL is open source and free to use, SQL Server is a commercial product. This means that you have to pay for a license to use it.

Another difference is that SQL Server is owned by Microsoft, which means that it integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products. And while there are ways to connect PostgreSQL to Microsoft products, it could be more complex.

So, it comes down to what your needs are. If you’re looking for a free and open-source database that’s easy to use, PostgreSQL is a great option. But if you need something that integrates with other Microsoft products, then SQL Server is the way to go.

SQL Server Runs on Windows Only

PostgreSQL can run on multiple platforms, but SQL Server only runs on Windows. So, if you’re looking for a cross-platform solution, PostgreSQL is the winner here.

But what if you’re already using Windows? Well, then, it might not be such a big deal. But you’ll be limited to running SQL Server on Windows if that’s your chosen route.

PostgreSQL Runs on Multiple Platforms

PostgreSQL runs on Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris. This gives you much more flexibility when choosing an operating system for your database server.

If you’re looking for a cross-platform database solution, PostgreSQL is the better option. Not only does it run on multiple platforms, but it also has native binaries for most major operating systems.

PostgreSQL Is More Extensible Than SQL Server

PostgreSQL is more extensible than SQL Server. This means that you can tailor PostgreSQL to your specific needs without changing the core code.

On the other hand, if you want to make a change with SQL Server, you have to modify the code and then rebuild the entire system, which can be time-consuming and costly.

In addition, because PostgreSQL is open source, there’s a community of developers constantly working on improving and adding to the software. With SQL Server, you rely on Microsoft to make changes and improvements.

PostgreSQL vs. SQL Server: The Verdict!

After going through the differences, PostgreSQL seems like the winner. However, if your organization is comfortable using an SQL server, you don’t have to switch over. Especially if you are working on Windows; however, if you are looking for a budget-friendly and more reliable option, you can start using PostgreSQL.

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