Understanding the Difference Between PostgreSQL vs MSSQL Server

Understanding the Difference Between PostgreSQL vs MS SQL server
Understanding the Difference Between PostgreSQL vs MS SQL server

Introduction

While working on a new project choosing which database to use will be one of the most challenging choices you have to make. A wrong choice of the database will lead to scalability and maintenance issues in the future. Knowing the pros and cons of each database will enable the developer to make the right decision.

PostgreSQL vs SQL servers is the two popular database choices for the developer. In this blog, we will do a comprehensive study of these databases, which will help you decide the database to be used for your future projects.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an advanced general-purpose object-relational database management system (RDBMS). As it is object-oriented, classes, objects,  inheritance, etc., are supported in the database schema and query language. Furthermore, being an RDBMS, it supports tabular structures, data types, etc. 

This open-source DBMS uses Structured Query Language (SQL) and its procedural language, PL/pgSQL (Procedural Language/PostgreSQL). It is highly stable and is used by companies like Apple, Spotify, Reddit, Instagram, etc.

Current stable version: 13.3 (as of June 2021)

MS SQL

Microsoft SQL(MS SQL) Server is an  RDBMS developed by Microsoft in 1989.  It is one of the best Database Management Systems(DBMS) options available in the market with high performance and security. Microsoft, Accenture, Intuit, Stack Overflow, etc., are some of the companies that use MS SQL.

Current stable version: Microsoft SQL Server 2019

Comparison between PostgreSQL Vs SQL Server

ParameterPostgreSQLMS SQL
Developed byPostgreSQL Global Development Group in 1989Microsoft in 1989
DBMS typeObject-relational database management systemRelational database management system
LicenseAvailable under the PostgreSQL License, an Open Source Initiative Approved License.Available under a commercial license.
Written inC++C
OS CompatibilityRuns on FreeBSD, HP-UX, Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD, OS X, Solaris, Unix, Windows, etc.It runs on Windows and Linux.
Installation processSmooth installation process.The installation process is slow and involves immense downloads.
ScalabilityScalability is enhanced by placing table partitions and indexes in separate tablespaces on different disk file systems.Sharding enables MS SQL to achieve scalability. 
Data securityAuthentication methods, including Lightweight Directory Access Protocol(LDAP) and Pluggable Authentication Module(PAM), protect from attacks.Two server-level security enhancement features: Windows AuthenticationMode and Mixed Mode, protect from attacks.
Concurrency It has a better concurrency management system.Underdeveloped concurrency and by default relies on locking of data to prevent errors from simultaneous transactions.
ReplicationMaster-slave replication is supportedIt supports snapshot replication, transactional replication, merge replication.
AvailabilityHigh availability is achieved through load balancing and replication features.Always ON Availability Group architecture has high availability, and Read Scale Availability Group architecture has low high availability. 
PartitioningBuilt-in support offered for range, list, multilevel partitioning, and hash partitioning with interval partitioning in the EDB version.It supports table and index partitioning.
PerformanceThe multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) feature for the simultaneous processing of multiple transactions (with almost no deadlock) improves performance.In-Memory Online transaction processing (OLTP) feature ensures high performance by using in-memory data tables instead of writing directly to the disk.
Clustering It allows clusters of servers but does not natively support any multi-master clustering solutions.It offers Windows Server Failover Clustering that can be configured for both active/passive and active/active nodes.
Stored procedures Stored procedures are supported in various languages in addition to standard SQL syntax.Supports stored procedures for languages supported by Microsoft .NET framework.
Data ConsistencyBuilt-in logical backup utilities, such as pg_dumpall and pg_dump, along with third-party data consistency tools like Amanda, Bacula, Barman, etc., are available.It has three online backup models: simple, full, and bulk-logged recovery models.
Updatable ViewsRules have to be written against different views to update them. If tables have different keys and the update statements do not involve more than one table, views are automatically updated.
Scheduling TasksNo built-in scheduler,  external tools like pgAgent, Task Scheduler, cron, etc., have to be used.Tasks scheduled using SQL Server Management Studio.
TriggersTriggering events like AFTER, BEFORE, and INSTEAD OF are supported, used to INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE events. It supports triggers like Data Manipulation Language (DML) triggers, Data Definition Language (DDL) triggers, and Logon Triggers.
Regular expressionsLIKE, SIMILAR TO, and POSIX methods are used for evaluating regular expressions.No native support is provided. However, Transact-SQL (T-SQL) functions: LIKE, SUBSTRING, and PATINDEX can be used to achieve similar results.
Index TypesOffers options like B-tree, hash, Generalized Search Tree (GiST), Space Partitioned GiST, Generalized Inverted Index (GIN), and Block Range Index (BRIN).Offers clustered and non-clustered indexes. 
StackPopular with the LAPP stack (Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, and PHP/PythonPopular with  the Microsoft stack
Computed columnDoes not provide support for computed columnIncludes support for computed columns
Geographic dataPostGIS, a spatial database extender, offers support for geographic objects as no native geographic data type present.Has the geography data type for storing geographic spatial data
Case-sensitivityBy default, it is case-sensitive.By default, it is case insensitive.

Advantages

PostgreSQL

  • Open Source community which helps in regular improvement
  • Active community support
  • ACID complaint
  • Concurrency management system better than MS SQL
  • Installation process simpler
  • Low maintenance and administration required
  • Good language support (Python, Java, Perl, PHP, C, C++, etc.)
  • Supports JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)
  • Cross-platform

MS SQL 

  • Several server editions available
  • Highly secure
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) support provided
  • Easy to create queries to return specific, filtered data
  • Can back up, recovery and rollback data with ease

Disadvantages

PostgreSQL

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  • Many open source apps do not support PostgreSQL.
  • Independent software vendor support is pretty sparse
  • Data is exported or replicated to the new version when it is released
  • The query execution plans are not cached.
  • Double storage required during the up-gradation process

MS SQL 

  • It supports Windows and Linux but doesn’t have support for other operating systems. 
  • It offers vendor support but isn’t as customizable as PostgreSQL.
  • Complex query optimisation and performance tuning
  • Paid software
  • GUI client and database management applications up-gradation requires users to upgrade their hardware

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PostgreSQL better than SQL Server?

PostgreSQL is better than SQL Server in aspects like concurrency management system, scalability, community support, pricing, etc.

Is PostgreSQL different from SQL Server?

Yes, they differ in many aspects like partitioning, replication methods, support for in-memory capabilities, availability in operating systems, etc.

Why is PostgreSQL so popular?

PostgreSQL is popular because of its community support and regular updates. It also offers a vast number of functions which help developers build secure and efficient applications.

When should we use PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is well suited for Online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP) systems where read/write speeds and extensive data analysis are required. It can be used for data warehousing and data analysis applications that require fast read or write speed.

Is PostgreSQL a virus?

PostgreSQL is not a virus. There is a virus file called postgres.exe, named after the PostgreSQL Server.

Is PostgreSQL the best?

It is one of the best DBMS in the market and one of the popular choices for corporations that perform complex and high-volume data operations.

Key Takeaways

So these are the differences between PostgreSQL vs SQL server. In this blog, we ran you through the following:

  • Introduction to PostgreSQL vs SQL server
  • Comparison between PostgreSQL vs SQL server based on scalability, performance, partitioning, etc
  • Advantages of PostgreSQL vs SQL server
  • Disadvantages of PostgreSQL and MS SQL
  • Some common question related to PostgreSQL and MS SQL

With this discussion, this blog attempted to give you an idea of PostgreSQL vs SQL server DBMS.

By Hari Sapna Nair