MSSQL and MySQL: Differences and Similarities

26 July 2021 at 10:00 by ParTech Media - Post a comment

Most businesses opt for relational databases for storing mountains of data owing to their robust scalability and easy retrieval over flat-file databases. In fact, a vast majority of current IT systems and applications are based on relational DBMS(Database Management Systems).

Relational databases are types of databases that store and provide access to data points related to one another. They are typically based on a relational model that is intuitive and straightforward, at the same time.

In a relational database, each row is a record with a unique ID called a key. Each column in the table holds the attributes and rows hold the values of these attributes, thereby making it easier to connect data points across the table.

In this post, we will go through a simple example of a relational database and look at the similarities and differences between the two most popular relational databases of modern times - MSSQL and MySQL.

Table of Contents

  1. Example of relational database
  2. MSSQL and MySQL: Similarities
  3. MSSQL and MySQL: Differences
  4. Final Thoughts

Example of relational database

Here’s a simple example of two tables that a business might use for processing its orders.

Suppose that the first table is a customer repository table, where each record comprises the customer’s name, billing information, and address. The database assigns a unique key for each row. The second table is a customer order table. The table constitutes a Customer ID i.e the customer who has placed the order, product name, quantity, and other miscellaneous information(size or color) - but not the customer information.

In this, the common bridging component is the Customer ID. This is used to pull information from the second table. When the company’s order processing application requests the database, the database can go to the customer table pulling details about the product information and can use the Customer ID to pull the customer details such as name and address. The warehouse then correctly pulls the correct product and matches it with the customer and ensures correct delivery.

Very often, RDBMS and SQL(structured Query language) are interchangeably used. But there is a slight difference. SQL is basically a programming language to retrieve, manipulate and store records in an RDBMS. RDBMS forms the basis of SQL and uses SQL to retrieve and work on records in a database.

The pillars of RDBMS databases are MSSQL and MySQL, which are relational in structure and provide easy access to users.

MSSQL and MySQL: Similarities

Both Microsoft SQL Server(MSSQL) and MySQL are widely used as enterprise database systems. MySQL is an open RDBMS system while MSSQL is Microsoft-developed RDBMS. Since MSSQL and MySQL are relational databases, there are several similar features they share.


Both MSSQL and MySQL use the standard relational table database for storing data in rows and columns.

High performance

Your database is the stronghold of your application for retrieving and manipulating data in your application. Both MSSQL and MySQL provide unfettered high-performance actions.


Both the databases use primary and foreign keys to establish relationships between multiple tables.


Both databases can be scaled as your application grows. They are suitable for large enterprise projects and are capable of handling millions of transactions every day.


MSSQL and MySQL, both have the same syntax except for some minor differences in CRUD(Create, read, update and delete) operations.


Fortunately, you can connect MSSQL and MySQL to other programming languages using connection drivers that can be found on the web easily.

Web-based popularity

Both MSSQL and MySQL are equally popular databases on the web. Whenever you sign up for hosting, you are usually given two choices - MSSQL and MySQL.

Having got a glimpse of the similarities, let us explore the differences between MSSQL and MySQL.

MSSQL and MySQL: Differences

MSSQL and MySQL differ in terms of interface and relational database standards, they operate very differently. Most of these differences are accounted for by the architecture beneath that often happens in the background. This means that an average user is not aware of these differences. But the differences are integral for DBAs(Database Administrators) as they have an important role in the decision-making process.

Native compatibility

SQL Server was originally developed solely for Microsoft Windows users. Microsoft has recently made MSSQL available on Mac OS and Linux. This gives enterprises an upper hand in running the SQL server on three different platforms. However, users still lack certain functionalities while running SQL servers in Mac OS and Linux.

On the other hand, MySQL can run smoothly in different operating systems, be it Mac OS, Linux, or Windows.

Language support

Both MSSQL and MySQL support multiple programming languages. This includes Java, C++, Ruby, Python, Go, and R. MySQL lends support to additional programming languages such as TCL, Perl, and Haskell. It is so versatile in language support that it is highly sought-after by many developer communities.

On the other hand, MSSQL has less language coverage as compared to MySQL.

Cost efficiency

MySQL is free and open-source although you need to pay for the support if required. MSSQL is more expensive to run as you also have to acquire licenses for the server running the software.


If you are using MySQL, backing up of data is made possible by extracting it as SQL statements. MySQL offers a tool to block the database while data is being backed up. This feature minimizes the chance of data corruption while switching between different MySQL versions. The downside is that in MySQL, restoration is a time-consuming process.

MSSQL, on the other hand, does not block the database while it is backing up the data. This easily allows users to backup and restore data..

Options to kill query

MySQL is not equipped to kill or cancel a query once it starts running. To stop the SQL query execution, you have to kill the complete process. MSSQL has the advantage of truncating a particular SQL query without canceling the whole process. Also, MSSQL uses a transactional engine to maintain a stable state. This gives MSSQL a notable upper hand over MySQL in terms of manipulating queries in execution.

Final Thoughts

The database you choose usually depends upon the hosting environment you pick. Linux hosting providers usually provide MySQL. Since MySQL is free and open-source you can create as many databases as you want for your database. But the query execution supremacy lies within MSSQL. So it is important to choose your database depending upon the programming language you are using and your hosting environment.