Relational Database Management Systems: MSSQL vs. MySQL

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 June 2022 | Published 15 November 2021

Updated 15 June 2022

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In today's rapidly expanding digital world, the amount of data companies organise is multiplying at an unbelievable rate. This expansion has opened a database management system discourse between developers about using database software like MSSQL vs MySQL. Gaining an insight into why you may want to organise data correctly can help you gain a better understanding of the concepts of database management systems. In this article, we list common terminologies used in data management, learn the meaning of SQL, review the similarities between MySQL and MSSQL, and discover the differences between both platforms.

Common Terminology Used Under MSSQL VS MySQL

Before understanding the technical aspects of an MSSQL vs MySQL discourse, it may be helpful for you to get acquainted with the basics of database management systems. Here are the meanings of the most common words used when talking about data management systems:


A data value is information in a cell. The data may be in numerical form, alphabetic or alphanumeric. You may also know these variations as strings, integers or characters.


MySQL means My Structured Query Language. MySQL is an open-source relational database management system. Developers also know it as a database service for deploying specific applications.


MSSQL means Microsoft Structured Query Language. MSSQL is also a relational database management system, but with Microsoft as its developers. Information Technology businesses mainly use it for transaction processes and supporting analytics applications in their environment.

Related: What Is the Difference Between DBMS and RDBMS? (With Examples)


DBMS is an acronym for Database Management System. This system is essentially a digital means of storing and interacting with data stored in it. This system provides increased data security and file consistency as opposed to data stores in physical form. Computer printouts and paper documents are common physical methods of storing data.

Related: What Are The Different Database Types?


An entity is the smallest unit that can contain a meaningful set of data. If you are not going to record data about something, the creation of a database is unnecessary. This entity can be a person, place, or thing.


Records are the horizontal entities existing in a table of data values. Developers commonly refer to it as a row. In a table comprising information like the details of customers that patronise a store, a record is going to contain information like the customer ID and date of purchase of an item belonging to a single customer.


Fields are the vertical entries existing in a table of data values. Developers commonly refer to it as a column. In a table comprising information such as the number of items in a store's inventory, a field contains specific information like every purchase date and purchase number to have existed in the store's history.


Tables are database objects that contain stored data in rows and columns. In the workplace, especially in industries that use DBMS, they refer to tables as a collection of entities. It is worth knowing that multiple related tables make up a relational database system.


A key in DBMS is a tool used to identify a row on a table. The key achieves this by using a combination of columns in the same table. The presence of a key helps you create a sense of identity in your database. An existing sense of identity means no rows possess duplicate information.


RDBMS is an acronym for Relational Database Management System. The RDBMS is software that manages and retrieves data stored in a relational database. Businesses mostly prefer this type of database management system to any other existing type. The preference exists because RDBMS reduces the amount of space used to store their corporate transactions and documents.

Related: Top 14 RDBMS Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

What Does SQL Mean?

SQL is an acronym for Structured Query Language. SQL is a programming language that lets you create and manipulate the data existing in relational databases. This language primarily serves relational databases management systems (RDBMS). This is an advantage for developers, seeing as SQL's compatibility with RDBMS ensures they store their data in a structured manner and get to work on it effectively. You can save time and storage space because of the organised form of the data.

Under the programming languages, developers regard SQL to be declarative and non-procedural. This means whenever you are coding, shift your focus to the results of the code instead of the steps needed to get the result. For example, if you want to write a code to cook dinner, using a procedural programming language like Java requires you to highlight the washing of the pot, the cutting of the ingredients and other steps required to complete the recipe. SQL usage simply requires the code to highlight the finished plate of food instead of all the steps needed.

Related: What Is A SQL Server And Other Frequently Asked Questions

Similarities Between MSSQL VS MySQL

SQL alone is just a programming language. This language can not apply to just any word processing software. It takes dedicated platforms to host SQL instructions. This is where specialised database management software becomes needed. These include dBASE, FoxPro, SQLite and, most importantly, MSSQL and MySQL. These two database management systems have two spots in the top 3 most popular DBMS in the world, according to Statista. Here are a few attributes both systems have in common:


Both MySQL and MSSQL are compatible with multiple programming languages. The two database management systems possess a versatility that enables them to combine with languages including Java, PHP, C, C++, Python and Ruby. Once you go on the internet to find connection drivers for the programming language you are comfortable with, you can easily connect to MySQL and MSSQL with no complex coding.

Method of storage

There are four different database management systems, but both MSSQL and MySQL are relational database systems. This means they both have the same method of storing data. They use the standard database table model to store information in rows and columns.

Key compatibility

A database management system uses keys to assign an identity to data values and integrity to the table. Both DBMS use primary and foreign keys to tie tables together. The keys help to solidify MySQL and MSSQL as relational database management systems.

Related: Top Skills For Software Developer

Differences Between MSSQL And MySQL

Both DBMS have the same purpose which is to handle data, store data, modify and delete operations, but they still differ in certain features. Here are a few differences between both platforms:

Related: Difference Between MySQL and SQL (With Definitions)


MSSQL is a DBMS made by Microsoft, while the Oracle Corporation undertook the support, distribution, and development of MySQL. Although MSSQL's release came six years before MySQL, they are both solid solutions to the overwhelming data problems some companies face. Having been in the market for slightly over two decades, both platforms still have their competitive edge in the market.


When picking an RDBMS, it is crucial to do so while thinking of the cost. MySQL is an open-source software under the terms of a license, which means it is free to use. It is important to note that you can pay for support if needed while using MySQL. Meanwhile, MSSQL is a costly and licensed product.

Operating System Compatibility

Since MSSQL is a Microsoft product, the number of operating systems it is compatible with is low in numbers. The developers ensured MSSQL ran on Microsoft Windows Server 2019 and Linux. Meanwhile, MySQL has a long list of compatible operating systems, including Windows, Linux and Solaris.

Related: Common Operating System Interview Questions (With Sample Responses)

Database Manipulation

Although a query can not stop midway without affecting the rest of the process on MySQL, it can manipulate a database file by creating an extra file or removing a directory while a process is running. MSSQL does not have this feature because of its high level of security. The MSSQL platform does not allow any file manipulation when it is running.

Backup Process

Keeping a database safe is a top priority, and one of the best ways to ensure it is safe is by backing your database up. A backup is easier to perform on an MSSQL server. This is because the server does not block the database while backing up. MySQL backup is not as easy as the former platform, as it requires the server to back up by extracting the data as SQL statements. MSSQL allows its users to back up and restore data with little effort, while MySQL's backup process is time-consuming.

Storage Space

MySQL uses a small amount of functional space to function. MSSQL requires a massive amount of space to carry out processes on your computer. The need for more or less space in both platforms does not change their respective speed or efficiency.

Multiple Editions

MySQL is available for developers in MySQL Standard Edition, MySQL Enterprise Edition and MySQL Cluster Grade Edition. These editions all have benefits you might not come across in the other editions of MySQL. MSSQL is available in editions such as Enterprise, Standard, Web, Workgroup or Express.

IDE Tools

MySQL and MSSQL have Integrated Development Environment tools, but not every IDE tool works with both. MySQL has Enterprise Manager and MSSQL uses Management Studio. These tools allow you to connect with the server and manage configurations for architecture, security and table design.

Related: What Does A Database Manager Do? (With Skills And Salary)

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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