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SQL Database Options

SQL Database Options

When it comes to a database for your Windows server, there are many more options than just Microsoft SQL.

As we all know Linux users have a free choice of database options. Less known is that Microsoft Server users also have a choice. Instead of paying a fortune for MS SQL, why not install one of the free alternatives.

Many of these alternatives are fully ACID compliant and Enterprise standard. Lets have a look at our free database options. Finally, these are all mature and tested databases in use by large and small companies.

Cubrid DB

Cubrid DB was quiet for a few years, but have returned with a bang. Fully featured, enterprise grade relational database with API’s for JDBC, PHP/PDO, ODBC, ADO.NET, OLEDB, Python, Perl, Ruby, C, and Node.js. It is an easy install on Windows and Linux and has a full suite of management tools as well.

It has the following Main Features:

  • Multi Version Concurrency Control enabling high performance and scalability, eliminating deadlocks
  • Seamless transactions: commit/rollback/savepoint
  • Transactions consistency in backup/restore/replication/HA
  • SQL-92 standard compliance and extended SQL syntaxes
  • View/Trigger/Primary key/Auto increment/Foreign key/Serial/Java Store Procedures

Check out more details at cubrid


Another fully relational database (RDB) that features many ANSISQL standards. Firebird can run under Windows, Linux and a few Unix platforms. FirebirdSQL has come a long way and through a few stages of development. As a result, it is now a fully fledged RDB that can run with the big guns. Although Firebird may seem to be a little know database, it has a large following in certain industries.

It has the following Main Features:

  • Trace API for real-time monitoring
  • Windows-trusted authentication
  • Four supported architectures:
    • SuperClassic, Classic, SuperServer, and Embedded
  • Variety of development tools:
    • Commercial tools: FIBPlus and IBObjects
  • Automatic sweep option to clean database
  • Event notifications from database triggers and stored procedures
  • Free support through Firebird’s large global community

Visit the Firebird website

MariaDB (MySQL replacement)

Due to the fact that MySQL was taken over by Oracle and that it does not have a fully GPL (Free) Licence, the original founder and creator of MySQL decided to split from MySQL. He started MariaDB as an alternative which is now a mature system. MariaDB is fully enterprise ready, has brilliant performance and is fully ACID compliant.

Many applications can use this database and it has JDB and ODBC API plugins. The SQL is very close to standard SQL thus very little code re-write! On Windows, use it with the WAMP stack (Windows/Apache/MySQL/PHP). Due to its roots, as a replacement for MySQL, it is 100% compatible.

The Main features are:

  • High scalability with easy integration
  • Real-time access
  • Core functionality of MySQL
  • Alternate storage engines, server optimisations, and patches
  • Extensive knowledge base compiled over the 20 years MariaDB has been operating

Visit the MariaDB website

Closing thoughts

In summary, I have left out the databases that do not use SQL as we are looking at MS SQL replacements that need a minimum of re-coding. So the database options mentioned above can be used with little or no re-writing of SQL queries.

Due to the Open Source nature of these databases, there is no per user license fee and no usage restriction. These databases can all be run as standalone servers too. They can all be accessed via the network as well as local socket access. Plus, they can run on either Windows or Linux, giving you an even cheaper-to-run option.

Finally, they all have large support communities to fall back on in case you get stuck.

At HOSTAFRICA, we believe in giving you all the options to enable your business or application to run as cost-effectively as possible.

Happy Hosting!

The Author

Michael O.

Michael is the founder, managing director, and CEO of HOSTAFRICA. He studied at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and was inspired by Cape Town's beauty to bring his German expertise to Africa. Before HOSTAFRICA, Michael was the Managing Director of Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange AG, one of Germany's largest virtual server providers.

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