IBM Db2 Database vs SQL Server comparison

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IBM Logo
10,870 views|7,336 comparisons
90% willing to recommend
Microsoft Logo
32,173 views|24,063 comparisons
93% willing to recommend
Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Sep 5, 2022

We performed a comparison between IBM Db2 Database and SQL Server based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Most users of both solutions say that their initial setup is straightforward.
  • Features: Users of both products are happy with their stability and scalability.

    IBM Db2 Database reviewers say that it is reliable, robust, high-performing, and requires minimal maintenance, but they would like a more modern UI.

    SQL Server users praise its integration, SSRS, and SSIS tools features and say it is user-friendly and intuitive. Some users note that sometimes its performance slows down.
  • Pricing: Some IBM Db2 Database users feel that it is an expensive product. Most SQL Server reviewers say that its price is fair.
  • ROI: Users of both solutions report an ROI.
  • Service and Support: Reviewers of both solutions report being satisfied with the level of support they receive.

Comparison Results: IBM Db2 Database has an edge in this comparison due to the high marks it received for its performance. Reviewers are happier with the pricing of SQL Server, however.

To learn more, read our detailed IBM Db2 Database vs. SQL Server Report (Updated: May 2024).
772,422 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Daniel Tamiru
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"It has a good, stable performance.""The most valuable feature of IBM Db2 Database is its ability to perform automatic self-management, reducing the need for manual tasks such as managing logs and folders.""The newly added feature of ALSM is one of the top features""The most valuable feature of the IBM Db2 Database is security.""The most valuable features are the simplicity of the database and the access to Db2 and Db2 information.""The solution's security is very tough and impenetrable.""Its robustness, scalability, availability, and performance are valuable. All these are the major attributes of a relational database for supporting a very high-volume business, and Db2 is very good in all those areas and in all those attributes.""The most valuable aspect of this solution is its stability. We have never had any problems and have never had to contact technical support."

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"The initial setup isn't overly complex.""The product can scale if a company needs it to.""SQL Server is quite user-friendly. I have experience with Oracle and PostgreSQL, so out of three, I like SQL Server a lot.""SQL Server's most valuable features are that it is a large number of community resources to help you out. that's one, and then it is quite powerful.""It will do clustering, so you can have two database servers looking at the same data simultaneously.""They have improved the UI and ease of accessing the database and server which is good. You can load it up and start using it from the very minute it is implemented.""The scalability is very good.""It's great that the nodes are synchronized so if you lose one it automatically moves to another."

More SQL Server Pros →

"The capabilities of this solution could improve.""IBM Db2 Database could improve the user-defined functions. There are some user-defined functions that are missing, such as the spring functions. I used to have Teradata for my projects and I was used to working in the environment. They had a good set of user-defined functions.""IBM Db2 Database could improve in the steps it takes for upgrades. It is not an easy process. The process of upgrading the version is lengthy and requires a lot of time. To make it more efficient, I suggest implementing some automation on the solution side. This will greatly reduce the time required for the upgrade.""Performance is something that can be improved with DB2.""We just want a bit more integration with Linux. That said, we are already seeing Linux more readily available on the mainframe environment.""The technical support can be faster.""There could be more user-friendly tools with features such as drag-and-drop functionality, visual basics, and low-code capabilities.""The GUI interface is not particularly friendly for those who do not have experience with the product."

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"The reporting services of the solution (SSRS and now Power BI) are the less valuable items of the SQL Server suite.""I do not think SQL Server is suited for a typical database warehouse environment. However, people do use SQL Server for data warehouse environments but the best use case is for very small databases. If somebody wants to store more than 10 TB of data querying then the performance really degrades. The performance should be improved in the future to allow more scalability.""There are a few use cases where we do need the Active-Active options instead of Active-Passive, yet those kinds of options are not available for Microsoft.""The treatment of database storage could be improved.""The scalability could be better.""SQL Server could be more robust than one of its competitors.""There should be more security updates for the product.""Scalability of the database could be improved if it could handle increased volumes of data."

More SQL Server Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "They are competitive and honest (compared to how peer firms approach licensing conversations). ​"
  • "Compared to Oracle, it is so much cheaper."
  • "Licensing fees are on a yearly basis."
  • "We don't see what the specific price of the DB2 license is because we pay for the backup license as a package."
  • "I think that everyone knows that with IBM the standard price is higher than the others."
  • "Db2 is less expensive than Oracle."
  • "We did not buy it. It came with our hardware without any complimentary maintenance. If I compare Db2 Database with Oracle Database, its price is lower than Oracle Database."
  • "There is a license for this solution and we pay every three years."
  • More IBM Db2 Database Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The free version is cumbersome to use and maintain. But $5000 for a licence is more expense than the benefit I would get from a licensed version. A licence might be worth the price to simplify management and speed up searches."
  • "​We are a Microsoft shop, so we use Active Directory. That integrates well with this product, but we did look at Oracle. We also looked at IBM. This was the best price point for us for what we were getting.​"
  • "​It has the easiest licensing."
  • "This is a downside of enterprise Microsoft products."
  • "Currently, almost all of my machines are in Azure and I think it is the best way of licensing now (VM+software)."
  • "The price has been going higher and higher. The market is quite price sensitive."
  • "My advice is quite straightforward. If you know the number of users who really and truly need access to the Server then it is a no-brainer. If you do not know, then get the basic package and minimum licenses and start from there. Needless to say, users can develop/use data structures outside and then deploy onto the Server."
  • "The setup cost is high, but it will return every penny."
  • More SQL Server Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Db2 database scalability and performance capabilities match our database needs. It covers pretty much everything a database administrator or engineer might need.
    Top Answer:I would rate the pricing a five out of ten. Since it's a government contract, the rates are negotiated and agreed upon with the government. So, it's not like the standard market price. It's not super… more »
    Top Answer:Db2 interface could be improved a bit. Comparing it to Oracle, Db2's interfaces could be improved.
    Top Answer:SQL Server is fairly priced because it has various editions, depending on the number of users, servers, or core packs you are using. If you compare the product to others in this category, the prices… more »
    Top Answer:SQL Server has helped my organization through partitioning to distribute the workload, as it splits them up into smaller pieces so the machines can easily deal with it. However, this comes with a high… more »
    Top Answer:My company connects through SQL Server authentication. We have company Windows accounts, but we do not want to connect the two, out of security concerns and to keep things separated for our own… more »
    Average Words per Review
    Average Words per Review
    MariaDB logo
    Compared 19% of the time.
    SAP HANA logo
    Compared 14% of the time.
    Oracle Database logo
    Compared 12% of the time.
    LocalDB logo
    Compared 10% of the time.
    Teradata logo
    Compared 8% of the time.
    Also Known As
    Microsoft SQL Server, MSSQL, MS SQL
    Learn More
    DB2 Enterprise for Linux, UNIX, and Windows is the ideal data server for the most demanding workloads. New XML support is designed to help firms minimize the time and effort it takes to persist and use their XML data reducing development costs and improving business agility.

    SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) by Microsoft. The product's main purposes are to store data and retrieve it as requested by other software applications - on the same computer or on another computer across a shared network. The solution is built on top of Structured Query Language (SQL), which is a standardized programming language used for relational database management.

    The product is tied to Transact-SQL (T-SQL), which is an implementation of SQL from Microsoft that adds several proprietary programming extensions to the standard language. SQL Server is built similarly to other RDBMS products, as its structure is a row-based table that connects related data elements in different tables to one another. One of its most important components is the SQL Server Database Engine, as it controls data processing, storage, and security. Beneath the Database Engine is the SQL Server Operating System, which is used for memory and I/O management, locking data to avoid unneeded upgrades, and job scheduling.

    The solution has four editions with different sets of services and tools. They include:

    • SQL Server Developer
    • SQL Server Expression
    • SQL Server Standard 
    • SQL Server Enterprise

    The first two are available for free and are typically utilized by smaller companies, as they work with fewer functions and storage. The second two editions are generally used by bigger organizations and enterprises and offer more features.

    The solution has several functions through which users can facilitate different data-related processes. These include:

    • Aggregate functions: These functions are used to calculate one or more values and return a single value.

    • Window functions: Window functions calculate an aggregate value based on a group of rows and return multiple rows for each involved group.

    • Date functions: These functions allow clients to handle data and time data efficiently.

    • String functions: Through the string functions, SQL Server processes an input string and returns a string or numeric value.

    • System functions: The system functions of the product return objects, values, and settings.

    SQL Server Services

    SQL Server has a wide range of add-on services that provide additional benefits beyond database management. These services include:

    • Machine learning: SQL Server machine learning services allow users to do machine learning and data analytics within the product.
    • Service broker: This feature is a part of the database engine and offers messaging and message queuing for applications on the platform.

    • Replication: This feature consists of transaction replication, merge replication, and snapshot replication. 

    • Analysis: SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) adds online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining capabilities to SQL Server databases.

    • Reporting: This feature supports the development of custom reporting applications.

    • Notifications: This feature generates data-driven notifications which are sent to subscribers of Notification Services.

    • Integration: This SQL Server feature provides capabilities for data integration, data import, and data warehousing.

    • Full-text search: Through this feature, users can utilize specialized indexing and query for unstructured text stored in the solution.

    • Visual studio: This feature supports data programming with SQL Server.

    • Azure Data Studio: This is a cross-platform query editor that can be downloaded and used alongside SQL Server.

    SQL Server Benefits

    The solution has many benefits for users. These include the following:

    • The platform ensures a consistent experience across other platforms while being fast and agile.

    • Through the built-in intelligence features, users can understand their data better.

    • The solution has enterprise-level security, which ensures the smooth and safe performance of users' data.

    • SQL Server offers the ability to retrieve large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.

    • The product installation process is fairly easy, and it offers a user-friendly interface.

    • SQL Server offers improved data storage and retrieval functions through frequent upgrades.

    • The solution reduces the risk of database server attacks, since it is not an open-source database.

    Reviews from Real Users

    A president at a consultancy evaluates SQL Server as a veteran solution with critical log shipping feature

    Harkamal S., a user at a manufacturing company, rates SQL Server with a high mark because it is a stable, scalable, and easy-to-deploy solution that pretty much covers everything.

    Sample Customers
    Knorr-Bremse, Mizuho Bank Ltd., Australian Government Department of Defence, SCHWENK Zement, Friedhelm Loh Group, YAZAKI Europe Limited, Ekornes ASA, Baldor Electric, VSN Systemen BV, Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC, PLANSEE Group, TE Connectivity, Hansgrohe SE, Openmatics, University of Toronto
    Microsoft SQL Server is used by businesses in every industry, including Great Western Bank, Aviva, the Volvo Car Corporation, BMW, Samsung, Principality Building Society, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.
    Top Industries
    Financial Services Firm38%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Insurance Company8%
    Educational Organization53%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Computer Software Company5%
    Financial Services Firm18%
    Computer Software Company13%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Comms Service Provider5%
    Educational Organization42%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Computer Software Company8%
    Manufacturing Company5%
    Company Size
    Small Business25%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise57%
    Small Business8%
    Midsize Enterprise57%
    Large Enterprise35%
    Small Business41%
    Midsize Enterprise21%
    Large Enterprise38%
    Small Business13%
    Midsize Enterprise48%
    Large Enterprise38%
    Buyer's Guide
    IBM Db2 Database vs. SQL Server
    May 2024
    Find out what your peers are saying about IBM Db2 Database vs. SQL Server and other solutions. Updated: May 2024.
    772,422 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    IBM Db2 Database is ranked 6th in Relational Databases Tools with 67 reviews while SQL Server is ranked 1st in Relational Databases Tools with 260 reviews. IBM Db2 Database is rated 8.2, while SQL Server is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of IBM Db2 Database writes "Very scalable with high availability and excellent technical support". On the other hand, the top reviewer of SQL Server writes "Easy to use and provides good speed and data recovery". IBM Db2 Database is most compared with Oracle Database, SAP HANA, Teradata, MySQL and IBM Informix, whereas SQL Server is most compared with MariaDB, SAP HANA, Oracle Database, LocalDB and Teradata. See our IBM Db2 Database vs. SQL Server report.

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    We monitor all Relational Databases Tools reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.