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SQL Server vs. JET


SQL Server vs. JET

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item SQL Server vs. JET

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David Lean
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In the mid '90's MSFT did an audit & found it was developing 42 different database engines, most used internally for features within each product. So the paper recommended they consolidate to just 4; a Server DBMS (SQL), a lightweight desktop DB (Access based), a streaming media server & one other I've forgotten. So over the next few years much of that consolidation took place. Hence System Centre & other products now use SQL. It is also why they invested so much work in WinFS (while this hasn't shipped in the OS, it was the basis of many of the new storage capabilities in SQL 2005/8).
Around SQL2000 timeframe it was planned to have Exchange use SQL. To that end the company re-orged & both teams reported into the same VP. But at the time there was too big a gap, SQL was relational & didn't support text really well. Exchange was highly optimised for text especially in areas of compression & splitting/storing message fragments. The result was SQL2000 was 15 times larger than the equivalent in Exchange. And one of Exchange's biggest issues was its customers where hitting database size limits.
So this work was parked while SQL improved its ability to store non-traditional data ie: Features like XML, Varchar(MAX), Integrated Full Text Search rose in priority which caused other really cool features to be pushed into the future.

In short. Using SQL within Exchange is not a new idea within Microsoft. Yes, there are things to consider; taking a dependency on another team, pricing (ie: is SQL embedded for free), is it feasible.
It should not surprise you that they review these questions from time to time. With each SQL release the gap gets smaller. So I expect that sometime in a future release this integration is likely to happen. Until then you should not infer anything about SQL's suitability for the task. There are a huge number of features Microsoft would like to put into both SQL & Exchange. Unfortunately, like every business, they have a finite dev/test capability. Doing the integration work would push other features into a future release. This feature trade-off is always unpleasant; it’s like being forced to choose which of your babies gets to live. There are some really exciting features slated for the next 2 major SQL releases, I'd hate to see any of those dropped in order to complete this integration work. But perhaps they will, I’m no longer in a position to vote.
Thanks for your interesting article.
gary-1017278
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Very interesting editorial on the Jet vs MSSQL although I think that bringing Exchange into the disscusion is a bit of a red herring. Microsoft has been trying to get ride of MSACCESS for years and yet access remains. MSACCESS could have been ported to MSSQL and yet it hasn't been.
Maybe the Jet is better than MSSQL(in some casses at least). Maybe the Jet is the one example of NON-blotware in all of Microsoft.Smile
David Lean
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May be worth noting that JET (Blue) used by Exchange is a very different beast to JET (Red) which is used by Access.
Both JET projects started in the late 1980's. With Blue being Transactional & Red smaller footprint. So really this original editorial had little to do with MS-Access.
But you are correct in stating that most in the SQL team & may SQL folks would prefer that Access apps used SQL as its native database. Most Office folks would see its future differently. They align its capability closer to Sharepoint. (Worth mentioning that Sharepoint uses SQL. So over time this integration may still happen. Especialy as SQL incorporates some of the ease of deployment features that Access desktop users desire.
Steve Jones
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With Access they've tried, and you can set up essentially the Express engine for Access apps.

I think we are getting closer with Exchange, but I'd like to see the specific reasons why SQL isn't used. It would help us better understand how Exchange works, and perhaps what workloads don't work as well with SQL Server.

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gary-1017278
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Very susinctly put Steve. I was a bit obtuse in my motive for bringing access into the discussion. The point is that SQL is a theory, the Jet, MSSQL, Oracle and many more are impimentations of engines to actualize the theory. The misunderstanding is obvious in the "NO SQL" debate. There is a need and a place for both Jet and MSSQL until it is demonstrated that "one ring can rule them all":-D
Charles Kincaid
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Could it be that the Exchange team thinks in "spreadsheets" and not sets?

I used a lot of "table" storage mechanisms over the years and could typically beat the pants off of generalized tools like SQL or Access. There were trade-offs. I got raw performance at the expense of things like ease of use. Coming from a procedural background I could see where they would want to make their light weight storage engine better and not have to re engineer the whole data laye t conform to SQL Server.

Then there is the whole licensing thing. If you let Exchange get away with embedding full SQL Server with no governors where does that put Express? I'll guess that a lot of big Exchange installs blow past Express limits without skipping a beat. The Exchange folks have got to be revolting against the "free" version having limits and then having to pay through the {insert favorite body part analogy here} when you cross a certain line in the sand.

ATBCharles Kincaid
Steve Jones
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The licensing isn't a big deal to me. You allow SQL Server as a part of any Exchange license, but only for Exchange databases. If you put something else on the box, you need another SQL license. That's an administrative/compliance issue.

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Steve Jones
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I'm not sure if the JET (Exchange/blue) engine is better than SQL. Or if it tackles a different problem, but from my basic understanding of Exchange, I'm not sure why SQL Server doesn't work. There are plenty of mail add-ons, telco type applications, etc. that use SQL Server or Oracle (or DB2) and perform great. So why doesn't the Exchange mail store fit for SQL Server?

It's a knowledge issue. If there are things that JET does better, list a few of them and let the SQL team work on them.

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richardd
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I think it's quite ironic that Exchange - a 64-bit only product - still uses Jet, when Microsoft have explicitly stated that they are never going to release a 64-bit version of the Jet OLEDB drivers. Crazy

http://blogs.msdn.com/sqldev/archive/2008/10/22/msjet-4-0-in-64-bit-environment.aspx



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