Eric M Russell (6/29/2011)
. . . Even a RDBMS like SQL Server which is built exclusively on Win32/64 executables should be able to retain that functionality regardless of wether it's going from XP to Windows 7.
IMO that is not entirely true. If you tried to write an RDBMS that would be agnostic of hardware, you would have to sacrifice performance: imagine, if you will, a DB that would have page sizes say 1.3 size of the physical cluster or, on modern processors, did not take advantage of predictive caching. So even if you are under Win7, physical access layers will be certainly different for RAID and for WinPhone.
The RDMS engine itself can be a hardware agnostic and operating system agnostic bytecode application (like Java), ideally capable of being moved from one OS to another without modification. It's the underlying virtual machine that has to be optimized for a specific operating and file system.
Oracle has client tools (Oracle SQL Developer) and a scaled down RDMS engine (Java DB) that can run on any operating system with the required Java runtime libraries. Of course there are some tradeoffs in terms of performance; I wouldn't expect a RBMS with a VM go-btween to perform as well on Windows as SQL Sever or the Windows build of Oracle. Also, SQL Developer has a tendency to lock on me at least once a week as all Java apps tend to do, so I use it only for Oracle and keep SSMS for my SQL Sever work.
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho