Microsoft and Oracle are locked in a struggle to poach users of older versions of each other's database software and convince them to move to their latest releases.
Both companies are publicising what they say are independent reports that claim their database solution offers a lower total cost of ownership than their competitor.
Oracle is backing an Input Research report, The buyer's guide to database server effectiveness and cost of ownership, which claims that Oracle 8 (Workgroup) is 65 per cent cheaper than SQL Server 6.5.
However, Microsoft is pushing a report compiled on its behalf by analysts Aberdeen Group. This examined the database selection process of US computer services company Automatic Data Processing (ADP), which selected SQL Server 6.5 over Oracle 7.3. The report said: "Oracle was 1.6 times the cost of SQL Server in software licence and 3.7 times the cost when three years of support were included."
Oracle hit back at the Microsoft report claiming it is unfair and inaccurate. Nick Gregory, product marketing manager for Oracle, said: "SQL Server is incomplete as a product. Microsoft doesn't understand what total cost of ownership means, it's not just about purchase costs, it's about support."
He attacked Aberdeen's report by citing the results of Input's research, which showed that downtime rather than initial pricing reflects the true cost of ownership. "Our survey showed that cost per year in downtime of SQL Server for ADP's 4,000-seat roll-out would be around $14m (#8.8m) per year, compared to just $5m a year for SQL Server."
The Hospital of St John and Elizabeth in London is currently rolling out SQL Server 7.0. Richard Dryden, IT manager, said his decision was based on cost of ownership and ease of use. "SQL Server was about 15 per cent cheaper but we wanted something as close to being an automated black box as possible."
For more stories see 17 March issue of Network News UK
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