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World's Biggest Production Databases Now Include Windows

Windows servers and SQL Server 2000 now power some of the world's biggest production databases, according to an annual survey from data management analysts at Winter Corp.

Waltham, Mass.-based Winter Corp. recently released results of its Winter TopTen Program, which is done annually based on customer surveys and a script run on the databases to verify the facts submitted in the survey.

For the first time, Microsoft products made their way onto some of Winter's "All Environments" TopTen lists, which include Unix and mainframe systems. A massive SQL Server 2000 production database run by Verizon Communications placed sixth for overall OLTP database size and third for largest number of rows in an OLTP database. The Verizon database is 5.3 terabytes and has more than 33 billion rows of data.

"We think it's a great win because a lot of times customers or partners don't think about SQL Server being this enterprise, mission-critical database," says Tom Rizzo, director of product marketing for SQL Server. "It's great that it's a third-party validation. We've always been saying, 'Hey, SQL Server can scale.' A lot of people looked at that and said, 'Hey, that's Microsoft saying that.'"

Meanwhile, an Oracle database running on a Windows server at HP also made the OLTP TopTen, sliding in at No. 8 at 3.2 terabytes in size.

According to Winter Corp., the largest OLTP production database is an IBM DB2 cluster system run by Land Registry. That mainframe-based system is 18.3 terabytes.

Two other SQL Server-based databases made the TopTen list for most rows in an OLTP database across all environments. A 17-billion-row database at Commander Communication ranked fourth, and another database at Verizon with nine billion rows ranked ninth.

Microsoft products were not yet competitive in Winter's other database category -- decision support systems. The TopTen consisted entirely of Unix-based systems ranging from a 29.2-terabyte Oracle database to a 9.1-terabyte NCR Teradata database. The largest Windows-based DSS database found in the survey was an 8.9-terabyte Sybase IQ system at ComScore Networks Inc. Sybase IQ systems at ComScore accounted for the top three Windows-based DSS systems. The fourth- and fifth-largest Windows-based DSS systems were Oracle databases at HP.

The largest Microsoft SQL Server-based DSS system was sixth on the list of the TopTen Windows-based DSS systems -- a 1.6-terabyte system at Arclight Systems, LLC.

To be considered in its annual survey Winter Corp. requires Windows-based databases to be at least 500 GB in size. Some 25 SQL Server implementations were entered in the 2003 run with databases that big or larger. Of those, 15 of the databases were 1 terabyte or larger and four were 2 terabytes or larger.

Results of the Winter Corp. survey are available here.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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