PostgreSQL vs SQL Server: Detailed Comparison

In this PostgreSQL tutorial, we will discuss, a detailed comparison between Postgresql and SQL Server (Postgresql vs SQL Server) and will cover the following topic:

  • Postgresql vs SQL server
  • Postgresql vs SQL server differences
  • Postgresql vs SQL server syntax
  • Postgresql vs SQL server data types
  • Postgresql vs SQL server pros and cons
  • Postgresql vs SQL server performance benchmark
  • Postgresql vs SQL server cost
PostgreSQL vs SQL Server
PostgreSQL vs SQL Server

Postgresql vs SQL server

PostgreSQL is a powerful, open-source, Object-relational database system. It provides good performance but needs fewer maintenance efforts as of its high stability.

It was the first Database Management System that implemented the multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) feature. It is known for supporting a lot of data types, intuitive storage of schemaless data.

SQL Server is a Relational Database Management System. It is platform-dependent and it supports both Command Line Interface (CLI) and Graphical User Interface (GUI).

It is a commercial solution and is preferred by most of the companies who are dealing with large traffic workloads on daily basis. It supports a wide variety of tools like reporting services, integration systems, transaction processing, business intelligence, and analytics in the IT environment.

S.NO.PostgresqlSQL Server
1.Developed by PostgreSQL Global Development Group in 1989.Developed by Microsoft Corporation, first released on April 24, 1989.
2.It is an open-source Relational Database Management System.It is a Relational Database Management System.
3.It is written in C language.It is written in C++ language.
4.Postgresql is licensed for Open Source purposes.SQL Server is licensed for commercial purposes.
5.PostgreSQL is compatible with FreeBSD, HP-UX, Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD, OS X, Solaris, Unix, and Windows operating systems for Server.SQL Server is compatible with Linux and Windows operating systems for Server.
6.The Primary database model for PostgreSQL is Relational DBMS.The Primary database model for SQL Server is also Relational DBMS.
7.It also has a Secondary database model, which is Document store.It has two secondary database models, which are Document store and Graph DBMS.
8.It does not support in-memory capabilities.It supports in-memory capabilities.
9.Partitioning can be done by range, list, and hash.Partitioning methods in SQL Server are Horizontal partitioning and Sharding.
10.It supports only one replication method that is master-master replication.It also supports replication but depends on the SQL-Server edition.
11.It supports stored procedures as user-defined functions with a RETURN VOID clause. Stored procedures are supported in various languages including standard SQL syntax. It also supports stored procedures for languages supported by the Microsoft .NET framework, those are common runtime languages or CLR, like VB, C#, or Python.
12.PostgreSQL has three methods for dealing with regular expressions: LIKE, SIMILAR TO, and POSIX regular expressions.It does not support regular expression evaluation natively, while similar but limited results can be accomplished using the T-SQL functions: LIKE, SUBSTRING, and PATINDEX.
A brief introductory comparison

Postgresql vs SQL server differences

PostgreSQL vs SQL Server syntax

SyntaxPostgreSQLSQL Server
SELECTcolumn1, column2Select [column1], [column2]
Aliases for columns and tablesSELECT SUM(column1) AS total1SELECT SUM(column1)=total1
Working on datesCURRENT_DATE()
PostgreSQL vs SQL Server Syntax

PostgreSQL vs SQL Server datatypes

Data typePostgreSQLSQL Server
64-bit integerBIGINTBIGINT
Fixed length byte stringBYTEABINARY(n)
Fixed length char string, 1 <= n <= 8000CHAR(n)CHAR(n)
Variable length char string, 1 <= n <= 8000VARCHAR(n)VARCHAR(n)
Variable length char string, <= 2GBTEXTVARCHAR(max)
Variable length byte string , 1 <= n <= 8000BYTEAVARBINARY(n)
Variable length byte string , <= 2GBBYTEAVARBINARY(max)
Variable length Unicode UCS-2 stringVARCHAR(n)NVARCHAR(n)
Variable length Unicode UCS-2 data, <= 2GBTEXTNVARCHAR(max)
Variable length character data, <= 2GBTEXTTEXT
Variable length Unicode UCS-2 data, <= 2GBTEXTNTEXT
Double precision floating-point numberDOUBLE PRECISIONDOUBLE PRECISION
Floating point numberDOUBLE PRECISIONFLOAT(p)
32-bit integerINTEGERINTEGER
Fixed point numberNUMERIC(p,s)NUMERIC(p,s)
Date including year, month, and dayDATEDATE
Date and time with fractional secondsTIMESTAMP(p)DATETIME, DATETIME2(p)
Date and time with time zoneTIMESTAMP(p) WITH TIME ZONEDATETIMEOFFSET(p)
Unsigned integer, 0 to 255 (8 bit)SMALLINTTINYINT
Automatically updated binary dataBYTEAROWVERSION
Currency amount (32 bit)MONEYSMALLMONEY
Variable length binary data, <= 2GBBYTEAIMAGE
PostgreSQL vs SQL Server datatypes

Techonology-based features comparison

FactorsPostgreSQLSQL Server
High availability is one of the vital requirements for any database. It includes failover deployment, automatic failback, failover to cloud, and alerting options.
It provides high availability through replication, load balancing, data partitioning, shared-disk failover, and write-ahead log shipping features.
The EDB Postgres Automatic Failover Manager provides these functionalities by monitoring and identifying the causes of database failures and it automatically performs load-balancing operations as well as alerting database administration and management.
It provides two different architectures for database availability: Always ON Availability Groups solution for high availability and Read Scale Availability Group architecture for read-only workload balancing but not high availability.
A cluster manager is required for Always ON Availability Groups, that is Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC) in Windows and the Pacemaker in Linux.
Data Consistency:
The “safety net” of your database engine is its backup and restore features:
Backup consistency
Backup speed and processing times
Restore times (if something wrong happens).
It has built-in logical backup utilities, such as pg_dump and pg_dumpall, and also supports many trusted third-party data consistency tools available for PostgreSQL, such as Amanda, Bacula, pg_probackup, Simpana, Barman, pdBackRest, Spectrum Protect, Handy Backup, Iperius Backup, NetVault Backup, and Veritas NetBackup for PostgreSQL Agent.It provides three online backup techniques: simple, full, and bulk-logged recovery models.
In the full recovery model, no data loss is acceptable and it provides database recovery at any point in time. Regular database and transaction log backup are mandatory for the full recovery model. The bulk-logged recovery model is used as a temporary solution, and the simple recovery model works well if your database is lowly updated.
Data Security:
It is one of the most important requirements of database implementation. The scale of online criminal activities – including data theft, piracy, and hacking, has significantly grown with the rapid advancement of online technologies as well as data highways. Hence, any DBMS you implement must ensure data security.
It provides server-level advanced authentication methods such as LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), PAM (Pluggable Authentication Module), PostgreSQL server listen to address, host-based authentication, and certificate authentication, which provide protection from attacks.
It provides security by User Management and Authentication by role-based access control, which includes user-level privileges as role assignments, table-level privileges via roles, and role inheritance.
Access Protection and Encryption allows you to use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates when your data is traveling through the web and gives you an option of Client Certificate Authentication tools.
It provides two server-level security enhancement features: Windows Authentication Mode and Mixed Mode. Windows Authentication Mode tightens integration between the Windows Authentication mode of Windows Server and the database. Mixed mode authenticate process by both Windows Server and MS SQL Server, as database provides Windows Password Policy mechanism.
It provides security by User Management and Authentication via user groups and roles.
Access Protection and Encryption provide features like Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), Always Encrypted, and column-level encryption.
TDE uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm for encrypting physical files, which include both data and log files. The Always Encrypted feature allows you to encrypt certain columns in both states, at rest and in motion.
Performance Benchmark:
Different database engines have different levels of performance setting options in their Database Administration dashboards. You can set ratios of different functionality parameters, such as ratios of data reads to writes, etc. Good performance does not always mean that the database is fast; rather, the balance of the database engine, in terms of utilizing different physical resources is important.
It has many tools and parameters for monitoring and optimizing database performance. It has a proven high-performance rating in both online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP). The multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) feature for the simultaneous processing of multiple transactions with almost no deadlock is one of the most advanced performance features available in PostgreSQL.There are some performance optimization limitations in the SQL Server Standard Edition, including indexing and memory partitioning, etc. However, these limitations are removed in its Enterprise Edition.
SQL Server’s In-Memory OLTP feature guarantees high performance by using in-memory data tables instead of writing directly to the disk. The analytical and transaction processing speed in SQL Server is also good.
PostgreSQL vs SQL Server Technology-based features comparison

Application-based features comparison

FactorsPostgreSQLSQL Server
How efficiently your chosen DBMS can scale to meet your requirements, i.e., the capacity of the system needs to grow as your work grows when more data comes in.
It provides two types of partitioning options and various indexing options that improve query performance and other data operations. These partitions and indexes are divided into different disk storage, which improves the scalability of the tables.The advanced sharding design pattern of data storage provides scalability to SQL Server. Here, data storage is divided into a set of horizontal partitions. It allows you to run multiple concurrent threads in memory-optimized tables. And also provides dynamic management views and multithreaded recovery and merge operations as additional features.
The ease at which any of the user groups (non-technical data consumers, technical team) work with the database.
It provides a full stack of RDBMS features and data-handling capabilities. It is both easy to use and an advanced object-relational database management system. It uses SQL and also a procedural language called PL/SQL.It provides a strong .NET compatibility which makes it a reliable RDBMS with high usability. It uses the Transactional SQL (T-SQL) language that is a variant of Standard SQL.
Reporting Tools and Other GUI Interfaces:
 How smart your database’s reporting tools are. Database reporting tools are useful for e-commerce applications and ERP systems.
It provides lesser GUI options than SQL Server because it is mostly based on the Linux and Unix OS and on command platform consoles. The only GUI solution available is EDB Postgres Enterprise Manager. You can monitor, tune, and manage large-scale PostgreSQL installations from a single GUI console. There are some third-party open-source reporting tools available for PostgreSQL, such as Reportizer or dbForge Studio.It provides a very intelligent, feature-rich, and interactive built-in database management application as well as rich GUI-based reporting tools. The SQL Server database is well-equipped in terms of GUI interfaces.
PostgreSQL vs SQL Server Application-based features comparison

Read Create a stored procedure in PostgreSQL

Postgresql vs SQL server pros and cons


PostgreSQLSQL Server
PostgreSQL is an object-based mature and powerful DBMS. The GUI interface and user-friendly installation and development environment are among the top-selling points for MS SQL Server.
It provides high performance, allows replication, and stacks well to standard SQL data types.It has a lot of advanced options, such as compression, partitioning, and optimized storage.
It supports various indexing methods that facilitate the performance of full-text searches.It provides data management tools and hence it requires minimal troubleshooting.
Its flexible features meet the requirements of e-commerce projects.It also provides data recovery support in case of data corruption.
It is used in the Financial Industry, Government GIS data, Manufacturing, Web technology, and for NoSQL and Scientific Data collection works as it supports CSV.It is used to analyze the data through SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), as to generate reports through SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), and carry out ETL operations through SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS).
PostgreSQL vs SQL Server PROS


PostgreSQLSQL Server
The con is that a direct replication service within the database would be a better option.The licensing and support costs are discouraging for e-commerce users. and the advanced features are also very expensive.
It is not owned by one organization. So, there may be some trouble getting its name out there in spite of being fully featured and comparable to other DBMS.The rich-GUI client and database management applications are upgraded in every new version and it sometimes requires users to upgrade their hardware just to move to the new version of SQL Server.
PostgreSQL vs SQL Server Cons

Postgresql vs SQL server cost

PostgreSQL is an open-source RDBMS. There is no licensing cost for owning and upgrading it, except the operational costs that include the salaries of database administrators and developers. This operational cost is similar to that of any other major DBMS.

Also, there is no cost involved for its community-based support or its upgrades to newer versions. There may be hardware (data center) upgrades and data migration costs when you upgrade versions.

SQL Server has sustained a core-based licensing cost since 2012. The licensing costs of the SQL Server 2019 version are:

  • SQL Server Enterprise Edition: $7,128 per core.
  • SQL Server Standard Edition: $1,859 per core.
  • SQL Server Standard Edition Server Licensing: $931 + $209 per named user Client Access License.

SQL Server does not provide a free upgrade to a newer version. Upgrade and migration to newer versions are at the customer’s cost. Operational costs (DBA, developer, and manager salaries) are similar to that of any other standard DBMS.

Note – There is a free version of SQL Server available for students and developers.

In the case of SQL Server, support costs depend on the terms and conditions of the licensing agreement. Upgrading to a newer version is at the customer’s own expense. Datacenter upgrades, data migration costs, and other operational costs are similar to that of any other major DBMS.

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In this PostgreSQL tutorial, we have learned a detailed comparison of features, syntax, and applications of Postgresql and SQL Server and have covered the following topic:

  • Postgresql vs SQL server
  • postgresql vs sql server differences
  • Postgresql vs SQL server syntax
  • Postgresql vs SQL server data types
  • postgresql vs sql server pros and cons
  • postgresql vs sql server performance benchmark
  • postgresql vs sql server cost