Choosing the right database is a critical choice when building any software application. All databases have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, so deciding which database has the most benefits and the most minor downsides for your specific use case and data model is an important decision. Below you will find an overview of the key concepts, architecture, features, use cases, and pricing models of Rockset and SQL Server so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how Rockset and SQL Server perform for workloads involving time series data, not for all possible use cases. Time series data typically presents a unique challenge in terms of database performance. This is due to the high volume of data being written and the query patterns to access that data. This article doesn’t intend to make the case for which database is better; it simply provides an overview of each database so you can make an informed decision.
Rockset vs SQL Server Breakdown
Real time database
Rockset is a real-time analytics database built for modern cloud applications, designed to enable developers to create real-time, event-driven applications and run complex queries on structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data with low-latency. Rockset uses a cloud-native, distributed architecture that separates storage and compute, allowing for horizontal scalability and efficient resource utilization. Data is automatically indexed and served by a distributed, auto-scaled set of query processing nodes.
SQL Server can be deployed on-premises, in virtual machines, or as a managed cloud service (Azure SQL Database) on Microsoft Azure. It is available in multiple editions tailored to different use cases, such as Express, Standard, and Enterprise.
Real-time analytics, event-driven applications, search and aggregations, personalized user experiences, IoT data analysis
Transaction processing, business intelligence, data warehousing, analytics, web applications, enterprise applications
Horizontally scalable with distributed storage and compute
Supports vertical and horizontal scaling, with features like partitioning, sharding, and replication for distributed environments
Rockset is a real-time indexing database designed for fast, efficient querying of structured and semi-structured data. Founded in 2016 by former Facebook engineers, Rockset aims to provide a serverless search and analytics solution that enables users to build powerful applications and data-driven products without the complexities of traditional database management.
SQL Server Overview
Microsoft SQL Server is a powerful and widely used relational database management system developed by Microsoft. Initially released in 1989, it has evolved over the years to become one of the most popular database systems for businesses of all sizes. SQL Server is known for its robust performance, security, and ease of use. It supports a variety of platforms, including Windows, Linux, and containers, providing flexibility for different deployment scenarios.
Rockset for Time Series Data
Rockset’s real-time indexing and low-latency querying capabilities make it an excellent choice for time series data analysis. Its schemaless ingestion and support for complex data types enable effortless handling of time series data, while its Converged Index ensures efficient querying of both historical and real-time data. Rockset is particularly suitable for applications that demand real-time analytics, such as IoT monitoring and anomaly detection.
SQL Server for Time Series Data
While Microsoft SQL Server is primarily a relational database, it does offer support for time series data through various features and optimizations. Temporal tables allow for tracking changes in data over time, providing an efficient way to store and query historical data. Indexing and partitioning can be leveraged to optimize time series data storage and retrieval. However, SQL Server may not be the best choice for applications requiring high write or query throughput specifically for time series data, as specialized time series databases offer more optimized solutions as well as a variety of developer productivity features that speed up development time for applications that heavily use time series data.
Rockset Key Concepts
- Converged Index: Rockset uses a unique indexing approach that combines both an inverted index and a columnar index, allowing the database to optimize for both search and analytics use cases.
- Schemaless Ingestion: Rockset automatically infers schema on ingestion, making it easy to work with semi-structured data formats like JSON.
- Virtual Instances: Rockset uses the concept of virtual instances to provide isolation and resource allocation to different workloads, ensuring predictable performance.
SQL Server Key Concepts
- T-SQL: Transact-SQL, an extension of SQL that adds procedural programming elements, such as loops, conditional statements, and error handling, to the standard SQL language.
- SSMS: SQL Server Management Studio, an integrated environment for managing SQL Server instances, databases, and objects.
- Always On: A suite of high availability and disaster recovery features in SQL Server, including Always On Availability Groups and Always On Failover Cluster Instances.
Rockset uses a cloud-native, serverless architecture that is built on top of a distributed, shared-nothing system. It is a NoSQL database, which allows for greater flexibility and scalability compared to traditional relational databases. The core components of Rockset’s architecture include the Ingestion Service, Storage Service, and Query Service. The Ingestion Service is responsible for ingesting data from various sources, while the Storage Service maintains the Converged Index. The Query Service processes queries and provides APIs for developers to interact with the database.
SQL Server Architecture
Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database that uses SQL for querying and manipulating data. It follows a client-server architecture, with the database server hosting the data and processing requests from clients. SQL Server supports both on-premises and cloud-based deployment through Azure SQL Database, a managed service offering in the Microsoft Azure cloud. SQL Server’s architecture includes components such as the Database Engine, which processes data storage and retrieval, and various services for reporting, integration, and analysis.
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Rockset automatically scales resources based on the workload, which means users don’t need to manage any infrastructure or capacity planning. ### Full-Text Search Rockset’s Converged Index supports full-text search, making it an ideal choice for applications that require advanced search capabilities. ### Integration with BI tools Rockset provides native integrations with popular business intelligence (BI) tools like Tableau, Looker, and Redash, allowing users to visualize and analyze their data without any additional setup.
SQL Server Features
SQL Server offers advanced security features, such as Transparent Data Encryption, Always Encrypted, and row-level security, to protect sensitive data.
SQL Server supports scaling out through features like replication, distributed partitioned views, and Always On Availability Groups.
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a powerful platform for building high-performance data integration and transformation solutions.
Rockset Use Cases
Rockset’s low-latency querying and real-time ingestion capabilities make it ideal for building real-time analytics dashboards for applications like IoT monitoring, social media analysis, and log analytics.
With its Converged Index and support for advanced search features, Rockset is an excellent choice for building full-text search applications, such as product catalogs or document search systems.
Rockset’s ability to ingest and query large-scale, semi-structured data in real-time makes it a suitable choice for machine learning applications.
SQL Server Use Cases
SQL Server is commonly used as the backend database for enterprise applications, providing a reliable and secure data storage solution.
Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence
SQL Server’s built-in analytical features, such as Analysis Services and Reporting Services, make it suitable for data warehousing and business intelligence applications.
SQL Server’s performance and scalability features enable it to support the demanding workloads of e-commerce platforms, handling high volumes of transactions and user data.
Rockset Pricing Model
Rockset offers a usage-based pricing model that charges customers for the amount of data ingested, the number of virtual instances, and the volume of queries executed. The pricing model is designed to be transparent and flexible, allowing users to only pay for the resources they consume. Rockset also provides a free tier with limited resources for developers to explore the platform. Users can choose between on-demand and reserved instances, depending on their needs.
SQL Server Pricing Model
Microsoft SQL Server offers a variety of licensing options, including per-core, server + CAL (Client Access License), and subscription-based models for cloud deployments. Costs depend on factors such as the edition (Standard, Enterprise, or Developer), the number of cores, and the required features. For cloud-based deployments, Azure SQL Database offers a pay-as-you-go model with various service tiers to accommodate different performance and resource requirements.
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