Difference between SQL and MySQL

We have earlier seen the difference between SQL and NoSQL. Now in this post I will tell you the basic difference between SQL and MySQL. Most people find it hard to wrap their head around SQL and MySQL, and you might be one of those. There are books about SQL everywhere, and for good reason! Reading these books has helped me in differentiating both the concepts, viz. SQL and MySQL.

To begin with, let us explain you both technologies, and this is how they are defined:


SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It’s a standard language for accessing and manipulating databases. MySQL is a database management system, like SQL Server, Oracle, Informix, Postgres, etc. MySQL is a RDMS (Relational Database Management System).

When considering a utility for data management the two most popular choices are MySQL and SQL Server. Both are efficient at keeping your data organized and readily available through a user interface. Both technologies have the concept of schema (that is table storage) for data storage.

SQL is a language.  Specifically, the “Structured Query Language” Now it would be better if we start differentiating the topic as difference between SQL server and MySQL and take them point by point.

SQL Server and MySQL Vendors:

The MySQL development project has made its source code available under the terms of the GNU General Public License, as well as under a variety of proprietary agreements. MySQL was owned and sponsored by a single for-profit firm, the Swedish company MySQL AB, now owned by Oracle Corporation.

SQL server is owned by Microsoft and is typically referred as Microsoft SQL Server. It has a long history of releases and it is updated often adding all latest trends and technologies to it thus making it one of the trusted data base applications today. At the 2011 PASS summit on October 11, Microsoft announced that the next major version of SQL Server, codenamed Denali, would be SQL Server 2012. The release date is set to the first half of 2012.

Strengths: SQL Server and MySQL

To give a better idea of the differences in MySQL and SQL Server -MySQL is geared more toward selecting data so it can be displayed, updated and saved again. MySQL is weaker in the areas of inserting and deleting data. But it is an excellent choice, for data storage and referencing data.

Here are some specific technical differences in MySQL and SQL Server when it comes down to the ANSI SQL standard: Features like stored procedures, triggers, views, and cursors became a part of the MySQL database server in MySQL version 5.0 and still you won’t find a rich feature set in terms of development functions and capabilities. However MySQL’s stored code-objects are close to ANSI standards, but again, they don’t have the breadth and depth of T-SQL, Microsoft and Sybase’s proprietary extension to SQL.

Security: SQL Server and MySQL

Security is a major concern for data management. Both technologies, that is MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server, are EC2 complaint and make sure that they have adequate security support for building government applications.  Going down the line Microsoft’s SQL Server, leads the way in offering all-round security features, as Microsoft’s Baseline Security Analyzer helps administrators ensure that the SQL Server installation is up to date. MySQL has no such tool to do so.

Support: SQL Server and MySQL

Both SQL server and MySQL has the support from their respective vendors both in free and paid form. MySQL as we know is now a subsidiary of Oracle which is a Capability Maturity Model (CMM) level 5 company and offers support via technical representatives and “Virtual MySQL DBA Assistant”.

On the other hand Microsoft has been pioneering SQL server over years and assures assistance on its SQL database and Cloud storage. Further more a free Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) makes it easy to migrate data from Oracle, Microsoft Access, MySQL, and Sybase to SQL Server.

Latest release: MySQL and SQL Server

MySQL has the stable version of MySQL 5.5.19. Microsoft’s SQL Server is currently available as SQL Server 2008 R2. SQL Server 2012, with many new features, was announced in the Pass Summit, October 2011, and is expected to be available in the first half of 2012.

Conclusion: MySQL vs SQL Server

As we have seen the difference between SQL Server and MySQL, the picture is now almost clear. It all comes down to your needs, how much secure, scalable and efficient database you want. From most points it is clear that Microsoft’s SQL Server provides some extra features over MySQL and is more trusted in the development market.

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Azharuddin Khan, being a technology enthusiastic, loves writing blogs and updating them. Currently pursuing his Bachelors in Information Technology, he also loves in extending support via providing hardware solutions.
  • Grr

    thanks, but there is a confusion.

    SQL is just a mere language, right.
    so is MySQL a database, or a database+language?

    Appreciate ur response?


  • Khan Azharuddin12345

    MySQL is application that uses SQL(Language).
    Therefore it makes MySQL a database management system…

    Your welcome..

  • trm96

    Because I run only Linux servers I use MySQL. Just as I use Apache rather than IIS for my web servers.

  • Martin Farmilo

    Just a small correction – your article starts out talking about the differences between SQL and MYSQL. But we end up being shown the differences between MS SQL Server and MYSQL, both of which are just DBMS systems based on the SQL standard. But the reader ends up being wrongly given the impression that MS SQL Server *IS* SQL – as though it sets the standard or something. Just thought you should make it clear to the reader – are you discussing differences between SQL vs MYSQL, or MS SQL Server vs MYSQL ?

  • Khan Azharuddin12345

    Both Ms SQL and MySQL uses SQL( standard language for accessing databases.). Difference between MS SQL server and MySQL is being addressed here.. Its been mentioned in 4th paragraph about the discussion topic..

  • Martin Farmilo

    Hi – yes I see that. My problem is that throughout the article you use the terms SQL and Microsoft SQL Server interchangeably, as though they mean the same thing. Obviously they don’t – MS SQL Server is just another implementation of SQL, like MYSQL.

  • Khan Azharuddin12345

    Exactly.. ! You are right. MS SQL Server is just another implementation of SQL, like MYSQL…
    In developers environment MS SQL server is largely Interpreted as SQL Sever which in turn confuses beginners. . Appreciate you came out with clear definition..

  • Corey Malone

    The structure of your article is as follows: a simple statement about mysql then a detailed explanation of how much better Microsoft SQL is. If you want to compare then, I need to see good and bad from both sides. Do you really believe that Microsoft SQL Server only has advantages over mysql???

    For example, under “Latest release: MySQL and SQL Server” you say mySQL has version x and microsoft has version Y with a lof of new features, what about the features in mySQL for that version???

    I believe this article belongs on Microsoft’s website as an advertisement, not an article that truly compares the two.

  • Khan Azharuddin12345

    Hi -Corey.. The structure of the article basically explain differences at high level.. Strengths, Vendors, Customer support, Latest Version… and….
    There are many advantages and disadvantages on both sides at low level, that is Command complexity, query processing and data visualization, BI and so on.. And Yes there are advantages of MySQL over SQL Sever in some cases..
    For such We will try to get one for you very soon..

  • eti tiwari


  • Technical Programming

    Its really very nice information and difference. I appreciate your work. keep moving forward…
    I am also having a blog, where i am sharing information about programming.
    Technical Programming

  • akshaymohan mk

    As per my experience MySQL has clear lead on query performance over MS SQL Server,
    however MS SQL Provides large collection of built-in functions to simplifies the query. . .

  • developer

    “it is clear that Microsoft’s SQL Server provides some extra features over MySQL and is more trusted in the development market.”

    I do not see why that should be clear, sorry. That question was not even addressed above. So why this “conclusion”? It is drawn from pure air. So this article is nothing but marketing stuff? Great.

    I am a software developer myself, having worked in a few different companies in the last 25 years, some more leaning towards MS, some more leaning towards free software. There is no right or wrong here. But that statement above is simply wrong. Period.
    If you have a project that is free to chose which rdbms to use as a base, and you then suggest MS-SQL in the free market, then you certainly have _not_ gained trust. In contrary.

    *shaking my head*

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