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InterBase v MSSQL Server




InterBase is an ultra-fast, scalable award winning multi-platform embeddable SQL database with commercial grade data security, disaster recovery and change synchronization. InterBase delivers this power in a lightweight, admin free, fast, scalable architecture. Choosing InterBase means choosing a SQL standard based database that grows with you and meets your demands into the future.

Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL), like InterBase, is a database server (RDBMS) that provides support for storing tables, rows and columns of data based on SQL standards. MSSQL is sold in varying editions that enable different features and come with different pricing models. While MSSQL Standard can be purchased per user, MSSQL Enterprise is only available by cores.

EMB_TEXT_LINUX (beta) (beta) (beta)
EMB_TEXT_FINE_GRAIN_AUDITING Trigger Logging Trigger Logging Trigger Logging Trigger Logging
EMB_TEXT_CHANGE_TRACKING_SYNC Subscriber only Subscriber only
EMB_TEXT_MAXIMUM_MEMORY_ALLOCATION Operating System Maximum Operating System Maximum 128GB 64GB 1GB
EMB_TEXT_HOT_DISASTER_RECOVERY_SERVER_L Not included with license Not included with license (read only passive only) N/A
EMB_TEXT_SIMULTANEOUS_USER_LICENSING Per core only Per named user Per core only N/A
8 cores included
Includes failover
Not available $2,988
Named User Only
No failover
Not available N/A
32 max
4 core min
OS Max
4 core min
24 max
4 core min
16 max
4 core max
(Includes failover)
Unlimited for
Unlimited for
Hosting provider only N/A

* Comparative pricing correct as of July 2016. CPU licenses comparison is for unlimited user.
SPLA = Services Provider Licensing Agreement

How InterBase and MSSQL compare


Data protection is a key worry for all businesses today. EMB_TEXT_A_DATA_BREACH_TYPICALLY_LEADS with regulatory fines that can lead into millions of dollars and corrective action plans that require staff re-training, customer credit score monitoring etc all on top. This all adds up to a rather expensive exercise best avoided. It is far better to build this in upfront rather than pay for it later.


When it comes to data protection, both InterBase and MSSQL offer role based authentication to control access to data inside the database however this is just the foundation and encryption at rest is key to safe storage of data and avoiding the bigger fines.

The only edition of MSSQL that offers Transparent Database Encryption (TDE), encryption of the database file on disk where it rests, is MSSQL Enterprise. In contrast InterBase offers encryption at rest with fast granular column level encryption across all supported paid platforms. When it comes to backing up data, InterBase includes strong encrypted backup in all paid editions while MSSQL requires Standard or above.

InterBase supports data protection best practice by separating the responsibility for defining data visibility away from general database users into the SYSDSO (System Data Security Officer) login. Having SYSDSO manage granular encryption ensures data visibility rules are built into your data layer and are enforced though-out the development life cycle. By removing the need to manage data visibility rules from the development and test teams, you protect your application from accidental data leaks when refactoring applications in the future. This also removes major risks associated with privilege attacks; the simplest example being developers seeing data they should not have access to.


Both InterBase and MSSQL are ACID compliant, multi-tenancy SQL database engines, and thus allow data to be backed up while the database is live and in use.

One major difference between InterBase and MSSQL is that the price of a hot disaster recovery server is included in the InterBase server pricing. To illustrate the price for secure storage of the data at rest with 256bit AES strength encryption, the following pricing compares InterBase unlimited user server (which includes 8 cores) with MSSQL Enterprise for 8 cores.

Live Database Server $7,030 $57,024
Disaster Recovery Server 1 hot DR machine Included $57,024
EMB_TEXT_TOTAL $7,030 $114,048

As you can see, InterBase is $107,018 cheaper for 8 cores with disaster recovery licensed. To purchase MSSQL Server Enterprise on its minimum of 4 cores then it costs $57,024 in total, that is still $49,994 more expensive for a live and hot disaster recovery setup.

Live Database Server $7,030 $28,512
Disaster Recovery Server 1 hot DR machine Included $28,512
EMB_TEXT_TOTAL $7,030 $57,024

If you decided to run without encryption, running a hot disaster recovery machine with MSSQL Standard works out still more than 4 times the price of InterBase.

Live Database Server $7,030 $14,868
Disaster Recovery Server 1 hot DR machine Included $14,868
EMB_TEXT_TOTAL $7,030 $29,736

If you are running a hot disaster recovery machine with MSSQL Standard on 4 cores it still works out more than 2 times the price of InterBase.

Live Database Server $7,030 $7,434
Disaster Recovery Server 1 hot DR machine Included $7,434
EMB_TEXT_TOTAL $7,030 $14,868


InterBase Server, MSSQL Standard and Enterprise editions offer database mirroring, referred to as shadowing in InterBase. In addition, MSSQL offers AlwaysOn Availability Groups. Shadowing databases help to automatically protect against data loss in the event of a hard drive failure. EMB_TEXT_READ_MORE_ABOUT_INTERBASE_SHAD


InterBase and MSSQL Standard and above offer Journaling. Journaling allows a database to benefit from in-memory speed with the security of immediate write to disk. Journaling is available to InterBase users and is heavily used in a number of high demand medical data processing facilities due to the speed, performance and data integrity benefits it brings, where the loss of any data can mean life or death.

InterBase Journal Archives are the next step on and provide point-in-time recovery, allowing you to take a database back in time to a specific split second to see how the data looked. This allows for the recovery of data, even when a backup hasn’t been run, for ultimate disaster recovery protection. Journaling to a SAN allow for complete data recovery even in the case of hardware failure. For these features in MSSQL you need to have the Enterprise edition.


InterBase comes with Performance Monitoring logging through IBConsole so there is no need for an external tool. MSSQL Web and above also includes Performance data collection and reports.


The IoT Award winning InterBase technology Change Views provides a replication API built into the core InterBase kernel without extra run time charges. Designed from the ground up to be highly scalable, even for bi-directional data movement, Change Views dramatically reduces the cost of replicating data and ensures remote brief-cased data stays highly relevant.

MSSQL offers a log based replication system that is designed for server to server data movement. In contrast Change Views is log less and has zero additional server impact for 1 to 1,000’s of subscribed destinations.


On top of Change Views, InterBase also offers incremental backups to ensure a copy of the database is mirrored to a separate machine. This is in effect one-way replication that can be scheduled to run constantly providing a live ready to use copy of the database.


With mobile accounting for more connected devices today than traditional desktop and servers, mobile is key to the delivery of modern application architecture. The need for offline data is also essential to deliver the best user experience.

InterBase brings its secure encrypted database format to iOS and Android (through InterBase ToGo) allowing one database structure to be used everywhere. With the addition of the patent pending Change Views, InterBase provides a scalable offline capability that helps reduce the cost of getting data to mobile.

With mobile data being a soft target for data theft that needs to be managed outside the domain, having granular encryption at rest makes InterBase a powerful option for any mobilization strategy. As MSSQL doesn’t have support for iOS and Android, why not look to use InterBase on mobile regardless of your backend database.


MSSQL is a powerful top end database that comes with top end pricing. While the largest systems with thousands of concurrent users may feel more at home with MSSQL, for ISV systems (scaling from a few hundred down to a single concurrent user) InterBase brings commercial grade business critical features that are only found in MSSQL Enterprise for a fraction of the cost of MSSQL Standard.

With a hot disaster recovery 8 CPU Core server setup with TDE coming in at over $107k cheaper, InterBase server is a serious consideration for any ISV who want to reduce not just license costs but benefit from the upside of a secure embeddable database with near zero administration and powerful disaster recovery features.

If you do decide on MSSQL for the back end server, then InterBase ToGo still offers a powerful option for mobilization that protects you and your customers’ reputations beyond the firewall.