Forget SQL Server, Excel is the Answer

I had the strangest dream last night. It started with me being chased around the Microsoft campus in Redmond (which I’ve never been to) by Godfather-esque midgets with machine guns. Yeah, I know… I don’t know what to make of it, either. But when I woke, it hit me like birdshot from Dick Cheney’s hunting rifle: Forget SQL Server, Excel’s the answer.

The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I mean, really, what can SQL Server do that Excel cannot?

Store Large Amounts of Data
Sure, SQL Server may be able to hold billions upon billions of rows of data, but who really stores that much data? And even if you ARE storing that much data, then chances are you aren’t really *using* all of it. Scale down, and use Excel. Did you know Excel 2007 can now hold 1 million rows per worksheet? It’s true. And if you have 2 million rows to store, you can always just create another worksheet.

Manage Relational Objects
Pfft, have you ever tried to get data out of a normalized table? You have to do all of these annoying joins. But now that Excel supports up to 16,000 columns, I can just flatten out my tables into one easy-to-use worksheet. Why query when you can filter?

Provide High Availability and Redundancy
Sure, you *can* create a highly available and redundant system in SQL Server, but do you know how much time and money that takes? Plus, do you know how many people create backups without ever testing them, only to find out in the midst of a critical restore that their backup strategy doesn’t even work? It happens all the time. Really, the whole backup process is overly complicated, what with full, differential, and transaction log back-ups, simple and full recovery modes. In Excel, you can just right-click, copy, and paste.

Perform Extensive Analysis and Data Mining
Two words for you: Pivot Table.

It seems like such an obvious answer, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it years ago! Ah well, I think it’s time to cut my losses and start moving my 2 TB’s worth of data into Excel. Be sure to keep an eye out for my new site,, coming soon!

Note: Yes, this is just an April Fool’s Day post. I love SQL Server almost as much as I love my husband and my iPhone.


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13 Responses to Forget SQL Server, Excel is the Answer

  1. You know, even Excel is overkill. Why not just use flat files? They’ve been around for decades.

  2. Steve Jones says:

    What’s great is that many people love storing data in Excel. Heck, I use it like crazy for things like expenses, etc. that would work in a DB.

  3. kozloski says:

    Word is that Excel is going to be renamed to “SQL Server Spreadsheet Services” (a.k.a: SSSS) as part of the upcoming Gemini release.

  4. Nice one. Shoot a million rows and 16000 columns I can store everything there.

  5. If you have corruption in your SQL database then you can try SQL recovery software to repair it.

  6. Pingback: Ward Pond's SQL Server blog

  7. Um, you love your iPhone as much as you love your husband?

  8. Nah, I definitely love my husband more than my iPhone or any other material possessions… I was just being silly. 🙂

  9. Pradeeo says:

    Hey and I can also have great looking charts with excel ! This post will surely have a few people thinking in the wrong direction !

  10. I loved your parody. it really made me laugh. And it reminds me of all the times I have heard web designers say “just think of a database as a giant spreadsheet.”

    At wesclintech, we are huge fans of SQL Server, but it has always bothered us that there are hundreds of useful functions in EXCEL which are not available in SQL Server, forcing data to be exported to EXCEL to make use of those functions. That’s why we have ported every function in EXCEL to SQL Server. You can get these functions at

  11. Mary Dell says:

    LOVED this post. At a previous gig we called Excel the customer’s “database of choice.” Re-designing their trouble ticketing systems, I would ask, “Okay, so that information must be stored somewhere. Where would I find that?” The answer would come back, “Well, that’s in a spreadsheet that Bob over there updates and puts out on the shared drive.” Ack!!!

  12. Bruce W Cassidy says:

    You missed one of the major reasons of why to use Excel over SQL Server: it is much easier to do your word processing in Excel!

    I recently discovered the term “spreadmart”. 😀

  13. Software says:

    Both have their own importance and benefit so we are not able to compare them.

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