Microsoft and Swiss banking systems provider Temenos have joined forces to push SQL Server in the banking sector, the companies said on Thursday.

SQL Server will be used as part of Temenos' core banking system, T24, which is the back-office system that manages accounts and customer information, and lets banks offer other financial services, according to Mike Head, global alliances director at Temenos.

One of the advantages of using SQL Server is lower cost, Head said. However, banks are cautious -- stability, security and performance have to be proven before they adopt a product.

The reliability of SQL Server isn't questioned, according to Head. But showing that SQL Server can perform on the same level as Oracle and IBM is something the two companies have to do. Banks aren't convinced, Head said.

Microsoft and Temenos will work together to demonstrate that SQL Server's performance can equal or surpass other databases, according to Head.

However, lab tests won't be enough. Most banks don't want to be the first to use a product, so showing that others are already using SQL Server and T24 will be important. For example, North Shore Credit Union has started using both, according to a statement.

"The more we publicize the people who are running it today, the more confidence it will give," said Head.

SQL Server has improved a lot during the past couple of years, according to Mark Hejja, CISO at Nordic Internet broker Nordnet Bank.

Using SQL Server at smaller banks is definitely a possibility, but Hejja isn't convinced the database can handle the massive amounts of transactions that the Citibanks of the world have to handle, he said.

Security is always something that comes up when Microsoft's products are discussed. However, core banking systems are never, from a security point of view, exposed to the user and the Internet. So that isn't as important as integration features, stability and performance, Hejja said.