I don't trade options and i don't know much to help you, anyway i think since SC is not a platform developed to trade options, you have to play with to see if you can customize it thru the tools it offers to see if you can make it works for your purpose.
Take your Pips, go out and Live.
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In terms of IB, most people say run because their data feed is a POS. While that is true, IB is actually a good execution platform as it does handle all of the instruments, and I can trade multiple accounts from one TWS instance (i.e. regular accounts, ira, roth, wifes account, kids account, etc.). SC has the IB multiple account support in there, but I have not really played with it yet. At the end of the day, I have been happy with IB over the years, but do not use it for day trading or as a feed.
On the options front, I do not use SC for that. It is hard enough to find a single platform for futures, let alone stocks and options. As others have pointed out, SC may support options in some capacity.
each software is good for certain task. back testing TS, option TOS, equities/futures Esignal , future SC or Ninja. This is based on my own experience. You may also want to open accounts with Fidelity, Etrade, TDA and Schwab as they all try to be all thing to all people.
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1) If you are not trading from different brokers concurrently, you can switch back and forth between brokers in the same instance of SC just by choosing the other broker in the Data/Trade Service Settings. SC remembers your parameters for each. SC also allows multiple instances for no extra charge so you could run 2 or more as needed.
Not sure if the broker-supplied SC will do all of this, but I prefer to have a separate account with SC, even though I could get it for free from Velocity, because I want the ability to ask SC Support for help on SC specific things. If you have the broker-supplied version, it is expected that most of your support for SC is through your broker, and I don't expect my broker to know the inner-workings of Sierra.
2) I have used SC's backtesting primarily for worksheet autotrading systems. It works fine, and you can set the replay speed up to 100,000 times normal. I've not used that speed because my computer video lurches at trying to keep up. Also, there is no way to skip over periods when your autotrading system is disabled, even though you need those sessions times for the indicators you are using. Overall, I'm happy with it.
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I could get free version of SC from Optimus, but I also pay for it myself because I want to know that I can do what I want when I want. I run 2-4 copies of SC depending what I am doing, and have no issues connecting to multiple brokers and feeds. At the end of the day, SC is so cheap its kind of a non issue. If you are starting out, by all means use the free version. Also, I do agree that you might get better SC support if you are a paying user vs a broker user, but that is when the quality of your broker matters.
BTW, all of those SC copies run in less memory and less CPU than POS 7.04.0.0B.2 ever did
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Favorite Futures: Stock, Options and now Futures (ES)
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Your bring up good points. While it is nice to save some money getting the platform through a broker, this might not always be desirable. SC is a very appealing option and I must say that I feel good no matter decision I ultimately make here (SC vs MC). As far a support goes, I would think that between the forum here and that of SC's, almost all matters can be addressed, if the broker is ill-equipped to do so. Maybe I'm wrong on that though, but that would be my guess...
Here's a very general example of how I backtest and I'd be curious to know how SC would handle it, if at all. I have a list of about 500 stocks / ETF's that I've qualified as meriting my attention, but only under certain technical conditions, as spelled-out in the strat. So, if we are talking a daily strat, after mkt close, I'll run it against this "portfolio" of symbols to see if there any hits. The strat might be rather basic but could say, identify all that were oversold via RSI below 25, that just crossed above RSI 25, where Chaikin MF has been increasing. Possibly a bullish engulfing candle too... You get the picture. I'd run such a saved strat in the evening to id opportunities for possible stock and / or option responses. I currently do this in Prodigio. It has it's quirky problems though.
Would I be able to do something like this with SC?